Front Axle Hex tool?

Several vendors sell these things,  they are inserts for the front axle,  right side and I am trying to figure out if there is any real need for this tool,  on this bike in particular.   I could see if the axle threads in the the left hand leg and it would require you to tighten the axle with the hex tool.  I understand if the axle was spinning and you couldn't tighten it, but I've never run into that.  ??????


Any other purpose that you can think of?   The lower aluminum section of the fork that clamps onto the axle is pretty tight and I've experienced some difficulty reinstalling the axle.   I've used a thin bladed screw driver to try and expand the clamp,  but it is difficult.  My concern is that the right side fork will not be able to moved in or out when you attempt to center the forks?

 Here is it's purpose:

With the 10mm clamps loose, you tighten the axle to about 20 ft lbs.

The axle should spin on the right leg, and that is why you need the hex tool to hold it.

Then tighten the left 10mm, pump the forks, lift the bike, spin the tire, jam on the brakes.


All that  should center the fork tubes, IF the right side of the axle is able to move. 

It should move when you try and tighten the axle without much resistance. 

Now you tighten the right clamps, and tighten the axel nut all the way down.


If the axle does not move freely in the right leg (which on all my WR's, it does not, from the factory):


Pull the axle

Get some 80 grit emery cloth

Sand down the contact area on the axle, by clamping the axle and wrappping/sanding the surface with the sandpaper (do not sand the fork leg!) with the 80 until it slips in better.

Then smooth it out with finer sand paper or scotchbrite.

When you re-install it, use a light layer of grease.

Made my own by grabbing a 1/2" SAE bolt (3/4" hex head) out of the miscellaneous hardware bin and welding a stub of pipe on the threaded end to serve as a T handle.  Cost next to nothing.


Note that once you have centered the fork using the method listed above, you can realistically repeat the re-centering just by making a note of the axle position in the right side lug and resetting it to that same position next time.  If it comes up flush with the end of the bore, in a millimeter, out a millimeter, whatever, you can normally just put it back there again and be fine.


But without the holding tool, it's just one more step.  To sub for the tool, the right side lug pinch bolts can be temporarily snugged up to allow you to run the axle nut down snug without the axle turning.  Frankly, I use the tool more for twisting the axle as I remove or insert it so as to facilitate that than for holding while tightening.

Yes good point. I have scored my axle at the center point, but forgot to mention it.


It should be noted that if you ride with forks that are not centered, you will create un-even wear on the internal fork bushings, (as well as having tons of stiction), that will accelerate the problem  to the point of terrible suspension action.


Getting the axle to slide is important.

If memory serves, the OEM tool kit sparkplug socket works to hold the axle.


Though I too, snug the nut, 'relax/center' the forks, tighten the axle clamp and tighten the large axle nut. If I am at all uncomfortable, I loosen the clamping bolts and 'recenter' the axle and re-tighten. Though I only find myself doing this on bikes that are somewhat beat up.

Well, my front axle has corroded to the point that it is no longer free in the right I'm going to have to follow my own advice....

If memory serves, the OEM tool kit sparkplug socket works to hold the axle.


It's supposed to, but a lot of them need some dressing up with a grinder to get them to fit the in the axle. 

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