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Thread: Fork oil level

  1. #1
    Senior Member elime's Avatar
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    I removed the caps, spacers, and springs from my forks. I compressed them both and measured the distance to the oil level which was 157mm. Based on my forum readings the oil was doing zero good, right? No damping whatsoever!



    Based on Lizrdbrth assessment of 135mm is right on the borderline of good and no good, would setting the oil level at 130mm, or even 125mm, be a reasonable second choice option rather than going through the add a little, try it out plan? I read that an oil level of 100 mm to 110 mm is in the danger of blowing out the seals, so there should be very little danger at the 125 mm level.



    I still plan on setting the sag at 1.25" to 1.5" and using 10wt. fork oil or the Dino Dexron.



    Opinions. Errors in my logic. Let me have it. I can take it.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member lizrdbrth's Avatar
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    Actually, too LITTLE oil is what you're trying to avoid. Obviously too much is equally bad for different reasons.



    I've found you get little or no rebound damping out of our forks at the factory recomended oil level, but that is the minimum I'd put into the forks if you're not into the incremental approach.



    You should be good at 130 but I'd ride it before going to 125.



    I now have longer fork tubes which put the rebound orifices more under water at 135 than they would be with the stock tubes, if that makes sense.



    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

    Powdercoated '87 frame, extended swingarm, YZ fork legs, ATV tire, 14/55, XT350 tank, spliced quick-release seat, disc brake conversion, beeg headlight, beeger rack, Lizrdcooler, Lizrdventz and bunch of other stuff all covered in invisible ink.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member elime's Avatar
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    Thanks. I will take your advice.



    Yep! Longer fork tubes puts the innards further from the top and deeper into oil if the oil is 135mm from the top. Makes perfect sense. What fork tubes are you using?



    One fork cleaned and reassembled and one to go and what a huge difference it has made.
    Long live the internal combustion engine!

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  5. #4
    Senior Member elime's Avatar
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    I was just thinking, do you have to replace the seals every time you take the forks apart to clean it? The reason I ask is the seals I just replaced looked really good.and in hind sight I think now I would have taken a chance on them. They actually seem to grip the inner tube tighter than the new All Balls seals do.



    Of course I didn't know that until I replaced them.....but now I am a little more experienced..... and what do you think about that idea? Or is it "they're apart -- replace them and save yourself headaches down the road".
    Long live the internal combustion engine!

  6. #5
    Senior Member Rainman's Avatar
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    You shouldn't have to replace the seal every time you take the fork apart. They are more of a wiper than a seal. Unless they are leaking, keep them in there and keep them clean.
    If you can't find it, grind it

    1990 TW200

  7. #6
    Senior Member lizrdbrth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony View Post
    Yep! Longer fork tubes puts the innards further from the top and deeper into oil if the oil is 135mm from the top. Makes perfect sense. What fork tubes are you using?


    They're early YZ80 tubes. But before anyone goes to the trouble and expense of converting, let me be clear on what they will and won't do for you.



    I switch back and forth between an ATV tire and the stock knobby, and have an extended swingarm. The extra length allows me to compensate for loss of trail due to the added rear ride height from the ATV tire and swingarm extension. Basically I can lengthen my front end to change the trail. With stock tubes you can only shorten it.



    It also cures the rebound starvation issue and gives me two more inches to play with oil levels.



    Other than that it's no better than a stock front end. It's TW fork legs and internals, on longer tubes, shimmed to proper sag and with the oil levels set by increments to my personal "feel". Total travel is no greater than any other TW. A stock front end with proper sag and oil level can be made to behave nearly as well.



    If you want more travel you'll need a different front end and accept the nosebleed ride height that goes with it. I mostly use mine to improve handling by slipping it up and down in the trees.



    Here it is at roughly stock height:







    This is it in "chopper mode, for a long road trip. The ATV tire setting is somewhere in between. 2 inches adds a LOT trail. You'll never need all of it.







    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

    Powdercoated '87 frame, extended swingarm, YZ fork legs, ATV tire, 14/55, XT350 tank, spliced quick-release seat, disc brake conversion, beeg headlight, beeger rack, Lizrdcooler, Lizrdventz and bunch of other stuff all covered in invisible ink.

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  8. #7
    Senior Member elime's Avatar
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    I have checked the original oil level in 4 fork tubes prior to pouring the oil out and they all are right at 157 mm. I am guessing this was the factory oil which is well shy of the manual's recommendation of 135mm.



    I used Pennzoil Dexron-VI in the first two tubes. The next two I will use actual fork oil 10wt. I compared the ATF and fork oil on a piece of plastic and they seem about the same viscosity which is very very thin.




    Setting the level at 130 mm seems about right. I have yet to try it off road.
    Long live the internal combustion engine!

  9. #8
    Senior Member flingwing1969's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizrdbrth View Post
    Actually, too LITTLE oil is what you're trying to avoid. Obviously too much is equally bad for different reasons.



    I've found you get little or no rebound damping out of our forks at the factory recomended oil level, but that is the minimum I'd put into the forks if you're not into the incremental approach.



    You should be good at 130 but I'd ride it before going to 125.



    I now have longer fork tubes which put the rebound orifices more under water at 135 than they would be with the stock tubes, if that makes sense.


    Has anyone determined how much oil in oz etc would be required to bring it from 125 to 130mm? Seems those of us with factory new units at 125 could simply add the necessary smidgen to bring each fork to 130 without the need for full disassembly and fiddling with height measurements.

  10. #9
    Senior Member PalmStateCrawler's Avatar
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    Can anyone tell me what their 130mm rises to with the springs in? I really dont feel like taking my forks all the way apart again...
    '13 690 Enduro R too many frickin farkles...
    '07 KLX250 farkled (wife's bike)
    '86 BW80 farkled to size
    '10 TW200 you will be missed

  11. #10
    Senior Member lizrdbrth's Avatar
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    Everbuddy wanna,go to heven but nobuddy wanna die.



    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

    Powdercoated '87 frame, extended swingarm, YZ fork legs, ATV tire, 14/55, XT350 tank, spliced quick-release seat, disc brake conversion, beeg headlight, beeger rack, Lizrdcooler, Lizrdventz and bunch of other stuff all covered in invisible ink.

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