Author Topic: How to open the top of a late model Connie fork? Can I just top up the fork oil?  (Read 765 times)

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Offline LeeM

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I have a 2000 Connie and the Haynes Connie manual doesn't explain what is under the two machined aluminum caps that appear to be the top of the suspension front fork tubes.

I have observed some oil leakage from the left fork tube.  What I would like to do is change the fork oil and get the oil level in each fork exactly right.

So the question is, what should I observe and test in order to assess the condition of the forks? The bike has 77K miles. I don't see anything unbalanced when coming to a stop and applying the front brake hard. The bike dips straight with no sign that one fork compresses differently than the other.

The thought I have is to support the bike with the front wheel up, loosen the two top Allen bolts, lift off the machined aluminum cap. Can I snake a tube down to the bottom of the fork and suck out the oil?

I have a set of rubber fork top seals and 20 weight fork oil.

Thanks for sharing with me your knowledge. Lee

Offline Bud

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I have a 2000 Connie and the Haynes Connie manual doesn't explain what is under the two machined aluminum caps that appear to be the top of the suspension front fork tubes.

I have observed some oil leakage from the left fork tube.  What I would like to do is change the fork oil and get the oil level in each fork exactly right.

So the question is, what should I observe and test in order to assess the condition of the forks? The bike has 77K miles. I don't see anything unbalanced when coming to a stop and applying the front brake hard. The bike dips straight with no sign that one fork compresses differently than the other.

The thought I have is to support the bike with the front wheel up, loosen the two top Allen bolts, lift off the machined aluminum cap. Can I snake a tube down to the bottom of the fork and suck out the oil?

I have a set of rubber fork top seals and 20 weight fork oil.

Thanks for sharing with me your knowledge. Lee
You won't have to lift that cap off of the top of the fork tube.  It is threaded so you'll have to unscrew that.  Once you have the cap unscrewed, the cap will shoot, with mega force, across your garage.  You will then spend the rest of your day looking for the elusive cap.  You may or may not find that cap.  Then you will be frustrated.  Not good.
You might want to watch this video to get an idea about how things are going to go.  I'd probably clean everything well and  replace the bushings while I had it apart.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hMVaHE7t5I

Offline Bud

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So I watched that video.  I wish the guy would have had someone video him removing/reinstalling the fork cap.  One little trick to aid in reinstallation of the cap is to mark the fork leg and cap at the point where the treads begin to engage.  It's not the easiest thing to get that cap back on without buggering the threads, which are very fine.  Having a copy of the factory shop manual is helpful.  Since you're a paying member, you can also go to the tech pages and probably find a tutorial on fork service.  If you can have a buddy that can help would be advisable.  I'm sure others will chime in with more tips, tricks and advise.  Hope that helps.

Offline Larry_Buck_FL

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LeeM

You are correct by marking the cap and the fork to index the cap to make starting it easier. Easier is a "relative" term, it's tricky. I use a ratchet and socket. This allows a pretty straight push on the cap to get it started.  With bike on the center stand, stand on the pegs, line up the cap and push/turn gently. A helper is nice, because they can tell you if the cap is lined up before you start turning it. You will know if all is OK in about 1/4 a turn.  Go easy, if there is resistance, back off and try again.

My COG bretheren and the shop manual, will not agree with my method of fork oil changing. For this, remove the springs - noting the coil winding - there is a top and bottom. Using a MityVac or similar pump, suck out the old oil. You will need a length of steel tubing (brake line tube from NAPA etc.) and a length of hose to connect to the vacuum pump. The inside bottom of the fork is conical, the tube will remove nearly all the oil. It looks really nasty. After removing the oil, put about a cup of mineral spirits in the fork and suck it out. Do this twice. You can use a rag as a swab if you like. Refill with oil of your choice - use the amount for a "wet fork" as stated in the Kawi Manual or Clymers.

If you will do this every 10-12k miles, you won't believe how good the suspension works.

Now to the main problem. You said one of the forks is leaking. I would suggest replacing both seals. To do this, the fork(s) need to be removed from the bike for the seal installation. Consult the tech archives about this, there is plenty of good knowledge there. If you decide to  not do this, and have a mechanic do it, taking the forks to him will save you money. 

Hope this helps.
Larry Buck - COG 3451, Retired SE-AD, now SE-AAD, Ex - Concourier C-10 Tech Editor, COG National Safety Officer, IBA 5581, MSF-Rider Coach, Forum moderator.

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Offline SteveJ.

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Dunno if this is still true but the MaKaw factory seals are the ones to get. Supposedly there is an issue using aftermarket seals. I rebuilt my forks at about 120k miles and replaced them then. After 234k miles, still never a leak. The seals are way too much work to replace to cheapen out on them.

As far as the seal leak, Google up for the film trick for fork tube seal cleaning. You may get lucky. By all means, re-bush the forks if disassembling. This should be done around 100k miles anyhow.

There usta be a write up somewhere about installing threaded drain holes for the forks. I did it to mine and it worked well.
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Offline connie_rider

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Lee, the fork removal video was pretty correct, but not the best instructional video I've ever seen.
Go to you tube and watch a few more to get more clarity...
They do not have to be Concours specific to help you get a clearer picture of the removal..

I agree with Larry and Steve, the OEM seals are better than aftermarket.
In your first post, you said you had seals and 20 wt fork oil.
   I don't have a manual handy, but I think you want 10 wt oil, not 20 wt.

Seal change;
Many fear the job, but changing the seals is actually pretty EZ to do.
  Here is a video that covers changing the seals and adding oil.
NOTE: I picked this video because the guy did a good job of explaining the procedure.
  Watch the video and ask us any questions you have..
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrmYJgcGX30

 If you opt to do this yourself, let us know, and we can add a few pointers.

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Offline Jim Snyder

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I made a guide out of PVC to help in removing and reinstalling the fork caps. It slid over the top of the fork and made assembly a breeze.
"Some days you're the windshield, and some days you're the bug" Get used to it cause thats life !!!

Offline RWulf

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Jim, that's a great idea.