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Finally changed the fork oil today on my XRs. A little over the 15K the book recommends, have almost 17K. Was kind of leary of doing the fork oil , it was the first time doing the upside down style forks for me. Have done all my other bikes with the old fashioned style forks. Yes very time consuming, but not as bad as I thought it might be. Started out right, had forgot the correct size tool for the front axle at work.........Looked for one at home,no tool. Then I looked for a bolt that would fit, did not have that either. So I figured I run to Ace Hardware and get the correct tool, no luck they did not have one in stock. Went to the hardware section. Looked for a bolt that would fit. I was going to get a bolt and two nuts to lock together to slip into the axle the help remove it from the fork. I jut happened to look down and found the extra long nuts, about 1.5" long, I believe it is 7/16" I.D. for threads or about 5/8" O.D. or ruffly 16mm. I put that into the axle and put a socket & rachet on there an remove the axle, also used with a socket and torque wrench it install the axle into the fork. After I was finished with the job I through my new extra long nut into my tool bag and into the saddlebag on the bike, a low cost axle tool, cool. I believe it cost me $1.65, this seems to be one thing that worked out good and cheap...... Now since I had ther forks off I figured might as well repack the steering stem bearings. I knew from pictures in the manual the bottom bearing was a tapered roller bearing,but the top I did not know what it really had. Well the top bearing is a sealed ball bearing, just like a wheel bearing. So I cleaned the lower bearing and repacked it with grease. The top sealed bearing I was careful and peeled out the top seal. I packed grease into the top bearing and re-installed the seal. One interesting thing that I did find that I really did not care for was the lower bearing seal, it is sealed on the lower side which is good, good move Victory. Now I looked into the bottom of the frame to clean out the race and inspect it. When I inspected the lower race I was looking up and I could see right up and out past the engine air filter. The top side of the bearing IS exposed to open air by way of the air intake, not a good move Victory IMO. No the old grease was not supper dirty, but I could see it getting very diry especially if you travel dirt roads often. Next time I do it I may go ahead and spray some expanding spray foam inside of the frame to seal off the neck of the frame. I know this might seam like overkill but to me they should have sealed it off. Also I was thinking I could use like an empty toilet paper roll in the area of the steering stem to keep the foam out of that area. Well I have 15,000 miles to think about it. I know just don't worry about it. Well put the bike back together and now she feels better, new oil an grease up front so it will ride better than new, ha,ha. :D
 

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Good write up and some good information. One thing most don't realize is how bad their front suspension is getting because it is so gradual. I am probably a year or more out before mine needs it but I will probably attempt it myself.
 

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Finally changed the fork oil today on my XRs.
How did you fill the forks? Did you go by the book or just add half a bottle of oil to each leg? Seems like one would need several special tools to do it by the book.

What kind of fluid did you use? One of my Vic dealers didn't have the Vic brand/viscosity. He said he only orders fluids from Victory once every 6 months and then said it was going to be ~$40 if I wanted to wait. I went to the other dealer who had it on the shelf for ~$11.

Was getting at the bearings reasonably easy? I've read that sometimes getting them out can be a bear.
 

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If you ever need bearings go to a bearings store with the old ones. You can get a better quality bearing for same price or less.
On a cross bikes bearings are easy to get at. Not sure if the top nut is a castle nut or a normal nut.

Do not fill the frame cavity with any thing you will cut off air flow to FI's

Fork oil should last for fifty thousand miles. The only reason it would go bad is cause of condensation.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
method, oil

