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Rjsurfer
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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased Gold Valve Emulators from Blair and will be ordering Sonic Springs tomorrow. I'm getting tired of all the brake dive, especially since swapping out the front pads to some better quality ones.

According to the Sonic Springs web site it looks like .90k spring rate are the ones I should be ordering. I'm 165lbs and always ride with 15lbs of protective gear, combined with the 500lb weight of the Wee.

What weight fork oil would you recommend, there are a few choices?

Lastly, can this install be done without removing the forks?

Thanks

Ron W.
 
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Talk to Rich about the oil...but I can tell you that it can't be done with the forks on the bike. It's soooo easy to remove them though. If you can take your front wheel off...it only a few more bolts.

BTD.
 

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What Kinda Bike Is That?
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To install Race Tech Emulators, you will have to remove the forks from the bike. There is some "machine work" that needs to be done to the damper rods, which are bolted inside the bottom of your fork tubes, so the forks need to be removed. (The metal work can be accomplished with a good, electric hand drill and a sharp 1/2" drill bit. I paid a friend to drill the holes with his milling machine.).

You will also need to cut down your fork spacers to allow for the extra space the emulators take up inside the fork tubes. Your Sonic Springs will be shipped with a length of PVC tube that you will be instructed to cut to the appropriate length for spacers. I chose to reuse the OEM metal spacers and I recut those to the appropriate length to allow for the height of the emulators, (the extra space they take up), and to give me the proper preload to the fork springs during reassembly.

What weight fork oil you choose depends upon what type of riding you do the majority of the time.

We both weigh about the same.

I will share my experiences.

First, here is a thread on changing oil and springs: HERE.

But, I think a better written description, (with photos), of how to remove the forks to work on them is HERE.

Since doing the above spring work, I have installed R.T. emulators, (you can see them in the Fork Seal tutorial.). I have tried 12.5wt oil, 15wt oil and recently just changed to 10wt oil. The 10wt oil is where I am most happy with the performance of the bike. I also prefer the Gold Valves adjusted to "1 1/2 turns" instead of the factory "2 turns" of preload on the spring.

I ride fairly beat up roads here in Maine and Québec and New Brunswick, Canada. I try to find back roads; dirt roads to ride. The above setup, (Sonic .90 springs and Race Tech emulators), coupled with my Hyperpro rear shock provide me with the performance that I need to handle the surfaces that I ride on.

Although not the prefect solution, the Race Tech emulators do help with high speed compression surface irregularities, (pot holes.), over the OEM setup Suzuki provides. Dialing in the setting that works for you, takes some patience and experimentation.

Once installed, to adjust the emulators, you do not have to remove the forks from your bike, but you will need to remove the fork caps, spacers, washers, and springs to be able to "fish" the emulators out of the bottom of your fork tubes, (I use a welding rod with a "barb" bent into the tip to make "hook" to retrieve the emulators.). When removing the above items, work slowly so that the existing fork oil has time to drip and run back down into your fork tubes off of the parts you are removing.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE!: The very first time I adjusted my emulators after installing them, I had a "Mortaine Moment" and removed both fork caps without jacking up the front of the bike. That is more accurately described as an "Oh $hit" moment as the second of the two fork caps pops off as it nears bearing unthreaded during removal because, the whole weight of the front end of the bike is bearing itself on the fork caps. What happens? The fork cap pops off and the front of the bike does an irrecoverable, front end dive, until it bottoms out. Scared the hell out of me. But, no damage done. Lesson, jack the front of the bike up when removing fork caps!

Once you remove your damper rods from the fork tubes, you will need to drill or mill 1/2" holes through the rods near the bottom. There are 6 ("compression") holes in my damper rod.


Braze the small damper hole closed. You can use Mapp Gas and a brazing rod purchased from Home Depot or Lowe's. Before brazing, remove the plastic oil ring from around the upper neck of the damper rod to prevent the ring from deforming or melting from the heat generated during your brazing job.


Good Luck!

Barry
 

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Rjsurfer
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539 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Barry,

Great info on the install.

I'm a little worried about closing up that one hole, I have a local auto garage that does a lot of stuff for me and I know he does mucho welding, that's something he could do with standard welding equipment?

One poster mentioned the 650 is an easier install, do you know why?

Thanks

Ron
 

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What Kinda Bike Is That?
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Barry,

Great info on the install.

I'm a little worried about closing up that one hole, I have a local auto garage that does a lot of stuff for me and I know he does mucho welding, that's something he could do with standard welding equipment?

Thanks

Ron
Ron,
Yes he can.

