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Ok so I bought a liter of fork oil from my local bike shop. My first question is: is $12.50 about right for the basic fork oil, or did they see me coming? Second question, the bolt that goes straight up into the fork I guess isn't a drain is it? I started unscrewing it and I could hear stuff turning all the way up the fork. If that bolt is an adjustment, how do I readjust it? The manual showes a drain bolt going sidways into the bottom of the fork, but mine doesn't have those, should I just take the fork off and turn it upside down to drain it? Thanks for the help.
 

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Ok so I bought a liter of fork oil from my local bike shop. My first question is: is $12.50 about right for the basic fork oil, or did they see me coming? Second question, the bolt that goes straight up into the fork I guess isn't a drain is it? I started unscrewing it and I could hear stuff turning all the way up the fork. If that bolt is an adjustment, how do I readjust it? The manual showes a drain bolt going sidways into the bottom of the fork, but mine doesn't have those, should I just take the fork off and turn it upside down to drain it? Thanks for the help.


When I did mine, I pulled both fork tubes out of the crown, pulled off one cap at a time and tipped it upside down to drain. Careful to not let the spring come out. I emptied each side into a graduated pitcher so I could check the volume. While I had them apart I cut some spacers for the springs to increase preload and had the caps drilled/tapped for air valves.



Good Luck-Josh
 

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Ok so I bought a liter of fork oil from my local bike shop. My first question is: is $12.50 about right for the basic fork oil, or did they see me coming? Second question, the bolt that goes straight up into the fork I guess isn't a drain is it? I started unscrewing it and I could hear stuff turning all the way up the fork. If that bolt is an adjustment, how do I readjust it? The manual showes a drain bolt going sidways into the bottom of the fork, but mine doesn't have those, should I just take the fork off and turn it upside down to drain it? Thanks for the help.


If you loosened the allen head bolt in the end of the fork leg, were you able to retighten it, or does it just spin?



It isn't an adjustment, it holds a tube that is part of your fork in place. If you were able to retighten it, good, you got lucky. If not you'll need to fashion a tool to reach the part that is inside the fork to tighten it.
 

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Yeah, these don't seem to have a drain bolt. I removed mine and drained it upside down. There's a measure for the fork oil height inside the tubes.



As mentioned you may need to take it off, take out the spring and spacer, and lock the innards internally to tighten. On my old Yamaha XZ550 I needed a socket with a long extension and a double headed bolt to fit a large hex inside.
 

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Yeah, these don't seem to have a drain bolt. I removed mine and drained it upside down. There's a measure for the fork oil height inside the tubes.



As mentioned you may need to take it off, take out the spring and spacer, and lock the innards internally to tighten. On my old Yamaha XZ550 I needed a socket with a long extension and a double headed bolt to fit a large hex inside.


On a TW, the tube requires a 19mm allen, or a 19mm bolt head. I make mine by finding a bolt with a 19mm hex head, then inserting the threaded part into the end of a piece of 1/2" water pipe thsat is a couple of feet long. I then drill through the pipe and the bolt and insert a cotter pin through both, or if you really want to get serious weld the bolt to the the pipe.



Others probably have other variations of "the tool".
 

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I did pretty much the same as you guys but I also poured some mineral spirts into the tubes,pumped them a few times and drained out all the old gook and metal shavings.Also as long as you have the forks off it's a good time to R&R the stem bearings.
 

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Think you have a number of options, all should work fine. I am lucky and have one of those "Mighty Vac" tools. This little unit sucks air, and once the air is gone any liquid will follow. I use a 3' section of small i.d. straight metal brake line that can be purchased at most auto parts stores (inexpensive). On to this I push a section of tube and run it to a tightly sealed jar with an input for fluid and an output to pull a vacuum. The metal brake line with the tubing attached easily slips into the still mounted fork tube. I create a vacuum in the jar by pumping the "Mighty Vac" and all the fluid is drawn out.



Yes, fork oil seems pretty expensive.



In my opinion, those Mighty Vac type tools are pretty handy to have. I have used it alot in bleeding brakes and now, the forks. Gerry

 

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Gerry,



I don't have a Mighty Vac, but they are quite handy tools. I made my own version from scrap and left-overs from other projects. For a catch jar I used a peanut butter jar with a couple plastic vacuum connecters siliconed through holes in the lid. Aquarium air line has worked well for tubing. Over the years I've accumulated a number of adapters for various purposes--bleeding brakes and clutches, removing oil from marine inboards, removing oil from motorcycle forks, etc. For a vacuum source I stick the hose of a shop vac right to the top of the peanut butter jar lid. Works great.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the help guys, I got the forks done today. They were starting to stick a little, but they feel great now. I ended up taking them off and turning them upside down to drain them.
 

