Changing the fork oil
I do my very best to tell the correct things, but of course I can give you no warranty!
If you came here from my BMW F650GS Dakar page, please be
aware, that this document has been written for a Honda XL600V Transalp.
Thus, things like amount of oil, oil level and type of oil are different on a Dakar.
All other things are analogous.
Put the bike on the centerstand, if you have, or a chest, or some other bike stand, so that
the front wheel is free. Before beginning, it´s
a good idea to cut a stencil out of a piece of cardboard. It should be round, with an outer
diameter of 4-5 cm and an inner diameter of 1.7 cm. Put it on the top cap when unscrewing
it. Why? Well, you won´t scratch the aluminium cap with your wrench then ...
Attentive readers may have noticed, when reading the
known-problems-section, that I am
using a mixture of one part SAE 5 and two parts SAE 15W-30 fork oil. That gives a pretty good
damping to me (95 kg fully dressed). For you, it might be completely different.
Honda recommends - aeh - SAE 10, I think. But for me the damping is too soft.
- Losen the screws of the upper fork bridge, two on each side (pic 4).
- Open the top cap of each fork tube (SW 17)(pic 4).
- Now losen the bolt you´ll find at the very
low end of each tube to drain the oil (pic 5). Use a container holding at least 600 cc to catch the
- Remove the sleeve and the disk (stock springs only. When having mounted WP
springs, you may not find this) (pic 3 and 2)
- Remove the spring .
- Pull up the front wheel as far as possible and support it with a suitable piece of wood
or a chest. Attention, some oil may still drain off!
- Close the draining openings.
- Fill in the new oil, 549 cc in each tube.
- Now the most important thing: Check the oil level. In both tubes it has to be 125 mm,
measured from top edge of tube, as to be seen in pic.1 . You may say now, "hey, if I fill in 549 cc on each side,
the level will be equal!" No, it won´t necessarily. The only valuable provement is to check
and equalize the oil level.
- Let the wheel down and pull it up again a few times,
then check oil level again with
- Let the wheel down and put in the spring (closed wound coils down!), the disk and the
sleeve (not when using WP).
According to an information,
Jörg Ringelstein gathered from White Power, closed wound coils have to be up,
when using WP fork springs.
- Screw on the top caps.
- Tighten the fork bridge screws with a torque of 24-30 Nm.
- Enjoy riding ;-)
Also in the past, when having stock fork springs, I used a higher fork oil level (122 mm instead of 125 mm), resulting in a (for me)
better progression of the suspension. Now, when having Wirth fork springs, I'm
using the stock oil level of 125 mm.
B&W pictures scanned from "Reparaturanleitung Honda XL600V" by Bucheli Verlag, Zug/CH
Coloured pictures © Detlev Müller
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