I've never changed a bike bike fork before but i have taken the old one off and on a couple of times with no problem. This is on a 1 inch threaded bike
I've installed the new one, but the more i tighten down the fork, the harder it gets to steer, to the point where i can hardly move it at all.
I started by taking the old fork out, keeping the bearings in the order i pulled them out in. I unscrewed the front brake. I then took off the old thing that is at the bottom of the fork steerer that needs to be pressed into the new fork. I didnt have the right equipment to press in the new one, but i took a vise and set the fork so that edge of the thing needed to be pressed in was on the edge of the vice and i used a metal pipe and a hammer to push in the thing. I made it as level as i could to the eye. I reassembled the fork. When i tighten the nut at the top of the steerer, the fork becomes very difficult to move. I haven't tighten it much beyond hand tight+ 1 turn in fear of breaking something. I've greased everything, and tried turning the bearings around. I have a feelign that the thing i pressed in isnt flat, and that this is the culprit. Let me know if pictures could help or anything else.
Hand tight + 1 turn could just be too much. You just need it tight enough that there is no play in the front fork. Try backing off the adjustable race (the top one) a little bit at a time (1/8 of a turn) until you can feel play. I like to test by rolling forward and applying the front brake. As soon as you feel play, tighten it back that 1/8 turn and tighten down the top nut onto the adjustable race. You will need two wrenches to tighten the headset properly, one to hold the race, one for the nut, and make sure you have the keyed washer in between.
Then I think you're correct in your assumption that something is not lined up correctly. All the races must not be parallel. Your LBS will have a good tool for setting that crown race (on the fork) and probably charge ~ $5. I usually use a piece of PVC pipe, but did had one that was just too tight to set.