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DR 350 shock Gold Valve install with pictures

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Here are some pictures of the Gold Valve install on a 1994 DR350

dirt model shock. I originally posted on Maximum Suzuki,

but I will post a copy here so the TT members can take a look.

Warning: lots of pictures, high bandwith!

The shock was bought used and in good condition. It does not

look like it was ever serviced, and the back end was slowly

getting springy, damping was poor. The shaft still pushed out

with about 10lbs of force, so the bladder still held about

80psi. A quick check with a high pressure tire guage only

read 35psi, so it's true you cannot read the pressure with a

guage without loosing much of the nitrogen charge.

The Gold Valve kit has the valve, o-ring and valve seal band,

shims, locktite, nut (holds valve assy on shaft). It has

printed instructions / diagrams along with valving charts on

paper. They give you an access code which is unique to every

kit, to access their valving reccomendations online based on

your weight, riding style, and personal prefrences (soft,

standard, stiff -suspension). It will tell you what valve

stacks to choose from their printed charts based on your

input. On the DR shock, the rebound stack is a two stage

setup. The compression stack is a three stage, it includes a

low,mid, and high speed stacks which are assembled and stacked


Race Tech includes a DVD video which walks you through the

whole process. No special skills or tools are needed for the

job, except for the nitrogen charge, take it to a local shop

for that. They reccomend a decent set of calipers for

measuring and selecting the correct shims, but you can easily

measure the shim diameter with a decent ruler and tell what

the thickness is by touch. There are only two or three

different thickness of shims in any one stack. Other tools

are a vise, plastic or rubber mallet, file, torque wrench,

drill, air pump or compressor, and brake cleaner. Anything

else needed will be common hand tools.

I have ordered three additional parts, the bottom out bumper

and dust / oil seals. These are also from Race Tech.

bottom out bumper: SSBO 04 ($34.59)

oil / dust seal set: SSOS 14S ($19.95)

DR350 dirt model shock:


Resevoir cover removed, schrader valve:


Pressure released, bladder cap pushed down to expose clip:


Clip removed, pull bladder out:


Dust cover removed:


Seal head pushed down to expose clip:


Remove clip:


Factory peening on shaft to lock nut in place (must be removed):


Shaft peen filed down to allow removal of nut / valve assy:


Stock dirt valving, rebound on top / compression on bottom:


This shows the seal head taken apart. The steel seal head is

at the bottom of the picture and the oil seal is to the right.

On the top left is the dust seal, metal spacer, top-out bumper, and

o-ring for the seal head.


Oil seal installed (oil seal has two parts, a plastic

composite bottom piece and a rubber seal on top)


Metal spacer installed


Rubber top-out bumper installed

(it has a lip around the outside edge which holds everything together)


Seal head bottom before pressing on the dust seal


Dust seal installed. (old parts at the top of the picture, you

can see the two piece oil seal on the left)



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Gold Valve kit parts:

left side shows the jet, shaft nuts (KYB and Showa), o-ring

and teflon seal for the valve.

Right side shows the Gold Valve and packets of shims.


View of the bleed jet before drilling


Bleed jet after drilling the correct size hole for the DR

shock, size given by Racetech in their valving specs.


Bleed jet coated with locktite, ready to install


Bleed jet installed into the Gold Valve


Shock shaft assembled with the new bottom-out bumper, original

dust cap, and rebuilt seal head.


Another view of the parts. You can see the shaft threads and

non threaded shank for valving.

Just beneath the narrower part of the shaft that holds the

valving is the shoulder which the valving base plate sits on.

Just below that shoulder you can see one of the two bleed

holes for the rebound circuit.


This is the high-speed compression stack as assembled from

their chart (for my specs).

You can see the base plate already installed on the shaft,

this stack sits on top of it.


Here is the high-speed compression stack installed onto the



This is the mid-speed stack


The low-speed compression stack. (mid-speed stack has already

been installed on the shaft)


Next comes the Gold Valve itself, the side with the larger

port openings faces the compression stack.


The assembly so far, with the Gold Valve installed.


Low-speed rebound stack. Largest shims face the Gold Valve.


Low-speed rebound stack installed


High-speed rebound stack


High-speed rebound stack installed


Side view of the rebound stack. Note the gap (small crossover

shim) between low and high speed stacks.


