Front Fork Service - 'How To Guide' inc Pics from 08-11 models.

Discussion in 'Maintenance' started by ShinySideUp, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. ShinySideUp

    ShinySideUp Elite Member

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    Front Fork Service Guide

    The following fork service was carried out on a 2010 ABS Fireblade but the process is very similar for all USD forks but some forks may have very slight differences which are common with the exception of the BPF forks which are completly different.

    Double check if your forks have any construction differences by checking with a service manual for your bikes make/model.

    Disclosure: I take no responsibility for any damage or injury caused by using the information contained within this guide.

    If you do not agree with and accept the above terms please do not use any of the information which follows and have your forks serviced by a qualified suspension technician.



    Tools you will need and/or find useful in order to carry out the fork service:-

    • Correct grade fork oil 1 litre will be enough for both forks with a small amount left over.

    • Fork oil seals and dust seals if yours are old, splitting & cracking or leaking - I tend to replace both while I have the fork stripped down that far.

    • Fork seal driver or a piece of PVC pipe cut in half if trying to keep costs down!

    • Fork spring compressor – large commercial or handheld DIY type (this type may also require a friend to help fit compressor plate!)

    • Steel rule - A fork oil level tool is also handy but not required.

    • Fork rod pull up tool - Handy but not a requirement!

    • Motorbike stands front and rear - front stand must be capable of lifting front end off the ground but leave forks unloaded so they can be safely removed, i.e. Headstock stand, Abba superbike stand or something similar.

    • Front axle tool – required in order to be able to remove the front wheel.

    • Basic hand tools such as Allen keys, rubber mallet, sockets and spanners which will be required to remove various parts from the bike.

    • Lots and lots of paper towels to clean everything as it gets pretty messy with oil.

    • Latex or nitrile gloves to protect hands from oil.

    • Metal polish and cloth – this is not required but I do recommend using it to reduce sticktion.

    • Electrical tape.

    [​IMG]

    Step 1. Start off by putting the bike up on paddock stands. Removing the fairings will allow better access to the bolts on the lower yoke but not required.

    Step 2. Slacken off the 2 Allen bolts at the top of each fork.

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    Step 3. With all the top yoke bolts now slackened, slightly slacken off both top fork caps so it’s easier to strip the forks down later once removed from the bike.

    Paper towel sheets folded up on themselves can help limit any coating damage caused to the caps and/or bolt heads while loosening them.

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    [​IMG]

    Step 4. Remove the 2 caliper retaining bolts on each front caliper and slide each caliper off the discs.

    Use bungee cords or tie wraps to tie up the calipers up to make sure they are not hanging by their brake lines as this can damage them.

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    [​IMG]
     
    #1 ShinySideUp, Mar 17, 2014
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  2. ShinySideUp

    ShinySideUp Elite Member

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    Step 5. Now slacken off the 4 lower fork pinch bolts, then slacken and remove the axle bolt but leaving the main axle in place for now.

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    Step 6. Now depending on the type of paddock stand used the mudguard may at this point have to have its bolts removed so it can move about and flip up slightly to allow room for the wheel to come out.

    If the wheel can be removed without doing this at this point just pull the main axle out and remove the wheel else remove the mudguard bolts and then remove the wheel.

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    Step 7. Now remove the front mudguard from the bike, remember to unclip the brake lines at the support mounts before doing this though.

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    Step 8. Next if you own an abs equipped bike remove the speed sensor from the bottom of the fork leg by removing the two bolts and sliding the sensor out.

    Make sure the sensor is tied up or kept out the way from getting damaged, also be aware metal debrie will stick to the magnets on the sensor which may cause issues with false speed readings in the abs system later.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #2 ShinySideUp, Mar 17, 2014
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  3. ShinySideUp

    ShinySideUp Elite Member

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    Step 9. Slacken the two Allen bolts on the bottom yoke and slowly drop one of the forks down and out of the bike.

    Use one hand to stop the fork from just sliding out and hitting the floor and use the other to wiggle/reposition the clip-ons as this can be a sticking area for the fork stopping it coming out smoothly.

