Changing Fork Seals on a KYB Fork

Changing Fork Seals and Oil With EDM Shop Girl Lindy

This service is performed on a 2004 KYB fork from a YZ250. Please refer to your service manual for details for your specific make and model. To perform this service you will need some special TOOLS but it is a fairly easy task and can be successfully completed by almost anyone with reasonable mechanical experience. Just take your time, refer to your service manual and pay attention to what you are doing. The first time through will take 2 plus hours for both forks. Make sure you can allot enough time as you really don’t want to rush the job first time through. Once you have done fork seal replacement few times you will be able to do it much faster. It is best to service one fork at a time so you don’t mix parts and you can refer to the second fork as needed to confirm proper assembly of the first fork. If you haven’t already, you will need to purchase your fork seals and bushings check RACETECH as they will be able to help you with all of your suspension needs.

1. Remove your fork guards and thoroughly wash your entire bike making sure to pay special attention to the axle blocks, handlebar and triple clamp area you don’t want any hidden dirt to contaminate the inside of your fork. Put your bike on a stand so that both wheels are off the ground, secure it with tie downs attached to the foot pegs so you don’t damage plastic or seat cover. Remove the front brake caliper (no need disconnect the brake line), wheel and fender.

2. Using a clean working surface, lay out the new oil seals, dust seals and inner/ outer bushings for the first fork service. Also set out the tools you will need to complete the service.

3. Remove number plate and loosen the bolts on the top triple clamp keep the bottom bolts tight for now.

With the fork still on bike, loosen the fork cap bolt Make sure to note the fork height above the triple clamp for re-installation later!

4. Loosen bolts on the lower triple clamp and gently pull fork leg down while slowly turning it. Keep an eye on the bike so it doesn’t slip off the stand.

5. Remove fork leg completely, set the fork upright on floor and completely loosen cap bolt.

6. Slide outer leg down to expose spring and damping rod,

Using two wrenches remove cap bolt from damping rod and place on work bench. Remove spring and place on oil pan.

7. Turn fork over to drain oil, gently pump damping rod to completely remove all oil from cartridge

8. With fork upside down carefully remove dust wiper with flat blade screwdriver.

Between the dust seal and the oil seal there is an oil seal stopper ring which needs to be removed

9. At this point we are going to separate the tubes to get to the bushings. Slide the tubes apart gently (may take several stokes) until the oil sealcomes out of the larger(outer) tube

With a clean rag wipe excess oil off and set the outer tube down with your spring.

10. Remove the oil seal washer, remember the direction it faces (sharp edge outward) for reassembly. Inspect inner and outer bushings, replace if worn.

11. Install the new dust wiper and oil seal (lightly greased) using a thin piece of plastic or vinyl.

The plastic is to protect the seals from the sharp edges of the fork.

12. Install bushings with a small amount of fork oil on them.

13. Insert inner fork tube into outer fork tube.

14. Using your fork seal tool gently tap fork seal into place.

You will know it is in place because you will be able to see the groove for the oil seal stopper ring. Install the stopper ring making sure it is fully seated in the groove. Slide dust seal down and push into place with fingers. Check fork for proper movement.

15. Following your owners manual specifications add fork oil to the fork.

Pump damping rod gently several times to fill cartridge with oil, only use about 5-7 inches of stroke, more will introduce air to the cartridge. Add oil if necessary. Let stand for 10 minutes to release any air bubbles.

16. Using you fork oil measuring TOOL set to the manufactures specification remove excess oil pump damping rod gently several times to fill cartridge with oil, only use about 5-7 inches of stroke, more will introduce air to the cartridge. Add oil if necessary. Let stand for 10 minutes to release any air bubbles.
Our 04 YZ250 has a range of 105mm – 135 mm, we start with 135mm – less oil because it is easier to add oil if you need to for fine tuning while the fork is on the bike. Note that less oil makes the fork softer & more oil stiffer in the second half of the fork travel, great way to fine tune for rider weight.

17. Slowly slide damping rod out to the end of its stroke and insert spring.

18. While holding damping rod install fork cap and finger tighten.

Check the manual for details on how far to thread the cap onto the rod (this affects rebound damping adjustment) Remember to include any washers or spacers! Slide open end wrench through spring to hold top locknut, torque to spec.

