|09-05-2013, 01:02 AM||#18361|
Joined: Aug 2008
Tiger 800 Roadie - RaceTech suspension fork re-valving
So I finally completed the RaceTech fork upgrade for my Tiger 800 Roadie. I ordered both compression and rebound kits along with new springs. RT does give an ADVrider discount so do take advantage of that if you go this route. Also, I cannot stress enough that clean, clean, clean is so important through this whole process.
I also need to extend a great many thanks to Terry at RaceTech who fielded about a dozen phone calls as we worked through some issues. He is an awesome guy and took the time to explain everything so this went well. He also made sure my shim ‘recipe’ was exactly what I needed since the online system was not cooperating. His customer service was nothing short of outstanding! Also my thanks to inmates strangebru and ttime4four for being my extra hands.
Part numbers were:
Compression- Type 1 fork gold valve kit FMGV S2040
Rebound- Fork rebound gold valve kit FRGV S02
Springs- .90 kg/mm FPSS 02 (2)
The compression and rebound kits are standard. The springs will be based on your riding style, weight, etc. There is a spring finder on the RT website but it really was not too accurate. I called and spoke with Terry who talked with me and arrived at the .90 kg/mm rate springs. They were stiffer than the website initially recommended but I am quite happy with them.
The kits include all the shims you will need, plus extras. I recommend ordering 2 additional unthreaded cupped washers. You will want 4 total. The gold valve kits are multi-application kits, so not all of the parts are used and some are not included for specific applications. On the Tiger’s Showa forks, the internal design requires unthreaded cupped washers. The compression kit comes with two unthreaded and the rebound kit comes with two threaded, thus why you need the extra two. I’ll explain more when that part comes.
This is my second RT upgrade, the last being on a DR650. The DR forks are damper style and needed the cartridge emulators. That project was quite easy but did require some special tools. The RT products transformed the DR and I was expecting similar results here.
Knowing the Tiger’s Showa forks are cartridge type, I did some research prior to beginning this to see what tools would be necessary. There are some differences between what is required to do the Roadie versus the XC and I will address what I know about them.
Also, in order to remove the forks, it required the use of a headlift stand or jack. I went headlift and have the Pitbull, which is an excellent product. At the time I ordered my RT parts, Pitbull was not making a lift pin for the Roadie. I spent the past 2 months working with Pitbull on a pin for the Roadie. If you are using the Pitbull stand and need the pin, the Roadie pin part number is 17T.
On to some tools. The Roadie does not require a spring compressor for this installation while the XC does. This is directly out of the Tiger service manual and although not required for the Roadie, a spring compressor would definitely have made it easier or at least more convenient. Without one though, it does require a helper.
I took photos of much of the process but have to apologize for not taking more. Some I didn’t because I thought it was self-explanatory and intuitive. I figure if someone is willing to undertake the process of revalving their forks, they at least know how to remove their brake calipers and fender, amongst other things. I hope I am right. The other reason for fewer pictures was just because I didn’t want to trash the camera while my fingers were wet with fork oil. This was a lot of the time.
I recommend getting your “shim recipe” first so you will know if you will need to drill the bleed holes in the gold valves. Then assemble your tools as the bleed drill sizes are not common.
This list is the majority, some of which you might not have already and it is highly likely I forgot some:
32mm socket and 32mm wrench
10mm socket w/ ratchet
14mm or 9/16” open end tappet wrench
5mm and 6mm hex sockets (6mm will need to be long in order to torque later)
6mm T-handle wrench
17mm open end wrench
Appropriate ratchets and torque wrenches
T-30 Torx driver
Oil basin for used fork oil
#55 (1.3mm) drill bit
#53 (1.5mm) drill bit
Per RT, you can substitute a 1/16” drill bit for this. It is a bit larger (1.5875mm) so you decide. Irwin makes a good selection of the number drills and I located them at Ace Hardware for about $2 each. Either way, it is worth getting brand new bits that are nice and sharp. This will be important.Hand drill, hand drill, hand drill (this means NOT a power drill)
6mm x 1.0 tap and die
8mm x 1.25 tap and die
8mm x 1.25 bolt (about 30mm long) and a nut.