    Keep an eye on the top positioning circlip stopper as this can easily slide out its notch and along the fork allowing it to possibly get lost if not watching.

    The clip locks in under the clip-ons which set the forks to the correct height with the correct amount of fork sticking out the top of the yoke.

    If you are servicing USD forks from another bike model you may want to measure the amount the forks are sticking through the top yoke as not all bikes have this autostop circlip feature.

    Measuring this figure means the forks can be put back to the correct height setting when putting everything back together so you don’t upset the bikes handling.

    [​IMG]

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    Step 10. If you are just wanting to change the fork oil or oil and springs this step can be missed out but if renewing the oil seals it will need to be carried out.

    Using a deep Allen socket slacken the cartridge retaining bolt at the bottom of the fork, you will need to completly remove the axel pinch bolts in order to gain access to the retaining bolt.

    DO NOT REMOVE THIS RETAINING BOLT ONLY SLACKEN then nip it back up otherwise you will get a flood of oil coming out of it and going everywhere!

    This bolt can be very tight to unscrew depending on age of the bike and in such circumstances an air operated buzz gun or similar may be required to slacken the bolt.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Step 11. Next remove both the spring preload and the rebound settings via there adjusters so they are both fully wound out anticlockwise.

    It may be beneficial for to you to count the number of turns each adjuster as currently set to and write them down so you can reapply the same settings once you have finished the service work!

    [​IMG]

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    Step 12. Now unscrew the fork cap and then push the fork tube downwards away from the cap to reveal the plastic spacer, keep the fork upright as oil can now spill out of the fork if tilted on it side.

    [​IMG]
     
    #3 ShinySideUp, Mar 17, 2014
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  4. ShinySideUp

    ShinySideUp Elite Member

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    Step 13. Now put the fork compressor of choice into the holes that are pre drilled into the plastic spacer.

    The spacer has to be pushed down in order to make the fork cap locknut visible in order to slacken and remove the fork cap.

    If using the manual compressor type have a friend or helper ready with the compressor plate while you push down on the compressor then once the cap lock nut is visible have the friend put the plate in between the bottom of the locknut and the plastic spacer to lock the spring from coming back and hiding the lock nut again.

    The friend or helper may have to gently pull up on the fork cap while you push down on the compressor in order for the locknut to become visible.

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    [​IMG]

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    Step 14. Once the locknut is visible use two spanners to slacken the fork cap, make sure to hold the spanner with the lock nut steady making sure it doesn't move and turn the fork cap only when slackening then fully unscrew the cap and pull it upwards out the fork.

    Take care as the rebound rod is still attached to the cap so care should be taken not to bend the rod upon removal.

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    Step 15. Now measure the distance from the cap locking nut to the top of the rod and note the distance down as you will want to make sure the nut is still the same distance before putting the cap back on.

    Failure to do this will mean the rebound adjuster could be out of spec and not give the full amount of rebound adjustment.

    Both forks should also be set to the same distance so both have the same amount of adjustment.

    [​IMG]

    Step 16. Remove the fork from the fork compressor.

    If using a manual compressor have a friend or helper pull the plate out while you push down on the compressor then slowly let the compressor come up otherwise the spring will bounce out the fork along with the plastic spacer making you chase them around the work area as well as getting yourself covered in oil.

    Step 17. Now remove the plastic spacer watching not to lose the top piece of the spacer as it will come apart.

    Then slowly raise the spring up out the fork allowing oil to drip off the spring back into the tube if trying to minimise mess.

    Also note which way round the spring comes out so it goes back in the exact same way as they are often sided and different at each end.

    I like to lay all the parts out on paper towels in the order they come out of the fork that way all the parts go back inside in the correct order when rebuilding up again without having to remember the order from memory.

    [​IMG]
     
    #4 ShinySideUp, Mar 17, 2014
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  5. ShinySideUp

    ShinySideUp Elite Member

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    Step 18. Next turn the fork upside down and drain all the fluid out

    Just note the cartridge rod will probably make an appearance at this point making some gurgling noise as it slides outwards but don’t worry it won’t fall out.