19. Slide outer fork tube up to meet with the fork cap and finger tighten. We will tighten this when it is in the triple clamp.

20. Install fork completed leg into triple clamp. Very lightly tighten lower clamp bolts. Now torque for cap to spec.

Congratulations! You are finished with your first leg. Install in triple clamp and torque to spec.

Now service the other fork and re-install on the bike. Make sure both forks are both same height (see service manual) in the triple clamp. Fork height really effects how the bike will turn. Double check all front end bolts, set your tire PSI and then go for a roost!

Installing new cams on your 4-stroke dirt bike

Today’s modern 4-stroke motors produce heaps of usable power. Most riders can get by using the engine as it comes from the factory in stock form. But what if you are a woods rider looking for more low end power or perhaps you ride MX or you are a desert rider and want more top end and over-rev. How can you fine tune your motor to suit the type of riding you most often do without breaking the bank? The simplest way is to install a set of cams.

Changing your cams gives you the ability to fine tune the power delivery characteristics of your motor. This is achieved through varying valve lift, timing and duration the valves open. We recently installed a set of Hot Cams in our 2008 YZ250F. We had a bit of help from EDM Shop Girl, Lauren to demonstrate the process of installation. If she makes it look easy, it’s because it is. Just be sure to have a clean work space, a service manual (we use Clymer Service Manuals), more time than you think you will need and lot’s of patience. You don’t want to rush through this! If you make a mistake the result could be catastrophic, causing severe engine damage.

Cam installation can be done to your motor while it is installed in the chassis, we removed ours for the purposes of this article. It makes the service a bit easier and gives us room for the photography.

The first thing you want to do before starting any work on your bike is give it a good cleaning. The last thing you you want is a nice chunk of dirt falling into the motor because you were working on a dirty bike. Check here for our Bike Wash Tech Tip with EDM Shop Girl Laurie.

The next thing you want to do is read through the process in your service manual to get a general understanding of all that is involved.

Remove the seat,  gas tank, and shrouds and give your bike a good wash, allow to dry or blow off any water with compressed  air. You will need to drain your radiators and disconnect the hoses. Keep the radiator fluid in a clean container to re-use. Removing the radiators is not required but it is a good idea in order to get them out of harms way. You will also need to remove the sub-frame, air box and carburetor.

EDM Shop Girl Lauren will walk us through the process.

Remove the valve cover bolts…

Gently tap the valve cover with a mallet to break the bond before removing it.

Remove the engine plugs to gain access to crank and timing notch window.

Remove the spark plug. This will allow engine pressure to release when you turn the crank.
Here we are going to locate top dead center (TDC) so we know the piston is in the correct position for re-assembly. Attach a tool to the crank shaft and rotate counter clockwise, while gently inserting a screwdriver into the cylinder to feel the piston as it rises to TDC.

At TDC you want your cam lobes to point outward like this.

When the cams are in this position and the timing notch on the crank lines up in the window, the timing is correct so the valves won’t hit the piston.

The next step is to release the tension on the cam chain by loosening the cam chain tensioner bolt.

With the cam chain tension relieved the chain will become floppy, allowing you to remove the cam retainer.

Be very careful when removing the retainer! Yamaha’s have a steel crescent that sits inside the cam retainer to keep the cam in place. This small crescent is held in place by a small amount of tension, often not enough to keep it there when you lift the cam retainer from the motor. It can easily fall into the motor adding hours to this service. Go slow, watch for it and be careful!

Here is a good time to attach a piece of safety wire or string to the cam chain just in case it falls down into the motor.

With the cam chain retainer off, the cam can easily be lifted from the motor. Place it on your bench and inspect the lobes and gear for any signs of wear.

Take your new cam and coat it with fresh motor oil, then place it into the cam cradle aligning the dots on the cam with the top edge of the cylinder. Do this for both cams. You may have to try a few times to get both positioned correctly. Double check the crank location to confirm it is still at TDC. One tooth off will affect timing and could cause a catastrophic failure. Dont’ be in a hurry and double check your work!

