Ralph Ferrand finishes the forks.
Time to finish of those pesky forks on this very special big-bore Kawasaki Z1325cc monster!
In last month’s report on the build status of the superlative, gargantuan big block Zed I’ve been building for a patient Welshman, I stripped, serviced and restored to factory condition all the components of the Gixxer upside-down forks adorning the front end. I was somewhat uneasy with dismantling the upside-down forks, particularly given the warnings I had received from fellow Luddites. As it turned out, other than needing some special tools (which I nicked from Biker’s Toolbox’s stock) it was far less grief than I was led to believe and I wouldn’t be overly concerned about rebuilding another pair: by using the right tools! Lesson for us all there: this month I’ll be rebuilding the forks I stripped. Before starting the re-assembly, I took a tape measure to the main fork spring to ensure that over the years they hadn’t been negatively affected by the ravages of time and lost their mojo. The minimum length, according to the boys at Hamamatsu, should be no less than 266mm (10.5in) and the customer’s springs had not lost their vitality so did not need replacing. All the seals, bearings etc. had to be fitted to the new stanchion prior to assembly. Before attaching the dust seal and hydraulic seal I always put a bit of polythene bag over the end of the leg just in case there are any sharp edges that could potentially damage the seal lips. First on is the dust seal followed by the spring clip and the main hydraulic seal. I usually wipe a thin film of red rubber grease or suspension fluid to the inside of these seals to ease their path. Either is fine and which is used depends on which is closest to hand! After the seal comes the large washer that separates the seal from the outside bearing which itself is next. Lastly I slid on the upper, inside bearing, which locates on a machined groove in the top of the stanchion.
It is worth noting that the inner and outer bearings use a Teflon-based anti-friction material that is easily scratched so care is required when installing them. I clamped the outer fork leg in the soft jaws of my bench vice and rubbed some suspension fluid around the inside of the tube with a gloved hand. Always wear nitrile or similar gloves as none of the fluids involved with motorcycle mechanics will do your skin any good. Yes, gloves cost money, but what price new skin? The stanchion was then slid into the opening of the outer leg and allowed to slide in as far as it wished to go. Next came the outer bearing which went in without too much fuss followed by the big washer. The fork seal was next to descend the pole, but this will not go in without
Carefully sliding the fork seal onto the fork stanchion using some soft polythene sheet to prevent the seal lips getting damaged on any sharp edges.
Old stanchion and the new one ready to have the inner bearing fitted as on the original.
Using a torque wrench to tighten up the damper bolt to 29lb-ft.
The damper-rod on its way into the fork.
Slipping the upper, inner bearing over the top of the inner fork tube.
Sliding the lower, outside bearing over the stanchion.
The bearing in place in the recess machined in the fork tube.
Refitting the dust cover is easier with the universal seal driver.
Here, we are reinstalling the seal retaining clip.
Using a universal seal driver to encourage the fork seal into its home.
RTV Silicone is not specified by Mr Suzuki to seal the bolt, but bitter experience has taught me that not using it can lead to leaks. Thread lock is specified.