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Thread: Ohlins fork oil change

  1. #1
    Baby Twin
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    Ohlins fork oil change

    i really need to do this over the winter as i've neglected it on past services and it should be done every 4,500m.

    I can't find the exact Ohlins service manual for the RSVR as the one i have refers to Suzuki Ohlins forks.

    I bought the Ohlins fork cap tool, some plastic measuring jugs and read a few posts before the Zone crashed.

    It doesn't seem like rocket science, the fork seals are still ok so don't need replacing.

    Any tips? I don't think i need any other special tools do I?

    Which oil. Obviously Ohlins 5w would be best but is the Motul 5w very similar? especially as it's half price.

    I believe i need 500ml per fork so 1x bottle will exactly do although i believe i also need to measure the air gap after reassembly (springs in) and can't remember what it should be.

    All help appreciated
    thanks

  2. #2
    Baby Twin
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    Apemunky where did you get the fork cap tool?
    I was going to attempt mine but if the tool is too expensive the forks can go to reactive suspension in york.

    if you pm me your email addy i can send you a how to file on forks if you want it but it dosn't tell you what type or ammount they have in.

  3. #3
    Baby Twin
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    I bought it from a now defunct Aprilia dealer, i think it was only £10-12.
    Give Griff a call as i'm sure he has them.

    i have cut 'n' pasted the below from another forum. Can anyone add to this?

    "The Ohlins manual doesn't really give any strip down info just parts lists etc.
    You can get away without special tools but the proper fork cap tool helps.

    500ml of oil either side but don't just pour it in as there might still be some in the fork that is trapped and you will overfill it.
    Measure the air gap with the fork compressed but damper rod elevated. Oem is 85mm.
    Depending on how you feel the forks are for your weight you can alter that a bit to suit. i ran 95mm.

    don't buy seals from Aprilia (too expensive) either harris, yamaha (r1sp) or ducati"

  4. #4
    Baby Twin
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    the Ohlins ones are suposed to reduce sticktion thats why the have a habit of leaking if the bike is stood but you said you wasn't going to replace them..crack the top of the fork off before you undo the clamps..with the fork upside down you need to spend time working the inner up and down to get the old oil out..not to hard to do.

  5. #5
    Superbike Twin
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    Just be methodical and clean and follow this guide:-

    Below is a basic "how to" on the Ohlins R&T forks. Let me know what questions you have.....

    Get front up in the air and remove tire and brake calibers. Note were your preload is set (turns out from fully clockwise) so you can return them to the same position during assembly. Remove all preload. Loosen completely the top triple clamp pinch bolts, use fork cap tool to loosen cap. Three general methods; Ohlins specific tool - pricey, Dan Kyle's tool sold here on AF1 or use the preload nut to loosen cap (the backyard mechanic I don't care method). Id recommend you use masking tape on the blue preload nut regardless as its easily marred. Adjust both rebound and compression damping fully counter clockwise. Remember to count if you don't already know your settings from fully clockwise. Remove forks from bike.

    Completely clean fork(s) paying particular attention to the lower slider. Make sure no nicks, dirt or debris that may cut your fork seal. If you have a nick I use 800 grit or finer wet/dry sandpaper wrapped on a small square block of wood. Add a little oil to the sandpaper and carefully sand just the nub/nick/rough edge till its smooth.

    Continuing....Loosen completely the fork cap. Let top slider fall and rest on lower stanchant. The fork cap is held on by the 17mm nut underneath it. Push the sleeve below it down to get your 17mm wrench on the nut. This is under tension from the spring. Use wrench on cap and loosen. Turn compression damping fully clockwise. Remember to be gentle when the adjuster bottoms. You do this to keep the damping rod up while your disassembling. Otherwise once you remove the cap it slooowly falls into the fork tube. No big deal just a pain to get it back up. Remove fork cap. Remove preload tube, spring and aluminum rebound damping rod. This rod is in the middle of the tube that the 17mm is screwed on. Its long isn't it? This is what adjusts rebound damping by pressing down into the rebound cartridge and closing off the orifice. Turn 17mm counter clockwise till last couple thread hold it on and leave it there.

    At this point I'd measure the oil height. Should be any where from 105mm to 115mm (spring out) in my experience with factory levels. Motionpro.com makes a couple tools for this. One is a cheap turkey baster and the other a cool rod and holder. Both have measured marked increments or you can make your own.

