Fork Maintanence

I want to take apart the forks to clean the insides completely and replace the oil and oil seals. I have changed the oil before, but have heard that just turning them upside down to drain does not get all the dirt/gunk out. My question is, do I need to remove the damper rod to do this service? I ask this because the dealer cannot find or get the damper rod removal tool, even though the manual has a part #. Is there another regular tool that can be used, or can I make something that will work, or should I just not remove it unless it is damaged which I don't think it is? Also, does a piece of PVC work as a oil seal driver, or do I need to spend $60 on one of those?

Any help is appreciated.


First of all... by no means am I an expert in this area. What I will share with you is that I have rebuilt the forks on my bike without the use of the special tool. When I went to the dealer to buy the tool one of the people [employees] suggested using an air-wrench to spin the fastener loose. I actually spins the fastener off without the need for the tool. Now... putting it back on... The same thing. I used the air-wrench. The problem with this... no torgue spec can be applied. I was fortunate and things seemed to work just fine.

Second I made a set of seal driver tools from a PVC pipe. What I found out is yes it was possible and yes it works. However it was a lot of work and I was constantly worried about messing up the new seals. Would I do it again? If budget constraints will not allow me to purchase the correct tool(s)... guess I will have to do what I have to do in order to put the bike back together and be able to use it.

Just my experience... not recommending that you follow it. There are some really experienced people on this forum with much more knowledge than little ole me. Good luck with whichever way you decide to go.

ive just done the exact same thing myself, i made the tool myself out of 25mm steel pipe, real easy to do, that way u can torque to spec on retighten. ive got a 99 400, and there was NO dirt at all in the bottem valve, oil was clean and didnt smell, it was good to pull it apart and see how it worked. the only thing i found was the dampning rod had a bit of rust on it?? i got some 1200 onto it and got it off. as for the seal drivers, me and the old man just used a plastic punch and drove them down slowly, worked a treat.

dont be scared its fun, go to motoman site and check out how to make the tool. :cry:

thanks for the advice/ help!

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