Fork fluid change interval? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Fork fluid change interval?

I canít find the recommended fork oil change interval in the service manual. My WAG would be every 15K miles for street riding and more frequently if you are doing gravel dirt roads etc.. Seems like doing this when you are doing a valve inspection inspection would make sense. You will be removing a lot of stuff to do the valve inspection and may plan
on tackling that off season.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 12:24 PM
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I canít find the recommended fork oil change interval in the service manual....
Nor could I - ONLY an "inspect the forks" each 7,500 miles (12,000 kms).

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 08:43 PM
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If I remember correctly, my suspension guy recommends every 2 years ..not sure about miles....
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:43 PM
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I just drained my fork oil today. It was original oil and not changed before. Bike was a 2010 with ~26K km/17K mi. Oil had some suspended dirt and needed to be changed although appeared to be fully functional. It probably should have been changed much earlier. I don't think the oil breaks down noticeably, especially I would imagine if it were synthetic. The problem is very fine powdery dust sneaks past the fork seals contaminating the oil.

With the help of a friend made an easy to make spring compressor out of a scrap plate of steel simply by drilling/grinding a slot into it to fit around the piston rod to hold the preload spacer below the bolt you need to loosen, to remove the fork cap. See manual for process if this makes no sense. Essentially just take a plate of steel roughly 6in x 4in and cut a slot in the middle of the long side 2in deep just wide enough to slip around the piston rod. With two people, have one person slide and hold the preload spacer down to expose the bolt on it below the piston cap, while another slips the plate on the piston rod, to hold the spacer below the bolt you need to loosen.

You will also need to buy the $20 piston puller from Kawasaki or fab something yourself to do this task. Decided to change seals and dust wipers as I don't know when I will have a chance to do this again although they appeared OK. Will post more info once I have a chance to take pictures and complete job.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 08:21 AM
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Should be in mileage, not time.

I'm one of those fools that change the seals before changing oil (which is the opportunity to change the fork oil).
I never only change the fork oil. And I might be wrong.

My little experience on standard forks says seals start to go bad after 50000-80000 km (changed the originals on 2 distinct new bikes).
So, For inverted fork, it can't be longer; my versys shows signs of leak (excessively wet forks) after 50000km (I do much offroad though).

I'm guessing seals go bad because of dirty oil.
Can you hint how much each job cost?
-Oil only is 1h labor+oil?
-Seals are another 1h + parts?


If you want to save the seals (hehehe) then you would have to change oils probably 2x faster, like 30000km.
So, 1h+oil every 30000km or 3h+oil+parts every 60000km.... I don't recall that seals are expensive at all. It's really the job that matters. I recall a 700$can bill for my old ninja 650.

For people doing it themselves, good for you!
For me, going to garage, I would really like to know how long seals could last if oil was changed more frequently.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 04:39 PM
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Should be in mileage, not time....

For me, going to garage, I would really like to know how long seals could last if oil was changed more frequently.
Just looked at my records: seals on my '08 started leaking around 60,xxx miles, and I had replaced the oil 2 or 3 times before that. I have installed "Fork Skins" (neoprene fork 'gaiters') on both Vs to try to make the seals LAST.... SORRY - NO pics yet.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 04:46 PM
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Fork Skins

Here's a pic of those "Fork Skins".

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Fork Skins.jpg (44.8 KB, 14 views)

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 04:50 PM
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Here's a pic of those "Fork Skins".
Hehe, looks like you've gone on 120/90, with that loose hose...

Any preventive maintenance on those neoprene sleeves to avoid crud build up?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Looking at various online articles and posts it seems the general consensus is every 2 years and/or mileage between 10K - 25K miles depending on riding style. I.e. Sport bikes which tend to brake hard compressing the suspension prior to a corner would be more often that a tour bike with somewhat more gentle braking. So I guess my WAG of 15K miles was about right.

I don't think fork oil will absorb moisture like brake fluid so my guess is that mileage is a more important determining factor than 2 years.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 11:39 AM
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Noob here, but reading through this I guess that if I'm sitting at just over 20k miles on unknown condition, then I should probably pull the forks and swap fluid when I install a lowering link, shouldn't I?
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 12:35 PM
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Hehe, looks like you've gone on 120/90, with that loose hose...

Any preventive maintenance on those neoprene sleeves to avoid crud build up?
No - that's a 130/80 x 17 on there (Shinko E705); and I just wipe the lowers on the forks 'now-and-then'.

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Noob here, but reading through this I guess that if I'm sitting at just over 20k miles on unknown condition, then I should probably pull the forks and swap fluid when I install a lowering link, shouldn't I?
It wouldn't hurt to do them.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 02:07 PM
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It wouldn't hurt to do them.
Sounds good. Looks like the hardest part of the job is going to be jacking my bike anyways, so I'll start looking up which oil to run with and start tracking that part of my maintenance as well.
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