Fork Springs -Need Some Help-


Grand Data Poohbah
Apparently, this monkey aint figuring it out.

I was under the impression swaping out fork springs was easy :( Jeff said a monkey could do it.

Man I'm strugglin.

Do I need to take the forks off the bike ? Looking at the service manual is simply says:
-Raise the front wheel (have stand for that)
-Pull the top caps (This is impossible, I've unscrewed em but they don't come out, I've compress the fork a bit but am looking at stuff I dun know what it is.)
- Put in the 'optional' springs
- Adjust the oil level

OK, So the manual shows this fork spring holder tool. Jeff apparently forgot to send instructions cause all I got was the springs, a reciept and a piece of pvc tubing.

I am lost.

a) do I need to remove the forks.
b) do I just take em off and 'service' them ?
if so what oil shall I use ? Wouldn't I want some seals for that ?

:think and I foolishly thought this was a 10 minute ordeal :(



I am not sure what bike these are on but when I did my XR400 forks and my girlfriends TTR springs I did just unscrew the cap, and pull out the springs.

Well on the XR I actually had to use a open end wrench to hold the rod in the middle of the fork so I could remove the cap after it was unscrewed from the tube.

Then the spring came out, new one went in and.....ooops, forgot to close down the rebound adjuster. I had to take it apart again and re-assemble with the rebound adjuster set up just right. then it worked.

Do you have the manual? If not there are some diagrams on the 'net.

If it is an XR or YZ I may be able to help, let me know,



Grand Data Poohbah
98 KDX 200....

Maybe I just losen the caps, compress the forks to get at the top part. A little unsure. I have the service manual, and it's mostly geard towards rebuilding. I quoted the part on changing the springs.

The Oil Level guage is something I don't have and I dont' wanna build the one on Just KDX.

If all I have to do is that, remove the caps, compress the forks, pop the tops off (with a wrench) then someone chime in and say so. I'm about to put it back together and make this a project for another day or send the forks off to fredette or someone (sage ?)


P.S. I'm thinking they've never been serviced so I am wondering if just throwing springs in is even worth it. (though they are for my specific weight). If the oil is low or anything else, perhaps I just should ship em off.
- a d v e r t i s e m e n t -


Grand Data Poohbah

Someone that's done this please verfiy the following:

a) it looks like a2 man job :)
b) I do support the bike, losen up the top clamps, remove the top caps.
c) then raise the front wheel, compressing the forks, shoving all the goodies out the top.
d) lossen/remove the spring holder thing and viola.

Perhaps (2) monkeys can do it :)

Is this right ? Now that I put it all back together and studied the manual that's what I've come up with.

Please someone chime in before I break something or hurt myself.




Someone that's done this please verfiy the following:

A. Nope. One will do.

B. Either support the bike or have the thing fall over when you loosen the top caps!

C. Raise the front wheel? What??...why is it on??:silly:

Not to worry. It's quite straightforward.

For one thing, it's better done with the fork tubes out of the bike. How else you going to get the oil out? You ARE going to change it, right? Senseless not to if you're changing springs.

Hassling with getting the springs up out of the tubes for piston rod nut access with the front tire on would be...well, somewhat of a hassle, I would think. If you do it that way (and you are definitely not going to change the oil), do it one fork at a time. That will keep the front end from collapsing due to NO support whatsoever. Still, you're going to have a hard time setting oil level that way.

It only takes a couple of minutes to get the front wheel off. So,

1. Support the bike.
2. Remove the front wheel.
3. Loosen the fork cap (Before you loosen the clamps. Holds the fork against the wrenching action on the cap. BE SURE the cap isn't INside the top clamp. If it is, then loosen the top clamp, but not the bottom and then loosen the cap.
4. Loosen the clamps.
5. Slide the fork DOWN to a bit above the bottom clamp. Snug bottom clamp.
6. Completely loosen the cap.
7. Lift the fork from the bottom to expose the spring-spacer-rod nut. Maybe put a block under it to hold it up so you won't have to.
8. Using a holder of some a piece of sheet metal that is wider than the spring (1.5" or so) with a slot cut into it that is at least the diameter of the piston rod, push the spring so the top of it is BELOW the rod nut. Insert your holder between the spring and the bottom of the rod nut.

