Fork oil - how often? - Wrist Twisters
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post #1 of 32 Old 09-24-2008, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Fork oil - how often?

So how many of you guys go thru the drill of changing the fork oil how often?

Anyone, anyone?

I have a pair of '04 forks on my '03 919. Still, a BIG difference from the '03 stockers. Everything is still smooth but wondering if I need to take it all apart and give it a transfusion.

Opinions please...

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post #2 of 32 Old 09-24-2008, 07:08 PM
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I was about to answer, but my bike isn't a naked.

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post #3 of 32 Old 09-24-2008, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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OK so hondaf4iguy gets a red star for not being naked

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post #4 of 32 Old 09-24-2008, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hondaf4iguy View Post
I was about to answer, but my bike isn't a naked.
Go sit on your bike naked in the garage and then you can answer in the naked forum. Or if you answer while naked that is acceptable as well.

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post #5 of 32 Old 09-24-2008, 08:15 PM
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Meanwhile back to forks.

I don't really know how often. I've often wondered myself. I do know guys really into suspentions, change fork oil at least once a year. My bike has over 30K miles on it now. The next front tire change, I'm going to venture into it. My shop manual is for the 2002 model. I just wonder if doing the 04 and later adjustable forks come apart any differently than the 02 and 03s.

Call Dan Kyle. He'll tell you.....

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post #6 of 32 Old 09-24-2008, 11:45 PM
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Just like asking - Which tyres..!!! You'll probably get more opinion than fact. Nothing wrong with that, as there is a huge gene pool of opinions out there and 90% of it is probably fact based,, but here's my opinion...

Anything is better than the feel of the stock oil, so choose a good brand (which one..??? - see here we go already), and make sure you replace only as much as what comes out of the fork, unless you feel you have lost a bit due to leaks etc. Oil weight is probably the important factor here,, 10 being a sort of default weight, but I am tempted sometimes to go a little heavier to 15. If in doubt though, stick with a good brand of 10 weight fork oil.

If, once you replace the old oil, it feels a lot more positive in response, then leave well enough alone. For me, once I replace the stock oil, I notice it doesn't feel like a pogo stick and the forks wont bottom out as I got from the road onto our driveway at just a few miles per hour. It is not necessarily stiffer, just more positive and less likely to bottom out so quickly. The comparison would be like replacing standard brake lines with braided lines. You don't really improve the actual power of the brakes, but they give you so much more "feel" for the road surface and the initial take-up is a lot better. So your forks might do so too...

After you've done replacing the oil, just leave it alone until you have another reason to look at it again. That might be in a years time or 5 years time...

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post #7 of 32 Old 09-25-2008, 12:58 AM
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i try to do mine every 25000 km on all the bikes i have owned, it is always getting dirty/thckish by then.
It is not a hard job, but i like to tinker.
on this bike I replaced the oil when i put in different springs.
made a big difference. IMHO

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post #8 of 32 Old 09-25-2008, 01:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hondaf4iguy View Post
I was about to answer, but my bike isn't a naked.
+1
I still gotta do the RC... oh crap. Can I mention RC in naked bike section???? ...oops.

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post #9 of 32 Old 09-26-2008, 05:51 AM
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I go with lighter weight fork oil so it responds faster. The other thing I do is measure fork travel while I have the caps off. I refill the forks to that measurement from the bottom of where the fork caps would be. This trapped air in the forks acts as a progressive spring and really helps. Anyways I run 7.5 weight and it's time to change mine. I'm going to buy valves and springs this time.

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post #10 of 32 Old 09-26-2008, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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K - thanks guys. Guess a fork transfusion is in the near future. Sure would've been nice if the Honda guys put those little drains at the bottom of the fork tubes.

Oh, well. Good excuse to take the front end apart and inspect everything.

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post #11 of 32 Old 09-26-2008, 07:10 AM
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razorbike: Be sure to drain the cartridge by pumping the fork damper rod.

Fluid level; 155 mm (6.1") Recommended method! as measured without the spring and the fork fully compressed.
Fluid capacity; 463 cc (15.7 oz.)
Pro Honda suspension fluid SS-8 or any quality 5w fork oil.