    Once most of the oil has drained out push n pull the cartridge rod back and forth in order to remove as much of the old oil out of the cartridge as possible.

    [​IMG]

    Step 19. Unscrew the bolt at the very bottom of the fork we slackened earlier.

    This will allow the cartridge tube to drop out the top of the fork for cleaning.

    The bottom bolt should have a sealing washer fitted so make sure you don’t lose it or that it doesn’t stay stuck in the bottom of the fork leg.

    Step 20. If you are only performing an oil service you can jump ahead to number 37 or if you want to renew the oil and dust seals just keep reading.

    Step 21. Using a flat screwdriver and a rubber mallet or similar to chap the dust seal out of its seat taking care not to mark or damage the coating on the fork tube.

    [​IMG]

    Step 22. Move the dust seal down the fork tube and using the flat screwdriver unclip the spring clip holding the oil seal in position.

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    Step 23. Now move the spring clip down to the bottom of the tube beside the dust seal so they are out of the way.

    Pick the fork up and with one hand covering the dust seal and spring clip which is known as the inner tube and the other hand on the outer tube.

    Pull and push the two tubes to act like a slide hammer in order to remove the oil seal, this does make quite a bit of rattling and banging whist doing this but the oil seal will eventually pop out its seat allowing the tubes to seperate as shown in the picture!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Step 24. Now using a flat blade screwdriver gently slide it into the grove of the bush making sure not to press it in too far that it scratches the tubes coating! Then gently slide the bush off the inner tube.

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    Step 25. Now remove the large washer noting which way round it goes as one side has curved edges.

    Curved edge goes to the bottom when looking from above at where the oil seal sits, oil seal sits on top of the squared edges.

    Step 26. Remove old oil seal, along with the spring clip and dust seal.

    Then clean off any oil residue and muck from the tube then I like to use a small amount of metal polish on the inner fork tube in order to help reduce sticktion of the forks.

    Any small bits of corrosion or stone knicks in the chrome or hard coating may need to be lightly rubbed down with scotchbrit pad or light grade sand paper or for more serious corrosion may require the tubes be recoated by a specialist.

    Failure to address rough spots or damaged spots on the tubes may damage the new seals causing them to leak again once rebuilt.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #5 ShinySideUp, Mar 17, 2014
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  6. ShinySideUp

    ShinySideUp Elite Member

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    Step 27. The forks should now be thoroughly cleaned to get rid of any old oil, muck and gunk before starting the rebuild process.

    Step 28. Now use some electrical tape and starting in the middle wrap it on the tube covering the holes and the grooved section of the tube to limit the possibility of tearing the new seals on any rough edges or grooves during seal installation.

    By starting in the middle of the tube and over lapping the tape up towards the end it allows the seals to slide off the smalls steps created by the tape edges rather than the seal having to step up over the tape which also stops the seal pealing the tape up and causing issues.

    We have tried various different methods to cover the grooves to try and limit damaging the new seals during instalation, everything from cling film to plastics sandwich bags but found the tape to be the most reliable but care must still be taken.

    [​IMG]

    Step 29. Now use some new fork oil and smear it liberally over the tube and newly wrapped tape as well at the end of the tube, also smear some oil over the inside of the seals to provide extra lubrication while installing them.

    [​IMG]

    Step 30. Note If your NOT using a commercially available fork seal driver tool then follow this step else move onto the next one.

    Take the old oil seal and carefully hacksaw thru one side of the seal

    Don’t try and get too aggressive cutting through it or you will misshape the seal and we want it as close to original shape as possible.

    This old seal will need to be fitted onto the tube after the spring clip but before the new seal as this will be used to drive the new seal into place.

    Step 31. Now carefully install the newly oiled up seals and spring clip in the order they were removed, dust seal first then the spring clip then the oil seal.