Fender washers able to allow 8mm bolt through
8mm x 13mm x 1mm copper sealing washers
Regarding these washers, this specific size is a Triumph only part and a very uncommon size in the US. Get them in advance. They are available on the RT website for $5 each and Triumph only charged me about $1.25 each.Dremel tool with small grinding head, about 8mm in diameter.
Soft jaws or heavy thick cardboard pieces
2 litres of appropriate weight fork oil based on RT recommendations
Nitrile gloves. Lots of them along with paper towels.
Another note: On every bolt and nut I removed, I chased them with the appropriate tap and die. They all had Loctite on them and in order to have clean threads to Loctite again, they need to be chased and cleaned. Also, on the threads for the rebound stem, the end was peened over and chasing with a die cleans and trims those threads up. I don’t fool around here. Some of these bolts are what keep your fork together so clean and new is how I wanted to start.
Remove the front fender and fork protectors. There are two 5mm bolts on each side. Take those out, unclip the brake lines from the retainers and slide out the fender from between the forks. Next come the brake calipers and ABS sensor. If you are using the Pitbull stand, there are these great welded on 6mm receivers. They allow you to thread in a 6mm bolt and hang each caliper from them. It keeps them out of the way and protects all the lines from binding or kinking. If you don’t have them, you will need to fashion some way to secure the calipers.
Now the ABS sensor. It takes a T-30 Torx to remove. Have a short piece of tape ready. The bolt passes through the ABS sensor and has what looks like a washer behind it. This is critical and needs to be saved. Once you pull everything out, leave it in the order it was and fold the tape over the threaded end of the bolt. This will keep everything together. What looks like a washer is actually a shim for the sensor, maintaining the correct distance between the wheel speed sensor and the pulser ring. (Service Manual page 14.34)
Time to pull the wheel. Loosen the two 6mm hex socket cap pinch bolts and then you need a 17mm hex to remove the axle. There are multiple kinds of axle “sockets” so pick your poison. Once the axle is out, store it and roll the wheel out. This storage pin on the Pitbull stand was an option.
Moving on to the forks. I chose to only do one at a time and took top pictures first to confirm the routing of cables and wires. First steps are to loosen the top cap (32mm) and the cartridge holding bolt (6mm) on the bottom. I found a 32mm socket would not fit with the ratchet attached due to interference from the handlebars. I protected the top cap with a soft cloth and used a 32mm wrench instead to loosen it. The lower bolt is up about 25mm in a machined recess right at the bottom of the fork. It was red Loctited at the factory (not advisable upon reassembly) so it will take some force. Just crack this bolt loose and then lightly snug it up. If you loosen it a few turns, or worse remove it, you will have a nice steady stream of red fluid flowing from the fork at an inopportune time.
I used a ratchet with a 6mm hex to loosen the lower triple tree bolts and then had a helper support the fork. Undo the 6mm socket cap bolts in the top triple tree and the fork will gently slide out. Move to your fork work area and place some plastic down to catch the drips and stand the fork up. I folded a small cloth underneath to protect the fork bottom. Also, do not use a trash bag as your plastic liner. The fork fluid is quite caustic and when I did it, it ate right through and leaked out all over the garage floor. That caused a brief cleanup break and a change to heavy clear plastic.
Using your hand, if you loosened it enough, or a 32mm socket if not, unscrew the top cap all the way. Hold the top of the fork while you do this and it will come free. The top cap is attached to the cartridge so it will not come off. Once it is loose, the upper portion of the fork will slide down easily. Remember it is full of fluid although you can run it all the way down. Tip the fork over your basin and drain the fluid. There will still be some fluid trapped in the cartridge itself that you will drain later.
