Forks are the most crucial part of a dirt bike and it requires constant attention for its well-being. It is hard to take care of a dirt bike when you are constantly on the go. Especially when it comes to taking care of dirt bike forks. Sometimes the seals are leaky, or you face such a problem that you have to either replace them or you have to rebuild dirt bike forks from scratch.
But even if you are dreading rebuilding the forks of your dirt bike, I can assure you that if you follow this step-by-step guideline it will be a piece of cake. In this article, I will walk you through all the steps of this process. I will also tackle all those questions you might have. So naturally, it will be at least ten times easier for you to do it yourself later on.
5 Easy Steps To Rebuild Dirt Bike Forks Without Any Damages
On average, you should check up on the forks every 40 to 55 hours of driving. However, it also depends on which brand or model your dirt bike is. In that case, you should consult the manual or the manufacturer.
But now that we have cleared that up, let’s move to the good part where we break down the process in easily understandable steps.
Step-1: Preparing The Suspension
First, you need to find the suspension that you are going to use in your dirt bike. If you don’t know which one to use, no pressure. Just contact your local suspension expert and they will be happy to help you find the perfect suspension for your use. Or, you can contact the helpline of your manufacturer, they are just as friendly and just as qualified to give you suggestions.
Now that you have found your dream suspensions you need to clean them. In this case, you need to remember the more thorough you are, the better it is for your bike. So grab some water and some cleaning agent and raise hell on that unseen dirt on your suspensions.
Step-2: Emptying The Fork Oil
Once your suspension is nice and clean, we are going to the next step in which we will be emptying the fork oil. To accomplish this, you need to locate the fork cap. Once you have located it, turn it around and empty its contents. It is better if you already have an area prepared for this. It will help you to minimize the mess.
If you are done draining fork oil from both of them, we will move on to the next step.
Step-3: Disassembling The Forks
After you have drained the shock fluid, it is time for you to disassemble the forks. To start with this, you need to loosen up those caps on each of them. Then you have to press a damping rod retainer tool by compressing the forks.
Now you have full access to remove the clicker assembly. If you remove the outer tube of the spring seat and check the dampener, you can see if there is any residual fork oil left. This can help determine how many hours the bike has been driven since the last servicing.
As soon as you are done removing the outer tube of the spring seat of both forks, you can remove the valve assembly from the damp air. Remove the piston from damp air. Next, you are going to take out the dust step and the snap ring. For this, you will need some pressure and the outer inner tube would separate. Now let’s take out the bushing and seals from the torque tubes.
Step-4: Preparing For Installation
Now before you start assembling everything, it is wise to check if each part is well accounted for. If there is any seal or snap ring that is unaccounted for or needs replacing, now is your time to do it. It is also a good time to reference any clicker settings that you might want to work on.
Step-5: Reassembling The Dust Ring
For the beginning of this step, we would advise you to put the piston in the damper right where it belonged. Next, you would want to substitute the lock nut on the bottom of your forks. You should also put some oil on the dampener. While pouring the oil, move the piston up and down to smoothen out its movements. When you have done this a few times, place the piston at the bottom and move on to the next task.
Now take your seals and coat them in grease lightly so that you can install them in the fork tube. So now you must install all the bushings and seals that you took out of the forks exactly in that reverse order. Remember to install the fork seals using a fork seal driver. Then you press down the snap ring into place and set it into the outer tube and press it down. This will ensure that the dust ring is right where it should be.
Next, you take the valve assembly that you previously took out and place it into the dampener. After that, make sure the cap is shut tight and the movement of the piston is still as smooth and easygoing as it was before. If you face any problems, this is the best time to address them.
Step-6: Refilling The Fork Oil
Now remove the air bleed screw and install the spring of the spring seat. After that, install the clicker assembly at the end of the fork. Next comes the rebound adjustment rods. After this please, ensure that you torque to the proper spec that is referred to on your owner’s manual of your specific bike. Now measure out enough fork oil that you might need according to the manual and pour it down.
After this, your cap needs to be shut tightly and you can reinstall the air bleed screw. This is also the period when you run a check on your clicker settings and then set it to its correct setting.
Now as you have finished, you give everything a final cleaning, and et voila you are done.
Signs And Reasons To Rebuild Your Old Dirt Bike Forks
Every machine displays certain signs before it shuts down forever. The same thing is true for the forks of your dirt bike. Here are a few common signs that your dirt bike needs to have its fork rebuilt:
- Leaky Seals:
Seals are the biggest weak link when it comes to forks. Sometimes if the seals are bad or have been in use for a long time, they tend to lose their temper. This results in cracking seals that allow oil to leak through. This is a bad sign for your dirt bike forks.
