Author Topic: Expected Life Span of Suspension  (Read 2150 times)

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Offline Chad Wilson

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Expected Life Span of Suspension
« on: August 18, 2009, 03:59:00 pm »
What is the expected lifespan of a Connie's suspension?  : 46k miles
Chad Wilson    1990 C10

Offline Charlie_Gary_AAD

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Expected Life Span of Suspension
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2009, 11:50:00 pm »
 
Quote
 What is the expected lifespan of a Connie's suspension?  Chad Wilson  1990 C10: 46k miles  
   Man, I figured somebody would have responded to this by now.  What follows are my opinions, and mine alone.  We all know what opinions have been equated to, so take mine as you will.  Here goes.    It really all depends on how you want to ride your bike.  If you want to reliably drag your pegs over all pavement obstacles, the stock suspension is junk right off the showroom floor.  If you want to rack up miles on mild curves, changing the fluid front and back every couple of years will keep your stuff working reasonably well for as long as you want to ride the bike.  The front forks are a reasonable project someone can learn to do if they have a weekend, a mechanical apptitude and some tools to go with a dirty oil receptacle and clean replacement oil.  If you've got a service manual and access to a buddy who knows either there in person or on the phone ( get the right guy on the phone, and he'll have the service manual, too), or even just the book telling you how it comes apart/goes together, you can get through the fork oil change with confidence it was done correctly.    Changing the rear shock oil is a little more involved, but aslo doable some weekend if a first-timer has a mechanical apptitude and some tools to go with a dirty oil receptacle and clean replacement oil.  Once you have it down you can get it done in a couple-three hours, and that's not busting hump.  When viewed from the inside, the big enemy for seals is air.  If the fluid is maintained to keep it from breaking down and foaming, the seals will last a long time.    This brings us to your question of "How long?"  Again, we get "It really all depends on how you want to ride your bike."  Some books will tell you the fluid's done after 1,000 miles, and service manuals will tell you the rear shock is permanently sealed and can't be serviced, while the front needs to be changed every 18000 miles (Concours).    I usually change mine once a year, and in the back I currently have 15W suspension fluid.  When I change I'll go with 10W to try to get a little more damping action.  I run 63 psi in my shock because I want both more clearance and spring, so switching to a lighter oil won't affect me the same as someone who runs 7 psi of air.  If it's too light, I'll just mix some of the left over 15 with some of the leftover 10 and get somewhere in the middle, the final ratio being dependant on what the 10 weight tells my butt.    Up front I changed more than just my oil at one point, and OH BOY WHAT A DIFFERENCE.  I was able to scrape up enough walking around money to get a KB fork brace, some Sonic springs and some RaceTec cartridge emulators from Murphs Kits.  I added some oil I had already (mixed and matched to get enough, it's about 12W) and my bike no longer wallows around corners.  The front end feels a little stiff over bumps just riding down the road, but when you're leaned over a few degrees shy of scraping your peg and you hit a 1-1/2-inch-tall concrete seam, your front wheel rolls over it like it's not even there.  With the stock suspension the front wheel will bounce up, the handlebar will go full lock and the bike will begin to travel in a less-than-controlled manner until the front tire touches down again and restores your illusion of control.  While all this is happening, don't forget to keep riding the bike. ;)    So to try to draw this answer to an end before we all die of boredom, if you do nothing more than change your oil every couple of years, your bike will remain pretty much stock for years.  If you want to comfortably keep up with a guy like Dan Paulsen, you might want to beef up the front end a little.    Hope this helps.  
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Offline 2linby

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Expected Life Span of Suspension
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2009, 02:09:00 am »
Front fork seqls will eventually fail. What that failure date/time is, ??? who knows. I've had to replace the seals twice in 130,000 miles so I don't see it as too much of an issue.  The rear shock is a tough nut for sure. However you'd best be served to remove, drain then replace the fluid every 30,000  miles or so. Remember to use rear suspension fluid for the rear shock and fork oil for the front. Yes these are different fluids.  AKA "2linby" That's 2-lin-by folks!  Northwest Area Director  COG #5539  AMA #927779  IBA #15034  TEAM OREGON MC Instructor    http://community.webshots.com/user/2linby  http://tinyurl.com/njas8 (IBA BunBurner Gold Trip)  http://tinyurl.com/lwelx (Alaska trip)
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Offline MAN OF BLUES

