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Play in front forks

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Hi all, first post here - just got myself a 1999 CR250 to keep my KTM300 company in the garage; always wanted one and love it!

It's needed/needs a bit of work but mostly simple stuff but something that is baffling me (and my local motorbike mechanic). When rocking back and forth with front brake on if felt the headstock was moving a bit (not a big job so wasn't overly concerned). The fork oils seals were/are slightly weeping but not dripping out and upon reading the past MOTs it has been advisories that the suspension forks have a 'light misting of oil'.

Anyhow, I slid the forks out to take over to motorcycle mechanic and realised then that is was actually the forks that has the play. Mechanic said not to worry and new bushes would sort this. Order a suspension service kit with bushes/seals etc. Got a phone call from the mechanic and he said he has put it all back together with the new kit but the play is still there. He's baffled as he says from what he can visually see there is not excessive wear - the chrome hasn't worn down on the stanchions nor within the case. I said that i'd read if this occurs trying moving the bushes to different points etc to see if that solves it, he says it doesn't so we are both left confused and he asked if I could get on a forum and see if any of you knowledgeable CR enthusiasts might have any ideas? Only thing he can think is that the forks aren't actually for/from a 1999 CR250 so we might be putting the wrong kit in (but not idea how or even if possible to find this out - do they have part numbers stamped anywhere?)..

Failing that i'll get some off ebay or something, but can only seem to find them for a CR125 (2001 for example is one i'm watching) - any ideas if that can be a straight swap?  

Any pointers would be much appreciated - cheers ?

Edited by southerntrails

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The cr 125 has 46mm forks and the 250 47mm , I don't think the bushes would fit , you do sometimes get play ,you can shim the bushes with ultra thin shims

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5 minutes ago, mog said:

The cr 125 has 46mm forks and the 250 47mm , I don't think the bushes would fit , you do sometimes get play ,you can shim the bushes with ultra thin shims

Thanks for the advice mog - he did say he'll try next week to use some other bushes and trial and error to see if thicker ones would solve - but where to start aye 🙂 - i'll leave that to him!

Edited by southerntrails

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I wouldn't consider slight play to be a concern, this is common even with new forks.  If it is enough play that brand new seals and bushings still leak then you have a problem but I have not seen that yet.  I've seen some haggard, tore up, high hour forks with visible wear from the bushings grinding abrasives against the tubes where they seat and they were find with new seals and bushings.

I would ride it and not worry about it.  Trying to shim the bushings and close up the tolerances may have negative effect on fork action and cause accelerated wear.

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14 hours ago, turbo dan said:

I wouldn't consider slight play to be a concern, this is common even with new forks.  If it is enough play that brand new seals and bushings still leak then you have a problem but I have not seen that yet.  I've seen some haggard, tore up, high hour forks with visible wear from the bushings grinding abrasives against the tubes where they seat and they were find with new seals and bushings.

I would ride it and not worry about it.  Trying to shim the bushings and close up the tolerances may have negative effect on fork action and cause accelerated wear.

Thanks Dan, first port of call - get them back together and as you say see if leaks, if not might just be how they are? cheers

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I bet they'll be just fine.  With the leg fully extended the play seems exaggerated.  At the seal its only 1/10th the amount of play you feel at the lug. 

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I'm not a fan of shimming the bushing and till now I have always rework bushes for more play. Till now because I got a 50 Cobra for my son and it had so much play you could feel it when braking giving a loose feeling (and no leak). I shimmed both bush and they now feel normal.

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