    Obviously you'd be changing the oil so go ahead and pour it out. Always keep control of both fork pieces. Now you must remove all the oil thats in the cartridge. Turn compression damping all the way counter clockwise. Fingers on 17mm nut move the damping rod up and down. Both with the fork right side up and up side down. You'll know when all the oil is discharged when it moves freely. Lots of sucking noise doing this. Continue to let the forks drain. Many use brake clean or carb cleaner to help flush out the remaining oil. My personal opinion is its a bit too harsh on the aluminum and bushings. I use kerosene or new fork oil (cheaper brand) myself. You'll put some cleaner in the fork then move the damping rod up and down to fill it then go through the whole remove procedure again. I do this several times. Remember, you can't get or keep your forks too clean. Did I mention keep/get everything clean?

    Ok, time to assemble. Damping rod up, fill with some oil. Move damping rod up and down till all air is out of cartridge then continue to fill with oil to proper height. Fork should be fully compressed for measurement. Add spring and rebound rod . Once filled to correct height turn compression damping fully clockwise with damping rod up fully. Now, turn the 17mm nut down to nearly at the bottom of the threads.

    Ok, here is the part you MUST pay attention. Turn the rebound damping in the fork cap to fully clock wise. Screw the cap on and gently turn till it bottoms. Why it bottomed is the rebound rod is fully pressed into the rebound cartridge. Bring the 17mm up to bottom of cap but leave a thread exposed. Try not to turn the 17mm during this portion of assembly. Remove cap. Adjust rebound to fully counter clockwise.

    Next, I tie a small lead of solid wire 6-8" around the 17mm as its almost impossible to hold the damping rod up later once you insert the spring and preload tube. Install spring and preload tube. Wire should be sticking out from top. Holding wire install cap turning it within a thread of 17mm. Carefully turn 17mm to meet cap bottom. You'll want another set of hands at this point if you haven't figured it out as the preload tube has to be compressed while your doing all of this.

    On a side note, I mount my forks in my vise using soft jaws and holding by the brake caliper mounting points. Forks stay at an angle so oil doesn't come out but I can pull on the preload tube thus saving me having my wife help me with this....not something she thrilled about doing! A couple aftermarket company's sell tools to do this RaceTech being one of them. Anyways, tighten nut to fork cap and finish reassembly. Be sure to oil the o-ring on the cap before screwing it down. Torque it back on the bike as when you initially loosened it.

    Finally, reset preload, compression and rebound settings. Understand that your rebound may NOT be the same amount of damping with the same setting you were running prior to disassembly. Its nearly impossible to get the fork cap and 17mm nut to be in the exact location to each other before disassembly. If you did as I described your probably no more than a click + or - away on the rebound.

    Motorex 5wt is what i use and works well

  6. #6
    Baby Twin
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    Thanks Badger that helps, i can't quite picture it all but i guess i will just need to attempt it and i'm sure it will make more sense.

    a couple of questions:

    i found this video of fork oil change on USD GSXR forks and it seemed much simpler and doesn't need spring removal, is this possible with RSVR Ohlins? or do you really need to remove the spring etc & flush to get the old oil out.
    http://video.mpora.fr/watch/Je4gKpr11/

    the air gap mentioned in my earlier post (Spoonz on another forum) was OEM 85mm (although he prefers 95mm) but Badgers post mentions 105 to 115mm (spring out)

    is this because the 85mm was measured with damper rod up and spring still IN?
    What level would you recommend, i'm under 12 st (75kg) without riding kit?

    also it says the fork should be under compression, i assume this means compressed by it's own weight and not with additional force.

    sorry for probably dumb questions but want to get it my preparation complete before i start.

    thanks

  7. #7
    Superbike Twin
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    Quote Originally Posted by apemunky View Post
    Thanks Badger that helps, i can't quite picture it all but i guess i will just need to attempt it and i'm sure it will make more sense.

    a couple of questions:

    i found this video of fork oil change on USD GSXR forks and it seemed much simpler and doesn't need spring removal, is this possible with RSVR Ohlins? or do you really need to remove the spring etc & flush to get the old oil out.
    http://video.mpora.fr/watch/Je4gKpr11/

    the air gap mentioned in my earlier post (Spoonz on another forum) was OEM 85mm (although he prefers 95mm) but Badgers post mentions 105 to 115mm (spring out)

    is this because the 85mm was measured with damper rod up and spring still IN?
    What level would you recommend, i'm under 12 st (75kg) without riding kit?

    also it says the fork should be under compression, i assume this means compressed by it's own weight and not with additional force.

    sorry for probably dumb questions but want to get it my preparation complete before i start.

    thanks
    You could just tip the old oil out by taking the top cap off, personally i would flush out the old oil and make sure you get it out of the compression chamber.