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post #12 of 32 Old 09-26-2008, 09:21 AM
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SS-8 = 10 wt.

SS-7 = 5 wt.

What will actually determine suspension fluid change intervals is how often your forks or shock goes up and down. Smooth clean roads = longer intervals.
Rough dirty roads = shorter intervals. Anybody over 150lbs will benifit greatly by getting rid of the stock progressive wound fork springs and installing a straight wound spring of the proper rate. You can use the "Spring rate search" at www.racetech.com

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post #13 of 32 Old 09-26-2008, 09:50 AM
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There's oil in there?!?!?!?!!

















Kidding.

Mostly...

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post #14 of 32 Old 09-26-2008, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuedeGopher View Post
There's oil in there?!?!?!?!!

















Kidding.

Mostly...

Shsssss. Don't tell anybody, it's a secret.

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post #15 of 32 Old 09-26-2008, 05:51 PM
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Once a year if ridden allot (daily, like in California)
I highly recommend Amsoil Shock Therapy Suspension Fluid #5 Light.
My XR430 has not cycled better in it's life.
Or the 919 for that matter. If you call riding on the street, cycling a suspension.

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post #16 of 32 Old 09-26-2008, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeenracer View Post
Anybody over 150lbs will benifit greatly by getting rid of the stock progressive wound fork springs and installing a straight wound spring of the proper rate. You can use the "Spring rate search" at www.racetech.com
Hey Allen. I'm assuming I could do this with non-adjustable '02 forks as well? I've been considering swapping out the whole fork for '04 or later 919 forks or F4i forks. Would a spring and oil change make a big enough difference to be worth it?

'02 Honda 919 - She's the only one for me!

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post #17 of 32 Old 09-26-2008, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razorbike View Post
K - thanks guys. Guess a fork transfusion is in the near future. Sure would've been nice if the Honda guys put those little drains at the bottom of the fork tubes.

Oh, well. Good excuse to take the front end apart and inspect everything.
You should take it apart and clean everything anyway, especially the cartridge... I change mine every 12 - 15k on th 9ner and that seems to be a good interval. The track bike gets new oil every season. Make sure you pump out the nasty oil from the cartridge. i do this by putting some clean oil in one containter and putting the end of the cartridge in and drawing up some oil, then pump it out in another container. Doing this a few times will get all that drity oil outta there. good luck.

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post #18 of 32 Old 09-26-2008, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugs View Post
Hey Allen. I'm assuming I could do this with non-adjustable '02 forks as well? I've been considering swapping out the whole fork for '04 or later 919 forks or F4i forks. Would a spring and oil change make a big enough difference to be worth it?
Springs and Gold valves will make a very big difference and save alot of money on a fork swap.

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post #19 of 32 Old 04-06-2019, 04:06 AM
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As far as I know the fork oil has never been changed on my 2005 919. I picked it up with 50k on the clock and its now around 65k.

I remember an older biker telling me for a different bike - my haggard 99 R6 - that the fork oil could do with a change and I asked him if it would make any difference. He frowned and cringed as if recoiling with horror that I seemed to have no idea of suspension.

And so...it seems high time I changed the fork oil on my 919. Yet how tricky is this job? Is it something a poor mechanic, in money and expertise and dexterity, could do?

Will changing the oil make a noticeable difference? Are there any guides I have not yet found of how to do this?

Should I also invest in some new springs?

What is the likely cost? If I do it myself and if I get the new springs, racetech are fine I believe?...and pay a grease merchant to do the job?

All advice is welcome and appreciated,
Cheers,
D

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post #20 of 32 Old 04-06-2019, 05:01 AM
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I'd say your fork oil is due to be changed. I'd recommend doing it yourself. You'll learn a lot and it's not that hard. You probably should change seals, bushes too.
I put in Racetech springs to suit my weight, riding style. Massive improvement over the stock springs.
There is a good thread here abouts with a link to a video. I just can't find it at the moment. I'll look tomorrow for it.

