Changing the Front Fork Oil

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Written by Robert Michael (Cruiserbob)   
Sunday, 18 April 2010

When it came time for me to replace the fork oil in my 06 Roadie I sought guidance from the RSC and there was no compelte guide to replacing the fork oil. There are several ways to accomplish this task, and I will outline the way I did it successfully. During this process is a good time to replace brake pads and clean calipers if needed, and to clean repack and retorque the steering head bearings. Sorry I did not take pictures so I will hopefully describe the steps well enough to not need them. This is a very simple job with only very basic skills and tools required.

Tools needed:
12mm socket and end wrench
22mm, 24mm (15/16" works)27mm socket (1 1/4" works a little loose)
5mm, 6mm hex key wrench

Materials:
2 quarts fork oil (acutally you will need 1 quart and 5.4oz, 18.7 oz per fork 554cc)

Place the bike on a solid stand that can easily lift the front wheel off the ground. I use the Sears Red lift:

  1. Prepare a place to put the windshield, fender, and wheel when removed. I like to put big towels down on the floor for this purpose out of the way.
  2. Remove the windshield if you have one, 2, 12mm bolts each side and set aside.
  3. Cover the Gas Tank with a heavy cloth, I use a fender skirt, as this is where the top clamp and handlebars will be placed later.
  4. Remove both front brake calipers 2, 12mm bolts on each. Tie them back out of the way. I tie them to the crash bar with some coated wire.
  5. Losen the pinch bolt 6mm on the lower right fork leg below the axle
  6. Allow the lift to lower the front tire to light contact with the ground to take the weight off the axle.
  7. With a 22mm wrench or socket remove the axle. Clean the axle and recoat with a light coating of grease and set aside for reassembly.
  8. Gently lift the bike to provide clearance to remove the front wheel and set it aside.
  9. Remove the front fender 6mm hex bolts 2 each side, and set it aside on the towels you put out earlier for this purpose.
  10. While the fork tubes are secured in the clamp loosen the fork tube caps JUST LOOSEN them so you can easily remove them later when the fork tube is out of the clamp. It is easier to loosen the cap while it is retained in the top clamp than later when you have to hold the fork tube in one hand and loosen the cap with the other.
  11. Loosen the upper pinch bolts 5mm hex 2 each side
  12. Remove the cap nut on the top clamp 27mm (1 1/4" works a little loose) There is a chrome washer under the cap nut that you need to take off and set aside as it will roll away when you lift the top clamp and can go a long way!!!
  13. From the front of the bike grab the handle bars, and gently rock back and forth to loosen the top clamp. The first time I did this I had to really loosen the pinch bolts and place very larg screw driver in the slot and expand the gap a little. Careful this is soft alumium and you can leave an impression in the top clamp with the screw driver.
  14. Once the top clamp begins to move be careful as there is a tight clearance around the metering assembly (speedometer housing). Once off carefully lay the top clamp and handlebars back on the padded tank. Note how the cables are routed so you will be able to reroute them the same way.
  15. Now you can remove the upper tins to expose the lower pinch bolts.
  16. Get a large oil drain pan and place it so you have room to work with the fork around it.
  17. One side at a time, loosen the lower pinch bolt 5mm hex. Make sure you are holding the fork tube in hand as when the pinch bolt is loosened the fork tube will slide out.
  18. Remove the fork tube from the lower clamp.
  19. CAREFULLY remove the top cap on the fork tube. Hold the fork tube in one hand and with a 24mm socket (15/16" in you hand loosen the cap. It is under spring pressure so you will need to press down on the cap to keep the spring pressure off the threads especially as you reach the last threads so the spring pressure does not damage these fine aluminum threads.
  20. Once the cap is removed pour the contents of the fork into the oil drain pan. This can get messy if you just dump it as the spring will come out with the oil and splash every where. No I did not learn that the hard way at least this time! Note how the spring is inserted. I do not know if there is a top or bottom, but I wanted to make sure it went back the way it came out. Pump the fork tube into the fork leg several times to get as much of that icky nasty worn out old oil out. Mine was reddish black.
  21. Fully extend the fork tube and hold it in one hand. I used a measured cylinder to pour 18.7 ounces (554cc) of Belray 5WT oil into the fork leg. I probably would and will go to 7wt next time, but that is up to you. Some go up to 10wt if for a firmer ride.
  22. I pumped the fork leg a couple of time gently to get the oil circulated and then replaced the spring.
  23. Now for the somewhat tricky part of this process. I held the fork tube in one hand and then with the 24mm socket alone with the top cap in it I pressed down on the spring to compress it and carefully began to thread the top cap. Take your time from others I have heard these fine aluminum threads are easy to strip. Once the threads start hand tighten the top cap.
  24. Put the fork leg back in place as close as possible to the height it was before you removed it. You can get it close by the marks left on the fork tube at the lower clamp. Unless you carefully clean your fork tube like I did
  25. Repeat the oil replacement on the other fork and replace in the lower clamp. Do not over tighten the lower clamp yet as the next step is to align the fork tubes.
  26. With the lower clamp snugged tighten the top caps on the fork legs.
  27. Replace the top clamp with the 27mm cap nut. You will remove it again so don't worry about the tins just yet. Now align the top of the fork tubes flush with the top surface of the top clamp. When both sides are the same tighten the lower pinch bolts securely 14 ft. lb. torque
  28. Remove the top clamp again and reinsert the tins and replace. Tighten the cap nut 27mm 17 ft. lb. Don't forget the chrome washer you set aside earlier.
  29. Tighten the upper pinch bolts 5mm 14 ft. lb.
  30. Replace the front fender 6mm 2 each side
  31. Roll the front tire into place and insert the axle, and tighten the 22mm axle into place and secure with the pinch bolt 6mm on the lower right fork leg.
  32. Replace the brake calipers 12mm bolts 2 each side.
  33. Now is a good time to pump the brake lever to get the pads in contact with the rotors.
  34. Replace the windshield.
  35. Lower you scoot off the lift and take her out for a smooth ride.