Side view of the compression stack. You can see two gaps in

the stack that seperate low, mid, and high-speed valving



View of the shaft assembly with the Gold Valve o-ring

installed. Shaft nut installed (red locktite, 25ft/lbs)

You can also see the bladder assy, teflon seal, and the

retainer clips for the bladder and seal head.



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Here's a rig. I have the remote resevoir temporarily zip tied to the shock body.

This should make it easier to fill and bleed without having a second vise.

I have the oil filled to within an inch and a half from the top in both tubes.


Push the shock bladder into the resevoir, excess oil spills out.


Push the bladder down just far enough to expose the notch for

the retainer clip. Install the clip.


Add 40 psi to the bladder. This will expand and seat the bladder against

the clip. The bladder will also push oil through the comp adjuster and hose

to purge any trapped air.


This is a poor picture, but it shows the teflon band wrapped

around the Gold Valve.

The rubber o-ring beneath it acts to hold pressure against the

band to get a good seal with the shock body.


The next picture shows the valve assy with the teflon band

already inserted into the shock body.

I was working by myself and could not get a decent picture.

You would need three hands to hold the band,

the shock shaft, and camera at the same time. This step is

similar to doing a top end job on a two stroke

where you hold the piston rings with your fingers (compressed)

as you insert the piston into the cylinder.

It went in easily, just make sure it is straight and do not

force it in.


This shows the bleed hole which you do not want to expose to

air when bleeding the valve. When you first insert the valve

into the body you will trap some air beneath the valve. This

air must be purged. you purge the air with a quick firm push

(down about an inch) on the shock shaft. This will force open

the valving (compression shims) and allow the air bubbles to

escape. After that you top off the shock body with oil and

slowly raise the shaft, being careful to not allow the bleed

hole to suck in outside air. I had to repeat this three times

to fully purge the air, after that you see no more bubbles



Purging of air completed, top off the oil in the shock body to

prepare for seal head installation.


Gently lower the seal head down into the shock body.

High-tech clothes pin to hold the end cap out of the way.


Seal head being pushed into the shock body. Excess oil will

spill out. Push the seal head down until the o-ring

begins to seal inside the shock body. At this point you

cannot push it down any further (oil does not compress).


Another missed picture due to not having three hands. You

need to put downward pressure on the seal head while

bleeding the 40 psi air stored in the bladder to get the seal

head down far enough into the shock body to expose

the notch in the shock body for the retainer clip. Purging

the air allows the seal head to displace the oil into the

resevoir which will compress the bladder a bit. Install the

retainer clip.


This picture shows the seal head pushed up into its normal

position against the retainer clip. I added 100psi air

to the bladder to get it to seat correctly.


All that is left to do is tap on the end cap with a rubber

mallet. Line up the drain holes front to back so water and

dirt can drain out when the shock is mounted on the bike. One

drain hole should be facing forward, the other faces the rear tire.


Everything is assembled. Compress the shock and watch it

spring slowly back out. If you purged all the air correctly

it should have a smooth constant speed both in and out, and

the shaft should not stop until fully extended.

All that is left to do is to have a shop purge the air from

the bladder and fill with nitrogen.


You should use about 16 oz of oil in total. The actual shock

only holds about 8-10 oz. The rest spills out during

assembly. You could easily do an oil change with a quart or


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jcalis that was a good post. I too have a DR350 for my dualsport riding and a plated 99 KX250. On my DR I put a RM shock on it.


Let us know what you think of the revalved shock. I like mine, I also put 88 RM250 forks on mine and it works very good for me.


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I have a 1992 kick model with all the usual mods. I did the 1990 RMX fork swap last year. At this point the rear suspension is the weak link. Hopefully the gold valve fixes this. I hope to get the bike back together by next weekend and do some test riding, if the weather co-operates. What year shock did you use and did it affect the rear end geometry?


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The shock is off a 91 and the forks are off a 88 the bike is a 90 DR350S kick start. As for the geometry the forks were longer so it all balanced out fine. The shock may have raised it a little.


The bike works very well for me. It gets cold here though and sometimes it is hard to start, but I have gotten better at it. This is the first 4stroke I have owned as I am a 2stroke dirt bike guy.