    I would go with 100mm spring in for road use( Rod and spring in), you need to put a zip tie on fork leg and aim for about 10mm left under the tie after heavy braking, if you do not have this then just slacken the top caps and remove/add some oil with a syringe do the same amount for each leg in small increments, say 10ml a time till you get the correct amount of travel of the forks.

    It is not that difficult apart from the 17mm nut part as you need three hands almost, i do it on my own it is just a bit fiddly.

  8. #8
    Baby Twin
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    I have the fork cap tool if anyone needs to borrow one

  9. #9
    Baby Twin
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    Ok folks, i'm nearly there:

    i found this 'You Tube' clip which shows the procedure on Cartridge USD forks (not Ohlins) and is worth a watch.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y43k1...eature=channel

    i still want to clarify a couple of points as there is much conflicting info out there. In badgers post the following isn't mentioned anywhere else, from what i've seen everyone else just brings the 17mm nut up to the cap & secures it snuggly and does not leave a thread gap.
    also is the part with the wire necessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by badger View Post
    Now, turn the 17mm nut down to nearly at the bottom of the threads.

    Ok, here is the part you MUST pay attention. Turn the rebound damping in the fork cap to fully clock wise. Screw the cap on and gently turn till it bottoms. Why it bottomed is the rebound rod is fully pressed into the rebound cartridge. Bring the 17mm up to bottom of cap but leave a thread exposed. Try not to turn the 17mm during this portion of assembly. Remove cap. Adjust rebound to fully counter clockwise.

    Next, I tie a small lead of solid wire 6-8" around the 17mm as its almost impossible to hold the damping rod up later once you insert the spring and preload tube. Install spring and preload tube. Wire should be sticking out from top. Holding wire install cap turning it within a thread of 17mm. Carefully turn 17mm to meet cap bottom. You'll want another set of hands at this point if you haven't figured it out as the preload tube has to be compressed while your doing all of this.

    Is it worth lubing the seals with the recommended Ohlins 148-01 Green grease to keep them in good nick? Will any other grease do? How about Red rubber grease.

    I will set the air gap at 100mm (spring IN, damper rod UP) as per Badger recommendation but was wondering how difficult it is to measure this with the spring in, i would imagine the clearance is tight and probably why others use a different air gap with the spring OUT (120mm).
    Would a Cable tie slide down the side of the spring for measuring purposes?

    Last but not least, i don't have a garage or stand to remove the front forks so was just going to use a rear Paddock stand and a trolley jack under the sump with a wooden block to protect. is this ok?

    Thanks

  10. #10
    Baby Twin
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    When I did mine, I got a syringe with some thin silicone hosing on the end and put tape around the piping so that the length between the end of the pipe and the tape was what air gap I wanted. Then I filled the forks up until roughly correct level and used the syringe to remove any excess.

  11. #11
    Superbike Twin
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    I never used wire either mate, just a spanner and me fingers, all 15 off them

    Used vaseline for years under the dust seals to keep them from drying out, this is why the ohlins leak more often.

    Leave a thread gap as it says

    And James beat me to it, i do exactly the same, a syringe and some silicone tube attached with a marker on the tube at 100mm, fill beyond this and then just suck out the excess so you leave a gap of 100mm, dead easy.

    The jack and block is fine, but it will need to be lifted high enough to allow the fork legs to slip out, just make sure it is safe and ain't gonna fall over.

    If you are clean and methodical it is not that bad a job

  12. #12
    Silver Subscriber Jussi's Avatar
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    I have on of these


    Is brilliant... and I have used Motorex fork oil not the öhlins one. To my opinion it works as well as the oem

  13. #13
    Baby Twin
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    Cool

    Serviced the forks last night, I took my time and followed the instructions, quite easy really.

    I left the forks on the radiator for a few hours to get the oil nice and warm and managed to get most of it out, it was black but not silvery so I think it they have not been neglected for too long.

    Putting the 17mm nut on is a bit fiddly but I developed a technique which I will try to describe.