After you slid the out tube down, you expose the spacer. At the top of the spacer is a dished, slotted washer that rests on the outer rim of the spacer and under the locknut that locks the top cap. There are two holes in the top of the spacer (and the bottom too), which are for a spring compressor to attach to. Get your helper and have them grab the spacer and force it down against the spring. This will allow you to remove the dished washer and put a 17mm open-end wrench onto the locknut. Your helper can release the spacer to rest on the underside of the wrench. Use the wrench and your 32mm socket to break the lock. Have your helper compress the spring a bit again just to remove the tension and spin the top cap off then end of the shaft. Now the spacer can be released and slid off. At the bottom of the spacer is a plastic cap. Pop it off. Leave the nut in place on the shaft. If it turns it is not a big deal, you will set the proper distance again later.
Invert the fork a bit and the spring will slide out. You will see the top of the spring is narrower than the bottom. Although the directions indicate this is the way to install the new spring (narrow at top), RT told me specifically to reverse it and for good reason. When the spring compresses, it slides back and forth over the upper part of the cartridge. Having the narrow end of the spring on top, the spring will contact the cartridge and wear both the spring and cartridge body. Aside from that being bad, the worn particulate matter can get lodged into the valve shims.
Now lay the fork down and get your long 6mm hex or 6mm T-handle and remove the bolt from the bottom of the fork. The cartridge will spin so hang onto it or deflect it a bit to allow the bolt to unscrew. Once the bolt is free, the cartridge will slide right out. In the very bottom of the fork tube is a stainless cup that centers the cartridge and will need to be shaken loose also. The bolt may not come out too easily because the copper crush washer has been deformed and hangs onto it. On one of my forks I had to unscrew it from the washer and then pick the washer out. On the other fork, they slid right out together. Pump the cartridge a few times to drain what fluid you can.
Now you should have the fork tube still together and all the related parts. Unless you have high mileage or indications that your fork seals and wipers need replacing, there is no reason to tear into them. The seals and wipers are available through RT. I only have about 3000 miles, so I saw no reason to spend more on new seals and wipers.
I shoved a wadded up paper towel to the bottom of the internal fork tube and another in the top. This kept any debris from gathering in there since I was not doing a complete disassembly. Now let’s take apart the cartridges.
Starting at the bottom, take your extra 8mm x 1.25 bolt and thread it all the way into the bottom of the compression piston. The piston is threaded at both ends; 8mm on the bottom half and 6mm on the top half. Just run the 8mm bolt up until it stops. Use a soft mallet to tap the piston deeper into the cartridge about 10mm. This will expose an internal groove and a circlip. Pop the circlip out.
Now comes the tricky part. In addition to the circlip, the inner diameter of the cartridge is a few thousandths narrower than the body. As a result, the piston will never slide out without damaging it. Remove the bolt to give you access and use your Dremel tool to make 6-10 passes around the interior circumference to grind away that extra thickness. When you think you are done, stack some fender washers under the bolt and rethread it. As you tighten it up, it will draw the piston down to the bottom of the cartridge and it should slide right out. Now you have the compression piston and valve in your hand.
Slide the center shaft out of the cartridge through the bottom and it will give you the rebound valving. If it looks like mine, the compression will have a bolt that screws through the stack into the piston and the rebound stack slides onto a shaft with a nut on the end.
Now I made a loop of coat hanger that I could close to stack the original valving onto. Starting with the compression, I clamped the piston in my vise between heavy cardboard. Get a hex and remove the bolt from the top of the piston. Once it unscrews, slide the compression stack onto your piece of hangar and close it. An o-ring on the valve distinguishes the compression valve.
Now clamp the top of the rebound shaft between the cardboard. I recommend the top because if you bugger it up, its not a huge deal since the upper shaft does not pass through the seal. Just below the rebound valving is a flat that is about 14mm. It is very narrow and requires a tappet wrench to get on it. I only had SAE tappets so 9/16” was the ticket, being about 14.28mm. Hold there and using a 10mm socket, remove the top nut.
