Changing Fork Oil - How? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2009, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Changing Fork Oil - How?

I want to change my front fork oil to a lighter weight to reduce the compression damping.

I thinking 5W from the standard 10W?

Can anyone tell me

a) How much I need (metric?)3

b) What's the process? (I've rebuilt engines - never stripped forks, esp upside down forks)

Thanx
Paul

Last edited by [email protected]; 02-05-2009 at 08:42 PM.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2009, 06:04 PM
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Paul, I've not done it on the Versys yet, but it usually is a fairly straightforward matter of opening up the top caps and then opening a drain at the bottom near the axle.

As for the amount of replacement oil, it's difficult to say for sure because it has everything to do with how much of the existing oil you're able to get out and how much remaining volume is left to fill. It's normally more a measurement that you make as you're doing verses knowing exactly how much you will put in going into the job - kind of like changing the engine oil. You can have a pretty good idea how much you'll put in, but it might be a little more or a little less.

On the KLR, we used a trick where we would take the sprayer and tube out of a bottle of window cleaner. We placed the tube down into the top of the fork tube at the depth of void we wanted to leave above the oil. We then marked the point at which the spray tube exited the fork tube. You can then fill the fork tube up past the level you want, and use the sprayer tube to pump out the amount you don't need down to the end of the spray tube. Since you marked the spray tube, you can then move over to the other fork tube and set the level to the exact same depth.

With all of that said, have you made full use of the suspension adjustments available on the front forks. I have yet to mess with my front suspension on the Versys, but I'm pretty sure you can adjust preload and dampening with the adjustment screws on the right hand fork. Obviously that will only take you so far if you need a different weight of fork oil, but I have not heard of anyone maxing it out in either direction, so I would think the factory weight is okay.

Anyway, hope some of this is helpful.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2009, 07:09 PM
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Right fork fluid level is 75 mm (+/- 2) from top of outer tube, and takes about 410 mL for a fluid change or 478 mL (+/- 2.5) when dry. Left fork fluid level is 65 mm (+/- 2) from top of outer tube, and takes about 415 mL for a fluid change or 487 mL (+/- 2.5) when dry. Stock fork fluid: Showa SS-8 or equivalent SAE 10W. Spring free length is 292.9 mm with a service length limit of 287 mm. Oil Level is checked with fork fully compressed, and without the spring..
I'm switching to Amsoil's light (SAE 5W) synthetic Shock Therapy suspension fluid, since I have enough left for a change. You can download the free 2007 Versys repair manual (Suspension 13-11):
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Last edited by onewizard; 02-11-2017 at 09:49 AM.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2009, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=invader;24596]Right fork fluid level is 75 mm (+/- 2) from top of outer tube, and takes about 410 mL for a fluid change or 478 mL (+/- 2.5) when dry. Left fork fluid level is 65 mm (+/- 2) from top of outer tube, and takes about 415 mL for a fluid change or 487 mL (+/- 2.5) when dry. Stock fork fluid: Showa SS-8 or equivalent SAE 10W. Spring free length is 292.9 mm with a service length limit of 287 mm. Oil Level is checked with fork fully compressed, and without the spring..
I'm switching to Amsoil's light (SAE 5W) synthetic Shock Therapy suspension fluid, since I have enough left for a change. You can download the free 2007 Versys repair manual (Suspension 13-11):

Hmm, based on the service manual -it's a forks out and dissassemble job, possibly needing some custom tools.

Any tips? (shortcuts for the lazy)

I could install electric fork heaters - that would heat and thin the oil....

Invader - the manuals are wonderful - thank you very much - altough your choice of file share sites sucks a bit.
I don't suppose you have access to the B (ABS) model parts catalogue?

Thanx
Paul

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2009, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Hmm, based on the service manual -it's a forks out and dissassemble job, possibly needing some custom tools.

Any tips? (shortcuts for the lazy)

I could install electric fork heaters - that would heat and thin the oil....
Good idea. I don't know how neccessary the spring compressor is. It wasn't needed to remove my WR426's upside-down fork springs. I was then able to get all the oil out the top by compressing and extending the forks several times, and without dismantling the forks any further. I'll see when I try doing it soon...

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Invader - the manuals are wonderful - thank you very much - altough your choice of file share sites sucks a bit.
What the hell are you talking about??

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I don't suppose you have access to the B (ABS) model parts catalogue?
No I don't. Tough luck, buddy.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2009, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=invader;24627]


What the hell are you talking about??


QUOTE]

Rapidshare is a slowass piece of crap for non-members.
Works, but 5 clicks and several built in delays etc. Single file download.

Of course if the content is not yours, then it doesnt matter so much.

Paul
post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-06-2009, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
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Hmm, based on the service manual -it's a forks out and dissassemble job, possibly needing some custom tools.

Any tips? (shortcuts for the lazy)
No shortcuts. In order to drain the forks, you have to take them off the bike. If you do a good job draining them, you'll see the amount of oil needed is the higher figure they give for fork disassembly, not the lower one. Figure you'll need a full liter of your favorite fork oil.

Spring compressors are needed on USD forks with stiff springs. You can sot of get around it when you are disassembling it, but it requires significant force to push the spacer down so you can start threading the cap. I made a simple compressor out of a Sch80 PVC pipe and two eye-bolt screws. I'll take a picture when I get home if you can't figure it out. The downside of this simpler compressor is that you'll need a 3rd (and probably 4th) hand to hold things together while you are compressing it to make sure the fork doesn't try to "run away" from you if you by accident push not 100% vertically. Having a vice at floor level helps if you must do it on your own without that 3rd or 4th hand (if your vice is on a work bench, it will likely be too high to allow you to comfortably push down on the spring and try to thread the cap at the same time).