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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2009, 06:51:00 pm »
Your bike differs from the other 2 guys, so I'll chime in...  Your forks are likely stock,you have a 1990 with the air assist. These forks run 7 psi to set up, and never more than that, as premature seal failure will result. I'd say with the milage you have right now, picking up a set of Progressive springs from Murph is a wise option, and won't break the bank, in my opinion you will see a major improvement for very little cash outlay.  Remove and drain the old oil, install the new springs, and add the specified fork oil to the correct level shown in the manual (pre 94 and post 94 differ in the way the oil location is measured, so heed well the manual). This does away with the need for adding air ever again as the springs do the job without using the air for preloading, and thus will save you replacing the seals till down the road when they eventually will leak. No need to do them untill this happens.  as far as the rear shock, I will caution you against pumping it up to 60+ lbs....it's not supposed to be that high, seal life will be greatly reduced if you do this....  You can replace the fluid (again,  Murph's has a "kit" to make this job easier).  I hope this helps, just don't get tooooo anal and mess with them constantly, and they should last a long time, everytime they are disassembled there is a chance of damaging a perfectly good functioning system.  

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Offline Colin

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Expected Life Span of Suspension
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2009, 10:42:00 am »
I'm curious as to what happens to the oil in the front shock, and why it needs to be replaced after 18K miles according to Ma K. And then why they say the rear shock is good for the life of the shock.    I get why engine oil needs to replaced as it picks up way more particles, it is compressed and heated way more as well.    18,000 seems quite short.    Does time play a factor? AFAIK oil does not breakdown or oxidize over time, or does it?     Here is why I ask... As you'll know if you read my 'Feeding the Addiction II' thread I just picked pair of Connies (2000 & 2001) with 9,000 miles each and I'm wondering if its worth changing all the suspension oils or not..    CP        Colin Prior  COG IT Director    Lake Forest Park WA  COG#7767  AMA#1081764  ROK#20000617  
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Offline Slybones

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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2009, 01:03:00 pm »
18K on the front. Dang. I better add that to my list too.     Since I am at work and dont that the instructions in front of me. You emulator guys, how was that fork oil measurement, with or without the emulators installed. I gotta start refreshing my memory on them thingies.      2003 Concours, 55K  COG #6953  IBA 28004  http://home.comcast.net/~slybones/Concours/connieMain.htm  
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Offline danodemotoman

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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2009, 09:23:00 pm »
 My first first Conk (98) the rear shock puked oil at 85k mi. Maybe the hwy 120 roller coaster north of Mammoth had something to do with that? Air on a Connie... with 250# rider and touring wt = abuse.   The fork oil oil gets dirty much faster. Lots of aluminum in the dirty oil. Anyone who has worked with Al knows how dirty it can be. I change mine at least a every year about 20k mi. Tried 15w but found 10w suits my moderate riding style better tho 15 w is better for the sporty riding control.   The rear shock oil need changing less often IMO. Every 2-3 years? 10w oil in rear.   YOMV  

Offline Charlie_Gary_AAD

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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2009, 09:20:00 am »
Slybones asked:  
Quote
  Since I am at work and dont that the instructions in front of me. You emulator guys, how was that fork oil measurement, with or without the emulators installed. I gotta start refreshing my memory on them thingies.  
   Since I am at home looking for work, I just happen to have the instructions in front of me. :)  Here's what they say.    "7)  Install the fork fluid. First remove the the fork spring and use the oil viscosity recommended in Table 2.  Bleed the fork by pumping them.  Install the emulator and then set the oil level with the forks completely bottomed and the springs out."    Table 2 shows the proper oil level to be 150mm.  
Later, 
Charlie - NWAAD
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