Next we are going to install the cam retainers. Be sure to reinstall the steel locating crescent…

Once again confirm that the lobes are facing outward, away from the center of the motor.

Now is a good time to check your valve clearance and make any adjustments if necessary.

Once you have both cams in the cradles and the cam retainers are installed, reinstall the cam chain tensioner bolt.

At this point we can double check your work to be sure nothing really bad can happen when you start your bike the first time. Place a wrench on the crank bolt and turn it counter clockwise to rotate the motor. We are looking to see if it operates smoothly without locking. If you have done something terribly wrong you want to find it while you are gently turning it over by hand. It’s unlikely you will damage a valve by turning it over this way. Kicking it over with your foot is another story…
Rotate the motor a few times. If everything seems fine, place a tool into the cylinder and feel for the piston to find TDC. Check to make sure the timing mark on the crank is lining up at TDC. Then look to see that the cam lobes are facing outward away from the piston. If you have all of this,  the timing and your assembly is correct.

Finally we are finished. Install your valve cover and re-attach your radiator hoses, shrouds, gas tank, seat etc. Kick your bike over and listen to it purr…

A special thanks to Chad Watts for his technical support, to Hot Cams for the product, to Industrial hard carbon for the DLC on the cams, and to Monarch Talent for letting us borrow Lauren for a few hours.

Making Things Happen

Have you ever done something on a whim, just for the sake of doing it? Without any sort of plan, only to find the end result wasn’t what you had anticipated? Could be something as benign as asking your GF to come to the track and hang out. Sounds simple enough, but you didn’t think to bring a chair for her, or suggest she bring a magazine to look at while you were riding and it turned out to be a complete nightmare, with her complaining the entire time. Asking when you thought you’d be done, you didn’t have as much fun riding as you normally do and you argued the rest of the evening.

Or maybe you joined the gym – sometime in January. You thought OK this is it. I’m going to start training so I am stronger when I ride. You even went so far as to buy a gym outfit and trainers with the best intentions of getting into shape but after a few weeks, got bored and stopped going. I hear about people doing this sort of thing all the time. It’s not easy trying to juggle a job, family and fun.

I’d like to know what is it about a person that makes them lose steam halfway up the hill. You have started, you made it this far and now you quit? Why do people lose interest or lack follow through for things they have started? If it is some wonderful activity like gardening, I can understand. You were never interested in the first place. But people give up on the things they enjoyed when they started. I’m a perfect example of this. I used to do Yoga 3 times a week, did it for 4 months. It is the perfect exercise for moto fitness. You gain strength and endurance without gaining size. Plus you are stretching which keeps the muscles loose and limber. Am I still going to Yoga classes? What do you think?

Another question I have is, why is it some people are always in a rush to get some place? Many of whom might alarmingly, not be able to tell you where they are going or why they are in such a hurry. Not that they are late, they just know they have to get there, now!

Other people just seem to have all the time in the world to get where they are going. You see examples of both of these personality types all the time on the freeways across the US. Each is maddening in his own way. It is said that a task will fill the time given to accomplish it.

I think all of this boils down to goals. When you have a goal, you have something to set your sites on, a direction in which you are pulled. Not the off-handed kind of goals that tend to lack conviction (New Year’s resolutions) but the kind that come from your gut that have some thought put into them. The truth is a goal without a game plan is just another chance for you to prove to yourself how good you are at starting something and not finishing it.

I happen to be a goal / list maker. I feel making goals and lists of things to do gives my life order and a destination or place to go. I find the list is vital to my existence. It gives me a road map, or the ability to create one, so I don’t just mosey along looking at the sights. While sightseeing can be fun, there are times for it and there are times for getting down to business. And as we all know, accomplishing what we set out to do requires getting down to business.

Another benefit to making goals is it provides you the ability to look back to a specific point of your life, rate your progress and pat yourself on the back. If you want to improve at anything, you have to make goals. Having a set of goals will give you the ability to affect your future and reflect on your past in the moment you are currently in, the now. Which, as it turns out, is where life is happening.

It is said that life happens while you are living it.

I agree.


Track Day Riding – Is It For You? Part One In a Four Part Series.

