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Thread: Fork Question: Spacers/Oil Level

  1. #1

    Default Fork Question: Spacers/Oil Level

    Hi all,

    New to fork service here. My son primarily trail rides his 2014 85sx and the front end is really harsh/stiff even after backing off reload. He's an intermediate trail rider, 98 pounds.

    We got the bike used so I'm not sure if any valving work was done or if the springs are stock.

    I just pulled the springs out and I can't see any markings, so it's likely they're stock. There's 2 plastic spacers on top of the spring, 15mm total height.

    Question: Is there a low-tech /cheap way to soften up the front, without forking out for new springs? Like removing the 15mm plastic spacers? or lowering the oil level? I have 5w Motorex fork oil I was planning on using.

    Thanks in advance!
    ------------
    11 250 XC
    16 701 Enduro
    74 Rally 200

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Fork Question: Spacers/Oil Level

    First thing is break down the fork and measure the oil height, to see where its at related to stock , 15mm added preload sounds like a lot. Measure the free spring length with no cap on the fork, just with resting with collapsed fork on the rod, and measure from top of the outside for tube, to top of spring. Then put cap back on the rod and remeasure to top of spring from outside fork tube, hopefully you see something around 5 mm difference, thats your preload. if its 15mm difference, then you have an avenue to reduce(by removing spacers), to about half of that. but somewhere 5 to 7mm ideal imo

    anyway, that's off the top of my head , but also measure the oil height before dumping the old oil. so you can see where it was at.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Fork Question: Spacers/Oil Level

    Thanks so much spud786. Good call measuring oil first. Thanks for the advice!
    ------------
    11 250 XC
    16 701 Enduro
    74 Rally 200

  5. #4

    Default Re: Fork Question: Spacers/Oil Level

    I have used tis method in the past on big bikes. You can also alter the weight of the oil you use. If you are trying to get a softer ride, use 2.5 wt. oil instead. It passes through the valving easier than the 5 wt. You have to run tighter settings on the rebound, but it gives you a wider choice on compression.

    Check your spring pre-load as mentioned, and of course you must work to the correct oil level.
    Last edited by LRM; 12-07-2019 at 09:40 AM.
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  6. #5

    Default Re: Fork Question: Spacers/Oil Level

    Using the measurement above my left fork is now 5mm preload by removing a 5mm spacer and leaving the 10mm spacer. All good.

    However when I measured the right spring it was the same with or without the cap. So essentially zero preload. It had a 10mm spacer and a tiny 2mm spacer.

    Should I leave the right as-is? Iím not sure how important it is to match preload.

    FWIW left measures 250mm to top of spring with cap and 5mm preload, right 248mm.

    Oil is now 120mm on both using the technique in Jeff Slavenís vid. Old level appeared to be about 100mm.

    thanks in advance
    Last edited by sashapave; 12-07-2019 at 03:46 PM.
    ------------
    11 250 XC
    16 701 Enduro
    74 Rally 200

  7. #6

    Default Re: Fork Question: Spacers/Oil Level

    20mm oil height drop should make a huge difference by itself

  8. #7

    Default Re: Fork Question: Spacers/Oil Level

    Quote Originally Posted by spud786 View Post
    20mm oil height drop should make a huge difference by itself
    I agree, it feels much softer now especially in the higher (lighter) range.

    Thanks again for all the help!
    ------------
    11 250 XC
    16 701 Enduro
    74 Rally 200

  9. #8

    Default Re: Fork Question: Spacers/Oil Level

    Oil should be 100-105mm with spring not installed. Stock fork springs should be good for 100lb rider. We generally went to the CC volume spec in the book at it puts you pretty close to where you need to be.

    Depnding on what the shock is doing, can definitely affect the front of the bike. Whats fork height at, and clickers at? Did you get bike from a Moto kid, offroad racer or from another trail rider?
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  10. #9

    Default Re: Fork Question: Spacers/Oil Level

    Thanks for the reply! My son's been happy with the current setup so I think I'll keep it there until next time I service the forks.

    I backed off compression dampening all the way, and have rebound just where I can start feeling it, sorry don't recall clicks.

    Forks are just showing the 2nd ring marker on the top, looks like 5mm maybe? I tried dropping the forks a bit more to see if he could get some more weight on the front end, but now with the softer settings I brought them back up.

    Bike came from a moto kid, but then passed through a trail kid. I'm the 3rd owner and it was definitely well loved.
    ------------
    11 250 XC
    16 701 Enduro
    74 Rally 200

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