This nut was also very difficult to remove due to the red Loctite and the peening of the threads. Just slowly work it off or you can use a little heat. Be very cautious with the heat as you don’t want to damage the metal. There is a replacement nut in the RT kits. Once the nut is off, slide the rebound stack onto another piece of coat hanger. A wide fibrous seal distinguishes the rebound valve in the same place the o-ring was on the compression stack. Save both stacks because you will be using some parts again. Specifically, if you don’t get the additional cupped washers, you can use one of these sets again which was what I did.
OK now is when you tap and die ALL of the threads on everything. Then it is cleaning time. RT recommends a solvent tank for everything. Not having one handy, it was a can of brake cleaner. I was especially diligent about anything threaded and then using compressed air to dry everything.
Now take your recipe from the RT instructions and build your shim stack. Open the bags and measure everything. On the biggest shims (17mm) you will find a couple that the center hole is noticeably larger than all of the center holes in the remaining shims. Those shims go under the cupped washer and the larger diameter hole allows the shim to slide over the cupped washer stem. If you look at the sketch in the RT instructions, it is crystal clear. Just make sure when assembling everything that you orient the valve correctly.
My recipe called for bleed holes in the valves; 1.3mm in the rebound and 1.5mm in the compression. It is a bitch to drill these puppies. The rebound especially since the 1.3mm hole is going into a 2mm spot. No room for error which is why this is not a power drill event.
I clamped the valve into the cardboard. I would not use even soft jaws here since the valve is brass and softer than most jaws. If you bugger it up, you’re buying a new one. The compression takes a 1.5mm hole and it goes into just a bit larger of a space. Also, the hole on the rebound goes on the opposite side of where the compression valve’s is so make sure your valve is oriented correctly before you drill. AS the saying goes, measure twice, cut once, something I was never too good at.
Once the holes are drilled, very carefully file off the rough edges. Its like porting and polishing a cylinder head, smoother makes for better flow. Now its time to surface the valve. They come from RT pretty clean but this step is recommended. Take a pane of glass and lay a piece of some 400 grit sandpaper on top. I bought a cheap replacement 8x10” pane at Home Depot for this. Flat side of the valve down, make a figure eight on the sandpaper once or twice. Flip the valve over and do the other side. This makes sure you have a perfectly flat surface for the shims to seal to. I then gave it a quick shot of brake cleaner and some compressed air.
Now follow the instructions for reassembly using your RT shims. Starting with the compression again, stack all the parts onto the bolt, which is clean and dry right? When your stack is done, you will see there is some extra space on the shaft before the threads start. In your parts kit, there are some thick washers. One side is perfectly flat and the other not so much. You will use a couple of these to take up that extra space. All that is important is that the washer you use to take up space has a greater diameter than the last shim you used in the stack. Incidentally, the last shim in the stack is called the clamp shim. If your spacer were of a smaller diameter, it would then become the clamp shim and change the characteristics.
On the factory rebound stack, there were 7 washers after the clamp shim taking up space for the same purpose.
I used one of the RT thick washers first with the flat side to the clamp shim and then 4 of the old thin washers from the original rebound stack. Different shim stacks (recipes) will alter this length so do what works for you. Before assembling this into the piston, I took an 8mm nut and threaded it down the shaft of my extra bolt and then threaded the bolt into the bottom of the piston. I clamped the bolt head in the vise to hold it. Next I grabbed the 8mm nut with a wrench and used it as a lock against the piston underside. You MUST use RED Loctite 271 on the shim stack bolt. Thread it into the top of the piston and torque accordingly. Break the locknut free and unthread the bolt and the compression stack is almost done. Take some new fork oil and wet the o-ring from the kit and snap it into the groove. Now it’s done!
Now onto the rebound stack which threads onto the shaft. I did not get the extra unthreaded cupped washers so per RT, I reused the originals with their springs. I used a new shim from the RT kit below it though. I again had too much shaft left so I used one thick washer, two of the original thin washers and a final thick washer. I capped it with one of the nylon insert nuts in the kit and this was the perfect length to allow the nylon to grab. When installing the final nut, you MUST use RED Loctite 271 again.