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post #21 of 32 Old 04-06-2019, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegutterpoet View Post
As far as I know the fork oil has never been changed on my 2005 919. I picked it up with 50k on the clock and its now around 65k.

I remember an older biker telling me for a different bike - my haggard 99 R6 - that the fork oil could do with a change and I asked him if it would make any difference. He frowned and cringed as if recoiling with horror that I seemed to have no idea of suspension.

And so...it seems high time I changed the fork oil on my 919. Yet how tricky is this job? Is it something a poor mechanic, in money and expertise and dexterity, could do?

Will changing the oil make a noticeable difference? Are there any guides I have not yet found of how to do this?

Should I also invest in some new springs?

What is the likely cost? If I do it myself and if I get the new springs, racetech are fine I believe?...and pay a grease merchant to do the job?

All advice is welcome and appreciated,
Cheers,
D
You're long over due. My seals were letting water pass into the oil and I ended up with a really bad suspension.

You want seals and wipers, some $20~30 each fork. Get some brake cleaner and some PVC pipe.

Pretty straight forward. You remove the top of the forks, support the front on a stand or lift of some type. I used a jack under the header.

Remove the tire, then the forks and empty them in a pan.

Spray the cleaner in there and flush everything out. Make sure to dry it out so you don't have brake cleaner or whatever mixed with the new oil.

The PVC pipe is used as a driver to drive on the new seals.

You also have some copper bushings in there too.

When you watch the videos online, there's one about aligning the forks... Basically, you loosen up all the fork bolts except the very top ones, then bounce the forks straight up and down very hard. This lines them up.

It's about a 2~3 hour job.

After I did mine, it was night and day.

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post #22 of 32 Old 04-07-2019, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlJay View Post

When you watch the videos online, there's one about aligning the forks... Basically, you loosen up all the fork bolts except the very top ones, then bounce the forks straight up and down very hard. This lines them up.
The above is a crude method.

A precision setup can not be done that way, and needs the picky, many steps, time needed method.

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post #23 of 32 Old 04-07-2019, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcromo44 View Post
The above is a crude method.

A precision setup can not be done that way, and needs the picky, many steps, time needed method.
What method is that?

I ask because I don't know of any other method of lining up the forks.


For reference, here's the video I'm talking about:


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post #24 of 32 Old 04-07-2019, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlJay View Post
What method is that?

I ask because I don't know of any other method of lining up the forks.


For reference, here's the video I'm talking about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNEmOqY02EU
I guessed that to be the case, as it's been posted a number of times over time.

Following is what I was referring to.


Mounting Front Forks by McTavish McRomo in 2011

Here are a few links if you want to get a little more info on the technical side of your forks.
http://www.trackdaymag.com/Articles/...rks-Work-.aspx
http://www.gostar-racing.com/informa...ion_set-up.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspension_(motorcycle)


Voodoo?
How about Nodoo, as in not doing everything that needs to be done.

Keep in mind how critical it is to properly align the forks and front axle, noting I'm not aware of a factory manual that tells you how to properly align the forks on the front axle. Proper mounting of forks is as crucial as any work inside them or setup adjustments made.

Do a trial fit with both forks in place, bare axle fitted and lightly clamped on the side with the bearing preload end bolt, and very carefully nip up the lower clamps with upper sitting in place.
Then nip up the upper triple.
Then torque the lower triple.
Then torque the upper triple.
Then remove the axle.
Then release the triples on no bearing preload end bolt side, just enough so it can be be slid in the clamps with a hand tug, let it slide down, then back up to see if it nicely indexes in the upper hole.
Usually it does and that is what you are looking for. (If it doesn't, you have a misalignment problem.)
Then put the axle in, and move the released fork up and down to a position where the axle easily indexes into and smoothly slides through the other side.
With good forks, you should end with both sides fairly even in terms of projection distance about the top triple.
The carefully go about buttoning up the lower and upper clamps.
When it's all back together, loosen the axle clamp on the side without the bearing preload end bolt, and with the bike on the wheels and front brake on, Jounce as much as you can, thus letting the free fork leg find where it wants to be on the front axle, then torque it up the axle clamping bolts.
(the axle needs light oil on it for this to work properly - there is too much friction with a dry install for this to work).
This way:
Your forks are square and equalized to each other.
The axle will be easier to install with the weight of the wheel on it.
The axle bores won't get scored over time from repeated R & Rs.
Your fork legs should be reasonably centred on the fork tubes - noting how much slop they have in them.
Your fork bushings should be more evenly loaded with greater bushing area actually being utilized.
Your forks should end with less Stiction and less Friction.
Others may have a different approach for the initial squaring of the legs in the tubes.
Ideally, and hoping you won't be removing forks very often, the best way is to remove the springs, and do all the initial set up work with the forks fully compressed. (Particularly so for old skinny tubed conventionals, e.g. 36 mm.)
Some might suggest doing the fitting work mid stroke. Doing the work with the forks fully extended is not the best, but it's much better than just slapping it together.

