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Fork oil

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by patrickp, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. shotgunjoe

    shotgunjoe XS650 Hunter

    My buddy just bought some HD fork oil at $12 per 16oz... it looks suspiciously similar to the ATF I use at $5 per 32oz :laughing:
     
    gggGary likes this.
  2. Tomterrific

    Tomterrific XS650 Junkie

    Forks are about the crudest things that use oil. Fork oil doesn't get hot so just about any oil will work. Detergent is a bad additive though because fork oil could foam up on a rough road. I've never used diesel oil but it has more detergents. ATF is a good substitute as tramissions are prone to foaming so ATF is anti foaming. Lots of seals in an auto trans so ATF has a bunch of seal conditioners.

    Shadetree tip from Tom: If your fork seals leak and you just can't bare to change them you can use ATF and get one of the transmission stop leak products to soften and swell the seals back up.

    Another common tip that is widely used is to measure the oil level rather than the quantity. Six inches from teh top with the springs out and the forks fully compressed is the usual distance called for. Don't go less than 6" because the seals will suffer. Make sure you pump the forks up and down to remove the air pocket so you measure the correct level. The air at the top compresses and acts as a progressive spring to limit fork dive but just riding along the forks are as stock over little sharp bumps. Tip: Use the 'pump' from a lotion bottle. Measure and cut 6 to 7 inches from the bottom of the cap and pump out the excess oil to the correct level. My God Man, be sure to clean out the fork oil before you stick the pump back in the wife's lotion bottle.

    Tom Graham
     
  3. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Cheap fork oil leveler #2 - a 12" length of brass tube from the hardware store loosely gripped with vice grips 6" (or whatever level you're going for) from the bottom. Stick it into the fork top and suck off the excess oil using a plastic syringe attached to the top. I now hook my Mityvac tool to it and use that to draw the extra oil out instead of a syringe.
     
  4. I use regular 10w30 in my 75 xs650. Works fine.
     
  5. Were did you pick it up from and what qty for $$$

    Also do you guys use any special devices for setting the oil level?? Do you use those long cylindrical measure tubes? %twins home made device the same as what MikesXS sells?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I don't use any fork oil at moment the things are dry….:banghead:what was the PO doing?????

    I'm getting new seals, putting on some gaitors and need oil. Any special tools or other items likely needed?
     
  6. What size is the syringe? What dia tube?
     
  7. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Just like in your pic above. Tube is about 3/16", syringe 3" or 4" long by about 3/4" or 1" diameter. Connect the syringe to the brass tube with a short length of plastic hose. I'll get some pics tomorrow. I have a brass bar with a hole through it for the tube and a set screw in the side instead of the vice grips now. For measuring oil amounts, I use a nice old PJ-1 fork oil bottle. It has nice markings on the side for ounces and ml.
     
  8. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    As promised, pics of my homemade oil leveler tool. The brass tube is 3/16" O.D. .....

    [​IMG]

    ..... and inserted into the fork tube top .....

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Cheers, Seems simple enough………Now to find a hard core heroin addict to pinch his giant syringe!

    Think the vet would stock something that size don't imagine it used on a human.
     
  10. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    As I mentioned earlier, I no longer use the syringe. I hook my Mityvac vacuum pump to it and suck the excess oil out that way.
     
  11. wannarat

    wannarat wannarat

    Hey 5twins,
    I'm on my way to pick up some fork oil (got some ATF) but could you explain ti me how I get to the point where I actually pour in the oil? What are pinch bolts? Are they the clamp bolts that hold (pinch) the fork onto the assembly? I'm online now if you could answer this. Thanks- Bruce
     
  12. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Tom if you think fork oil don't get hot try running a few miles of bumpy road and stop to feel the forks.
    In the manuals they speced different weights of oil for the forks. The early years used 30w motor oil, then they speced 10w30 oil. The later years speced fork oil.
    The weight of the oil controls the speed at which the forks move. A thinner oil = faster, thicker = slower.
    The cost of trying a few different oils won't be much. So experiment some. I tried several oils. 10w30, 5w20, Regular ATF. I plan on trying some different fork oils sometime but the ATF works fine.
    Ok, to change the oil look down at the bottom of the forks, you will find the drain screws. Outside each fork. Phillips head bolt. Remove the bolt, pump the forks up and down to pump out the old oil.
    Now up at the top of the fork where they go through the upper tree, loosen the clamp bolt. It releases the tension of the tree on the fork tube. Now you remove the fork cap in the top of the fork tube. Different years had different caps. Yours might be a 17 mm Allen head or a big nut not sure on the size.
    I built a 17 mm tool for my caps. Get a metric bolt with a 17 mm head and a nut. Use a few flat washers and a lock washer. Now tighten the nut very tight on the bolt. Put the bolt in the cap and use a wrench on the nut to loosen the caps.
    Remember to put the drian screws in before filling.
    With the caps out, springs out, forks compressed just pour 7.5 ounces in each fork. Or a bit more and draw the extra out. so you have the 6 inches down as described earlier. Put the springs and caps back, Tighten the clamp bolts.
    You might want to flush the forks before the new oil. I used Kerosene. Remove the caps and springs as descibed, pour in 8 ounces or so of the cleaner of your choise, Pump the forks to speard the cleaner around, drain, do repeat till the cleaner comes out clean. I then flush it once with oil to get the cleanr out, let drain over night, then do the fresh oil.
    Leo
     
  13. rayth

    rayth XS650 Member

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    OK Guys - a question
    I have fitted MikesXS fork dampener kit
    have 2' over forks and Progressive springs that match
    Filled her up with ATF - which I have always found to be very good as fork oil
    After the restoration she rides as if I have no rebound at all- rides like a rigid- tho the cable ties show that the forks have actually moved somewhat
    have drained the ATF and am adding 5W fork oil - have also reduced the fork spring preload so that the top caps screw straight in without needing to be pushed
    I will report next ride
    Any set up advice appreciated - thanks
     
  14. jd750ace

    jd750ace Front Toward Enemy

    Fork dampener kit? If you are referring to the cartridge emilators, you should go to the Race Tech web site and read a few things on setting up forks. Oil weight and preload are not guessing games. There are ways to sort both closely without a vunch of time. You should be running 10 or 15 weight oil, and setting laden sag to get your front right.
    ATF is a horrible substitute for lubricant. It's avsolute shit in a fork. That's why nobody uses it in new bikes with the same type of forks.
     
  15. rayth

    rayth XS650 Member

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    Thanks JD
    That is an excellent site- so now have much reading/work to do
    Cheers
     
  16. Joe78xs

    Joe78xs 78xs650

    YOU Guyz rock!!!!! First, thanks for all the info on oil for forks!! 2nd Thanks for the pure reading mateiral !!!! and never mind my spellin im dislesic:bike:
     
    gggGary likes this.

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