How often do you change the fork oil?
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    Default How often do you change the fork oil?

    Changed the fork oil in the bike yesterday to Amsoil 5W, took it for a ride & seems to be a bit smoother than what it had in it before. Oil that was in it was a black with a bit of gray color, screws in the bottom didn't have any locktite on them so it must have been done before. Noticed that the manual doesn't recommend a change interval so wondering how often do you guys & gals change yours?
    Last edited by SteveU; 09-08-2010 at 03:04 PM.


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    Grumpy Fart hunzee's Avatar
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    Rebush at 20k.



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    Seasoned Member Art H.'s Avatar
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    Never.
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    Seasoned Member Roadie's Avatar
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    I refurbish my forks every 20K miles or so. You won't know whats going on inside your forks if you don't take them apart. Here's what my lower slide bushing looked like at 20K or so miles.







    Frank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roadie View Post
    I refurbish my forks every 20K miles or so. You won't know whats going on inside your forks if you don't take them apart. Here's what my lower slide bushing looked like at 20K or so miles.






    all I see is some black paint warn off. there doesn't seem to be any brass missing (warn off )from the body.
    the manual has no service interval on the front forks. If you do nothing to them , Honda will warranty all problems.

    John
    '07 blue gl1800, Level 3, reg risers, utopia backrest, honda fog lights, Mic-o-Pegs, traxxion fork springs, fork brace, rear shock and Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3 ZP . Darksider #1211

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    Seasoned Member Ed Kruse's Avatar
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    Change my fluid every year. New bushings and seals every other year. 1 year for me equals around 25,000.
    Ed Kruse (aka Speed Nut)
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    Steve, I have the Traxxion full monty (whatever that means these days) and I believe they recommend every 20,000 or 24,000 miles. For me that means once a year and I am not up to that so I'll probably do it every other year...unless I notice an appreciable decrease in handling.

    Besides a better handling bike, keeping the suspension right will save money in tires. I haven't had a cupped tire since installing the Trax.

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    Seasoned Member Roadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgalfo View Post
    all I see is some black paint warn off. there doesn't seem to be any brass missing (warn off )from the body.
    the manual has no service interval on the front forks. If you do nothing to them , Honda will warranty all problems.

    John
    That's not paint that's worn off, it's the teflon coating that covers the copper slide bushing. With the teflon coating wore off you have metal to metal sliding together and that will cause the lower fork legs over time and miles to egg out, causing a sloppy fit between the lower fork leg and the fork tube. Once that happens the lower fork leg...and maybe the fork tube will have to be replaced.


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    Seasoned Member goldwing fan's Avatar
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    Change it if it makes you feel good changed my first fork oil and bushings at over 60k i saw no evidence of worn bushings or such yours may differ

    CHEERS

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    Seasoned Member BACKDRAFT's Avatar
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    I just changed mine and plan on doing it along with all the other fluids every 2 years.

    Preventive maintainence is a good thing. You can catch a problem before it becomes a problem.

    Be sure to wave back!


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    Maybe a little off topic but the first thing you should clean after a ride is the fork sliders. I stop and clean mine after hitting a swarm of bugs . Do not let them dry on the sliders. I hope I am using the right word. To me they are the shiny looking hydraulic looking pistons that move in and out of the forks.
    Cleaning with Hydrogen Peroxide and a soft cloth works well to prevent leaking seals .


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    Seasoned Member goldwing fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GatorWing View Post
    Maybe a little off topic but the first thing you should clean after a ride is the fork sliders. I stop and clean mine after hitting a swarm of bugs . Do not let them dry on the sliders. I hope I am using the right word. To me they are the shiny looking hydraulic looking pistons that move in and out of the forks.
    Cleaning with Hydrogen Peroxide and a soft cloth works well to prevent leaking seals .
    I mate

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    What happen's if I don't change it? Never changed fork oil in any bike over the past 50 years...Some folks just need to do it...