I can assure you that I was totally overwhelmed when I started down the path of upgrading the front end of my bike. I really don't know much about doing stuff like this, (often finding conflicting and erroneous information about how to deal with springs and Race Tech emulators.), and it was confusing.... Now, having removed the front end and openning up the forks several times, I don't even think about it anymore. It has become second nature as to all that is there. I really don't know how it all works, (mechanically), but I have made it work fairly well for me and will give positive testimony that, Sonic Springs, Race Tech Emulators, and a forkbrace, (I have a Superbrace installed), are a vast, vast improvement over the stock OEM front end setup.

Upon Rich Desmond's, (owner of Sonic Springs), recommendation, I installed my new Sonic Springs and new fork oil, (12.5wt), BEFORE purchasing the Race Tech emulators. His theory is "baby steps" and I thoroughly agree with him, (doing this can save you money by not purchasing something that you may feel you do not need; meaning the emulators.).

If you are comfortable soldering copper tubing together, you can braze your own damping rods. Google the topic and watch a video or two on Youtube. Even if you have your local mechanic do the work, do a little "self-educating" to take the opportunity to learn a little more about your motorcycle. It's exactly what I did to learn how to do what I did. In the end, I purchased an Oxy-Acetylene welding system to do other jobs around the house and on the motorcycle. (HERE'S and example).

Again, take your time and break the project down into small steps. Pre-think it through and even make a written list of what work needs to be done, and in what order. That is what I did. This allowed me to study each step and to make a decision whether a given step was in the correct order or not BEFORE I started the actual work. As I said above, I don't even think about it now.

Lastly, if you haven't purchase a service manual for the mike, I encourage doing that as well. It will provide you with written directions along with photographs that can fill in "gaps" that may be missing from what you glean from the web and online forums. Most importantly, the service manual will provide you with the proper torque specifications that are necessary during reassembly. Personally, I got tired of flipping through the pages to find and re-find torque specs. I finally took a big, black magic marker and scrawled, in big, bold handwriting, the most common torque settings that I need directly on to a wall of my work area. During reassembly of whatever I am working on, I just have to look up at my wall and see the numbers that I need.

Barry
 

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I worked with Rich on spring rates. FOR ME, my 215 LB frame works best with the .9's. I started with .95's but they were too stiff.

My sag is at 43 MM with 15mm under the caps with the .9's.

Why are you changing out the stock springs? Your weight seems in the ballpark for those springs. Unless you are looking for straight wound springs. Also, the Ricor Intiminators might be a good product if you keep the stockers. Its another option.
 

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$tromtrooper
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Note that the suggested amount of oil required to replace the springs (2 pints, I think) is not enough if you disassemble the forks and clean everything up. You will need a few more ounces.
 

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Braze the small damper hole closed. You can use Mapp Gas and a brazing rod purchased from Home Depot or Lowe's. Before brazing, remove the plastic oil ring from around the upper neck of the damper rod to prevent the ring from deforming or melting from the heat generated during your brazing job.


Good Luck!

Barry
This is timely...I'm looking for someone local to braze this for me. Can you share details on how you did this yourself? I'm a noob to welding...
 

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What Kinda Bike Is That?
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This is timely...I'm looking for someone local to braze this for me. Can you share details on how you did this yourself? I'm a noob to welding...
I used my oxy-acetylene torch system.

Here is where you need to take the time to read.
 

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What Kinda Bike Is That?
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Note that the suggested amount of oil required to replace the springs (2 pints, I think) is not enough if you disassemble the forks and clean everything up. You will need a few more ounces.
You are correct.

When I did my initial install, I ran out of oil and I made up the difference by adding a couple of tablespoons of the original fork oil.

Last week, I changed out my 15wt oil, readjusted my emulators and added 10wt fork oil. I purchased Motorex fork oil in a 33.8fl oz container from my local dealership. It was just enough to fill my fork tubes to the 150mm level that is recommended by Sonic Springs for the DL-650. I have a little left over.
 

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What Kinda Bike Is That?
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A comment here about the "perfect front end", (and I am not talking about some gorgeous, swiss-born, supermodel!!!), on your motorcycle.

As with everything else, there is not a perfect solution, or a perfect motorcycle.

The invention of the emulators is an attempt to bridge a "performance gap" between "cartridge-styled forks", (a better solution) and "damper rod forks", (what we have on the DL-650). They do this fairly well. The "focus" of their work, in your fork tubes, is to allow "rider-subjective" adjustments to compensate for "high speed" compression strokes of your forks. With the stock setup, if you ride on rough roads, it can be as if someone is pounding the bottom of your forks with a sledgehammer, (because the OEM front is soft, it "packs down" and becomes harsh feeling.).

The emulators allow an expanded form of front-end suspension adjustements over the stock setup. Adjustments of the preload emulator spring, weight of oil and spring weight, (and also "straight", "progressive", or "rising progressive" springs), are very subjective decisions for each individual rider.

