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limping with stock forks - or worth the rebuild?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Muckroot, Apr 3, 2020.

  1. Hello folks,

    I've got me heart set on a nice set of TCBros front springer forks. the construction looks super solid from their video, and they come with lots of support in terms of calipers, bar mounts, and all that rigamarole. the trouble is, with all this corona quarantine happening i am flat broke, and will be for the foreseeable future. So I figure I'll throw the stock forks back together with all this free time I suddenly have. Here's the rub.

    I initially thought I'd just rebuild the forks like every other sane person running untouched, unloved 1975 tube forks. but lo, that requires a loooong socket extension (pricy) and a whompin' Allen key (pricy). So here's my question. Can I just service the fork oil and use them tenderly for the 300 or so miles of riding I'll be doing to various shops and hangouts while I get other essentials on the bike finished (like a rear brake) before I pony up for the springer? or will the bike need to sit until I can get the springer sorted out? the forks currently have no top seals (the one's that go on the top of the lower tubes, and slide along the middle of the upper tubes as the forks compress), are covered in red spray paint (PO... *eye roll*), and still seem pretty springy when I rock the bike around but I have no idea how they would do on the road. If I can just swap the fork oil and pray, do I need to get those top seals? are there any other fork seals I need to worry about?

    Also, does anyone have any experience with the TCBros springers? how do they hold up? are they really all that? I plan on riding this bike all over the continental US and down into Mexico on chopper runs and cruising trips over next 40 some years. Will a springer from TCBros stand up the that abuse?

    Thanks all for the input;
    Best, Muckroot
     
    YamadudeXS650C likes this.
  2. YamadudeXS650C

    YamadudeXS650C Central New York XS650 XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Hey,
    Sounds like you haven't yet discovered Harbor Freight. There are three stores in El Paso.
    Tools are dirt cheap there.
    Just cut back on the beer a bit, and you'll be all set on the budget :)
    Good luck with your project !
     
    Muckroot likes this.
  3. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Sounds like you have NO tools. You won't even get the fork oil changed without a 17mm Allen for the stock fork top caps. HF might have a reasonably priced Allen socket set that includes that size, or you can weld a 17mm nut to a bolt and use a wrench or socket on it. The bottom Allen that holds the forks together is just an 8mm. That should be easy and cheap enough to come by.

    For all the traveling you seem to have planed, a stock fork would probably serve you better. I've seen first hand some of the other products TC Bros sell and I'm not impressed ..... at all. They were expensive for what they were, and not very well made or designed. I wouldn't trust their springer as far as I could throw it, lol.
     
  4. YamadudeXS650C

    YamadudeXS650C Central New York XS650 XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Here is the 17mm tool 5T mentioned.
    I just used an old bolt and nuts from a vintage VW bug engine mount.
    If you don't have a welder, perhaps you could find a looong 17mm bolt and with a little heat bend it 90 degrees to make a tool.

    tool.jpg

    BTW, your stock '75 forks are probably just fine, once you sort out the seals issue.
    .
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
    lakeview and Muckroot like this.
  5. Team Junk

    Team Junk XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Are the seals missing or just the fork wiper.
    Part 12 wiper ( not critical)
    Part # 3 Seal , Must be there or fork oil will spray out

    Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 2.23.03 PM.png
     
    lakeview and Muckroot like this.
  6. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    The wiper or dust cover is there for seal protection though. If I was going to do all the riding you say you're going to, I think I'd want that.

    Don't get me wrong, the 650 is a wonderful bike. But I'm not sure a half chopped and hacked up one will be up to the tasks you have planned for the next 40 years, lol.
     
    Muckroot and YamadudeXS650C like this.
  7. Well, seeing as how I've already got the front forks and all the brackets and tree's and bits that go with it I might as well run those for the time being. I think I can pick up the socket extension and 8mm Allen for 15-20$ or so. I Hadn't considered doing the bolt trick! that is a real home run idea, at least in my specific situation. I DO have a welder, and I can easily make up a tool like you showed in your picture. I think I've got a VW engine mount bolt laying around as well, but I'll just go buy the proper sized bolt from Ace or Home Depot. I'll also have another look at my forks top caps because I'm pretty sure there isn't anywhere to put an Allen key or socket in there, last time I eyeballed them it seemed like they were freeze plugs or some type of push in plug that wasn't removable. I'll double check though, and post a picture in a few minutes.

