SUSPENSION TECH: IN YOUR OWN GARAGE

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR BEAT-DOWN FORK OIL

Last month in the February issue, with the help of Kendall Norman’s mechanic Scot Gustafson, we showed you how to change your shock oil. This month we are moving forward and showing you how to change the fork oil in your trusty steed. Take note, the oil in forks will break down and performance will suffer after only 20 hours of riding, so check that hour meter and keep up on your bike maintenance.

1) First back out all clickers and mark down what you had your settings to. Use a pen; don’t carve it into the bench top with a screwdriver. Loosen the top cap using a fork cap tool; Motion Pro or Race-Tech can hook you up. You can call Motion Pro at (650) 594-9600 and Race-Tech at (951) 279-6655. If you have problems loosening and holding the fork leg, slide it back into your lower triple clamp and use that as a holder.



2.)
Flip it and drain the oil. Let it sit for a few minutes, maybe up to 15 minutes. This gives you time to make a sandwich, maybe a peanut butter and jelly would hit the spot.

3.) Use your axle to help hold the fork lug while you loosen the fork center bolt, which holds the fork damper.  Once that is loose, push down on the lug and insert the fork holding tool, available through Race-Tech, Honda, or Motion Pro.



4.)
Even pros use a manual.

5.) Loosen the lock nut and remove the fork center bolt, then pull out your rebound push rod. Resist the urge to beat those around you senseless with it. You don’t want to bend it. Release the fork holding tool and flip the fork; you now can pull out the fork damper and drain the upper tube.

6.) Now with some really big wrenches, loosen the fork cap. You can now pull it out of the fork damper. You should be able to push on the damper rod to pop out the fork cap. Flip and drain. Clean all parts you’ve been taking apart; contact cleaner works awesome. Get ready to party! You are closer to going riding.

7.) For a Honda Showa fork, 195cc of fork oil is recommended, or if you want to measure, 42-47mm of oil, measuring off the first indention inside. Pour the oil in and then pump the damper rod about four inches till it stops making bubbles.

8.) Reinstall the cap and tighten to 22 foot-pounds. Then take an old rag, wrap it around the top part and compress the damping rod fully. Oil will shoot out of the oil holes; that’s why you have the rag. Release the rod and flip the assembly over a drain pan. The excess will pour out and will ensure you have the proper oil height. You can also use air to blow out the extra oil, but it gets a little messy.

9.) Slide your fork spring back in and let out a primal scream of near success. Now you can slide the cartridge back into the fork tube. Man, it’s getting exciting. Tighten up the fork cap and flip the fork over. Use that axle to push down the fork lug so you can use that fork holding tool again. Slide the damper rod back in. That’s the skinny tube you had to fight not to swing around the garage like a sword. The center bolt has a pin on it that is shaped to match the damper rod; spin it until it drops in.

10.) Tighten the center bolt and lock nut to 16-foot pound torque. Before you crank it down, you’ll see this gap. It will go away when you tighten it down. Once that is locked down, drop it all the way in and tighten the center bolt to the lug at 51 foot-pounds of torque.

11.) Back to the top. Tighten the cap, reset your clickers and get those things on the bike and hold it wide open! You are going to notice a huge difference in performance.

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