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Does anyone have the slightest clue on how to tighten the nut that holds the front end on the frame of an 03 SV? I was trying to do it because the service manual says you should at 600 miles. The handlebars are in the way and even if I could get a socket on it, it would be impossible to get the ratchet on top. The S models are easier because of their clip-on bars. But the standard is a nightmare. The only way I can see is taking the handlebars off from underneath, clamps and all. Anyone else run into this problem?
 

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Not strictly necessary

Get the front end off the ground without using the handlebars or forks to lift it. Use a fishing scale and see how much effort it takes pulling on the end of the handlebars to move the front end. It should take between 200 and 500 grams (roughly 7 to 16 ounces) If you need to adjust, loosen the large acorn nut under the bars, loosen the two lower triple clamp pinch bolts, and snug the headset bearing adjusting nut (the castellated one, the one with the square notches in it under the upper triple clamp) with a hammer and long punch (careful!).

The rough-and-ready method is to back off the adjusting nut until you feel some play in the front end, tighten until all the slack is gone, tighten 1/2 notch more. I prefer the spring scale method. You don't want to get this wrong and risk prematurely wearing out the headset bearings.

Once that's set, retighten the top nut (spec is 47 ft-lbs, but a good tug on the wrench should suffice), torque the pinch bolts to 16.5 ft-lbs and you're done.
 

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to get at the nut you need to take off the bars but you don't need to from underneath. there a little silver plugs that cover the allen bolts on top. pry them off with an exacto knife or something. you can then eaisly take off the four allen bolts to get at the nut and make adjustments like andy described.

I assume the caps are the same on the 03 as first gen. :?
 

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Don't have to remove the bars

With an open end wrench of the proper size you can loosen the top nut. You don't have to remove it. With a punch you can turn the adjusting nut.
 
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