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Suspension Rebuild Questions


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I need to rebuild the forks & shock on my 98 KX 250 and I'm a little intimidated. My only experience with fork rebuilds was on an 86 CR 250 and it didn't go well, I still have Showa fork internals embedded in my garage wall.

I'm not a noob where tools and bikes are concerned, I've tore down multiple motors to do both top & bottom rebuilds so lack of mechanical skills is not a problem, it's just that the last attempted rebuild did not go well the sound of shrapnal pinging off the floor and walls still has the dog on edge, dropping a spoon or knife in the kitchen damn near gives him a heart attack, 👍

Any tips or warnings that you have gained and are willing to pass on would be greatly appreciated, also any thoughts on component brands I should stay away from would be appreciated as well, I hear Moose brand rebuild kits are crap.

Thanks in advance

O40R

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I do all of my own mechanical work except shocks/forks.

I spent several years of my life working on fork-lifts and other things with lots of hydraulic cylinders. During this time, I replaced some seals, on 3-stage cylinders, etc. Forks and shocks are hydraulic cylinders with springs and or pressurized nitrogen. They also have 2-way valves built into the cylinder to control fluid flow. What I learned in the Army and working for Clark forklift was that it takes a lot of specialized tools along with a good clean workspace to perform maintenance on hydraulic cylinders. When I started back riding bikes, I looked at getting the tools to perform my own maintenance and decided that it was just not worth the hassle. I send my stuff out to the pro's and let them handle it when work is needed. Find a local shop that specializes in forks and shocks. I expect they will have reasonable rates, good service, and a reasonable turn-around time.

Then you start considering the safety issues like parts and springs flying around the garage and it becomes a no-brainer for me.

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I was intimidated by suspension too, I think everyone was at some point. Typical rebuilds (seals/bushings, etc.) can be done fairly easily with only a couple "special tools". Put it this way, for the same amount of money you spend at a suspension shop getting your forks resealed you can buy the tools, oil and sels to do it on your own. Seals can be had for about $20, and if you shop around you can find some of the tools fairly cheap. Your 98 has cartrige forks so you can pretty much get by with just a seal installer. And the only down-time is how long it takes you to do it. Then everytime after that it's just the cost of parts/oil.

Theres a few videos on Youtube with exccellent instructions. That, coupled with a shop manual and you'll get through just fine. Just take it slow the first time to become familiar with the different parts and procedures, the next time you do it I bet you won't even need a manual.

The only thing you would need a shop for is to charge the shock, that's it. There's plenty of info and willing members in the suspension forum if you decide to mess with valving/shims.

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Thanks for the responses much appreciated, I'll be attempting the rebuild in late April, I have time for 2 more rides before work kicks into high gear and I'll be working 7 days a week for several weeks, so figured I'd treat it like winter and do a teardown, I'll post up when I get it done.

O40R

CRider400:

I've watched that video several times, guy makes it look so easy, we all know real life isn't like the movies :applause:

cxcmoto:

Sometimes I think it's better to send it to the shop, but then I think if my wife finds out I'm spending more money on "that damn bike", well it's easier to just do the work myself. 🙂

Jeekinz:

I've read many of your posts, I can't imagine you being intimidated with a suspension rebuild🤣 Did you rebuild the suspension on the 94?

gbwilliams:

Wish I could find a shop around here that would do a shock rebuild for 50 bucks, you can't even get free stickers out of the tightwads 👍

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gbwilliams:

Wish I could find a shop around here that would do a shock rebuild for 50 bucks, you can't even get free stickers out of the tightwads

yeah the shock seal head or whatever is that much I am thinking.then there is the bladder,oil,blah,blah,blah.

But man what a difference when the job is done.Up until I had my suspension completely redone,I just thought I was riding fast and smooooth.Shheeit.I may not be fatser on the trails around here but by golly i am not nearly as worn out after a good ride. and oh yeah.my arms don't get all tingly as if the circulation is cut off.

let's not forget to mention the lack of deflection or whatever off of the rocks and roots. The KDX simply absorbs that stuff now and I no longer live in fear of bouncing into "treelimb"s and knocking myself out and getting concussions and cracked ribs and biting thru my damn tongue, and whiplash. When I hit now I reckon I'll really know it as there will more speed involved huh.

maybe I do still live in fear of it happening afterall as I just flashbacked man but that was on my 1987 KDX 200.I really need to put that thing back together-🤣👍

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Jeekinz:

I've read many of your posts, I can't imagine you being intimidated with a suspension rebuild 👍 Did you rebuild the suspension on the 94?

Yeah, it wasn't until last year I decided to mess with it. The last time I had some forks "freshened up" with new springs it was 400 smackaroos! Now I have 3 sets of forks that need seals. lol

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