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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I've read every thread I can find on front end buzzing, fork clunking and related issues with no success as of yet.
So after a spirited bumpy ride on some back roads (see other thread for broken grab rail bolt story), it turns out there is now a metallic rattling from the front of the bike. The sound sounds exactly like when I used to have three keys on the ignition set and they would bounce around the ignition area, however now it's just one key. Any type of bump will set of this rattling, low speed, high speed, also when I stand by the bike with the engine off and while pulling in the front brake and compressing then decompressing the forks I hear audible clicks, one on the way down, one on the way up which myself and a buddy have deduced may well be what's causing my metallic rattling when moving. (One of us compressing the forks and the other on the ground with an ear on the forks). Now I change my oil myself and brake pads are no problem but the idea of stripping down the forks doesn't really appeal, could there really be something inside there that is loose and rattling around over even the tiniest of bumps? I did crank up the front preload to see if anything changed but no luck. All fasteners/connectors/wiring/lighting etc in that front area seem to be secure. Steering head bearings were replaced about 4 months ago by Suzuki dealer so there should be no issue there, (other than the dealer is a 4 hour ride away so would like to avoid another visit so soon if possible). Fork oil and seals were replaced at the same time as the steering head bearings. Thanks for all and any input that may shed some light on this.
 

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I had what sounds like was a similar problem after I rebuilt a set of cartridge forks, a clicking sound when I pumped the forks. I couldn't imagine what it was, but I just took the forks apart and put them back together, and the issue was gone.

If you're sure it's the forks you might start simple.

First elevate the front wheel, take the fork caps off and pull the springs. Raise and lower the front wheel to be sure everything is moving smoothly, reassemble and see how it works.

If that doesn't work, take the fork tubes off and rebuild. Plenty of info here and on the web on how to do it. Not hard, but will need a seal driver (I use a PVC pipe) to set the bushings and seals.

I'm wondering about the steering bearings that the dealer replaced. It sounds like you've isolated the sound to becoming from inside the forks, correct?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had what sounds like was a similar problem after I rebuilt a set of cartridge forks, a clicking sound when I pumped the forks. I couldn't imagine what it was, but I just took the forks apart and put them back together, and the issue was gone.

If you're sure it's the forks you might start simple.

First elevate the front wheel, take the fork caps off and pull the springs. Raise and lower the front wheel to be sure everything is moving smoothly, reassemble and see how it works.

If that doesn't work, take the fork tubes off and rebuild. Plenty of info here and on the web on how to do it. Not hard, but will need a seal driver (I use a PVC pipe) to set the bushings and seals.

I'm wondering about the steering bearings that the dealer replaced. It sounds like you've isolated the sound to becoming from inside the forks, correct?
Let's say 90% sure the sound is coming from inside the forks, however it;s down at the level of the wheels not up near the top of the forks, will look at taking things apart tomorrow, apart from the annoying sounds she rides great.
 

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Not a lot there to come loose inside the fork, maybe a damper rod retaining bolt has fallen out and is bouncing against the axle? The wheel would need to come off to check.

Almost sounds like a brake rotor may be moving slightly on the bobbins, that can have a metallic sound and is pretty normal. You can hold the outer disc by either side and try to move in line with the rotation of the wheel, there should be minimal play.
 

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Not a lot there to come loose inside the fork, maybe a damper rod retaining bolt has fallen out and is bouncing against the axle? The wheel would need to come off to check.

Almost sounds like a brake rotor may be moving slightly on the bobbins, that can have a metallic sound and is pretty normal. You can hold the outer disc by either side and try to move in line with the rotation of the wheel, there should be minimal play.
Right, there's not a lot that can come loose. If the damper rod bolt is loose you can check that by pulling the axle and try tightening it from the bottom of the fork. I think brakes could also be the source, as you say the sound is coming from that area.
 

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The plastic clip which holds the brake crossover line to the fender is usually a loose fit and rattles a bit. It can sound almost metallic.
 

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Lets start a betting contest what it is.

My bets are on:
1. Steering head bearing too loose.
2. Front fender mount bolts ... are they butchered or installed properly and tight? Sometimes they are near impossible to get off and cause all kind of grief.
3. The 2 bolts holding the front cowling frame to the main frame loose (if they are tight reinstall them anyway with Loctite, just to make sure they stay tight)
4. The bolt at the front pivot of the gas tank loose/ nut missing

Since they worked on the forks, I think possible they are the cause but not so likely. If the damper rod screw (#25) were loose oil would come out, so check for any signs of that. The shop could also have misassembled the springs/ spacers/ washers which might make a noise (like # 17 in the wrong position or missing). Get a mechanics stethoscope and see if the sound really comes from the top of the fork(s) or not. That's going to be the easiest way to locate the noise since you can make it happen by just compressing the forks.

I assume they did not change the bushings(#5, #10), so they did not disassemble the forks completely? Means they did not remove bolt #25.
How many miles on the bike/ forks and what style riding?

 

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Some good replies.

A guy at my work complained of a similar thing and I found the support for the brake crossover to be the problem.

Ensure the bolts that hold the fairing to the steering head are locked in place it is common for them to fall out and jam up the steering.

Do you get the same noise if you compress the front without holding the front brake ?

It could be the brakes and the rotors making the noise, drop the calipers off and try again.
 

