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Discussion Starter #1
I undertook a full disassembly of my front forks because 1) the seals were leaking 2) I wanted to install racetech springs and 3) I don't know if the forks have been serviced since this new-to-me bike was manufactured in 2000.

Everything inside cleaned up nicely. But the bushings (fiche #44065 and #44065A) show some wear (they appear abraded and brass color is showing).

Other parts, which I think are called the damper rod seats (they're what the allen bolt screws into from the bottom of the fork) show roughness on their bottom edge.

So I'm thinkning I should replace them... BUT BikeBandit tells me I'm looking at 6 weeks delay in receiving OEM parts. Six weeks means second week of August or so.

And the damper rod seat is shown on the fiche as part of the (backordered) damper rod assembly and doesn't appear to be available separately.

I like to be safe but I don't want my bike to be out of action until the end of the summer. So I'm considering reassembling the forks with the new springs and riding on the old parts.

Would WORN parts be UNSAFE to ride on? (My riding style is pretty conservative)

Can anyone suggest other options for getting hold of OEM parts sooner?

Looking for options...

Thanks

KH
 

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Sounds like you are on the right track; you can't go wrong replacing the seals if they are leaking. Likewise for the Racetech springs because the stock springs are definitely too soft unless you are a very light rider.

No need to worry about the so-called damper rod seats because they don't move once the forks are re-assembled. Aside from literally being a "damper rod seat" their only function is to progressively plug the oil flow at the bottom of the fork legs to create a "soft" hydraulic lock instead of a metallic bang when the forks are compressed to the point of bottoming. There is no metal to metal contact and they are not a normal wear item. Don't forget to closely inspect the bare fork legs for straightness, worn/flaking chrome, and any nicks or gouges.

As for the bushings, they are a judgement call but if your bike is a high miler, the answer may well be yes. For comparison, on my EX with 26,000 km (15,000 miles) the bushings were still fine so I reused them. I think All-balls sells both seal only and seal/bushing kits for the EX500 if you are looking for non-OEM. I've had generally good luck with their stuff.

I would suggest considering cartridge emulators ("Gold valves") along with the new springs. The spring/emulator combo makes the EX front end work significantly better than the stock damper rod set up. The Racetech site has lots of info on installing springs and emulators on the EX500 as well as a chart for selecting the correct spring rate for your weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi [email protected] -- thanks for the input, especially about the "damper rod seats". This is the first time I've worked on front suspension and I'm still learning about how it works. I have read about emulators and they sound good but I want to get a little more experience with front suspension in general before I start getting "fancy". The springs are plenty complicated for me right now.

As far as re-using those worn bushings, I'd probably be okay with them, but it still bugs me putting them back in. I checked out an AllBalls bushing set on their website but they were sold out (I am using AllBalls replacement seals). So for better or worse I got replacement bushings, circlips, etc. for my Ninja off of eBay. They should be here day after tomorrow. :rolleyes: Even if they're not finest quality, perhaps they'll keep me rolling until OEM parts arrive.

I have stoned the dings out of the forks, and have some new gaiters to protect them in the future.

KH
 

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Most of what has been written here is sound advise. RE the bushings, I always put the original bushings back in. However, I will usually adjust the lower bushing to be sure it is not loose in the lower leg. a badly worn bushing allows for the lower leg to move independently of the tube. It also allows fork oil to push past it requiring heavier than optimal fork oil. Buy some .001 shim stock and cut a piece (regular scissors work fine) that will fit in the groove on the tube where the bushing rests. The cut shim should be about 3.5 inches X .75 in. Slide the bushing back into the groove on top of the shim. Now slide the tube into the lower leg. Slide the tube in and out IN THE TRAVEL ZONE to see if it binds anywhere. If it does, cut off .75 inches of the shim and try again. You should also try to hold the tube at the upper end of the lower leg and move the tube to test if there is any movement. It's a trial and error thing. Once adjusted as snug as possible without binding (stiction), you can replace the oil(4 and 3/4 inches from the top of the fully collapsed tube, spring out, emulators or intiminators in) ( I like the intiminators. The oil you can use is much lighter.) Good luck.
 

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Some folks take a very conservative approach: A nearby dealership would refuse to replace your fork seals if you did not have them replace both bushings.
Now, some of that is liability, and some is comeback avoidance, and some is making maximum profit from each customer, take your pick.
I rather like the thoughtful approach, looking at mileage and general condition, then inspecting closely, and checking to see if the fork moves laterally at all.

Then decide.
 

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Sometimes its a step down to replace used but perfectly OK OEM parts with brand new but lower quality aftermarket stuff. I don't mind spending the money, but I want the end result to be an actual improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update: I was able to get a set of AllBalls replacement bushings so I think that issue is resolved, but I've found something that doesn't look right on one of the fork tubes:
51885

(Those are the old bushings)
Both holes at the bottom end of the tube on the right are blocked because that component inside the end of the tube has rotated about 60 degrees.
Put another way: The holes in the inner and outer components don't line up.
That inner component does not rotate freely... I tried and couldn't move it.
Is this a problem? (looks like one to me!) How do I go about fixing it?
Thanks!
KH
 
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