Of course, all of this is wasted unless the steering head bearings are in excellent condition and have been properly setup, the triples are true, the forks are true, and the axle is true.

One last thing.
The bearing preload end bolt (that threads into the end of the axle) should not be torqued with that side's fork axle clamp pinch bolts also torqued. Loose or barely loaded pinch bolts is all you want. Use the axle clamp pinch bolts on the other fork leg to hold the axle whole you torque the nut. Otherwise, the axle is not free to load up on it's shoulder, and your bolt torquing will not be the indication of bearing load that it is intended to be.
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post #25 of 32 Old 04-07-2019, 12:27 PM
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Proper Front Axle Fitment Instructions by McTavish McRomo @ March 2012

For 919s, or 919s retrofitted with F4i forks.

Clean the axle and fork leg axle bores.
Lightly oil, not grease, the axle with a light oil, a 5W30 or 0W20 engine oil being ideal.
Lightly oil the fork leg bores.
Fit up the wheel.
Only tighten and torque the (rider on) left fork leg clamp on the axle.
Leave the right hand fork leg clamp free upon the axle.
Torque up the axle’s end bolt to spec. (Do not oil the bolt threads, they should be dry, as should all of the fork leg axle clamp fasteners.)
Torque up the right fork leg clamp on the axle.
Fully release the left fork leg clamp from the axle.
Straddle the bike.
Apply the front brake.
Jounce the front end as energetically as you can.
This lets the left fork leg float about and find it's natural happy spot.
Torque up the left hand fork leg clamp on the axle.

919s fit up quite well.
If the triples have been properly squared by correct sequencing, the marker ring on the axle will show near or at where it should be.
And normally the jouncing does not result in much movement.

A key point within the sequence is the proper preloading of the axial stack through the front wheel.
This seems to always get missed in concept, and it is never properly addressed in the manuals.
The end bolt on the axle is there to ensure that inner bearing races are hard seated and retained against the between bearing spacer.
The bearings are NOT preloaded by this, instead, they actually float upon their internal clearances as referenced against their outer races.
Hence the call to have the right fork leg clamp free on the axle during the end bolt tightening.
One must be sure the axle’s right locating shoulder is very free in order to properly allow the axle to float axially within the bore, which is key in ensuring that the distance washer will properly face up and load up against the inside face of the right fork leg.

END
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post #26 of 32 Old 04-07-2019, 04:14 PM
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Yep, seems too important a job for my haphazard fingers and focus...Appreciate all the advice above, chaps. How long would you expect a mechanic to take to do the job? Loosely speaking of course! I think I will start to peek around for the Racetech springs...which seem an extra treat alongside the fork oil and seals change I am now close to set on aiming at?

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post #27 of 32 Old 04-07-2019, 10:39 PM
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Idk if I did anything wrong, but all I did was change the oil. Forks out, top cap off, pumped the old oil out, put new oil in. Works well enough for me. Cost me 13 bucks in fork oil and maybe an hour of my time. First time I did oil at 30k, the oil was a grey muck. After 20k more it looked like slightly used motor oil. Clean is a nice dark red. I'm sure it's time for your forks to be serviced. The biggest difference was probably changing the fork oil gap to 140mm like mcromo said. Forks are a little less spongy and feel better to trail brake.

