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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I read all the tutorials here and I know it is recommended to pull the forks to change the springs, but I wanted to see if I could change them quicker and easier.

I already have a oil change pump which uses a 1/4" tube to go down the dipsticks of my truck/tractor/suv and it works great. So here is what I did:

-bike on center stand, then propped the frame up keeping the front wheel off the floor
-backed off the preload adjuster, loosened the clamp at the top of the tubes
-removed top caps, spacer, springs w/washer
-lifted front wheel all the way up until forks were compressed all the way and put 4 - 2x4's & one small shim under the tire to hold it there
-sucked out all the oil with the 12v oil change pump
-put in just under 9oz of new oil in each fork, then double checked the air space @ 5.5"
-removed the 2x4's and let the tire all the way back down
installed new .95 Sonic springs, 3 washers & the stock metal spacers
-replaced fork caps and tightened the clamps
-done

Bike set up, oil change machine ready:


forks compressed:


oil tube in fork:
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
All oil is now removed:


Used a wire to fish out the spring(before compressing forks):


all parts out:



Unless you are going to replace the fork seals, I don't see any advantage to removing them for a spring change.........

Btw, I think an oil change pump is my favorite tool. No drip pans & no oil spillage & no chance of cross threading the oil drain plug. Yes I still have to crawl under to replace the oil filter(on most vehicles). And no I didn't believe it would get all the oil out, so I pulled the drain plug on 3 different vehicles to check, each one had a tablespoon or so drip out.
 

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My preference is to remove the forks, disassemble, flush the forks clean, then reassemble. You will always find some sludge residue at the bottom of the forks from aluminum oxide and teflon from fork bushings. For similar reasons, I would always drain engine oil using the drain plug, oil hot, which helps flush out residues in the bottom of the pan. I don't see how a pump will be as good, but that is my preference.
 

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...-sucked out all the oil with the 12v oil change pump
-put in just under 9oz of new oil in each fork, then double checked the air space @ 5.5"...
It takes ~17oz of fork oil to fill them to that level, so that means you only got about 1/2 of the old stuff out. And the half that was left was the dirtiest, gunkiest half.
It really is better (and easier and quicker IMO) to pull the tubes off.
 

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Pull the forks, I just cannot see any good reason to not do so. And I agree that you likely left the worse of the oil still in there, no right way to do something wrong or half ass it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
17oz in each tube?....I thought it was 17 oz for both...hmmmmmm, ok I think I should have removed the axle & pulled that plug at the bottom of the forks then. On second thought, this is dampening oil, not engine oil, and I am not sure if dirty oil really makes a difference in this application. So I might experiment a bit with riding it as-is and checking it again in a few hundred miles. The new oil I put in was crystal clear, so I will know as soon as I pop the caps.............
 

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17oz in each tube?....I thought it was 17 oz for both...hmmmmmm, ok I think I should have removed the axle & pulled that plug at the bottom of the forks then. On second thought, this is dampening oil, not engine oil, and I am not sure if dirty oil really makes a difference in this application. So I might experiment a bit with riding it as-is and checking it again in a few hundred miles. The new oil I put in was crystal clear, so I will know as soon as I pop the caps.............
Yes, about 17 oz per leg to get the 5.5" level you have. 1 liter to do both fork legs. Draining the oil by pulling the damper rod bolt is reeeaaally the hard way to do things.

It's not just that the oil is dirty, although that is a factor. It also breaks down and doesn't provide the right damping.

I've never understood the aversion some people to taking the tubes off. It's 5 minutes (10 if you work slowly) to have the tubes in your hands, and it makes the rest of the job quick and easy. Overall, it's the fastest way to do the job, and it's the only way to do it right.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I know you guys are right, and my bike has been down for over a week waiting for a LF caliper pin that fell out(see it dangling in the pic), but I just wanted to see for myself if it could be done easier/quicker and I reckon that answer is "no". Now if Suzuki had put some real live drain plugs on these forks I doubt many of us would pull the forks.....oh well, you win some you lose some;)

Btw, @ 58K miles I am just going ahead and replace the fork seals too.............
 