Where you ride, (geographically), what surfaces you ride on, (dirt, pavement), and what riding style you have are going to play in to what decisions you make concerning what setup is best for you. I WILL guarantee that you WILL change your "perfect-settings-for-you", over time. Be prepared for that and accept it.

An individual who rides all pavement all the time, (usually a stiffer suspension setup), will rethink his suspension setup strategy if he begins to ride on some dirt roads. Being new to the dirt riding experience, the rider is naturally going to be somewhat "timid" in his movements and moments with the bike. But, if the rider continues to ride more on dirt roads, his skills and confidence will increase; effectively "outgrowing" his suspension setup. The rider will either need to adjust and change his suspension setup or purchase another motorcycle that best fits, or is better suspension oriented, to his needs.

I ride on a host of different surfaces. When I say I ride on pavement, sometimes that is brand new, silky smooth asphalt. Most of the time, however, the pavement I ride on is pretty broken up due to the deep freezes and thaws that occur here in Maine, (the geographical thing.).

The dirts roads that I ride on span a spectrum of being able to ride at 85mph, to being in 1st gear, (and wishing I had an even lower gear...), and praying and promising that I will never try to do this again if you, (God), get me out of this mess.

A dialed in suspension that is perfect for carving, deep canyon turns, doesn't necessarily mean that it is perfect for carving through, "deep canyons", meaning large potholes on isolated, dirt roads.

I have set up my bike to be more "dirt oriented" than "slab oriented" and I have gotten it to the point that I am very, very happy with my "perfect" setup, (for me......for now. I hope that I continue to grow in my skills and become a better rider........which means, changes.).

Yesterday, I had a friend comment about how sharply I took a particular turn, (on pavement). She commented that it looked like the whole left side of the bike was about to touch the ground, (an exaggeration on her part.). I wasn't even trying. It is how I take that specific turn. I will say that I am really, really glad that I don't ride with sidecases anymore and that I have taken the time to match my suspension to how I like to ride.

B.
 

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Black Lab - I like what you said about 'baby steps'. I am in the process of upgrading my brake pads to possibly the EBC HH pads. Doing so I fear that I may experience more front end dive, so springs may be in order. My K5 DL1K has ~36K mile on (what I assume) are the stock springs. I did the spring calculator at Sonic and for me I think the .95 will work nicely. So here is my question - did you have to replace the fork seals when you did the job? I am hoping the servicing of my forks will only entail changing the oil & springs.

Also - I have no skid plate on my bike. How did you suspend your bike to remove the fork legs...

Thanks!!
 

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What Kinda Bike Is That?
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Black Lab - I like what you said about 'baby steps'. I am in the process of upgrading my brake pads to possibly the EBC HH pads. Doing so I fear that I may experience more front end dive, so springs may be in order. My K5 DL1K has ~36K mile on (what I assume) are the stock springs. I did the spring calculator at Sonic and for me I think the .95 will work nicely. So here is my question - did you have to replace the fork seals when you did the job? I am hoping the servicing of my forks will only entail changing the oil & springs.

Also - I have no skid plate on my bike. How did you suspend your bike to remove the fork legs...

Thanks!!
I have absolutely no experience with the DL-1000. I hope others can chime in on this.

But, on the DL-650, the answer is "no", you don't have to replace the seals when upgrading springs and oil.

One of the reasons I purchased a skidplate, was so that I had a "sacrificial surface" to jack the bike up from.

Here again, I hope others will share how they deal with the issue you are facing.

B.
 

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$tromtrooper
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On my 650, a couple bags of leveling sand in the topbox brings the front end right up if you have a centerstand, and I see you do.
 

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Also - I have no skid plate on my bike. How did you suspend your bike to remove the fork legs...
Do you have a center stand? I used a scissors jack and a block of wood under the engine on my 650 to do the fork job before I got a skid plate.

Dunno if you have a place to do this on the 1000 with the factory "fairing" under there.
 

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Do you have a center stand? I used a scissors jack and a block of wood under the engine on my 650 to do the fork job before I got a skid plate.

Dunno if you have a place to do this on the 1000 with the factory "fairing" under there.
This is actually what I think I will do. Just got in from the garage looking under the bike and yes there is a spot where this will work.
 

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Black Lab - I like what you said about 'baby steps'. I am in the process of upgrading my brake pads to possibly the EBC HH pads. Doing so I fear that I may experience more front end dive, so springs may be in order. My K5 DL1K has ~36K mile on (what I assume) are the stock springs. I did the spring calculator at Sonic and for me I think the .95 will work nicely. So here is my question - did you have to replace the fork seals when you did the job? I am hoping the servicing of my forks will only entail changing the oil & springs.

Also - I have no skid plate on my bike. How did you suspend your bike to remove the fork legs...

Thanks!!
Bike on center stand, 50 lb bag of rock salt in the top case :p
 
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