    Please note your fitting the seals the correct way round the oil seal should be installed with the writing on top of the seal closest to the spring clip.

    Pay particular attention to the seal lips during the installation and try and keep the seals as level as possible so as not to overly stretch, knick or twist the seals out shape.

    Step 32. Refit the steel washer making sure it’s the correct way round as well as refitting the bushing that was removed earlier.

    [​IMG]

    Step 33. Slide the two parts of the tube back together again and smear a little drop of fork oil over the outside rim of the oil seal to aid its fitment into the outer tube.

    Step 34. Now using your fingers place the new seal down into the outer tube and press it into place as best you can to get it stated.

    Then using a commercially available fork seal installer drive the seal into place until fully seated which allows the spring clip to lock in its grooves.

    OR

    If a seal driver is not available we have had good success using a small piece of 40mm PVC tubing about 6” in length cut in half along its length and using the old seal to drive the new one into place.

    If using this method you should have followed the instruction to place the old cut oil seal on the tube between the spring clip and the new oil seal.

    You will once again require a friendly assistant to help hold the fork and spring clip out the way until the new seal is fully seated.

    Using your fingers try and place the new seal down into the outer tube and press it into place as best you can to get it started.

    Now bring the old oil seal down on top of the new seal and using the PVC driver (at about 15-20 degree angle from the tube to get more downward force while hammering) place the edge of the PVC into the groove of the old seal and slowly work the new seal down into place using a rubber mallet (by using a rubber mallet means if you make accidental contact with the tube you won’t damage it!)

    DONT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE SEAL COMPLETELY HOME FROM ONE SIDE, you must continually move round the seal driving it in from the highest point of the seal or you will damage it.

    You are always attempting to drive the seal in by moving the PVC driver to the highest point and chapping the seal down a bit then moving around the seal again to the next highest point.

    This will take time but continue to move round the seal chapping it down until the seal is fully seated allowing the spring click to go into its locking grooves.

    Once seal is in place remove the old oil seal, the cut you made in it earlier will aid in its removal by twisting the old seal bending it and opening up the space between the cut until its able to be pulled off.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Step 35. Put the spring clip back into the locking grooves above the newly fitted oil seal. At this point also use the rubber mallet to seat the dust seal into place.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Step 36. If you removed the cartridge tube earlier you will need to replace this at this point and refit the lower bolt making sure the sealing washer is in good condition and not damaged or disfigured or it will need to be replaced or it may cause a leak.

    You can also now refit the lower pinch bolts loosly into the fork.

    [​IMG]

    Step 37. Now fill the fork with the oil specified for your bike, you will hear it gurgle as you fill it as some air escapes out of the cartridge tube.

    Fill with oil up until its about 3 inches from the top.

    You will now need to bleed all the air out the cartridge by pulling and pushing the rod up and down through its entire stroke until only oil is expelled out and resistance is felt the entire length of the rods stroke.

    A fork rod puller makes this task a lot easier to bleed the fork.

    If you struggle to get the rod to start drawing in oil giving you the feeling of resistance you may have to cover your hand over the fork tube opening and using a process of covering the opening while pressing down on the fork outer tube and then uncovering the end while bringing the outer fork tube back up.

    This may be required is the forks have done a lot of miles without changing the oil as sludge and metal particulates have clogged up the valves galleries inside the cartridge.

    It may take a little time to get the knack down but you should feel some resistance on your hand while you press down and slowly remove your hand for the up stroke as if released to fast oil will spray out due to the pressure changes.

    Once you carry out this procedure a few times go back to bleeding the rod you should find small amount of sludge of metal particulate may come up the cartridge rod as the valves become unblocked (you may want to catch this with paper towels to keep it out your new oil) oil will now flow properly from the rod.

    If oil does not flow out the rod opening for the whole depression stroke attempt the pressure bleed method above again.

    [​IMG]
     
    #6 ShinySideUp, Mar 17, 2014
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  7. ShinySideUp

    ShinySideUp Elite Member

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    Step 38. Once fork has been bled it is time to set the fork oil level which will be attainable from the service manual for the bike.

