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KTM PDS Heim Joint Removal & Installation Instructions

Please read these instructions completely before starting. It is recommended that you consult your manual in addition to this guide. These instructions should apply to any PDS equipped KTM.

Parts Used:
  • Enduro Engineering Heim Joint Bearing Replacement Kit (item #16-098)—$30 USD
  • eRider Heim Bearing Tool—$40 USD
  • eRider Dura-Max PDS Lower Heim Housing Guard—$24 USD

    Parts needed

Here’s the worn joints before removal. Notice the wear marks directly under the shock on the Heim Housing. There was about a ¼” of play if you jacked the bike up on the stand.
Worn Heim joint

Remove the chain, rear wheel and chain guide.
Real wheel and chain removed

Remove the shock and swing arm. Not completely necessary, but you need to grease the swing arm bearings anyway. Don't forget to take off the chain guide, too.
Shock removed

Pop out the bushings using a drift or other long metal object. Work at them from within, attacking them from the opposite sides. After a year of corrosion, they may need some persuasion.
Push out bushings

Pop out the seals around the Heim bearing using a flat blade screwdriver. Try to wedge the screwdriver into the seals and pop them out.
Pop out seals

Here’s a look at the damaged Heim bearing after the seals are popped.
Damaged Heim bearing

Use a socket or erider's Heim bearing tool to drive out the bad bearing. Pound on it hard if necessary, and use some heat around the housing if it won't budge. Mine popped right out with the highly recommended erider bearing tool. Be careful not to get the bearing miss-aligned on the way out or it will dig into the soft aluminum housing. If this happens, a Dremel tool or file can be used to smooth off any rough spots. The bearing can be removed from either side.
Driving out Heim bearing

Here is the damaged bearing. My bike is about two years old. It wore all the way through the bearing into the housing.
Old damaged parts

I used a Dremel tool to clean up the inside as best as possible and then used emery cloth to smooth things out.
Grinding with Dremel tool

Line up the new bearing and start tapping it gently until you know it's going in straight. A night in the freezer (the bearing, not you) helps with installation. If you're using a socket as a driver, make sure it is only contacting the outer race and not the round thingy that swivels inside (you DON"T want to ruin your new $60 bearing, trust me). The erider tool was designed in such a way to prevent this damage. There was even a guideline scored on the tool to help with centering the joint.
Installing new Heim bearing

Tap in the new seals (don't even think about trying to re-use the old ones). A little dab of grease around the seal lips is a good idea. Do Not Grease the bearing itself! Grease will destroy the Teflon in the bearing.
Tapping in new seals

Sidebar by SLORider:
Some members of recommend using a waterproof grease such as Bel-Ray Waterproof Grease to extend the life of the bearing. However, upon soliciting Enduro Engineering I received this e-mail:

Push in the new bushings.
Installing new bushings

Re-assemble the swing arm and shock. Make sure to loc-tite the upper shock mount as well as the lower one as these can loosen over time.
Upper shock mount

I used the erider Dura-Max PDS lower Heim Housing Guard to prevent the mud flap from wearing on the aluminum swing arm and also to protect the joint. I have also heard of wrapping the joint with an inner tube. Install the guard per instructions using some loc-tite.
Dura-Max PDS lower Heim Housing Guard

Finished Job.
Finished Heim bearing replacement

It is recommended that the joint be inspected often (look for play in the swing arm—once the new one was installed, there was no play) and be replaced when necessary. From other postings, it seems like this is a yearly maintenance recommendation. It’s a good idea to check your brake pads and chain while you have things apart also.

Pictures and some instructions by Jhicks on KTM Talk. Thanks to Kevin Rice for posting this.

Additional Information
Synergy Seals' F-Bushing
Heim Bearing Alternative
Synergy Seals' F-Bushing, at $30, is an inexpensive, durable and easy to install replacement for the lower Heim joint bearing. It is a high-performance plastic bushing that eliminates the Heim bearing altogether.
Heim Bearings
Heim Bearing History
Also known as a spherical plain bearing, Heim Bearings allow a rod to swivel in three axes. Lewis R. Heim produced the first integral rod end bearing in 1942. Heim's Ball & Roller Bearing Co., now owned by RBC Bearings, was fundamental in developing the centerless grinding process and sold several key patents to Cincinnati Milling Machining Co. in 1924.