    When screwing the top cap back on I used a medium size screwdriver shaft across the top of the preload spacer to keep the spring compressed so I could hook the spacer under the lip of the nut.

    The preload spacer will try to spring back up but slide the screwdriver shaft against the other side of the nut and with a light squeeze hold the spacer and shaft against each other. This leaves your other hand free to spin the cap.
    (I hope you can follow that! It makes more sense when you are doing it)

    Needles to say you need a Vice to make it a 1 man job. (I don't actually have a garage so I used a couple of clamps from the pound shop G-clamped to some MDF and put it on a Kitchen work surface, If you think that is a bodge you should see my version of a homemade Abba stand!)

    I went for a ride before removing the forks and had 15mm travel at fork bottoms after a small endo at a junction so I went with the previously mentioned 100mm oil gap (spring IN, damper rod UP) to get it down to 10mm unused travel. I'll report back later if I need to make changes.

    I was a bit apprehensive about undertaking the servicing on a set of trick, expensive Ohlins forks but it really is quite easy if you take your time.

    Thanks for all the input folks, I couldn't have done it without you.

    P.S. By the way Badger how much Vaseline do you put under the dust seals, I just put a light smear, is that OK?

  14. #14
    Baby Twin teflon's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Just what I needed to know

    Really apreciate this thread. My forks need servicing but I was a bit aprehensive about messing up expensive ohlins. Especially as there are no instructions in the paynes manual. Done the job once on my ZZR600 but they are RWU and not cartridge forks.

  15. #15
    Baby Twin
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    I was surprised how easy it was really, i think it was the thought of damaging an expensive set of Ohlins that was putting me off, but the results are worth it.

    I did my RWU ZX6r forks last night and there really isn't that much difference, same procedure. They hadn't been touched in years and had to flush them out with cheap oil a second time, feel much better now.

    When the forks are out it's really easy to grease the head bearings as well. I will now change the fork oil when I change the engine oil come service time instead of ignoring it as per other bikes I've had in the past.

    Go for it, just take your time. If you haven't got a proper fork stand see my other thread below for a cheap fix.

  16. #16
    Baby Twin rubbish1's Avatar
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    Everyone is mentioning W5 fork oil. Is this the best oil to use or a heavier W10?

  17. #17
    Baby Twin rubbish1's Avatar
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    -And does anyone have a picture of the 'FORK CAP TOOL'?

  18. #18
    Baby Twin
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    Well the fork service didn't apparently go as well as planned.

    After I serviced them during the winter I took the bike for a couple of quick rides, all seemed OK, then put her back in storage. Unfortunately now spring is here both seals are leaking especially the left on which had developed a small drip!

    Just carried out the above task again and replaced the fork seals with GSXR 1000 K4 seals which are allegedly more durable due to a dual lip, time will tell.

    Quite an easy job to replace the seals, the dust seals come off easily, the circlip behind them can be a bugger, I used a fine, rounded kitchen knife at the circlip edge to prise them out, after they start to clear the groove they come out easily. (Can't use circlip pliers on them) Mine were quite corroded so I left them for the day sitting in a cup of Malt vinegar (Sarsons!) which cleaned the rust off.
    I needed a large, heavy duty screw driver to prise out the old seals with some cloth on the fork edge to prevent damage, careful not to scratch the forks with the screwdriver tip. (keep the old seals to help drive in the new seals)
    Remember to remove & reinstall the washer behind the seal.

    It is worth noting that the Gixxer seals are thinner than Ohlins so the seal will come to rest below the circlip, shouldn't be a problem as it is in tight and needs to be driven home with a good whack.

    I used a trick in PB this month to use a 40mm plastic plumbing join (£1.17 B&Q) to initially drive the seal in, fits perfectly if you remove the lip and O-ring on the join. One seal needed the old seal placed over the top and a good whack with a rubber mallet to persuade it in.

    I used the Ohlins fork cap tool (sorry no pics) several times during this procedure so I would definitely say it is worth getting one. I think mine was only about £10-12.

    One problem I had was when filling one of the forks with oil (surprisingly the oil was quite dirty again after only 50 miles riding despite giving the forks a good clean out last time) was that the damper rod was very hard to pull up whatever the compression setting. I didn't get this last time so emptied the oil, pulled the damper up and down on different compression settings then slowly filled with oil again. Not sure what it was, air lock?? but seemed to work.

    Hopefully bolt it back together tomorrow and find out if I have been sucessfull.
    Fingers crossed.

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