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It was definitely a good attempt at saving some work IMO. Ive never owned a bike long enough to get to the point of needing new fork fluid but since I love my DL650XT and I do all my own work, think that job will be in my future. Thanks for trying to show us something new!
 

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The "plug at the bottom" is actually holding the damper rod in place. If you take it out, it might be tricky to get the thing aligned to get the bolt back in. There is no way to clean the threads up inside the damper rod, so no way to loctite the bolt in there.
 

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Ive never owned a bike long enough to get to the point of needing new fork fluid...
You probably have. Take a new streetbike off the showroom floor and put 10-12k miles on it in a year, what you will drain out of the forks is nothing short of horrible. The once nice fork fluid is black, smells horribly and there will be some muck in the bottom of the forks.

If it was engine oil that came out like this, you'd worry your engine was about to fail.
 

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On a new bike with right side up forks, replacing springs like the OP has done is just fine as there is no reason to pull them. I've done it on several bikes, provided I didn't need to mess with valving or changing fluid weights.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
On a new bike with right side up forks, replacing springs like the OP has done is just fine as there is no reason to pull them. I've done it on several bikes, provided I didn't need to mess with valving or changing fluid weights.
Except, now I have dirty 7.5 weight mixed with clean 10 weight......which equals 8.75 weight.....should have gone 15 weight, then my mix would be at 11.25?

This math stuff is hurting my pea brain...........20 days to 8,000-ish miles of riding....that's all I can really focus on at the moment;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hey Rich, the washboards and bumps are definitely an improvement, but I still get quite a bit of braking dive. Will that improve with 15w oil, and if so will I still retain the improvement over rough roads?
 

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Motor, you're finding the limitations of the simple damper rod dampers. Time to start budgeting for Cogent Dynamics Drop-in Damper Cartridges or Ricor Intiminators.
Drop in Damper Cartridge (DDC)
 

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Hey Rich, the washboards and bumps are definitely an improvement, but I still get quite a bit of braking dive. Will that improve with 15w oil, and if so will I still retain the improvement over rough roads?
If you use the brakes hard, dive is unavoidable. You have the weight transfer plus the pro-dive geometry of telescopic forks. It's just basic physics. :)
The goal with better springs and oil isn't to eliminate dive, but to slow the rate of pitch down so that chassis isn't unsettled, and to preserve some travel (typically an inch of so) to deal with bumps and holes in the pavement even when you're at max braking.
15w is too much for most people. I run it, but my preferences aren't typical.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Motor, you're finding the limitations of the simple damper rod dampers. Time to start budgeting for Cogent Dynamics Drop-in Damper Cartridges or Ricor Intiminators.
Drop in Damper Cartridge (DDC)
....more farkels????...noooooooooooo:mod2_no:.....mmmm...ok:idea1:..maaaaybe :mod2_surrender:

Rich, the dive is better, but still feels excessive for the amount of brake I am applying(4 piston calipers help). Maybe I just need to get used to it, but since I have a, uhmmmm "blend" not even equaling 10w, I think I will remove half in each fork and add 15W before my trip. I do like the response to the rough so I don't want to lose that.
 

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Except, now I have dirty 7.5 weight mixed with clean 10 weight......which equals 8.75 weight.....should have gone 15 weight, then my mix would be at 11.25?

This math stuff is hurting my pea brain...........20 days to 8,000-ish miles of riding....that's all I can really focus on at the moment;)

Unlike motor oil there is no SAE standard for suspension fluid. Consequently one manufacturer's 10wt could be another's 15.

More than you probably want to know about suspension fluid!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ahhh, great/jeeze/crap...ok, I'm gonna leave it alone then & take Rich's advise...change it when I get back.
 
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