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How did the 1990 RMX fork swap work? Is the length close enough, swapped triples? Also, how did the Gold valve turnout? I didn't see any follow-up. Thanks

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The gold valve works great. It allows the rear tire to follow terrain for a smooth ride and resists bottoming on the big hits. This is a must have upgrade for any DR that is ridden hard off-road.

The forks flex less and have and have better damping compared to stock. All USD conversions need the DR stem pressed into the lower triple. The upper clamp needs 4-5mm taken off the stem area for clearence, and also a bushing in the stem hole to make up for the smaller diameter DR steering stem. I did a basic writeup on Maximum Suzuki just over a year ago on the fork swap.

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Hi Jcalis,

Google found this old thread for me and it's exactly what I was looking for. I found similar threads for my '07 DR650 and recently succesfully installed emulators and new springs in the front and a gold valve in the shock, and it all worked out great! Much better off road. It no longer chatters over the washboard, doesn't bottom out, and is just easier and more pleasant to ride. I was kind of worried that I wouldn't notice any difference, not being a super aggressive rider, but it is indeed a very noticeable difference.

(I should say I also found great info on the BST carb in various posts, such as yours above, and got over my carbphobia. So I also rebuilt and re-jetted the carb & cut out the airbox lid, and it started and ran great first try! Awesome! Did much for my carburetor confidence level!)

So I was inspired to do the same on my '93 DR350s, and looky what I find! A thread that totally walks me through it, answering the one question I had in my mind. Zip tying the reservoir to the shock body is a great idea!

Even though it's two years old, your thorough and well done write up is totally relevant to my situation, and I thank you for taking the time to put it out there, and I wanted to let you know it's still being used & appreciated. I've learned much from 3 of my favorite sites: TT, Max-Zuk, and ADVrider. 👍

So, I'm going to put the gold valve and emulators in the 350, and also am having the Jesse exhaust mod done, am adding his oversized header and a jet kit. I am confident I'll like all the mods on the 350 just like the 650. I also get a great sense of satisfaction by doing all the work myself.

Again, thanks!

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Awesome How-To thread. I just changed the spring and oil on my '98 kicker. Thanks a bunch.

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Hi Jcalis

Excellent post. My 91 dr350 requires a shock rebuild and I was going to send it away. Having read your post I'm going to do it myself and the money I save I'll buy a gold valve.

Just one question, what make and grade of oil did you use. And am I correct that shock oil is different from fork oil.

Edited by griffg

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Great write up and pics make it very clear. I.m interested as well in the Race Tech gold valves seems to be the finishing touch for a real nice set up. Thing is i own DR-Z250 and wondering how to remove reservoir cover of my bike is it threaded? 

Or do they mount the cap in an enviroment of the required pressure.


I assume that every system in the long run will lose some pressure so if anyone can enlighten on this subject.....appreciate any input.




A blurry photo showing showing my maidenly cap.

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To-day I cleaned up the reservoir and the retainer clip of the bladder was well visible, similar to his big brother DR 350. Question still is how to remove the cap. Probably the reservoir is threaded and you screw in/out the cap.

The bottom side of cap is shaped in such a way that you may suspect that the valve is underneath, see picture below.





So how to remove cap, I checked that it is still under pressure because oil is flushing when you loosen up a banjo bolt.

Like i assume, according to bump on the cap, it should have a valve. How to access? Possibility is drill a hole in center of cap to release pressure, very low chance that gas is flammable even if not filled with nitrogen but plain air then it is still OK.

Then after drilling out you can spot the valve we can continue and try make a hole in the side of cap and punch it out inorder to obtain access to clip and remove bladder. In case the reservoir is not threaded but holds its valve then grind down and deburring cap.


This seems to me, speaking as non experienced suspension/shock expert, an option. But we have two other options as well.


  Option number 1: Someone of you clever guys out there gives the show away on this cap thing.

  Option number 2: Race Tech supplying detailed information when ordering the kit.


Thanks for any input.


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Of course, i finally gather all the parts to do my own shock, and now all the pictures will not display on this thread. Augh! Can you point me to another forum where they may still be visible?




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Parts should come for mine tomorrow, doing the exact same thing to mine. Thanks a ton.

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