- Shaking While Deceleration:
Occasional shaking isn’t anything you should take lightly. Especially if the shaking only occurs when you are decelerating. This indicates trouble with the forks. So you might want to check in on that.
- Excessive Dives:
Usually, no matter how shock resistant your bike is, it is not supposed to dive to a certain extent. So when you realize that it is taking extra dives when you break, it’s time to take a look. Commonly this indicates your forks are low on fork oil.
- Fork Sagging:
If you use your bike in a high-temperature environment frequently, you should watch out for this one. Normally your bike is supposed to withstand pretty high temperatures. But sometimes you may notice the forks are sagging. This is a good indicator that your fork bushings need a change.
6 Tips To Rebuild Your Dirt Bike Forks Safely And Quickly
When you are rebuilding your dirt bike forks, you must follow a procedure that is safe and sound so that you don’t have to suffer any sort of injury or damage to your property. It also helps that these tips help you save from a lot of hassle.
Here are a few tips for your assistance:
Tip-1: When you are disassembling the forks, you can stroke the piston up and down a few times to get rid of the excess oil.
Tip-2: While rebuilding, clean every part as you go. It makes the process much easier and smoother.
Tip-3: Before you begin your whole process, it is better if you find a place in which you could empty the fork oil. It helps to minimize mess.
Tip-4: You can determine the driving hours of your bike by examining how burnt the residue fork oil on the pistons is.
Tip-5: When you are disassembling the fork, it is better if you remember the respective positions. It will save you a lot of sweat later when you will be assembling it again.
Tip-6: At the start of disassembling the fork, it will be very helpful if you write down the numbers of clinks it makes.
Related Questions About Rebuilding Dirt Bike Forks:
Is It Mandatory To Rebuild Or Re-Install Dirt Bike Forks?
It is not mandatory to rebuild or re-install dirt bike forks. You’d be lucky if your bike survived 150 hours of constant driving without it. So even though servicing your bike isn’t mandatory, you should do it after 40 to 55 hours of driving. Anyway, servicing your dirt bike forks will ensure a long life for your bike.
How Do You Install Fork Seals Without A Driver?
If you are trying for a quick solution, there is an easier fix for this. To do this, you will put back everything as you took it out until the part you need the seal driver. Then you use the old oil seal. You cut it in half and scruff off the sharp edges so they don’t scratch. At this stage, you fit it over the new seal and use it to push it towards the outer tube.
This treatment is only better for quick fixes. The dust seal gets a bit of rough treatment. Even though it works, it is better to use proper tools for this sort of thing.
How Do You Restore A Fork On A Dirt Bike?
The best way to restore it is to rebuild the fork from scratch. This is because it gets a full treatment and cleanup. This is very good for the forks. However, if you are in a hurry or don’t have enough time, you can always take it to the servicing center.
Is It Hard To Replace Fork Seals?
Many people often complain that replacing seals is hard. But we think that it is only because they are misled by blurry and unclear instructions. After going through my step-by-step guide, replacing fork seals will be the easiest thing for you to accomplish.
Without Disassembling The Fork, Is It Possible To Replace The Seals?
This is entirely possible. For this, firstly you will need to locate the bolt in the forks. This bolt keeps the cartridge in its intended area. As it is closer to the lower fork area, when you free the bolt forks, they will come apart. Then you can use your seal driver to change fork seals.
Can You Ride With Leaky Fork Seals?
Let me warn you leaky fork seals are not a good thing for your dirt bike. And the more time passes, the worse it is for your bike. So if your dirt bike is leaking, you should have that checked out and change the fork seals.
How Do You Overhaul A Front Fork?
To overhaul your front fork, you should only need to remove and replace the seals. First, prepare your bike for the removal of suspension. Next, you will need to empty the fork oil and disassemble it just a bit so that you can reach for the fork seals.
Once you can reach the seals, you take out the seal and replace it with the new one. Then you put everything back in the order you took everything out. If you shut the cap tight, you are done. However, if you feel like there’s a bigger issue going on, don’t hesitate to take your bike to the mechanic. Better to be safe than sorry, right ladies and gentlemen?
How Much Does It Cost To Rebuild Dirt Bike Forks?
If you are doing it yourself, it will cost significantly less than what it will cost if you leave it at a servicing center. For approximation, if you try to do it by yourself, it would cost you around 60 USD, and your local shops might charge you about 125 USD to rebuild it.
Rebuilding dirt bike forks is relatively easy once you get the hang of it. On the contrary, it is time-consuming and demands quite a bit of manual labor. So even if it is fine and convenient to do it by yourself at home, many people don’t want to do it themselves due to the sheer amount of time it requires.
In this article, I have broken down this process into small steps for your convenience. I have also tackled various related questions that you may have and tried my best to answer them. Hopefully, this has been helpful for you.