In the 80’s I was a teenager listening to new wave music and surfing twice a day. When I wasn’t in the water one of things I liked to do was watch Grand Prix motorcycle racing on TV. America dominated GP racing in those days with guys like Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Kevin Schwantz, and Freddie Spencer. As they went from circuit to circuit to the most amazing road courses the world has to offer I dreamed of a day when I might throw a leg over a GP bike and give it a go. Watching these supernatural beings as they made it look easy wrangling the wild 500cc two stroke beasts of the era was always my favorite, especially in slow motion playback, bikes that weigh a scant 286 lbs and produce a tire shredding 200hp, bikes that were affectionately known as “the unrideables” because the power came on like a light switch. I firmly believe the elegant grace and beauty that is motorcycle racing, off-road or on, can only be truly appreciated in slow motion. Each second contains countless elements of intense drama, from subtle body positioning to keep the bike in line, to rear tires lifting off the ground under hard braking, to lofting front wheels as bikes accelerate hard while still banked over turning, as they exit a corner. Add to this the endless sliding, front and rear wheel drifts that seem to go on forever leaving massive amounts of rubber in their wake. Check this video for a classic example.

In addition to a history of riding dirt bikes on MX tracks and trails, I have owned a street bike of some form for the majority of my 49 years and I have always wanted to see if I have what it takes to manage a sport bike on a road course. In fact, it’s on my bucket list. Even if I only do it once, the prospect of not having to worry about gravel in the middle of a blind turn or grass in the road from some dude who has just mowed his lawn. Or worse, some distracted driver veering into my lane is incredibly appealing. The trouble is, track riding is dangerous, right? I have two young children and a wife to support. What am I thinking? I can’t be going around some track with a bunch of other nitwits at 150 mph!

It is possible that I have overly romanticized the idea of track riding? That climbing into a set of leathers, sliding into a fresh full face helmet, and then tossing a leg over a bike that has been safety wired and prepped for the track. That pulling the clutch lever for the first time, shifting into gear and easing out onto the hot tarmac, clicking up through the gears as I pick up the pace with each lap would be something I would enjoy. That having my tires come up to temperature, leaning deeply into a corner with my knee just skimming the ground, letting me know that I am leaning the bike just enough, applying as much throttle as I dare while leaned over, increasing it as I move toward the exit of the turn, then whacking it open, to gobble up hundreds of feet in mere seconds, hurtling myself to the next series of turns might just be the thrill of my lifetime?

I say yes, count me in!

What a TOOL…

Yeah, the guy buying the newest, most powerful sportbike on the market, just to crash it on his first ride because he was acting like an idiot is indeed a tool. However, did you know there is an alternate meaning to the word tool? That’s right! The simple 4 letter word could also imply these funky little metal blobs that many people can’t even figure out how to use!

Luckily, I had the pleasure of growing up around these funky little blobs of metal and I wouldn’t trade the time I spent in the garage with my father for anything. He owned his own business and his business was mechanic work. When I was little, I didn’t realize what I was learning while I was used as the gopher (go for this, go for that). Time passed and i could eventually name almost every single thing he had in that giant tool box.   Then I started understanding when and how to use those funky little metal blobs. I helped him out and worked on projects together when I had the chance. Slowly but surely, I became a competent mechanic over the course of many hours and countless beers.

My father passed away in 2016. He left me the most precious thing I could have thought of him giving me. HIS TOOLS. Most of which were the same exact tools I handed him as a child. They are now sitting in my garage and getting handed to me by my dad’s grand-kids. I love showing my little ones how to use them and letting them do some of the work. More importantly, Dad passed his knowledge of tools on to me and taught me how important the right tool for the job really is. The right tool can save you minutes, and even hours on a job. My kids are growing up working on bikes and playing with wrenches. They get greasy sometimes sure, but they love spending time out from in front of a TV screen. Maybe with a little luck, my kids won’t think I’m a tool.



Pass It On

“A hundred years from now, my great grand kids will not recall my bank account balance, the sort of house I lived in, nor the car I drove. But, they will remember I rode a motorcycle.” I’m not sure which obscure corner of the internet I found that in, but I love it. Why? Because it’s as true as a nice set of Marchesini wheels.