    While holding the fork perfectly upright fill the fork tube up with oil and guess roughly where the level should be in relation to the known level figure taken from the service manual.

    If you have a fork level tool it can make this process very easy as you just need to set the tool to the desired level using a steel rule and lock the stopper up then place its tube into the fork and sook out any excess oil setting the oil to the correct level for you.

    If a level tool is not available you can get by with just using a metal rule and sticking it into the tube to the desired amount using your thumb as a stopper then pull it back out and use any visable oil the rule to determin if you need to add or remove any oil or have it set correct.

    I find inserting the rule more than required into the tube a known amount it is easier to see where the oil level is i.e. if the oil level is to be 97mm hold your nail against the rule at 110mm and then use your nail as a stopper against the tube end then upon removal if the oil level is correct it should have oil showing on the rule at 13mm.

    With the oil level set measure and adjust the cap locking nut to the amount we noted earlier during stripping process.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Step 39. Now your oil level and lock nut is set correctly insert the spring noting it goes back in the correct way round.

    Now put the plastic spacer back on and use the spring compressor to compress the spring until the cap locknut can be reached, you may have to pull the rod up slightly to extend the cartridge rod to gain access with a spanner to hold locknut.

    OR

    If using a manual spring compressor you may also want to use a tie wrap or a length of wire tied around under the lock nut to make it easier to pull the rod up to put the locking plate under the locknut otherwise it can be very fiddly to get at the cartridge rod.

    Next use the fork compressor to compress the spring as done previously then double check the lock nut height again to make sure it hasn't moved while being pulled up with tie wrap or wire and adjust if incorrectly set.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Step 40. Now replace the fork cap and rebound rod making sure not to bend the rod while installing.

    Now using the correct spanners hold the locking nut in the same location (we don’t want locknut to move or it will throw off available rebound adjustment) and tighten the cap up to the specified torque by bringing the cap spanner towards the locknut one.

    [​IMG]

    Step 41. Remove the fork from the spring compressor or remove the locking plate if using manual compressor.

    Step 42. Apply a smear of oil to the rubber seal on the top cap and draw the outer fork tube up towards the cap and screw the cap down hand tight as this will be set to correct torque while on the bike.

    Step 43. Congratulations you have now completed the service work on the fork but now you still have to repeat the same process to the other one :D

    Step 44. Depending on if you are doing one fork at a time or if both forks are off at same time, if both are removed repeat the above steps and service the other fork then refit both forks back on the bike.

    If you are doing one fork at a time refit the finished fork back into place making sure the top out fitment circlip is still in place to stop against the clipon correctly setting the fork height.

    Again as with removal hold the fork with one hand while feeding it up through the lower yoke and up through the clipon and top yoke until the circlip stopper locks into correct position.

    Tighten up the lower yoke pinch bolts to desired torque this will hold the fork in place while you carry out the rest of the rebuild.

    Carry out the same procedure to it the other fork once it’s also been serviced.

    Step 45. If you have been working on an abs bike refit the speed sensor.

    Step 46. With both forks now back in place refit the wheel and mud guard in the reverse of removal.

    Once the wheel and axle is back in place torque up the axle bolt but leave the lower pinch bolts loose for now.

    Refit the calipers and torque up the caliper retaining bolts.

    Step 47. Now torque up the top fork cap to the specified amount from the manual.

    Lift the clipons up into the correct position making sure the locating lug found on the inside of the clipon housing fits into the hole on the underside of the top yoke then torque up the two top allen bolts to correct setting.

    Step 48. Remove the bike off the stands and pump up the front brake by pulling the front lever and releasing again do this a few times to centralise the pads in the calipers again.

    Now with front brake held on bounce the front end up and down a few times to centralise the forks then torque up the lower pinch bolts.

    Now refit any fairing panels that were removed to allow more access.

    Step 49. Reapply to both forks the previously written down setting for both the preload and the rebound back into the forks.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Step 50. Well done you can now get everything tidied up and take your bike for a run to test out your handy work! Enjoy.
     