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    Seasoned Member Fluke189's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by O.B. View Post
    What happen's if I don't change it? Never changed fork oil in any bike over the past 50 years...Some folks just need to do it...
    Everyone has their horror stories. Personally I ride and when the seals need replacing I change the seals and oil at that point. On various motorcycles over 500,000 miles or so generally every 50-100k miles on seals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GatorWing View Post
    Maybe a little off topic but the first thing you should clean after a ride is the fork sliders. I stop and clean mine after hitting a swarm of bugs . Do not let them dry on the sliders. I hope I am using the right word. To me they are the shiny looking hydraulic looking pistons that move in and out of the forks.
    Cleaning with Hydrogen Peroxide and a soft cloth works well to prevent leaking seals .
    Just got done cleaning & putting Rejex on them, hopefully that will help with bugs sticking. Mine has a chrome piece that comes up a couple inches on the forks, not sure if that is stock but it keeps the bugs from hitting the forks right at the seals.


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    Not trying to hi-jack the thread, but I just bought an 03 with 35K miles and the forks seems a little harsh when going over cracks in the road. Do I need to change the oil or the springs? If I replace the springs with progressives or racetechs (the traxxions are a little pricey!) will this improve the ride much? I'm a big guy, 6'5" and 250, so would I need a custom spring? Thanks for all the help!!!

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    Seasoned Member Roadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pikester View Post
    Not trying to hi-jack the thread, but I just bought an 03 with 35K miles and the forks seems a little harsh when going over cracks in the road. Do I need to change the oil or the springs? If I replace the springs with progressives or racetechs (the traxxions are a little pricey!) will this improve the ride much? I'm a big guy, 6'5" and 250, so would I need a custom spring? Thanks for all the help!!!
    The reason why your bike is harsh when going over bumps is because the stock fork springs are too soft for the weight of the bike and the forks are nearly bottomed out with you just sitting on the bike....with the forks nearly bottomed out, the forks have very little fork travel when they encounter a road bump....so instead of the forks absorbing all of the road shock, that force is sent up through the handlebars and the bike feels harsh over bumps.

    A new set of fork springs better suited for your weight will give you more fork travel to deal with the road bumps and that will smooth out the ride quite a bit. At 35K miles, the forks really should be serviced.... take the forks apart and inspect the slide bushing....at the very least change the fork oil when installing the new fork springs.

    I would go with Traxxion or Race Tech fork springs over the Progressive springs. Progressive offers only one spring rate for all regardless of how much weight your bike is carrying....a 250lb man will need a stronger spring than a 150 lb man. Traxxion and Racetech offer fork springs with spring rates to match the weight that your bike carrys...don't forget to figure in your passengers weight if you ride two up most of the time.


    If it were me, I would also replace the rear shock with a Traxxion shock....you are a heavy rider and like the OEM forks, the OEM rear shock is too soft ...not to mention at 35K miles the OEM shock is getting worn. You would be much happier with your bikes ride with a rear shock and fork springs that were better suited for your weight....especally riding two up.


    Frank
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    Changing fork oil is for the paranoid.If It's not in the manual you shouldn't bother unless you got a leaky seal.

    Some clown started telling everyone they need to service their forks every 20K and they all fell for it.But hey he's making the cash and they are thanking him for it too.Go figure huh.

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    Seasoned Member WOJO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluke189 View Post
    Everyone has their horror stories. Personally I ride and when the seals need replacing I change the seals and oil at that point. On various motorcycles over 500,000 miles or so generally every 50-100k miles on seals.
    I couldn't agree more, you know when I was in the Navy and fixin jets (for 27 years I might add) we never just pulled struts and changed the hyd fluid, it only got done when the strut leaked and needed pulled to repack. You can bet that the struts on an F-4 took a much bigger beating that the forks on the GW.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    Changing fork oil is for the paranoid.If It's not in the manual you shouldn't bother unless you got a leaky seal.

    Some clown started telling everyone they need to service their forks every 20K and they all fell for it.But hey he's making the cash and they are thanking him for it too.Go figure huh.
    There's 2 kinds of people in this world.
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    2. Those that don't have a clue and end up screaming when they go off a cliff or hit a UPS truck.



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    All I know is mine has been opened up twice, both times the bushings especially the lower ones no longer have any teflon coating. All gone. Just bare metal.

