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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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How To Wanted

Anybody know of a good How-To on replacing Fork Oil?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 01:59 PM
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take the gauge nacelle off, take top cap off, take drain plug out and let it drain. You will need to pump the slider up and down so all the fork oil comes out. Put the drain plug back in and fill from the top with the required amount of oil, Pump the sliders to pull the oil back in.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FrankieB View Post
take the gauge nacelle off, take top cap off, take drain plug out and let it drain. You will need to pump the slider up and down so all the fork oil comes out. Put the drain plug back in and fill from the top with the required amount of oil, Pump the sliders to pull the oil back in.
That is a whole lot simpler than what the Service Manual says (step 1, remove the forks???). I like your method. A question or two. The drain plug is the phillips head screw at the back of the fork, at the bottom? Any gotcha's waiting for me, like if I pump the forks with the top cap off, is oil gonna come back out, or should I put the cap on before pumping?

Obviously, I have never done one before, just want to make sure I get it right. Dealer wanted 3 hours to do the job (yeah, right).

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 02:23 PM
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Some good tips here Nerd Guy

http://www.hdforums.com/forum/tourin...-change-3.html

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by OldNerdGuy View Post
That is a whole lot simpler than what the Service Manual says (step 1, remove the forks???). I like your method. A question or two. The drain plug is the phillips head screw at the back of the fork, at the bottom? Any gotcha's waiting for me, like if I pump the forks with the top cap off, is oil gonna come back out, or should I put the cap on before pumping?

Obviously, I have never done one before, just want to make sure I get it right. Dealer wanted 3 hours to do the job (yeah, right).
Yes the drain is the screw at the back of the slider.I would plug it with a finger atleast. It would be easier to do it if you took the forks off because of the weight of the tire and fender.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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This is bootlegged from the HD Forum (from DED HD's link above), and seems to be for one of those Ultra Fugly, movable fairing, Harleys, but good enough...

1. Remove ignition switch and the two screws holding the inner-fairing cap. Lifting the cap out of the way gives access to the fork top plug. I tried a 36mm socket but there wasn't room, same for a crescent, but the 36mm wrench in the tool kit was the solution. The plug is not on tight and removal is easy.

Edit (07/08/11): After doing this job a second time, the 36mm wrench is actually a bit too large and 1 3/8" is a better fit.

2. I used a ½" clear plastic tube cut to about 10" in length and inserted a small funnel on one end and stuck the other end into the fork top. It was a tight fit but worked. I wire-tied the funnel to the handlebars to keep it from slipping. Put a plastic bag on the tank to protect it from fluid that might spill out of the funnel.

3. Once the top plug is removed the vacuum is released, so draining should be no problem. It indeed wasn't once the bottom drain plug was removed, and that was the biggest problem of the whole job. Those damn Phillips screws were in very tight and I almost couldn't get them off. Don't even try to remove them with a Phillips screwdriver, but instead get a #3 Phillips bit and use a 3/8" or 1/2" ratchet, putting heavy pressure on the screw while you turn it. It was close, but I got both of them without stripping the head after rapping moderately with an impact screwdriver (not an impact wrench).

3. Once this screw is out the fluid begins to drain. My right side came out slowly at first until I used a toothpick to loosen some gunk that partially plugged the hole. There is no need to pump the forks to release all the oil, as in time (about 5 min.) the oil completely drains, all 10.8 oz. of it. It is a black, smelly fluid that doesn't resemble any hydraulic or other oil I've ever encountered. It looks like it has moly or graphite in it. Once the old fluid is out, reinstall the screw, but there's no need to tighten it as much as was done at the factory. The manual says 78-96 inch-pounds.

4. I filled with SE Heavy (not the Extra Heavy variety), which is reportedly 15w (stock is 10w). Note that RK's require 11.1 oz., while EG's are 10.8 oz. Fill slowly about 2-3 oz. at a time, then pump the forks each time to force the oil past the damping valve. After about 3-4 pumps you start hearing a hollow sucking noise, which suggested to me that it had cleared the valve. RK's may not need to do this step-by-step pumping approach since they don't have the damper valve installed. That process took maybe 10 min. for each side.

5. Finally, replace the top plug, do the other side as above, then replace the inner-fairing cap and ignition switch.

This is definitely the way to change the fork oil on these bikes, IMO, and I may do this job every 10k, certainly not more than every 20k. As I said, it took about an hour, but next time I think I could do it in 45 min. now that I know the routine. Thanks to all who encouraged me to try this method.

A ride revealed a slightly firmer feel to the front-end with the SE fluid, but it is not harsh. Corners felt very secure, but my 10-mile ride didn't give it a good test for bottoming, etc. It felt taut and secure, however, and these early results are positive.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-22-2012, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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Mission accomplished (unlike some politicians, I really did).

A couple of lessons learned. I put the bike in the chock to keep it upright.

Mistake #1, loosen the 4 torx head screws on the forks before doing that, you cannot get a wrench between the screw and the fairing with the wheel straight. Fortunately, they have large heads and a pair of channel locks does fit.

Mistake #2, keep your feet out of the way when you take out the drain plug on the fork The stuff can shoot out pretty far, and it sorta stinks.

Lesson #1. I have removed the key before, and it always went back in easily. Bouncing the forks to get the new oil to get sucked in can move the inner workings of the ignition lock and prevent the key from going back in. A long, flat blade screw driver can help you realign things in the ignition.

Lesson #2. The funnel shown in the post above is almost essential, or something like that. You will NOT be able to pour the oil into the top of the fork directly. I got some 1/2" tubing at Home Depot, the local auto parts chains did not even know what clear plastic tubing was.

Lesson #3. Nobody sells just a 1 3/8" wrench by itself for any reasonable price. I now own a set of rather LARGE wrenches (up to 2") just to get the one needed to uncap the forks. Harbor Freight, they have 20% off coupons included with every roll of toilet paper (ok, not there, but damn near everywhere else). Most of them also come with a freebie coupon also. I got a cheap Digital Multimeter. How many of you have a DMM in your saddlebag?

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