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Boy that's a neat idea using a vacuum (cleaner). Pull the air, and fluid will follow, very clever. I seem to be 'obsessed' about purchasing certain things, and Saskia just shakes her head. Over the last 15 years, seems I really like vacuums, bag phones, tire chains, small radios and purses (I call them tank bags).



I will need to make a plug with a barb to fit into my vacuum hose. Got my 3/8" Snap-on impact driver in the mail yesterday and purchased some nice (much better than I had) Protaper tie-down straps today on my way home from work. All this based on good information from well established forum members. Thanks Qwerty.... Gerry
 

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Wait a sec, I could've sworn that my TW service manual says to drain the forks with the screw at the bottom of each fork. Does this screw not exist on all model years?



Do you guys not have these screws?







 

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Discussion Starter #13
nope, my 99 just has flat spots there where yours has screws, I thought about drilling them out, and plugging it, but decided against it.
 

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My 1988 parts bike has the external drains, my 1999 does not. When I went to change my fork oil, I learnt the hex head bolts were not drains, have not done anything to them since. Used the mighty vac bleeder, worked great.
 

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Think you have a number of options, all should work fine. I am lucky and have one of those "Mighty Vac" tools. This little unit sucks air, and once the air is gone any liquid will follow. I use a 3' section of small i.d. straight metal brake line that can be purchased at most auto parts stores (inexpensive). On to this I push a section of tube and run it to a tightly sealed jar with an input for fluid and an output to pull a vacuum. The metal brake line with the tubing attached easily slips into the still mounted fork tube. I create a vacuum in the jar by pumping the "Mighty Vac" and all the fluid is drawn out.



Yes, fork oil seems pretty expensive.



In my opinion, those Mighty Vac type tools are pretty handy to have. I have used it alot in bleeding brakes and now, the forks. Gerry


A Big 10-4 on the Mighty Vac and getting the gunk cleaned out on the bottom of the forks.



Just changing fluid doesn't get the job done right. It's amazing at how much debris is on the bottom of those forks.



$12.50/quart is the going rate around here as well.



I do the forks every other winter, Unless I have done alot of off-roading then I might do the forks twice a year. (More or less how I feel, and since I have two TW one down for maintenance is no big issue).



Mike
 

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I actually read my TW shop manual before trying to change the fork oil on my '99 so I would do it right. When I couldn't find the side drain plugs I figured the bottom allen bolts were the drain plugs. Fortunately, I was able to tighten it back up without "the tool".



So, I had to loosen the clamps and slide the forks out. Then I was able to pour out the gunk. Definitely worth the effort as the fluid change was long overdue.
 

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I haven't done the forks on either of my TW's yet, but I do the ones on my Goldwing about every 30k. When I do, I put in all new bushing and seals with a complete disassembly and cleaning. The TW ones look like they would be even easier to do. I was planning to do my 89 pretty soon since I need to replace the fork boots anyway.
 

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I just did mine recently. A couple of things that helped me were to loosen the cap bolts while the forks were still in the crown (mine were pretty tight) and to have a small metal ruler that you can get oil on to measure the level of fork oil. I took my fork tubes out and drained them through the top. While at it I took out the spacer tube and main spring and pumped them a couple of times while I was draining them to make sure I got everything out. Do you think I may have left a bunch of crud in there? To refil them I did like the service manual said and did it by measurement with the spring out and the fork fully compressed. When the for was mostly full I pumped it a couple of times to get any air bubbles out. To make sure I got the fluid level right I held the little metal ruler at the right height against the edge of the tube and then filled the fork slowly looking down into the tube (holding a flashlight in my mouth for light) and watched until the oil just reached the bottom of the ruler. This is easy to tell even in the dark of the tube because the surface tension causes the oil to cling to the ruler and changes the reflection. At that point I out the spring and spacer back in and tightened the cap by hand, and then fully tightened it when it was bolted into the crown. It's a pretty easy job, with the only casualty being the white plastic piece that holds the brake line and speedo cable halfway up the fork being super brittle and shattering.
 
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