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Swingarm and rear suspension maintenance

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This preventative Maintenance "fix" is applicable and recommended for all year and model year DRZ 2000 -2014

There are many reasons to perform this maintenance.

 If this is a new bike, chances are great you will find a very small quantity of thin grease on the bearings and bushing when you take things apart. This is a know issue for most all new bikes. This first maintenance is important in ensuring your new bike has a long life.

New bike to you? What better way that to find out what condition your rear suspension is in, then to clean, inspect, grease and replace worn parts as needed.. If all parts are in good condition, then even better, you now have a base line for your maintenance schedule. And a good feeling, knowing your bike is ready to hit the trail.

Last but not least

Routine maintenance.. But how often is routine? Opinions vary; I believe, after a lot of years with this bike and many others, once a year is the minimum for an off road bike. This includes all DRZ models, E, S or SM,, No matter if they have the OEM grease fittings or not. There are places that corroded and fail due to grease never reaching them even when a diligent owner uses those grease fittings. If you’re doing a lot of mud, water crossings or in general riding in watery conditions, you should increase your schedule. If done before damage have occurred, it will only cost you time and grease. If you wait, it will get very expensive to fix the damage

This is why you are here
trashed bearings.jpg
To prevent or fix this. Rusted, worn, destroyed needle bearings, worn out spacers and bushings

pivot bolt.jpg
As well as the dreaded corroded swingarm pivot shaft Do a search in the DRZ forum for "stuck swingarm shaft" or the like,, you will get more hits then you can read in a night.


Swingarm and rear suspension linkage maintenance; How it's done

The main cause for a stuck swingarm pivot shaft is corrosion. The shaft runs from frame spar to frame spar though the motor case case1.jpg
A good look at a case that has been opened and you can see why we have this issue.
The shaft rides in two steel inserts within the case. A large air gap results from the remaining case space between the steel inserts. This allows moisture, water, and the like to build up and cause corrosion.. couple that with steel on steel contact between the shaft and case inserts, you get a real problem if you do not protect the parts from corrosion. You can use any robust anticorrosion, water proof compound to protect these parts. Anti-seize could be used on the clean pivot shaft just before you install it, or you could simply apply a thin coating of waterproof grease, same grease you used to lube the bearings. What ever you use… use something to protect these parts, if not, have a large hammer, brass drift, and maybe a torch handy for removal the next time:banghead: . This is one of those areas that the factory grease fittings DO NOT get any lube to.. So even if the bearings are not damaged, and you just want to relube them for the upcoming season… you may find a simple job turned in to a large one.. for lack of a little lube on the swingarm pivot shaft.
Disassemble of the rear suspension

Disassemble of the rear suspension

The fasteners for the cushion link levers are 17mm on both ends, you'll need 2 17mm tools. The swingarm pivot shaft has a 22mm nut, you'll need a 1/2" drive socket for that and a breaker bar or ratchet. The bottom of the shock is attached to the cushion lever with a single bolt, 12mm head, 14mm nut.

Place the bike up on a stand that allows the rear wheel to hang free.
- Remove the rear wheel and set aside.
- Remove the rear shock
 NOTE You do not need to completely remove the shock,, but it only makes sense to do so and inspect the spherical bearing at the top, as well as get the entire assembly out of the way while working on the swing arm.
- Remove the chain guide from the swingarm.
- Remove the rear brake caliper
- Remove the rear brake line clips from the swingarmbrake clips.jpg
- Remove the cushion levers bolts from the cushion lever and frame cushion lever remove.jpg
- Remove the cushion lever to frame mounting bolt and nut lower mount cushion lever.jpg NOTE in this pic, Harry has already removed the swing arm, That’s not wrong, just another way to get to the end result. For this article, to work best with most readers, the procedure list closely follows that outlined in the Factory Service Manual.
- Next, remove the 22mm nut on the left side from the swingarm shaft. swingarm02.jpg
- Using a brass drift or wooden dowel tap the pivot shaft out from left to right.swingarm03.jpg
Once the swingarm pivot shaft is out pivot shaft out.jpg the swingarm can be removed. Look carefully at the placement and order of the seals, washers, bushings as you remove the swingarm and other items. It is not as intuitive as one might expect.
- Remove the cushion link from the swingarm and inspect all bearings bushings, washers AND BOLTS for wear. Remeber, the bolt for the shock mounts, cushion links and levers,,, is what the bearings ride on, IOW, the bolt is the inner bearing race. If the bolt is worn where the bearing rides on it, you must replace it.

The swingarm and cushion link outer bearing races are best removed with a slide hammer. With some creativity that can be removed using a press or the right size drift and hammer..

Re-installing the rear suspension

After everything is clean, inspected, replaced as needed. It's just a matter of greasing all the parts with good grease like BelRay Waterproof grease, or Silkolene Pro-RG2 Waterproof grease.
swingarm grease.jpg
Then reassemble the parts in the reverse order.
Few tips.
- Grease is not only for lubing the bearings and bushings.. It will help hold the various needle bearings and washers in place.
grease helping.jpg
Install the swingarm to the frame, then the cushion link to the framecushion link to frame.jpg


:prof:NOTE: the motor may have shifted after removing the long motor mount / swingarm mount bolt... Some find it difficult to refit  the swing arm in between the frame and motor due to this shift... DO NOT FORCE IT.. loosen all of the other motor mounts, and lever the motor in the needed direction carefully.. PRYING on the engine cases at spots not intended for a prybar is an easy way to fracture the case...

- Install the shock top and bottom mounts and last the cushion levers.
install links.jpg
cushion levers to link.jpg
cushion levers to link2.jpg
- Leave the cushion levers to last because they tend to get in the way of tightening other fasteners.

Edited by E.Marquez
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It was suggested that my Post in response to a swing arm maintenance question  might assist in further understanding in the undertaking of this task.

So here ya go

The FAQ does a good job of explaining disassembly. Not so much on the assembly side of things. All it's says is "in the reverse order" and my bearings all ended up on the floor in millions of tiny pieces so I had no clue what the reverse order would be haha.


This is what I was referring to as a "collar" sorry this is the first time ive done this and as you can tell I am unfamiliar with it. Maybe you should consider adding that post to the FAQ Erik, that was extremely helpful

And My response 


There is no "collar" to be retained or pressed out.

 The swing arm has a smooth bore.

 The caged needle bearing (#2) with a shell is pressed in to that bore.


Once the needle bearing is pressed out, there will be nothing in the swing arm bore.


Once out and clean, Needle bearing #2 is pressed in to the correct depth.

Torrington bearing #3 is set in next.

Then the grease seal # 4

On that same side.. but on the inside...

Grease seal #4 is pressed in.

The the spacer is slid into place.. (the spacer is also the bearing "cone"... or where the other side of the needle bearings ride. )


The aftermarket kits do no use a Torrington thrust bearing.. but a thrust washer.. Some are a single piece plastic type, some a three piece steel washers sandwiching a composite center "washer"  



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