Well I have done several other bikes in the past. So on those I always used a cc cup or a mix ratio cup you get for mixing 2-stroke oil with gas. I know the manual says to remove the springs using special tool #---xyz. Do I have the special tool, noooooooo. I unscrewed the nut on top which at the same time turns the bottom of the fork leg,so take the axle out and remove the wheel first. The top cap on the fork leg is only torqued according to the manual to a max of 22-ft. lbs.. I had broke the cap loose from the fork while the fork was still clamped with the bottom tree, but I had loosened the bolt(removed it) from the top tree. Removed the fork legs. Unscewed the caps and dumped the old fork oil out. I did not take the springs apart from the cap or remove the springs. I put the legs tilting down into a oil pan and placed it all out in the good old Az sun to warm them up and help the oil drain better. While the fork legs drained I took the steering trees apart. When I filled the fork legs the book says you have to remove the springs and use the special oil level tool which again I do not have. I filled the cc cup up. Shop manual says each leg holds 481cc of fork oil , that is dry. I did let each leg drain for quite some time. I filled the cc cup up to 475cc and slowly poured it into the legs by letting it run down the springs into the legs. Then I worked the leg up and down a few times and then, it suppose help get the air out and installed the cap. I did not use Victory oil. I used Amsoil synthetic for oil #10, the stuff looks as thin as water. I used it before in my Triumph. Amsoil sells a #5 really thin, and a #10( a little thicker) for oil. No I am not a dealer, just like the products and it is easy to get, order on line. I do the "preferred customer" deal they have and it saves me a little money. Also no the oil did not cost me $40, it was much less. I bought two bottles, did not need it, so now I have one for next time. I like to have extra oil around also in case I spill some in the process which as we know never ever happens to any of us,ha,ha. One draw back is they do charge shipping so I usually order oil for bikes , or our car, had a truck it got ripped off,no more oil changes for it...... I know the method I used to do the fork oil is not completely by the book, but it worked for me.----VJ +1 on going to a bearing house/store. I bought some bearings for my Triumph and it saved me over half of the dealer cost. Also the frame is open from the steering stem back to the air filter intake. The air filter closes off the cavity of course to the fuel injection or intake manifold. I was suggesting sealing off the area just behind the steering stem bearing area, just an ideal and of course not sealing it close to the air instake filter at all so the filter would still get plenty of air. I just do not care for the fact that dirt can get in on the lower bearing through the intake area for the engine air filter. With the steering stem out of the frame you can see daylight from the bottom bearing over to the air intake for the engine air filter, nothing sealing it off on the XRs anyway.:( Do plan on taking your time doing this if you decide to do it, my wife was not happy that I spent so much time on it, but she was happy I did not spend the $$$ at the dealer.thumb up
 

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Thanks for posting that procedure Speed, you gave me the incentive to want to do that myself, maybe next winter. I too have doubted that the springs had to be removed. That's an interesting steering head bearing arrangement, I must add. Now I know what to look for in there.
Re the oil level....If memory serves, the manual calls for using a depth gauge device. Cycle Gear (the Harbor Freight of the bike world) has them for a very affordable price. I think I'll wait for a sale and get one to prepare for that project.
Too bad there is no drain plug at the bottom of the forks. Why not?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Depth gauge

Years ago I never heard of a depth gauge device. Always changed the fork oil with out it before. It worked for me before. So if the seals go out and yes I have to change the seals I will probably go and get the correct tool. Then I will feel more like Bill Nye the Science Guy. Sorry may have gotten his name wrong, ha, ha. .... The tool is cool and I am sure it helps to measure much more to spec.
 

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Thanks for posting that procedure Speed
+1

Too bad there is no drain plug at the bottom of the forks. Why not?
Actually, if you watch the Witchdoctor video there is. You need an extension, but with the axle out you could remove those bolts and pump the cartridge and let it drain in a bowl without removing them from their clamps. Witchdoctor did remove them from the clamps in his video, but he also showed how to rebuild them with new innards which does require them to come off.

WD didn't show how he added the fluid either, but I suspect he did something similar to Speedblue.

The goofiest thing about the whole job is that the Vic fork oil for our Cross bikes comes in a 1 quart container. 1 quart is 946 ml. As Speedblue noted, the amount spec'd for each for is 481 +/-3ml. Half a quart is only 473 ml. Errrrr :mad:
 

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Thanks for posting that procedure Speed, you gave me the incentive to want to do that myself, maybe next winter. I too have doubted that the springs had to be removed. That's an interesting steering head bearing arrangement, I must add. Now I know what to look for in there.
Re the oil level....If memory serves, the manual calls for using a depth gauge device. Cycle Gear (the Harbor Freight of the bike world) has them for a very affordable price. I think I'll wait for a sale and get one to prepare for that project.
Too bad there is no drain plug at the bottom of the forks. Why not?
There is a 6mm allen with brass washer in the bottom of forks. The only way you can get at it is when the axle is out. Loosen it before you take top nut off or you'll never get it loose. #12
 

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Saddle, If one does not do the entire tear-down and leaves the springs and cartridges in place, might 473 ml be sufficient?
Thanks for mentioning the Witchdoctor video...I'll check it out.
 

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VJ...that method of draining the oil appeals to me, being either lazy or efficient. It takes very little effort to pull the front axle and wheel to access those #12 plug bolts. Thanks.
 

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Ironically, I've been looking at doing this same procedure for a while. I'm just shy of 15k, so, nice timing on this write-up.

Out of curiosity, what are the consequences of not changing fork oil? seal wear?

also, what sucks is I had to have the left fork seal replaced last year, which means it's full of new oil anyway and doesn't need to be serviced for another 8k. Shoulda had them do the oil in the other one...live and learn.
 