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Hi all, I've read every thread I can find on front end buzzing, fork clunking and related issues with no success as of yet.
So after a spirited bumpy ride on some back roads (see other thread for broken grab rail bolt story), it turns out there is now a metallic rattling from the front of the bike. The sound sounds exactly like when I used to have three keys on the ignition set and they would bounce around the ignition area, however now it's just one key. Any type of bump will set of this rattling, low speed, high speed, also when I stand by the bike with the engine off and while pulling in the front brake and compressing then decompressing the forks I hear audible clicks, one on the way down, one on the way up which myself and a buddy have deduced may well be what's causing my metallic rattling when moving. (One of us compressing the forks and the other on the ground with an ear on the forks). Now I change my oil myself and brake pads are no problem but the idea of stripping down the forks doesn't really appeal, could there really be something inside there that is loose and rattling around over even the tiniest of bumps? I did crank up the front preload to see if anything changed but no luck. All fasteners/connectors/wiring/lighting etc in that front area seem to be secure. Steering head bearings were replaced about 4 months ago by Suzuki dealer so there should be no issue there, (other than the dealer is a 4 hour ride away so would like to avoid another visit so soon if possible). Fork oil and seals were replaced at the same time as the steering head bearings. Thanks for all and any input that may shed some light on this.
Steering head bearings. May need adjustment.
 

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Hi all, I've read every thread I can find on front end buzzing, fork clunking and related issues with no success as of yet.
So after a spirited bumpy ride on some back roads (see other thread for broken grab rail bolt story), it turns out there is now a metallic rattling from the front of the bike. The sound sounds exactly like when I used to have three keys on the ignition set and they would bounce around the ignition area, however now it's just one key. Any type of bump will set of this rattling, low speed, high speed, also when I stand by the bike with the engine off and while pulling in the front brake and compressing then decompressing the forks I hear audible clicks, one on the way down, one on the way up which myself and a buddy have deduced may well be what's causing my metallic rattling when moving. (One of us compressing the forks and the other on the ground with an ear on the forks). Now I change my oil myself and brake pads are no problem but the idea of stripping down the forks doesn't really appeal, could there really be something inside there that is loose and rattling around over even the tiniest of bumps? I did crank up the front preload to see if anything changed but no luck. All fasteners/connectors/wiring/lighting etc in that front area seem to be secure. Steering head bearings were replaced about 4 months ago by Suzuki dealer so there should be no issue there, (other than the dealer is a 4 hour ride away so would like to avoid another visit so soon if possible). Fork oil and seals were replaced at the same time as the steering head bearings. Thanks for all and any input that may shed some light on this.
Steering head bearings. May need adjustment.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So here I am rolling slightly downhill at about 5mph with the engine off, you can clearly hear the mystery rattle, although in reality it sounds slightly more metallic.
 

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Yes, that's a rattle alright. It seems to sound "close and external" meaning something is loose and close to the camera, but it's too dark to tell where the camera actually is. My gut feeling is that it isn't coming from the inside of the fork, but I'm listening to a recording through the internet, so certainly could be wrong.

I'm sure you checked for anything loose in the front end being that the dealer had it all apart. If you feel confident it's coming from inside the fork, and have checked all the easy and obvious things, I'd open up the forks and rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, that's a rattle alright. It seems to sound "close and external" meaning something is loose and close to the camera, but it's too dark to tell where the camera actually is. My gut feeling is that it isn't coming from the inside of the fork, but I'm listening to a recording through the internet, so certainly could be wrong.

I'm sure you checked for anything loose in the front end being that the dealer had it all apart. If you feel confident it's coming from inside the fork, and have checked all the easy and obvious things, I'd open up the forks and rebuild.
Yes it does sound close and external, it seems that I should obviously be able to see the cause but alas no. In the video it was dark but the phone is on the handlebar mount pointing down towards the forks below the speedo, you can just about see the bars in the clip.
 

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Camera mount?
 

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Something is fairly loose. I doubt inside the forks. Check the items listed above by various posters. Its always best to go where work was done before and retrace what might be wrong.
 

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sounds pretty dang close to that camera
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I had what sounds like was a similar problem after I rebuilt a set of cartridge forks, a clicking sound when I pumped the forks. I couldn't imagine what it was, but I just took the forks apart and put them back together, and the issue was gone.

If you're sure it's the forks you might start simple.

First elevate the front wheel, take the fork caps off and pull the springs. Raise and lower the front wheel to be sure everything is moving smoothly, reassemble and see how it works.

If that doesn't work, take the fork tubes off and rebuild. Plenty of info here and on the web on how to do it. Not hard, but will need a seal driver (I use a PVC pipe) to set the bushings and seals.

I'm wondering about the steering bearings that the dealer replaced. It sounds like you've isolated the sound to becoming from inside the forks, correct?
So if I'm understanding correctly, I can back of the preload, loosen the large nut on the fork cap and remove it then take the spring out, all with the forks still in the normal position on the bike? This would be my next step as it seems easier than removing everything to check the steering head bearings, or can the steering head bearings be adjusted on the fly in the normal position on the bike I wonder?
 

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Read Blacklab's posts on this, very good info:

To adjust the head bearing you need a special tool. Blacklab showed his version using a pipe. Other method is to use a deep socket and grind to shape:

 
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