for oil - change or change and clean

I've changed my fork oil 3 times now, it's an '00 model, probably 40+ races and many trail days on it. I haven't done anything to mine yet but change the oil, still on stock seals too. I do plan to go into them this winter though, mine are starting to seep just a little when they get dirty...


I rode my 01' YZ426 hard for 1yr and changed the fork oil 4 times throughout the year (the seals also lasted 1 yr due to proper maintainence)! The oil always came out looking halfway clean (this made me wonder since I knew the susp. oil gets worked hard and it should be dirty after months of riding) Well after completely disassembling the cartridge and totally tearing the forks down...I realized where all the crud was at, it was all at the bottom and in the cartridge! The only way to properly clean the forks is to do it right and disassemble it (you will learn alot in the process, or at least I did). Because if you dont you are just wasting the new oil because it will become contaminated right when it hits the "crud" at the bottom of your forks!

You might also want to change you shock fluid too! I always thought the shock would be real hard to take apart but after actually doing it, it was much easier than the forks IMO! My shock was much dirtier than my forks, and it seems like the dirt it attracted to the outside of the bladder in the shock (because this is where all the "crud" was at! I am in the process of updating my site and I will have suspension stuff and other things in the technical section! Hope this helps,


Was the crud really caked on, or can I stir it up by working the cartridge a bit before I drain the oil? I want to get some fresh oil in before the holidays but I don't think I'll have time to do a tear down before then. :)

For those of you who change your fork oil often, how frequently do you think it is necessary to disassemble the forks and clean the parts well as compared to just dumping and changing the oil? For example can you change the oil a couple of times before you should completely disassemble the forks for cleaning, or should you fully disassemble and clean on every change?


I've never done this on mine so I'm sure they're pretty gunked up. What tools are required to do this correctly? I'm on a business assignment and I brought most of my hand tools, but I'm without a vice, air compressor, and other big shop tools. In case I don't have the right stuff, does anyone know of a shop in the Hillsboro/Portland OR area that could do this for me?

Words of wisdom from young Master Garrett. There is the right way, and halfway. Total teardown is the right way. And rebuilding a shock is easier than forks.

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