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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Stick with OEM or is a something like Custom Chrome good too?
 

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Check out the kits from James for your fork rebuild. Not sure what all you are looking for, but when I just did my lower fork legs and suspension upgrades 2 weeks ago that was who's kit I used. The seals look to be the exact factory ones I removed as well as the other pieces and the price is unbeatable. I checked with my dealer and they wanted just under $40 for the fork seals alone. F That! Good luck with the rebuild!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
James? have a part number or website where to find them?
 

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The kit I used was JGI 45849-84 for the 41mm front end of my '12. I picked the kit up from ebay, but you can always check around places like JP cycles and such.
 

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Are you looking to replace the legs and sliders or replace the springs and internals? I just did monotubes and eliminated all the stock springs and dampening rods
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm going to powdercoat the sliders and cowbells and figured while I was in there to just do a rebuild kit.
 

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How many miles on the front end? You can probably get away with just new seals. At 50k I rebuilt mine and didn't see any wear on the bushings at all.

You can buy the seals separately. They were $20 a peice when I bought them from my local dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
35K miles
 

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35K miles
I am Howard & I do suspension for a living. I hesitate to post on chat sites because there are so any suspension experts already but here goes. Bushings & seals:

Harley goes to the same/similar company(s) as aftermarket vendors do. Bushings are an exact measurement and in order to survive in a business that has lots of competition for more than a week, your equipment must work. Is the Harley Davidson Chinese Vendor (who put in the lowest bid) any better than the multiple importers of Chinese bushing makers? The companies who sell in the USA (other than FleeBay or such fly by nights) can not have premature failures & expect to stay in business for very long. Sort of like my Chinese company is better than yours.

Fork bushing life expectancy:

Fork bushings must stay lubricated with oil or they will wear out as well as your hard chrome on the fork tubes. Hard chrome is just that, hard and it does not shine like polished steel does. If you see a shinny spot on your forks where the top bushing was wearing away on your hard chrome, the fork tubes are shot. For the cost of not maintaining bushings & changing fork oil now cost the price of fork tubes.

How bushings are made:

The carrier is the metal ring that holds on the clear Teflon coating which the fork tubes slide on. When the coating is gone than kiss your fork tubes goodby.

Mileage on bushings:

I inspect bagger forks with their large fork angle (rake) and find the bushings and OEM cheap fork oil are no longer serviceable (IMO) at around 10,000 miles. Once the Teflon coating is gone the bushings have lost their ability to protect the forks by the lowered stiction they provide.

Why:

The bushings get worn in one spot because they do not rotate. Due to the shallow fork angle, unlike a Sport Bike, there is gravitational force exerted on the front wheel so the bottom bushings wear on the bottom side of that slide bushing and on the top side of the top guide bushing nearest to the oil seal. As you start wearing into the bushings and fork tube your forks do not slide as well so your forks become more "stiff" (more resistant to change). I provide a 2 part video om my web site on how to clean your forks properly to get rid of the suspended and deposited metal particles and other contaminants. Nowhere is there any mention or using a mighty-vac or removing drain screws.



It is your bike, do with it what you want.
 

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Metal Mud

I'll add that if the only thing you do is change fluid, you're not helping the suspension much. Yes new fluid will perform better but the mud that is in the bottom of the forks will still get mixed into the new fluid and add to the faster wear of the bushing. I changed fluid in '09 when I put Ricor Intiminators in. I am currently tearing the forks apart to put in Ohlins FKC101 cartridges, the cup I drained the oil into has a very thick coating of the metal particles in the bottom and when I pulled the damper rod and oil lock out, there was chunks of packed together metal particles. The only place you can't get to for cleaning or replace is the end of the tube with the check valve. When I knocked it out, it was full of particles too.
 

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I'll add that if the only thing you do is change fluid, you're not helping the suspension much. Yes new fluid will perform better but the mud that is in the bottom of the forks will still get mixed into the new fluid and add to the faster wear of the bushing. I changed fluid in '09 when I put Ricor Intiminators in. I am currently tearing the forks apart to put in Ohlins FKC101 cartridges, the cup I drained the oil into has a very thick coating of the metal particles in the bottom and when I pulled the damper rod and oil lock out, there was chunks of packed together metal particles. The only place you can't get to for cleaning or replace is the end of the tube with the check valve. When I knocked it out, it was full of particles too.
All photos are from a newer FXD with 6,000 mi on the clock . Not good HD Fork oil, better out there,
This is the hard metal partials that settle and some floats around just grinding around wearing out your parts.
 

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Here is a little more that got left out from my previous post. My bike is an '08 Ann. When I changed the fluid in '09 it had 26K on it. At this time It has 65K. Here are some pics from the fork disassembly showing the metal mud inside.

First one is the check valve internal to the fork tube.
Pipe Black-and-white Metal

The second pic is the oil lock cap that the damper rod sits in. The gunk was scraped out from inside the cap.
 
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