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Motorcycles had these for decades. Probably adds $2 to the cost of making a motorcycle. 2 holes, 2 screws. Anyone who has changed fork fluid on a Vstrom would probably appreciate having those drain holes, especially those of us who couldn't afford a stand at the time & had to wing it. Yep, 2 day job. Fun. Sort of like removing the engine to change the oil. So, maybe drain holes on the forks next time Suzuki? I'll cough up another $2 somehow. I'll buy a stand next time. I hear they're more than $2.
 

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It's really not that bad. I always do mine in conjunction with a front tire change, at that point I'm already halfway to having the forks off the bike, so it's only another 10 minutes to having the tubes in my hand. Altogether it adds no more than 30 minutes to a tire change. 40 if you work sloooowly. Drain holes are barely any quicker.
You need a stand (or other way to unweight the front end) with either method, otherwise removing/replacing the fork caps is going to be..."interesting". :)
 

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If you have a center stand all you need is to go put to your car and borrow the scissors jack to get the front off the ground and support while you unbolt the calipers, remove the wheel and then slide the fork legs out.

If you don't have a center stand but have 2 jacks stands they will work equally as well in concert with scissors jack.
 

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Opening the fork gives you the opportunity to clean springs and other internals. OTOH, drain holes would get most people to change it more frequently, keeping the internals cleaner on a more regular basis.
 

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... I always do mine in conjunction with a front tire change, at that point I'm already halfway to having the forks off the bike, ...
One fork is leaking on my bike. Hope to fix that by just cleaning it using a small, simple tool I bought for that. If I still have the bike this fall, I'll be needing a new front tire anyway, and I plan to do as you say - work the forks while the front tire's already off the bike. I've never done any fork work, but makes sense to me to do it this way.
 

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When I had my 650 the fork oil was changed every other winter(20 - 30K) and it was always "very" dirty. Once the tubes were off the bike,caps removed, springs pulled and then the old fluid poured out. Then a few ounces of paint thinner in each. Pump up and down and pour out. Repeat until clean. Now pour in a couple ounces of fluid(Fork or ATF) and pour that out. Now fill and reassemble per your manual. Can be done in 1-2 hrs and super clean.
PS - If you install Rancho boots you'll find the old fluid so much cleaner that you might not need to this for 50K+. I installed them at 100K and at 122 the fluid was barely dirty.
 

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Is the state of the fork oil something that matters? The manual doesn't even mention the forks in periodic maintenance except to inspect them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Is the state of the fork oil something that matters? The manual doesn't even mention the forks in periodic maintenance except to inspect them.
I changed mine 10 years ago for a heavier viscosity. Pain in the butt without a stand & or drain holes. Haven't touched them since. This summer I'll compare prices on buying a stand vs paying my dealer to change the fluid because I'll be riding MUCH more than the past 12 years. Retired now.
 

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Is the state of the fork oil something that matters? The manual doesn't even mention the forks in periodic maintenance except to inspect them.
Many riders will notice some improvement with fresh oil.

It will remove contaminants so it will slow down the wear on internal parts (no filter like your motor) the old oil will look & feel like grinding paste over time.

Water can sometimes get past the seals and infect the oil and without a change you will never know.

It is a opportunity to use a different weight oil and possibly improve your ride.

If you are on the original oil it will smell like dead fish so you will know you are doing the right thing. :confused:
 

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Many riders will notice some improvement with fresh oil.

It will remove contaminants so it will slow down the wear on internal parts (no filter like your motor) the old oil will look & feel like grinding paste over time.

Water can sometimes get past the seals and infect the oil and without a change you will never know.

It is a opportunity to use a different weight oil and possibly improve your ride.

If you are on the original oil it will smell like dead fish so you will know you are doing the right thing. :confused:
I'm on my second fork rebuild, but it's been almost 60k miles since the they were last open. It definitely smelled terrible the first change. Second change was due to low quality "All Balls" fork seals - second rebuild was done with Honda OEM ones and ATF. I guess I'll wait until they leak again. I've never changed the bushings, might do it if there's a next time. Wiping the crud off seems to make the biggest difference.
 