Overall the first time will take up to a couple of hours, the next time I can do it in under an hour and still have time to clean all those hard to reach places as I go.

Good luck, and let me know if I missed anything. Next time I will take pictures and add them to the tech article.



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DISCLAIMER: This information and procedure is provided as a courtesy and is for informational purposes only.  Neither the publishers nor the authors accept any responsibility for the accuracy, applicability, or suitability of this procedure.  You assume all risks associated with the use of this information.  NEITHER THE PUBLISHERs NOR THE AUTHORs SHALL IN ANY EVENT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, OF ANY NATURE ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH THE USE OR MISUSE OF THIS INFORMATION OR LACK OF INFORMATION.  Any type of modification or service work on your motorcycle should always be performed by a professional mechanic. If performed incorrectly, this procedure may endanger the safety of you and others on your motorcycle and possibly invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty.


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  Comments (10)
Owners and maintenance manuals
Written by Dna, on 05-30-2013 12:17
These can be downloaded or ordered on a disk at http://www.manuals4mechanics.com/index.htm 
You can also download owner's manuals at Yamaha's web site http://www.starmotorcycles.com/star/products/lifestylehome/home.aspx 
 
A Speedometer is mentioned in this tech tip, Are not all Roadies equipped with tank mounted speedometers? Mine is a (( but I have limited experience with M/Cs so maybe there are Roadies out there with fork mounted speedometer I donno...
Owner's and maintenace manuals
Written by Dna, on 05-30-2013 12:14
Oil brand i should buy
Written by zipper, on 01-10-2013 10:59
this is a big help becuz i took my forks apart to be chromed but what oil should i put back in it im not a big guy so a soft ride would be nice any help? ????
Changing fork oil
Written by ncstar, on 03-05-2012 17:04
Thanks so much for the step-by-step. Only things I would add is to loosen speedometer housing (take all screws out) to ease lifting out of top clamp. It was more work than I thought fighting the handlebars. Be careful to hold in fork nuts under spring pressure; hold them in tight and the spring won't explode when you unscrew it. Putting the cap back in - just like the article says. Keep pressure on it, and keep it square. Overall, the job went smoothly.
A couple of suggestions
Written by Digitos, on 02-14-2012 14:15
After completing this maintenance task yesterday, I wanted to add a couple of suggestions that really helped me put.  
 
First, I used the clamping power of the bike itself to remove and install the caps on each fork. Just leave them in the lower pinch clamp and completely remove the cap, don't just loosen it. Same goes for reinstalling the caps. Two words of caution though: make sure the bike is properly balanced and secured on your bike lift, because you'll be putting pressure on the front of the bike when removing/installing the caps. Also, be careful when you do remove the tubes from the lower clamp because there is no longer a cap in place to keep oil from spilling out.  
 
The second suggestion is to use a powered driver of some kind when reinstalling the caps. I have a Dewalt 3/8" torque driver that worked great. This is admittedly a riskier way of installing the caps because of those fine aluminum threads. If you have the stones to try it, it worked well for me.
Written by Boatmark, on 11-12-2011 11:15
Dude, you rock!
Forking Oil Change
Written by scooter, on 04-19-2011 15:45
After getting a quote of $ 200.00 plus parts from the dealer I decided to change the fork oil myself. Those who said getting the caps back on was fun have a very dry sense of humor. Robert's instructions were dead on but when it came to reinstalling the caps I didn't have the strength so I wrapped the forks with gasket material and clamped them down in the vice. I also dry fitted the caps prior to reinstalling the springs and found one was difficult without fighting the spring. I found the spot where the threads dug in and noted the position with a marker. I used 10W weight Yamaha oil but next time will use 20W for a firmer ride. Thanks for your help CruiserBob!
Fork oil change
Written by Fiddlekop1, on 01-29-2011 17:12
Is there a certain millage or time to make this change. My Roadie is an 07 that I bought in Sept. of 2010. It had 2000 mi. on it. The bike didn't come with an owners manuel so im in need of advice on maint. intervals and such. Finding an owners manuel is like looking for Hens teeth. I am at 3500mi. now. I am new to the site and am glad I found it.
Awesome
Written by Sky, on 09-08-2010 21:59
How often should this maintenance be done? I am curious cause I have 32k on my roadie and I have noticed in the last 1-2 months that the front end dips more than previously when I use the front brakes either at a slow stop. 
 
Thanks in advance
Fork Oil Change
Written by Rayjay, on 08-23-2010 20:06
I recently did mine when the throttle cable broke and my scoot was laid up. It was easier than I expected. The oil I drained out looked like graphite. The PO never changed it and I had 49,000+ miles on her. 
I flushed out the forks with some leftover transmission fluid and then some Marvel Mystery Oil. They were filthy! 
I installed a synthetic transmission fluid and the ride is more "responsive." I like the results.

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