80 xs650 forks wont fully lower.


XS650 New Member
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Madison, WI
Hi there. I'm completely stumped here. I am taking apart my 1980 xs650 forks and inserting new seals and oil. The first one went super smooth. I had both of the stanchions straightened before hand. I went to go put the brake side fork together and it would not slide down all the way. I cleaned it, I tried it without the seal and it would seize up at the same point no matter what. I went to the local parts yard yesterday and got another fork. I made sure it compressed all the way down before I bought it. It did. Took it home and began the process of taking it apart and installing it. It is still locking up at the same spot with new parts. I got two more stanchions that are also straight from a friend and there is no combination of old shit or new shit that gets remotely close to working. I am at a lose. I didn't overclamp it in a vice. I had a rag and barely held it in a hand vice. If anyone has any experience with this, please let me know.
Thank you.
You should NEVER clamp a fork lower in a vice, it's too easy to pinch it oval shaped and ruin it. You say the "new" one you got did compress fully but now it doesn't? Is this after clamping it in your vice? If it is then you may have ruined it too. Only clamp the lower at the bottom where the axle goes through, or better yet, on the caliper mounts .....

Yes, the lowers are cast aluminum... no heat treatment... no nothing... soft aluminum. They'll deform WAY easier than most people would believe.
If it worked before you clamped it and now it doesn't, odds are you bent another one.
If it makes ya feel better, you ain't the first.