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Is the state of the fork oil something that matters? The manual doesn't even mention the forks in periodic maintenance except to inspect them.
On other thing on forks and leaking seals. Carefully examine the leading side of the upper tubes between the lower triple and the top of the dust seals. You'll likely see a bunch of very small nicks and dings. Those have sharp edges, and over time they cut up the sealing edge of the fork seal and causes it to leak.
Get the weight off the front end so that the tube is fully exposed and carefully buff the tube with extra fine steel wool. That will knock the sharp edges off and your seals will last a lot longer. Sometimes it's even enough to make the seal quit leaking. Just be very careful doing it, you don't want to go through the chrome! :surprise:
 

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Sometimes its good to have to take things a part to do routine maintenance. On my GS you have to remove you have to swing the rear drive down to drain it (he newer models have a drain port). IN order to be able to move the rear drive you have to remove the rear brake caliper. When I did this I noticed the rear brake pads were shot and just about metal on metal so it was caught in time.

Just this morning on the 1981 Guzzi I'm working on I was doing fork maintenance. They do have drain holes and I though about just a drain and fill and then thought I'm not shortcutting this and am doing a full disassembly to check things. As it turns out as I jacked up the bike and remove the front wheel the fork lowers slid completely off the forks tubes. Do the dampers had separated and the only thing keeping the forks together was the weight of the bike. This could have been catastrophic if I just did a drain and fill.

Here is one of the damper assemblies. Its supposed to be 1 piece.
 

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I also mark the front of each tube before I remove them and try to put them back together at 45 or 90 degrees to the original position as most wear is from braking this moves the wear spots a little, of course conventional & USD forks require different parts to be spun and the bushes still wear.


I always put a strip of green scourer pad (the thing the bride uses to scrub the pots and pans) between the dust seal and the oil seal, the pad collects the crud before it can reach the seal and cause a leak, it is easy to change and I do it from time to time depending on the type of use the bike has had, if it looks like a big weekend of mud I may even change it during the ride.


For new players ATF seems to have a very long life in forks so if the oil weight to your liking go for it & also beware that a 10w oil in one brand will not be the same weight as a 10w in another brand.
 

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Motorcycles had these for decades. Probably adds $2 to the cost of making a motorcycle. 2 holes, 2 screws. Anyone who has changed fork fluid on a Vstrom would probably appreciate having those drain holes, especially those of us who couldn't afford a stand at the time & had to wing it. Yep, 2 day job. Fun. Sort of like removing the engine to change the oil. So, maybe drain holes on the forks next time Suzuki? I'll cough up another $2 somehow. I'll buy a stand next time. I hear they're more than $2.
Having just done my first fork oil change on my Vee, I can say there's more to it than just draining the oil through 2 holes at the lowest points, like perhaps draining the engine oil. Oil remains in the damper until pumped out. You can't get that out by simply opening the hole at the bottom of each fork tube and letting it drip out. And if it so happened that the damper would actually drain that way, how are you going to pump the air out of the damper and get oil back into it by just using a drain hole for changing the fluid? Besides, to get your oil back in that you drained through the two bottom holes, you still have to remove the fork tube caps. So to me it seems that you've done 75% of what I just did by taking my tubes off and disassembling them.
 

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One other thing on forks and leaking seals. Carefully examine the leading side of the upper tubes between the lower triple and the top of the dust seals. You'll likely see a bunch of very small nicks and dings. Those have sharp edges...
I read this yesterday, but didn't grasp what you're trying to tell us. I've just read it again.

I think you're talking about the forward-facing portion of the smaller-diameter (inner) tubes - the portion that might be struck by small stones (by following other vehicles). And you're talking about the section of the smaller (upper, as you say) tubes that the seals travel over.

If all true, that makes good sense. If I do this job this summer/fall, I'll check that area. Thanks for the tip.

:smile2:
 

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I read this yesterday, but didn't grasp what you're trying to tell us. I've just read it again.

I think you're talking about the forward-facing portion of the smaller-diameter (inner) tubes - the portion that might be struck by small stones (by following other vehicles). And you're talking about the section of the smaller (upper, as you say) tubes that the seals travel over.

If all true, that makes good sense. If I do this job this summer/fall, I'll check that area. Thanks for the tip.

:smile2:
Yep, you got it. :)
 

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I always put a strip of green scourer pad (the thing the bride uses to scrub the pots and pans) between the dust seal and the oil seal, the pad collects the crud before it can reach the seal and cause a leak
My v65 Honda came stock with a piece of foam rubber there. Not a bad idea.
 

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I used foam rubber for about 30 years and always thought it helped then I thought about what it was doing and how dried up bugs were hard to remove just like stuff sticks to pots & pans.

When cleaning pots & pans I would use the scourer so why not my bike, being plastic it does wear down and will not stick to the tube like the foam did.

Also with the foam the crud would stick to the surface, with the scourer the crud would hide in the spaces.
 
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