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Discussion Starter #1
So I started the operation to swap my rear spring today with a friend helping. I'd done a pile of reading here and elsewhere about the procedure...and I'd heard that it can be difficult for people with ABS bikes.

The problem is getting the rear preload adjuster around the ABS control unit box and out of the bike.

Well, all I can say is that it is a TOTAL PAIN! :headbang:

I read a few threads where people actually made it sound like it wasn't a big deal. Well those folks are either magicians, liars, or FAR better than both my buddy and I at manipulating odd-shaped objects through cramped, odd-shaped spaces.

We got the shock off lickety-split. The cushion lever bolts and shock bolts all came loose easily and the shock literally fell right out---wasn't tight at all. But of course the preload adjuster was a WHOLE 'nother can o' worms.

In the end, we removed the right-rear passenger peg...unbolted the rear brake master cylinder...and removed all 3 screws holding the ABS box in place (and I have no clue how we'll get that middle screw back!).

Then, only by pushing/pulling on the ABS box to get it closer to the rider's left side of the bike were we able to create enough room to finagle the preload adjuster out of there. (We left the knob on the preload adjuster.)

And alas, once we'd gotten the shock off...we had to abort the whole operation for today because neither of our spring compressors worked!

We both had automotive spring compressors (2 different kinds). I foolishly thought they'd work fine...but the hooks on both were too fat/thick to fit between the coils of the OEM shock spring. No go.

So we bailed on the operation for today...and tomorrow I'm gonna find an auto shop that can swap the springs for me. I've heard they often have hydraulic spring compressors with two pairs of forks that insert into the spring to compress it—I'm hoping this is true, and they won't all look at me like I'm crazy for bringing in a motorcycle shock.

If anyone else has done this, I'd love to hear what your experience was and how much it cost? (At an auto shop.)

Scott
 

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You would be better off going to a motorcycle shop or an MC suspension shop. I work on cars for a living and all the equipment I/we have in the shop is to big for a motorcycle shock. I was able to change the spring on mine but great care was needed to not damage the shock/spring. Guys in a auto shop are flat rate technicians and can get kind of :furious: when asked to do something like this. As always YMMV.
 

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ABS model too

I just picked up a 2011 Wee ABS and will eventually be needing to purchase a new spring.

I am 6'2" and 290 lbs w/o gear... Which spring did you get? Cost?

Thanks and I will be watching this thread!!

Good luck with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Gasman...I bought one from Racetech, and used their spring rate calculator, which said I need a 13.4kg/mm (750lb/in) spring for my 225lbs. Cost was (I think) right around $100.

Racetech's calculator appears to be controversial (many people think their recommendations are too stiff)...but I've heard from several individuals who went by their numbers and reported a major improvement (and nothing bad).

@todd900ss - I hope you're wrong about the auto shops. My local motorcycle shop told me they actually don't have a motorcycle spring compressor because they never get asked to swap springs (or not more than once or twice every 5 years).

So I'm counting on an auto shop. If that doesn't work, I guess I'll have to order a spring compressor online for the one time in several years I'll have to do this.

Just for the hell of it, I tried using the ratcheting tiedown strap method. It actually worked, to a point—but I couldn't compress the spring as far as I needed to (and I didn't have high confidence in my flimsy-looking ratcheting mechanisms—the thought of one cutting loose and the spring going through my head was disconcerting!)

Scott
 

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spring compresser

I have seen posts here where it was done with wood clamps, and one that used 2 X 4s and a hydraulic jack. Might be worth checking out.
 

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Thanks for the info

I also contacted Racetech for a price.

I recvd a quote of $1100 for new springs front and back and a bunch of other stuff...

I am a little more used to my old KLR and its prices... I may just have to lose some weight!!!
 

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I went through that on my 07 ABS bike but I was putting in a new shock and said screw it and wrapped a towel around the hydraulic line and cut it! It is really tight for sure.
 

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I bent the plastics a lot to get the stock shock off my '07.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Got the job done—here's a recap/review.

First, to the question of is replacing ONLY the rear spring worthwhile? The answer is an absolute YES! On my first ride with the new spring, I immediately noticed a difference...and it was all good.

Though it's somewhat cliche...the bike absolutely felt more planted, more stable, and smoother over bumps (less rear-end pogoing). It didn't feel at all harsh or too stiff. I still need to take it out for a longer ride in the twisties...and I can't wait to ride it 2-up, where I know it'll be a MAJOR improvement.

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As often is the case, getting the preload adjuster back into place (around the ABS box) was a LOT easier than getting it out—mainly because I knew what I was dealing with and knew exactly where/how to push/pull/bend/maneuver.

For the record, I removed ALL screws holding the ABS box in place (one on either side and two on the slanting steel bracket in front)—I think this was crucial. because removing all the screws lets you push the whole ABS box toward the rider's left side of the bike to make room to wiggle the adjuster through. In my case, it helped to have a friend on the other side of the bike pulling the ABS box out of the way while I maneuvered the preload adjuster through. Getting the 2 screws back into the slanted bracket was a pain...but not too bad (just required aligning the bracket and the whole carefully, then patiently getting the screw threaded with fingertips).

As for compressing the shock springs...after running all over town to find that NOBODY could (or was willing to do it), I said "Eff it" and resorted to the ratcheting tiedown straps method. This worked like a charm! The trick is to use 4 of them. I only used 2 initially and couldn't get the spring compressed enough (the ratchets became damn hard to move)...but with 4 it was easy-peasy. (The hardest/most time-consuming part was just threading the straps through the spring and ratchets.)

The nice thing about this technique is that you can compress the new spring off the shock with the straps...then just slide it over the shock (then remove the straps).

NOTE: If you try this technique, one end of the strap needs to be attached to the bottom of the ratcheting mechanism. In other words, most tiedown straps—as they come from the store—need to be butchered, because they typically have a short segment of strap stitched to the bottom of the mechanism with a metal hook. So I just cut that short strap/hook piece off...cut shorter lengths of strap, and tied one end to the bottom of the mechanism using two half-hitches. That worked fine. (Yeah, I butchered my tiedown straps, but they can easily be re-rigged again.)


Here are some pics:







And again, for the record...I weigh 225lbs, and bought a 13.4kg/mm (750 in/lb) spring from Racetech. Though many say that's too stiff, I'm not finding that to be the case at all. (I haven't checked sag yet...but just eyeballing it, it looks darn close with no preload at all.)

Scott
 

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I changed springs on old BMW shocks years ago. I used some threaded rod and made some collars that went over the end of the springs. Very controlled compression with the nuts I put on top of the collars. I made a J shape of the threaded rod and used a hefty bolt through the shock eye to hook them on.
I still gots them hanging around the garage someplace. I should replace the stock spring since it's got 54K miles on it now and I drag the pegs occasionally.
 
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