    As for the seals, It looks like the wipers are gone, but honestly if I'm going to be rebuilding the buggers anyway I'll pony up for new seals and wipers. But I'm dead set on at least cruising with a set of springer forks, and swapping forks shouldn't be too much of a nightmare if i have a good weekend before a looooong cruise to get everything set up. I can definitely see swapping to the stock forks back onto the bike once every year or two for really long rides. 80% of this bikes life will be as a daily around town. Going to school, work, bars, and the local hangout, that sort of thing. I think the springer will do those rides just fine, especially if i'm not beating the heck out of it on 500-1000 mile trips annually.

    If the TCBros springer isn't up to par, who's would be? If I decided to run the springer year round who should I buy from? I'm really looking for absolutely bulletproof reliability from this bike. I'm not nearly as concerned with style, so a simple classic style springer would suit this bike just fine.

    As for that, I'm having a pro weld the hard tail on so it'll be super straight and solid (he's got a jig, a big TIG welder, and a pretty desk clerk, so you know he's legit), I've completely rebuilt the engine to include scrubbing every single part down with parts cleaner and replacing all oil seals and any bearings that needed it as well as sending the crank to Hugh for an overhaul, and I'm running the stock bore, not a 750 so the engine will hopefully last as long as I keep putting fresh oil in it. I've got no doubt the bike will outlive me if I treat it right, and it'll certainly weather road trips and group rides just fine, if not a little slow because of the gearing. The real question is weather my butt will survive the first 500 miles on a hard tail springer LOL.
     
    YamadudeXS650C likes this.
  8. IMG_9140.jpg IMG_9141.jpg
    This is what the tops of my forks look like. after watching some XS650 fork videos on YouTube these don't seem to resemble regular 650 fork top caps. I'm guessing that they are long rods that are secured through the assembly at the bottom, and that this is some kind of top-cap-less design. Any input on how to rebuild these style forks would be greatly appreciated.
     
  9. wannabridin

    wannabridin XS650 Guru

    I didn't feel like whippin out the welder, so i just double nutted some nuts on a bolt and dropped it in there. worked great w/o needing my welder!
     
    Muckroot likes this.
  10. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    OK, the plot thickens, lol. Those aren't 650 forks. Good news is it's pretty easy to get those caps out. They are retained in the tube by a wire snap ring. Push the cap down into the tube 1/8" to 1/4" and you'll see the wire ring. Pry that out and the fork springs will pop the caps out. But, to know what seals you need and how much oil to put in, you're going to have to I.D. the forks. They may be from some other Yamaha model. Is the front wheel a stock 650 one?
     
    Muckroot likes this.
  11. well... yikes. The bottoms resemble 650 forks quite closely so I'm guessing they came off a 750 or some other model of Yamaha. I'd be willing to bet the lowers are probably from the same casting die that the 650 forks come from. Here is a picture of the wheels, as well as some numbers off the left fork, though I don't think they mean anything.

    IMG_9142.jpg IMG_9143.jpg IMG_9144.jpg IMG_9145.jpg IMG_9146.jpg
     
  12. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    That's an 18" wheel so it's not from a 650 either. The parts could be from an XS500. It had both an 18" wheel and the top caps retained by a wire clip like that.
     
    Muckroot likes this.
  13. Wowee. Looks like I've been had! LOL. That does answer the question of why the bearings on the neck were completely out of wack when I bought the bike. I was able to see the individual balls of the bearing sitting proud of the top neck race, and turning the bars one way or the other was a real chore. I figured the previous owner just hadn't aligned the forks right or handn't tightened the neck nut up enough, but most likely they were the wrong bearings in the the wrong neck for the wrong forks.
    Anywhoo, seeing as these parts aren't from the 650, and as I have no interest in building a wackadoo Frankenstein bike I think I'll suck it up and keep riding the moped until I have enough dosh to put down on a nice springer and a new spoked front rim. Thank you everyone for the excellent info! you folks have again saved me many a headache over a simple mixup. I'll go ahead and punk around the site a bit looking for springer threads, seeing what other people have said regarding TCBros and other brands of springers.
     
    lakeview and thuban like this.
  14. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Keep your eyes open locally for 650 parts. You may stumble upon a parts bike or just a fork for next to nothing. In fact, one of the later 35mm forks would be a nice upgrade and should bolt right on.
     
  15. JAX71224

    JAX71224 jax71224

    In classifieds now..........look
     
  16. Well, Final update to this thread. After looking around and figuring out that the springers in my 6 month budget range are not the right style/quality/fitment that I'm hoping for, I think my best option is to rebuild the forks I've got and try to make them work as best I can for the time being. I'm going to start a new fork identification/rebuild thread. Thank you again to everyone for your input, I really couldn't do this without you folks.

    Best, Muckroot
     

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