Now you need to install the rebound valve seal. RT recommends installation grease but I found that fork oil works fine. Roll the seal to give it that much need curvature and soak it in fork oil. Slide it onto the valve and it should hold well enough to get it started.
I found if I took some oil to the interior of the cartridge, the install went more smoothly. Insert the rebound shaft into the cartridge body and tighten up the seal as it passes inside. Once inside, it will make that wonderful squish suck sound as it passes up and down. Again, re-oil the interior of the cartridge and the o-ring and insert the compression stack and piston. It hangs a bit on the 4 ports and then goes in. A clean 8mm bolt goes back in, tap with mallet to expose circlip groove and insert circlip. Remove bolt, use a few fenders to draw it back to the bottom and you are done. Cartridge complete.
Remember the cartridge centering cap that was last out of the fork? Stick it over the end of the cartridge and don’t lose it. Now pull the paper towels from the fork tube. The top one I could grab and the bottom I blew out with compressed air. So you don’t lose the centering cap, I slid the cartridge into the fork horizontally. Clamp the brake caliper flange at the bottom of the fork tube into the vise (protect it) and have your helper keep the shaft as centered as possible while you thread the original 8mm socket cap bolt back in with a NEW sealing washer. This bolt gets BLUE Loctite, not red. Torque it appropriately and now the cartridge is installed again.
Now it is time to add fluid and bleed the cartridge. RT has their own fluid but I am preferential to Amsoil. I am a dealer and have always had good luck with it, so that’s what I use. I would imagine any high-quality performance fork oil will work suitably well as long as you have the correct weight. In this case Amsoil Suspension Fluid #5 Light was the recommended weight.
Pour in a bunch of fluid to cover well over the top of the cartridge top. Begin to cycle the cartridge shaft and you will feel and see the air bleed out. Do it a bunch and make sure it is completely clear of bubbles. Now you will need to set the oil level. This is done with the spring and spacer uninstalled.
RT has a great tool but it is a good chunk of change if you are only going to do this once or twice. If you are going to do this a lot, it is an awesome tool and worth the coin. MotionPro also makes one that is a little cheaper but not much. Here is what I did.
Napa Auto Parts - 12” pre-made brake line $5.00
Farm store - 12” of 1/8”ID vinyl tubing $ .29
Farm store - 60cc Luer tip syringe $3.49
I cut the flared ends off the brake line and removed the threaded collars. You get the rest – Syringe, tubing, brake line. Mark your level line from RT on the outside of the brake line and wrap some tape there to mark it. I used brake line because it is treated to resist the caustic effects of brake fluid so I knew it would stand up to the fork oil. The syringe and tubing are disposable when this is all over since the fork oil does not play well with the rubber in the syringe or the vinyl tubing.
Now overfill the fork, have your helper hold the fork and insert the brake line to the tape mark. Withdraw fluid until you hear the sucking sound and you’ve just set you fork oil level.
Next insert the spring, tight end first. Don’t drop it from up high or all your fork oil level work will have been wasted. Now the spacer. RT will give you the correct length to cut it to. Make sure you account for the plastic spacer when cutting the tubing. It added a few millimeters. I just used a pipe cutter and then cleaned up the ends. If you are using a spring compressor, you will need to punch the holes into the top as they were on the factory spacer for it to mount into. Also look at the bottom of the original spacer. There are two dimples in the metal used to provide tension to hold the plastic spacer in place. You will want to dimple your new spacer the same way for the same purpose.
Just to show how different this setup is, here were some of my numbers.
Spring Spacer Preload Fluid
Original 360mm 390mm 29mm #8
RaceTech 315mm 422mm 10mm #5
My recipe called for only 5mm of preload but Terry thought it better to start with 10mm and I could always trim the extra 5mm off if I didn’t like it. I like it as is.