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post #28 of 32 Old 04-08-2019, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
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Yep, seems too important a job for my haphazard fingers and focus...Appreciate all the advice above, chaps. How long would you expect a mechanic to take to do the job? Loosely speaking of course! I think I will start to peek around for the Racetech springs...which seem an extra treat alongside the fork oil and seals change I am now close to set on aiming at?
I wan't to say $200~250, but I really don't remember. I forced myself to do it just because I wanted to do it more often and when you can do it for $20 + seals (when needed) then you might do it every season or two.

It's really not a hard job.

- loosen the fork caps
- Support the front end off the ground
- remove the front tire
- remove the forks
- remove top cap and dump the oil out.
- pump the forks to remove as much as you can

You can spray some cleaner in there and leave them in the sun upside down to drain as much out as you can.

Add and measure some new oil and put things back together.

Good, simple job to do your self and you'll save some money.

IIRC, this guy does a pretty good job explaining things:






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post #29 of 32 Old 04-08-2019, 02:48 AM
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Not sure, KarlJay! That video makes the job look a lot harder than you outlined in words.

The use of a drill with allen head...a makeshift diranpipe length to get the thing back together and then more tools and expertise for the air gap.

A fair amount of special tools needed, expertise and if I make an error, I either wont be able to get the bike back on two wheels or will have it back together dangerous.

loosen the fork caps
- Support the front end off the ground
- remove the front tire
- remove the forks
- remove top cap and dump the oil out.
- pump the forks to remove as much as you can


Seems more simple than what that chap got up to!

I had hoped it would be get them off, open them up, pour out oil, springs pull out, new spring in, new oil in, perhaps a new seal if required, then back on. More measurements need to be made and the alignment is another issue!

Looks like at least an hour for a mechanic to do the job? Probably closer to 2? I might get some quotes...Might save a little if I take the things off myself to take to the grease merchant.

I assume there is a case for just changing oil which doesnt need the springs and everything else to be taken apart...to replace the springs though will mean a lot more work?

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post #30 of 32 Old 04-08-2019, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegutterpoet View Post
Not sure, KarlJay! That video makes the job look a lot harder than you outlined in words.

The use of a drill with allen head...a makeshift diranpipe length to get the thing back together and then more tools and expertise for the air gap.

A fair amount of special tools needed, expertise and if I make an error, I either wont be able to get the bike back on two wheels or will have it back together dangerous.

loosen the fork caps
- Support the front end off the ground
- remove the front tire
- remove the forks
- remove top cap and dump the oil out.
- pump the forks to remove as much as you can


Seems more simple than what that chap got up to!

I had hoped it would be get them off, open them up, pour out oil, springs pull out, new spring in, new oil in, perhaps a new seal if required, then back on. More measurements need to be made and the alignment is another issue!

Looks like at least an hour for a mechanic to do the job? Probably closer to 2? I might get some quotes...Might save a little if I take the things off myself to take to the grease merchant.

I assume there is a case for just changing oil which doesnt need the springs and everything else to be taken apart...to replace the springs though will mean a lot more work?
IMO, the spring is no big deal. Here's the way I see it: for the cost of having a shop do this job, you can buy a valve kit and/or spring.

The other issue is that once you do it, you know how and you'll do it more often. So if you change the spring and oil and seals this time, then next season, changing the oil won't be a big deal.

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post #31 of 32 Old 05-06-2019, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by KarlJay View Post
IMO, the spring is no big deal. Here's the way I see it: for the cost of having a shop do this job, you can buy a valve kit and/or spring.

The other issue is that once you do it, you know how and you'll do it more often. So if you change the spring and oil and seals this time, then next season, changing the oil won't be a big deal.
Considering the old beast hasn't had the oil and springs, even the seals changed in 65k...I doubt I will be in a hurry to regularly change them again, mate! It will be good for another 35k at least before I will think of them again.

Just trying to work out the cost of a fork oil change and rear shock rebuild here in Oz. If it isn't huge money, it might be worth the investment.

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post #32 of 32 Old 07-02-2019, 08:55 AM
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see post #23 and on.

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