Remember to thread the rebound damping adjuster all the way in before threading that cap, otherwise it wont be in the right position.

Gustavo
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 01:29 PM
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You can get a spring compressor and spring stopper tool set from http://www.traxxion.com/store/detail...roduct_id=FSCK for $36.95. Kawasaki's # 57001-1685 fork spring compressor sells for $123.45, and # 57001-1374 fork spring stopper for $10.27. Then there's a # 57001-1298 piston rod puller (M10◊1.0) for $15.05... (from: http://www.cheapcycleparts.com/OEM.aspx)
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Last edited by invader; 02-10-2009 at 01:45 PM.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 05:05 AM Thread Starter
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I did mine a few weeks back.
With 2 people you don't need any special tools. A screwdriver to hold a spring 10mm compressed is enough.

To reassemble the non adjustable leg you do need something. I made a spring compressor from a peice of flat tin and some tinsnips. It just has to hold the spring lower than the locknut so you can do it up. I'll post pics when I get time.

You don't need the threaded rod either. Empties fine with a pair of pointy nose pliers.

5w is much better.

Paul
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 03:45 AM
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I did mine a few weeks back.
With 2 people you don't need any special tools. A screwdriver to hold a spring 10mm compressed is enough.

To reassemble the non adjustable leg you do need something. I made a spring compressor from a peice of flat tin and some tinsnips. It just has to hold the spring lower than the locknut so you can do it up. I'll post pics when I get time.

You don't need the threaded rod either. Empties fine with a pair of pointy nose pliers.

5w is much better.

Paul
Hi Paul,

From what you've said, this sounds like a pretty straight forward job.
I am thinking about doing it on my own, but I've never had any experience on USD forks. Since you didn't mentioned the need for fork seal driver I suppose its either not necessary or you didn't mess with those seals when you disassemble it. I was wondering can you or some great guy like you would post a how-to thread with nice instructional photos for people like me to know how to do stuff without special tools mentioned in the workshop manual.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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Pics no - sorry
Rough instructions - yes
  • Remove brake calipers
    Remove axle and wheel
    Remove fender
    Remove forks from bike
    Place bottom in vice
    Set pre-load to minimum
    Loosen top cap
    Adjustable fork - follow instructions in manual closely to undo lock nut whilst mate compresses spring
    Non Adjustable fork - follow instructions in manual closely to undo lock nut whilst home made peice of metal with V cut in it holds spring under lock nut
    Remove top cap and internals
    Invert, drain, pump shaft to drain better
    Note colour of oil and remind self to do this more often
    Refill with oil, pump shaft to clear air using pointy pliers, measure oil level with spring out, shaft extended.
    Put sping / spacer back in
    Swear when you drop shaft into oil and lose it. Remove spring, drip oil on floor. Pull shaft out. Redo oil level.
    Repeat dropping shaft into oil as required
    Get mate to hold shaft with pointy pliers as you gradually lower spring in. Screwdriver will also help.
    Raise lock nut to highest point on thread to make it easier
    Compress spring under lock nut and reuse peice of metal with V cut in it
    Wind locknut to lowest point on thread to further compress spring
    Setup adjustable fork set points as per manual (read carefully)
    Wind on fork cap onto shaft till it bottoms
    Tighten locknut
    Remove peice of metal used to hold spring
    Put on caps (clean threads / seals)
    Reassemble bike
    Enjoy
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Last edited by [email protected]; 09-01-2010 at 04:41 AM.
post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
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I was wondering can you or some great guy like you would post a how-to thread with nice instructional photos for people like me to know how to do stuff without special tools mentioned in the workshop manual.
On the other Versys forum:

http://www.versys.co.uk/index.php?op...5&topic=5461.0


Gustavo
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 11:38 AM
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Gustavo,

Thanks for the link. I've had no problems doing my KLR and Bandit forks, but... USDs - this'll be my first. BTW, I've used ATF in my forks for years. Any problems with using ATF in USDs?

Ed
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 01:23 AM
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Thanks a lot Gustavo, that's a wonderful post.

So I guess it is not necessary to fully disassemble it. I was wondering
would the left-over showa fork oil do any harm to the new oil?

Cheers
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 05:06 AM
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Here you go.
http://video.mpora.com/watch/Je4gKpr11/

Falling down is your bodies way of saying you just screwed up.

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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 06:03 AM
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Thanks a lot for the video clip Cuff, it very informative!

So I guess I should get it professionally stripped down and cleaned before I start a frequent
oil changing habit as the clip was suggesting.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 10:42 AM
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BTW, I've used ATF in my forks for years. Any problems with using ATF in USDs?
Technically, there is no problem. The issue I have with it is that it's not consistent in viscosity, so you have to hunt down that info if you are trying to make a specific change (like make the front less harsh), so it's a lot easier to work with fork oil that has a clear viscosity rating. But once you figure out the viscosity of your preferred ATF, if it works for your purposes, it'll be fine.

Gustavo


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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2010, 06:14 PM
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Is there a safe way to support the front end without an actual paddock stand?

I'm thinking maybe a ratchet tie downs hanging off the garage door track?
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2010, 06:30 PM
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Tied my to the rafters in the garage. Don't know if your garage door supports are strong enough (at least not mine, they are flimsy metal).
Also, i didn't use any special tools. Did it by myself, using another open end wrench under the nut to hold the spring down. Used a piece of 3 inch PVC, cut in half to drive my fork seals in.
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 10:48 AM
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You might try an 8' step-ladder and a strap....

Ed
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