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A good mechanic would have put new oil in both forks. Are you certain they didn't?
Contrary to what your science teacher taught you, oil and water do mix. Oil is hydrogenous, that is it absorbs moisture. This is why MC fluids should be changed every 2 years, especially the clutch (if applicable) and brake fluids. Brake fluid that looks just a tad darker than new, can be half water. The rear brake reservoirs on Cross bikes are particularly vulnerable to picking up moisture.
 

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Out of curiosity, what are the consequences of not changing fork oil? seal wear?
There are a mess of various metallic bushings/spacers in there. I suppose they may be predisposed to additional deterioration, but the big thing is just loss of damping.

I'm going on 23k miles on mine now and my forks still feel good, but the change is gradual and one gets accustomed to diminished performance. I've read some folks letting it go 60k miles+. I guess depending on how are you push the front end, it may not make that much difference. The damping will resist dive and quickly quell the oscillation of an energized spring, but that may matter little to those who aren't inclined to brake and corner aggressively.
 

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Saddle, If one does not do the entire tear-down and leaves the springs and cartridges in place, might 473 ml be sufficient?
I hope so as I don't intend to buy another quart for an additional dozen mls. Hopefully, there's some overfill in there, but I'll probably drain them over night and go with the min spec of 481 - 3 ml.
 

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Guys if your not in a high condensation area your fork oil is good till at least 50 thousand miles. That means the forks are hot then get extremely cold.
The only thing the oil does is get pushed threw the damping tube holes.
I pulled a softail front forks off for a guys bike the had 90 thousand miles on it and went to rebuild them. The bushing at the bottom of the tubes had worn 2 thousand so it was still in specs. The fork seals wear out and the leak. If there not leaking don't mess with them.
Victory tell you to change this stuff so you spend money at the dealer when you don't need to.
If you stop and think all bikes are pretty much the same and Honda Kaw and BMW H-D and so on. They all have longer intervals before doing fluid changes and other things.
So why does Vic tell us to do this stuff.
 

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Guys if your not in a high condensation area your fork oil is good till at least 50 thousand miles. That means the forks are hot then get extremely cold.
The only thing the oil does is get pushed threw the damping tube holes.
I pulled a softail front forks off for a guys bike the had 90 thousand miles on it and went to rebuild them. The bushing at the bottom of the tubes had worn 2 thousand so it was still in specs. The fork seals wear out and the leak. If there not leaking don't mess with them.
Victory tell you to change this stuff so you spend money at the dealer when you don't need to.
If you stop and think all bikes are pretty much the same and Honda Kaw and BMW H-D and so on. They all have longer intervals before doing fluid changes and other things.
So why does Vic tell us to do this stuff.
This is horrible advice. While it is true that fork oil does nothing but get pushed through holes in the valves, in doing so the fluid heats up. Like brakes converting forward motion into heat, fork oil flowing through the valves converts the up and down motion of the wheel into heat. That heat will cause the oil to slowly break down and get thinner resulting in less damping. If left long enough eventually you have no damping at all and the lack of lubrication can lead to wear or damage to the bushings, tubes, sliders, and cartridge. Granted a big cruiser is set softer than a sportbike and as a result the heat buildup is less than something that's being ridden harder but oil breakdown can occur way earlier than even 15k. As an extreme example, a racebike that see a few hundred miles of use per year can completely cook fork oil in a single season. I'm not suggesting that fork oil needs to be changed annually (though I do on all my bikes and will on my vic as well) but it certainly should not be left alone for 50k

It was said earlier but the breakdown of the oil happens gradually enough that it's nearly impossible to notice it happening. The real change occurs when oil that's been left in for too long is changed out and suddenly the bike feels and handles completely different. My $.02 but I'd rather change it earlier and keep things consistent than let it sit extra long and have the bike behave noticeably different when I finally do change it.
 

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Sorry our oil in the tubes does not heat up.
Comparing a race bike to a street bike is light years a part.
I suggest work on more bikes before you make assumptions.
I have only 35 years of experience working on bikes at dealerships
and you
 

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Sorry our oil in the tubes does not heat up.
Comparing a race bike to a street bike is light years a part.
I suggest work on more bikes before you make assumptions.
I have only 35 years of experience working on bikes at dealerships
and you
It doesn't heat up? Where is the data that says the oil in the forks doesn't heat up, I'm curious to see this. Fluid dynamics would suggest that there is heat produced and that the oil will break down over time, especially when moisture from condensation is introduced.
 
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