Fork oil change

Don't have a manual to reference this topic and I did a search to no avail.

What is the process and what should the oil level be. Just curious right now but I'm thiking this winter I will be changing the oil. Thanks in advance.

It's easy to change the fork oil. I use Mobil 1 synthetic ATF as my fork oil which is approximately equivalent to a 10wt oil, but some people prefer a lighter weight oil such as 5wt. If you haven't changed your oil yet and you've put on over 500 miles off road miles, then your fork oil will likely come out yucky gooey. This seems to be a somewhat common experience based on talking with other XR650R owners, but it only seems to be the case with the initial fork oil change.

If you haven't done so already, also make sure to clean the engine oil screen in the downspout which is located in front of the frame because it gets clogged up with stuff initially. Another good tip is to get a factory service manual as its well worth the money. The factory service manual lays out everything clearly and has a lot of good info in it.

I'm borrwoing this fork oil procedure from Andy Waddell on the XR650R Yahoo group who did a nice job on writing this up about 6 months ago.

------From Andy Waddell------

Just finished changing mine on my about 2-week old '01 BRP. Used the Honda Pro HP 5w ($14/qt!). Takes almost exactly one quart to do both sides to stock level (4.75" is approx. stock level; I set mine to what amounts to be about 4-3/8" since I'm a heavier guy and will probably want at least a little stiffer ride because of it).

I bought two quarts to have another around in case I wanted to add some. Anyway, it's pretty simple to do.

1) Loosen the big nut fork caps before you remove the bolts holding them in so they don't spin.

2) Remove all the obvious stuff that has to come off or be loosened. tricks here; what you see is all you need. I used a couple of large screwdrivers in the fork clamp joints to pry 'em open a touch to slide the fork out and back in again.

3) After you pull the fork tube off the bike you can take the big cap fully off. The Owner's Manual warns about the springs being under pressure when you remove the cap. Mine weren't in the slightest under pressure, and besides when you unscrew the cap fully it's still firmly attached to the piston rod so the spring can't come out anyway. Point is, no danger here.

4) After you unscrew the big nut cap fully and can lower the fork tube, you have another retainer to undo before you can get the cap off the piston rod, which is necessary to get the spring out. (You need the spring out when measuring the oil level). Use one wrench to hold the big cap, and an 18mm to loosen the top of the piston rod locknut to the base of the big nut cap. (BTW, I had absolutely none of the rusting or pitting others have reported. Both sides were perfectly clean and nice looking. The oil also wasn't like snot as others have reported, but I've done no real riding, either. Maybe once some aluminum particles get in it it gets snotty. It was yellowish, yes, but not thick and gooey or black and gooey as some have reported).

5) Now, once you've backed off the 18mm locknut, you need to use some pliers or needlenose to hold the piston shaft just under the locknut to break loose the big nut off the piston shaft. No worries about scratching you'll see later, the part you'll grab with pliers gets nowhere near passing through a bushing or seal or anything.

6) Once you get the cap off (take care as there's also a spring washer between it and the top of the spring), you can pull the spring out. Set 'er somewhere to drain.

7) Now, inside the piston shaft, there's TWO other shafts. One is about 3" long, and is solid aluminum with a slot cut in it. Pull this one out; note that the cutout/slot goes DOWN. The other shaft in there is just a long aluminum tube. I left mine alone, it didn't need to come out.

8) Remembering the other shaft inside the piston rod (so it doesn't inadvertently start to come out and you bend it), turn her over and pump it a few times to drain. I let mine sit about 10 min or so inverted.

9) Disassembly is the reverse of assembly. However, make sure you have the fork COMPLETELY compressed when you measure the oil level (I had to remeasure my first one as I learned from the other one that I hadn't fully compressed the first one). There's a distinct stop you can feel when it's fully down. To make a dipstick to measure the oil, I took a 1/4" dowel, and marked it at 1/4" intervals with a Sharpie pen up to 7" (max oil level is 6.5" down, so 7" will do it). Cut the dowel off at about 8". I then took a piece of scrap plywood about 1x3" and drilled a 1/4" hole in the middle, stuck the dowel in exactly up to the 0" mark and glued it. Now you have a nice little dipstick to measure the level (bad ASCII art below).


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Quickie torque specs:

Large fork cap nuts: 22 lb. ft.

Front axle: 65 lb. ft.

4 axle cover nuts, RH fork (do top ones first!): 9 lb. ft. (108

Triple clamp bolts: Dunno. Don't have my service manual yet. Got 'em good and snug (anybody know the spec?)

Also, FYI, I checked the typical stuff people have mentioned here while I was at it.

Kickstarter bolt: loose as can be. Don't know the spec. Snugged it w/242 Loctite (blue)

RH footpeg bolts: were well torqued and had washer, but took 'em off and redid with 242 Loctite to 40 lb. ft. Upper subframe bolt: removed and 242'd, snugged well.

Andy Waddell

[ September 05, 2002, 03:30 PM: Message edited by: qadsan ]

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