What Happened?


I swapped out my new Fredette fork springs without any problems. I went to remove the caps at the bottom of the forks to record the compression settings that the previous owner had set so I could dial it in. I grabbed an allen wrench socket but the cap was tight. I gave it a good turn and it felt as if it was stripped as it would not come out. The service manual didn't say that these were left-handed threads so I cranked it. I thought there was just an air space under the cap which contained the compression clicker screw, however, as I'm tryin to get this bleepin cap off it starts to leak fork oil. So here I sit watching my son blast over our newly built whoops with my bike DOA with an oil pan under the fork. Any ideals? :
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Canadian Dave

Super Power AssClown
You've just loosened the compression valve from the fork leg. All you have to do is tighten it up again and you'll be set, you haven't damaged anything. There is a hitch though . . . . the compression valve threads into a cylinder through which the damper rod travels. You can sit there and turn the compression valve until the cows come home but you'll never get it to tighten up again, the cylinder will turn inside the fork at the same time. You can check you shop manual or www.buykawasaki.com for an illustration.

There are a couple things you can do. One is to remove the cap, spring etc from the fork make yourself a cylinder holder (instruction on JustKDX) and tighten up the compression valve again or, GULP, use an impact wrench and tighten it up. Only tighten it until its just snug then use your torque wrench to tighten it the rest of the way. Use a very low air pressure and your wrench on the lowest torque. Once snug you'll likely be able to tighten the compression valve independent from the cylinder. I've never used an impact wrench on a fork before so I'd get some advice from someone who has first. I know people who do it all the time with good success, I won't use one. Please be careful not to damage or strip anything! If you are concerned take the bike to your dealer and have them tighten it back up for you.

You'll need to reset the oil level once everthing is back together which will involve removing the fork cap and spring . If I was you I'd just go with the cylinder holder for the extra time it would take to build one ? ? ? ?

Once you have it tightened back up again take a look at the bottom of the fork. You see the screw, its under the rubber cap if its still there, that's your compression adjustment. Just use a flat bladed screwdriver and click away.

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You made my day Dave! I was ready to shell out some bucks for a new fork lower! I'll let you know how it goes. BTW the oil that was flowing out of the fork lower was very dirty. I don't think it's ever been changed so thats next on my list. Hows Belray 5w sound?
For a maintenance-free bike my wife says I spend an awful lot of time wrenching it.;)


dirtbike riding roadracer
5 wt will be fine, and women just don't understand. My wife once asked me why I spend sooo much money on oil, it seems like you use one of those little bottles (16 oz) everytime you go riding? :think


alternative method of tightening

you could try compressing your forks which puts pressure on 'the bit inside that turns'. I have managed this before; it all depends on how clean the thread is on the inside.


Lifetime Sponsor
KDXDAN, andrews method of compressing the forks should hold things tight enough to get your compression valve snugged up. Try putting your bike on the trailer and use your tie downs to pull the forks down. You should be able to tighten it up with your torque wrench from there.--Dan

David Trustrum

Got there before me, I was thinking tie-down axle to handle bar & pull. Often on bikes I haven’t got around to making a holder I use the spring by pushing against the assembled fork when it is off the bike.

The time to pull the forks out is now though. If the oil is dirty the valving at the bottom of the fork should be flushed out good & proper, preferably cleaned, dried, & new oil added.

CD is right about air impact tools. Use them to undo things but tighten them by hand. I prefer to learn from other people’s mistakes & this is the most common occurrence as people start to use them. The threads used by Kawasaki here are very fine & often covered with Locite so can be a pig to undo. A bit of heat to break down the threadlock will help here, but don’t go crazy. Actually I bought my impact gun in response to this very bolt.


No Go.

I tried compressing the bike on a trailer but cannot get the threads to catch one way or another. I had the forks compressed the maximum. It sure makes the fluid leak faster. I popped the handlebars and used a wrench on the rod but that was not turning. If the rod is turning is there a problem? What does a shop cost to clean and refill the forks? Thanks.

Fred T

Mi. Trail Riders
Jer Wilkey charges $69 to replace oil and inspect/clean your forks. He will send you a box to ship them to him.(+$12.00 shipping) Click on MX Tech on your left.