I never knew my dad’s dad. My grandfather from that side passed away well before I was even a thought. But I found some old photographs while digging through a bin of family photos my dad had. There were several of a tall, thin man that my father resembled. I instantly asked dad, “Is this grandpa?” I knew I was right when Dad gave me a happy smirk. He replied, “I guess it runs in our blood.” Matter of fact, I don’t remember a time when Dad didn’t have a motorcycle. The only exception was when he had surgery and had just sold a bike and did not buy another until finished with recovery. Since my teens, I’ve never been without one.

Dad gave me my first taste when I was 3. I was instantly into it. Four-wheelers didn’t do it for me. Neither did go-karts. But I was always as happy as could be on 2 wheels. I used to love going to a local place in South Carolina called “Henry’s Knob” and riding with him. It became a family event. We could ride and not say a word to each other but fully understand what each other was thinking.

I can’t wait to do the same with my kids. My daughter has pretty much outgrown the electric 4 wheeler and “the boy” is driving it like he was born to! I hope that they take to it and we form long lasting memories with each other so that when I am gone, they can ride, think of us, and smile. That’s the legacy I want to leave my kids. Not a big house. Not a huge sum of money. But a mind full of awesome memories and stories that they can tell their kids about how their grandpa RODE A MOTORCYCLE...

GMW YZF750 Track Bike – Progress Report

Made some great progrmyess today working on the YZF750R track bike. Adjusted valves, serviced the brakes, gave it a good cleaning, and did a bit of safety wiring. Tomorrow will be a carb service and synchronizing. Can’t wait to get it on the track!

#Yamaha #trackbike #750 #yzf #charlottenc #gastonianc #motorcycleshop #motorcyclerepair #motorcyclegarage #trust #suspension #bikeporn #caferacer #builtnotbought #thecraftunion #classicbike #cafekillers #racetech #agv #motonation #cmp

Making a Mountain out of a Mole Hill

Last Sunday at the request of my wife, who I love dearly, I spent a not-so-fun day shovel in hand, digging holes in and around our garden. This kind of request usually sends shivers up and down my spine and sends me into a tailspin of anxiety that has me anticipating the day for the entire week. Sometimes she springs the idea on me a day or two before. Usually in the morning when my defenses are down, before I’ve had my coffee injection. It goes something like this; remember baby we’re doing the garden this weekend. I’m not really sure which is worse, knowing its coming for the whole week or having to tell the guys I got roped into helping around the house and won’t be riding with them. Either way I never look forward to a full day of gardening.

Optimistically we decided we wanted to remove some unsightly plants and trees that were not contributing to the beauty of our back yard. We started with a few easy tasks, moving small objects and a little weeding. Then, the assignment was given. “Babe, can you get this bush out of here? Sounds like a reasonable request. However, after two hours of battling in vain to remove the unwanted ted flora I gave up. I took a well deserved break and sat down at my desk to enjoy a nice glass of sweet tea. With battered, blistered hands I opened my dictionary to display a word that had been buzzing around inside my head all morning; Patience (pey-shuhns) It reads: patience; noun the quality of being patient (always a helpful definition!), as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.

I’m not usually one to complain but I spent 2 full hours patiently digging in the dirt, a place I normally really enjoy hanging out, trying to remove the most stubborn, annoying, pain in the neck tree stump I have ever encountered (unless you count the one that ripped the bar out of my hands while on a trail ride in California last month) until I could no longer hold the shovel. My hands looked and felt as if I had just finished the Baja 1000 as a solo entry with no gloves. The worst part to all of this, the offending tree, some might say tiny bush, was no closer to being out of the ground than it was before I donated so many layers of my epidermis.

But this all brings me to my point. How is it that we can be so filled with patience for one thing and have absolutely no patience for another? I would happily volunteer my services digging in the dirt to build a backyard track. I’d even be there for multiple days and work into the night with little water and no food. But ask me to do the same digging to remove plants and watch my face and body as it contorts and convulses with fear.

“Our patience will achieve more than our force.”

Edmund Burke

  • Benjamin