    #7 ShinySideUp, Mar 17, 2014
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  8. ShinySideUp

    ShinySideUp Elite Member

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    Ok Folks, Think I have most of the guide kinda laid out in a more readable way. :)

    Any thoughts on any changes or ways to make it better or easier to follow please let me know.

    We tried our best to get as many informative pictures as possible to try and show what is required in order to do the work and hopefully between the pics and the write up it makes up a pretty decent walk through for others to follow and know whats expected to happen during the each step.

    Trying to talk about the alternative methods to do some steps was pretty hard when we were using workshop grade tools and no pics to show what I'm banging on about but the methods I try and describe was working ways that we have used in the past before forking out cash for better tools.

    Hopefully what I have posted above tho will help at least someone to carry out and complete the fork service by themselves to their bike! :)
     
    #8 ShinySideUp, Mar 17, 2014
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  9. Skippy79

    Skippy79 Active Member

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    nice write up, too much work for me though without the right tools, while your at it you might as well change the spring ;) how much do you charge? :D :D
     
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  10. ShinySideUp

    ShinySideUp Elite Member

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    Your shipping costs would be pretty high............. :)

    Cheers, It took ages to actually write up in a manner that I think folks can follow.

    Gony need to spend a bit more time editing the posts some more to make it flow and look a bit better.
    doesnt matter how much time you spend trying to layout and format information, as soon as it goes into vbulletin it all goes to hell!
     
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  11. martinowen

    martinowen Moderator
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    Great write up Craig, mine need doing but going to leave to the professionals as I will break something (me or bike)
     
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  12. Garyb

    Garyb Moderator.
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    Top draw Craig and I guess Collin? Thats A propper how to thread.
    Just what we need.
    Although far to big a job for me, ill be watching for a Ride in ride out service becoming available soon.

    With a discount code of course :D
     
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  13. Slick

    Slick Elite Member

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    Great write up!. I fancy buying a cheapo pair of fork legs and having a bit of a go
     
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  14. ColinBR

    ColinBR God Like

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    Great write up mate. Hopefully it tempts other to give it a go
     
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  15. ShinySideUp

    ShinySideUp Elite Member

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    Not sure if I have over complicated the whole process by trying to go through everything in as much detail as possible because tbh its not really that hard to do, but made a lot simpler with the correct tools at hand.

    We went a step further than the guide and gutted the cartridge tube in order to swap out the OEM Piston setup in order to install an Ohlins piston kit and fitted Ohlins springs and K-tech flow valves during the rebuild.

    All this and got the ABS working with the brembo/Hel upgrades, all in it was a pretty productive weekend! :D

    [​IMG]

    All the old scrap bits left over!

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. madmac

    madmac Well-Known Member

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    Awesome guide - thanks for the hard work in getting that posted :)

    After doing the fork seals on my old CBR600F, I don't think I'll ever attempt it again - especially not on my precious 'blade. I don't have the right tools and would probably make a right pigs ear of it. Some useful tips in your guide for those brave enough to try tho - top work! :)
     
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  17. Remal

    Remal It's ME
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    Up there as helpful thread of the year. Sunning write up and pics. Very very helpful for all
     
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  18. Kentblade

    Kentblade Elite Member

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    Great write up matey....I just hate the smell of used fork oil
     
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  19. HRCTrev09

    HRCTrev09 Well-Known Member

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    That is excellent Craig!!.... ;) I've just finished a fork refurb on my CB1 400 I got Stanchions rechromed at Philpotts, got new seals etc Also done my 600f when I had it but although it look much the same as the Blade, I didn't need spring compresser! :eek: those were cartridges internals also unlike the CB1 which are component internals! I don't feel confident enough to tackle the Blade :(
    But that is how a How to should be done! Brilliant :D
     
    #19 HRCTrev09, Mar 18, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
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  20. GappySmeg

    GappySmeg Active Member

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    Craig, that is excellent, fantastic work!
     
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