Now you have the spring HELD out of your way so you can get a wrench on the rod nut (14mm I think) and then you can take the fork cap off (turning one against the other). When you were 'loosening' it before, the whole rod assy was were just unthreading it from the fork downtube. You didn't loosen it from the piston rod.

Then, remove your holder...and the spacer, washers, spring etc all come out the top.

Sometime before this, you'll be saying, 'This would have been MUCH easier if I'd taken the fork OFF the bike........and you will be quite correct!!

Make sure there is a washer looking thing attached to the bottom of the spring you take out. If's still at the bottom of the tube, and you HAVE to get it out (turn the fork upside down). Attach said washer to the new spring securely (bend the tabs snug!), else it WILL fall off when you go to put the new springs in.

Watch for proper torque on the rod nut when you put the cap back on the rod. This is critical. If you don't have 'torque hands' ..meaning you wouldn't know 15lbs from 35lbs, you'd better be using a torque wrench. Screw up (ha) the threads on the fork cap and you will be VERY unhappy!

When you install new springs, you must set the preload. That is the amount of 'squish' on the springs when they are fully extended installed in the forks.

Make sure both springs are the same length for starters. With the spring in the fork and the fork cap on (no spacers), measure the distance tween the top of the spring and the bottom of the cap. Say it's 100mm. Subtract the thickness of the two spacer washers (say 3mm), and that leaves you with 97mm of 'space'. If you want 10mm of preload, you need a spacer then of ...what???....107mm!! You are correct!! Cut the tubing you have to that length.

Oh..cut it square..cut it to 107!!! If the two springs are the same length (if they aren't send them back!), make sure your two spacers ARE THE SAME. Better to be off some on your preload but have both of them the same than to have them different lengths.

Oil? Jeremy (mx-tech) chooses Mobil-1 ATF for at-home services. Get a horse syringe from your local grange or large animal vet, a piece of tubing to fit over the end and make your own simple oil level guage.

Seals? Are they leaking? If not, don't worry about 'em. If they are (and you thought changing springs was tough), pack the forks up in a pretty box and send 'em to jeremy...or the tuner of your choice. me at 541-890-0664 (cell) if this is less clear than mud, I'll be glad to talk to you about it.

Or...having read this far and having decided, 'What the HELL is he talking about???', then go looking for that pretty box??:D

Maybe it's a bit more than 10minutes..but not a big deal.

Say...if your using .40 springs, a hot wound set from a late model XR400 is far superior to ANY cold wound aftermarket set you can buy! You get to take out all that spacer junk and replace the space with real SPRING!!!

....hope you don't have a headache!!!
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Grand Data Poohbah

Bless you, that makes a lot of sense :)

I'll pick up the syinge at Farm and Fleet and give this a whirl this weekend.

Thanks again :)

- a d v e r t i s e m e n t -


Grand Data Poohbah

Thanks a mill for your instructions. I'm the process as I type... (letting the forks drain a bit).

Also waiting for someone to verify I have the right springs (see other topic). Your instructions were great. I'm taking pix along the way so's the next guy will have something to work from.



re: Thanks a mill for your instructions

You bet. Glad to hear things are going ok.

While the forks are upside down and draining, pump the piston rod to get all the old oil out. Not a bad idea to add a bit of clean oil, pump/drain summore.

Also, when you put the new oil IN, do the same until you don't hear/feel any more bubbles squishing through the valve. Otherwise your oil level will be off.

You can use a piece of rubber gas line tubing to hold the rod if you wish.

When it comes time to put the spring in, the rod will stay extended if you tilt the fork about 45º. Otherwise, you'll have to have a piece of hose (or some similar rod extension) to keep it accessible after the spring is in the tube.

TaDa! See! Jeff was right, huh?