    My lower fork case on the left is wearing too, enough you can see the wear line where the lower bushings slide by eye. So soon that will need to be replaced. Most likely the anti dive caused that, not sure yet what did that. In any event the anti dive is no longer a concern.

    Which means if you replace the bushings every 20 to 30K then naturally one would and will replace the oil too.

    My point is the bushings do wear out, before the oil does. But it is mute point if you change the bushings.

    Kit

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    42K on my Wing and have not changed the fork oil and do not plan to until I upgrade the suspension at about 75K. I have never changed fork oil in any of my Wings and never caused a problem.

    I did have a fork oil seal go out in my 88 venture after about 10 years. don't know if it was related to not changing the oil. Had the dealer replace it.

    The owners manual does not specify a change interval so I assume it is not needed. All other maintenance is done as specified. Seems to work fine for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveU View Post
    .....wondering how often do you guys & gals change yours?

    Every 32K miles, off comes the Tupperware and I tend to all the required maintenance. I also disassemble and inspect the forks at this time.

    In between these 32K mile intervals, I just change engine oil, final drive oil, and tires.

    Works for me!
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    A fork is essentially a shock absorber. who changes oil in a shock before it pops a seal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by O.B. View Post
    What happen's if I don't change it? Never changed fork oil in any bike over the past 50 years...Some folks just need to do it...
    The bike begins to ride poorly. It happens so gradually you won't know it. I overhaul my forks with new OEM springs every 25k. Mine is like always riding a new Wing.

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    I agree with what DAVENC has stated 100 percent. I see this all the time on bikes that have blown a seal and the rider has never changed the fluid. I have also seen the wear from the neglect and at times it has cost the owners a lot more to repair the damage. I have seen people with the mentality of IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT go without proper maintenance and it cost them more in the long run, or the poor unsuspecting person that purchases their ragged bike that just looks good but has not been properly taken care of. Honda says the forks are maintenance free, BUT! inspect and repair if necessary. POOH!
    Give me a crooked road and a good handling bike.

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    Supporting Vendor Fred H.'s Avatar
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    I try to do mine every 16-20K miles, which generally means about once a year for me. You'll be amazed at how dirty the fork oil comes out, especially the left (damper rod) leg. It does indeed make a difference in the damping characteristics of the forks. The cartridge forks don't seem to dirty the oil as bad as the damper rod style forks do.

    I also inspect the bushing and replace if needed. This adds about $40 or so to the cost. I've seen some bikes go a long time with almost no bushing wear, and I've seen others that wear them out real fast. So the only way to really know is to eyeball them. Once the teflon wears off, they will start wearing into your fork legs. Generally, I find that when the fork oil comes out really dirty, you can usually expect to find worn bushings.

    Your suspension works pretty hard, and is often a neglected item in maintenance. It will degrade in performance slowly over time, so you probably won't realize it. It's just like anything in life, you can ignore it till it totally breaks or wears out, or you can do some preventative maintenance to it once in a while to keep it working like new. The choice is yours.

    This thread reminds me, I'm due for this on my own bike, and will be pulling it apart to service the forks when I get back from Arkansas next week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunzee View Post
    There's 2 kinds of people in this world.
    1. Those that are in tune with their ride and become one with it.
    2. Those that don't have a clue and end up screaming when they go off a cliff or hit a UPS truck.
    Sounds like you have read Robert Pirsig's, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

    Rocky's swipe at Max's suspension service recommendations is on shaky foundation. Sure Max makes his living by modifying suspensions and servicing them (among other things), but a physician makes his living tending to our health. Who ya gonna ask or listen to about your health, the barber? Max looks at suspension service from the perspective of racing and as an expert suspension builder. Others have a more casual view and demand. Like Fred pointed out, it seems some bikes are easier on the suspension wear parts than are others; I seem to get by with suspension service about every other year and still have a little coating left on the bushings/guides. I am not so sure that coating is PTFE, it looks and smells more like a moly based coating; which would explain the foul odor and dark color of worn fluid.

    prs
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