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TTR-230 swingarm bushings rusted

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No questions - just a story about a creaky rear suspension.

All of this is my fault. I didn't grease the swingarm bushings on my TTR 230. Ever. See those zerk fittings on the swingarmp pivot? Use them. I've been good about inspecting and re-greasing the bearings in the shock linkage - they are fine. I just never got around to greasing the swingarm pivot.

So I finished installing a new set of sprockets and a new chain the other night. When I was done, I noticed a creaking sound coming from the swing arm when I put the bike on the side stand. So I worked the suspension up and down a few times - definitely a creak. Aw shucks, thinks I, maybe it's the linkage.

I put it on the stand and removed the rear wheel. Then I removed the bottom two linkage bolts. Everything on the linkage moved smoothly and silently. So I tried moving the swingarm through its stroke. It was sticky. It would stay in whatever position I put it in, even though the linkage was no longer attached.

I tried lubing it with the grease gun (too little, too late, I know). The right side took grease fine, the left side wouldn't take any grease. Uh oh.

Time to pull the swingarm. I used a breaker bar on the swingarm pivot nut, and "plop" down dropped the swingarm - the tension on at least one of the bushing sleeves was what was binding it up. I pulled the swingarm off and found the left bushing sleeve completely frozen to the bushing. It might as well have been welded in.

Hammering did nothing. I thought about heat, but the bushings are obviously nylon - that wouldn't be any good. Finally I constructed a stone-age press with threaded rod, two nuts, a bunch of washers and various large sockets - After much wrenching on my press, I had the sleeve half pressed "in", but more hammering and coaxing with vice grips were fruitless. I reassembled my press in the opposite direction, and drove the sleeve about halfway "out". This time it would wiggle when influenced with the vice grips. I made a perfect punch with two socket wrench extensions, and drove it the rest of the way out.

The liberated sleeve was badly oxidized. There was a bunch of crust on the nylon bushings too. I dunked the sleeve in kerosene for a bit and wiped it down. Then I used the nylon brush on my dremel tool to remove the heavy crust, and finally a Scotchbrite pad to smooth it out.

The sleeve wasn't nearly as smooth as a new one would be, but it was far better than the corroded mass it was when I finally dislodged it from the swingarm. I rolled up my Scotchbrite pad and pushed it in and out of the bushings in the swingarm to clean them up. When I was done, the sleeve would pass through the bushings easily, even completely ungreased.

I also punched through the crust covering up the hole under the zerk fitting.

When I put it all back together again, the swingarm moved smoothly, silently, and effortlessly though its travel even after torquing the swingarm pivot. With the suspension hooked back up and the wheel on, it passed the "no creak" test.

Yay me!

I wonder how long that sleeve will hold up before it rusts tight again? I suppose I'll just grease it after every ride to see how long I can milk it.

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You really went from one extreme to another. Never greasing to greasing every ride? Shouldn't it be fine now?

I was thinking that because the sleeve is no longer mirror smooth it would crust back up really easily if I let the bushing dry out at all. If it does, I will replace the sleeve with a new one and go to a more reasonable lube schedule.

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