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Need help Forks & Gold Valves

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I have a 2003 DRZ400s and swapped forks with a member a couple years ago that had 2008 DRz400s forks that had Racetech Gold Valves and 0.48 springs.  Problem im now realizing is it doesn't turn good or handle that well, seems like it rides high and there's some sticking points high in the stroke.  overall, just seems kinda stiff in the front and I've already got the compression clickers all the way out.  i've almost lost the front in a couple times on the road.  I only ride street now so I put some Shinko 705s tires on it.  fork sag is 2 3/8" and race sag is 100mm with 34mm static.   i doubled checked the forks are installed properly. 

 

so i'm contemplating what to do.  I could try 90mm race sag.  then try to throw a 0.44 spring in one leg to soften the springs to 0.46 overall.  I weigh 215 so it seems 0.48 should be right, but maybe I just prefer softer forks.  On my KTM 200, the recommended rate is 0.45 but those were too stiff for me and I ended up with 0.42 springs.  But my real question here is should I try to adjust the Gold Valves and if so, how?  like i said i just got the complete assembled forks shipped to me so i have no knowledge of how to adjust the gold valves (if that's even the problem) but I am familiar with changing fork oil and springs.  The original owner apparently had Eddie's shop install the Gold Valves set up for a 195 lb rider.  From Racetech's website I learned that there's a instructional installation video and also a customizable chart on their website if you have a login.   Would either of these be useful if I could get my hands on them? 

 

Or should I just leave the valves alone and focus on the sag and spring rate?  just seems strange that I have to run the clickers all the way out.

 

 

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fork sag is 2 3/8" and race sag is 100mm with 34mm static.

 

Fork sag of 2 3/8" (~60 mm) is your front race sag right?  I would increase the preload on the rear shock and reduce the rear race sag to 70-80 mm with a static around 20-25 mm.  Was the rear spring upgraded as well (higher spring rate)?  I would try this first.  Valving isn't so much about rider weight, but riding conditions (MX, woods, desert, street) and skill level (the faster and larger hits a rider can endure).

 

To change the valving, you would need to at the very least remove the base valve and determine your current shim stack.  You’d probably also want to check that the mid valve piston wasn’t changed, because if it was then it’s possible they retrofitted a shim stack onto the compression side of the MV.  If you have access to RT’s valving guide that would be helpful because you could find your current stack and select one softer to try out.

Edited by bmwpowere36m3

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No, I don't have access to RT valving guide.  Maybe I should email them for it.  Do you have to completely disassemble forks to get to these shim stacks etc. or are they accessible once spring is removed?  If i went with a light 5 wt oil, maybe that would do the trick without having to gut the forks since I'm a newb at valving. IDK, it seems complicated.   i read on RTs website that oil weight only affects the rebound, and the compression is controlled by emulator spring turns ........ ??

 

yes, the front sag is 60mm.  I didn't realize you could go as low as 70mm on rear race sag, i thought 100mm was standard.  I'll start there.  And yes, the rear spring is upgraded i can't remember if its a 5.7 or 5.9. 

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No, I don't have access to RT valving guide.  Maybe I should email them for it.  Do you have to completely disassemble forks to get to these shim stacks etc. or are they accessible once spring is removed?  If i went with a light 5 wt oil, maybe that would do the trick without having to gut the forks since I'm a newb at valving. IDK, it seems complicated.   i read on RTs website that oil weight only affects the rebound, and the compression is controlled by emulator spring turns ........ ??

 

yes, the front sag is 60mm.  I didn't realize you could go as low as 70mm on rear race sag, i thought 100mm was standard.  I'll start there.  And yes, the rear spring is upgraded i can't remember if its a 5.7 or 5.9. 

 

If you only want to get access to the base valve, then no.  Simply remove the forks (off the bike), clean them throughly (especially the bottom at the adjuster), turn them upside down, compress the forks as much as possible, and blast off the base valve using an air impact gun (21 mm socket giving quick rips with the impact).  That'll get you the base valve with no oil loss.  If you want to access the mid valve, some further disassembly is required.

 

So could try 5 wt fork oil, but that is typically the standard oil used in cartridge forks.  But who knows, they might have had 10 wt as Eddie has recommended that in the past.  Going to 5 wt from 10 would soften the forks a little, but really a very small change.  I doubt you even notice it.

 

For the rear race sag, if you plan on strictly using it for street duty then 70-80 mm is pretty standard.  Off-road you want to be closer to 100-110 mm.  Just try it, you can always set it back to around 100 mm.  In reality there is a lot of things to check & adjust to fine tune the suspension/handling (tire choice, tire compounds, tire pressure, race sag, height of forks in triples, suspension clicker settings, oil weight, oil height, valving, rider technique, etc...).  Start with the simple and cheap things: sag, tire pressure, fork height, rider technique.

 

One thing you mentioned earlier was that the forks had some sticking points... if you end up taking the fork springs out (for example if you change the fork oil), compress the fork tube with the forks removed.  They should slide through their travel without any binding.  If you note any binding, then it could be something internal or more serious (bent/dent fork sliders/tubes, damaged bushings, etc...).  Unless its just the valving, which I wouldn't characterize as sticking (it shouldn't), but just stiff.

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