So you’re all cut, drilled and dimpled and ready to finish up. Attach the plastic cap to the spacer tube and get ready to insert it into the fork. The problem is that the cartridge shaft has descended all the way down and you can’t grab it once the spacer is in. I fed a piece of string down the spacer tube and looped it around the cartridge shaft under the nut. In retrospect, I would not do this again due to some complications. Instead I would take about a 20” piece of wire coat hanger and loop the end so I could capture the shaft under the nut.
Before you insert the spacer, you also need to set the nut height. Per the manual, 10.5mm on a Roadie and 12mm on the XC from the top of the shaft. Now slide the spacer in and draw the string or hangar up and get your helper again. Helper forces the spacer down and you slip in the dished, slotted washer under the nut. Now it supports the preload pressure. Get your top cap and spin it on down to the nut. You can use a bit of blue Loctite here too. Get you helper to drop the spacer down again so you get your 17mm wrench onto the nut and lock the locknut against the cap. Pressure again, remove the wrench, center the dished washer and release. Slide the outer fork tube up and tighten the cap. I did see an instruction indicating Loctite on the top cap but I would discourage that. You will not be able to torque the top cap until it is back in the triple trees.
Fork #1 done! I worked the fork while out of the bike and found it was much easier to compress than it was before the revalving. Initially I was worried that I didn’t go stiff enough on the shim stack but I remembered that the DR was similar. I finished up the second fork and got them all reinstalled. You want to align the caliper mounts as straight as possible and remember that there is a 3-4mm protrusion of the top of the fork above the upper triple clamp that needs to be there. Now start installing the wheel and axle but DO NOT tighten the axle pinch bolts yet because you need to align the forks. Install the calipers and ABS sensor snugly but don’t worry about the torque yet. I used a touch of blue Loctite on all these bolts also.
Compress and release the forks multiple times with the axle installed and torqued but the axle pinch bolts loose. This allows the forks to center and align themselves to the wheel. Once done, torque the pinch bolts, caliper and ABS sensor bolts and this project is complete.
I was planning on upgrading the suspension from the moment I bought the bike. There is no question that manufacturers skimp on this so important component of their bikes. That is one of the reasons we pay a premium when Triumph, BMW, Suzuki, etc, throw an Ohlins shock and forks on a bike. It is better than anything stock and people are willing to pay for it.
Anyway, I got the bike last May, ordered the RT parts in August and sat on them while trying to sort what I was going to do about the rear and also the headlift stand issue. I also wasn’t riding much. When I did ride it, it was clear that it was not as well planted as I believed it could have been, had some bounce that has been described in both the Roadie and XC and two-up was awful. With all of the preload cranked in, I dropped my 160# son on the back with no gear and I still bottomed the suspension. Handling then was just flat terrible. I was also coming off GSXR race bikes so that made the difference even more noticeable.
About a month ago I got a steal of a deal on the Ohlins TR-119 shock. First ride with that installed the bike behaved like two completely mismatched bikes. There was the rear Ohlins half that was completely planted and the front stock half that wandered and could not keep up with the rear. One ride was all it took for me to know that the front had to be done.
Suspension done, the first ride was completely night and day. The bike was totally responsive to any steering inputs and rode like it was on rails. I took it through a few miles of twisties and found the total suspension was very confidence inspiring. I could push harder into the corners than I ever had before because the bike did not jump around and imperfections in the pavement were non-existent. It is rock solid. Next I plan on some two-up testing but I expect the Ohlins is completely prepared for the challenge. If I had only one complaint after the ride it would be I now know the brakes are lacking, which I have been thinking for a while. Harder and faster allowed by the suspension needs to be tempered by stopping shorter and more quickly from the brakes. That will be the next project.
Anyway, I hope someone gleans something from this novel. If you’re close by and need a hand doing a Roadie or Tiger, PM me and I’ll try to help out.
|09-05-2013, 05:33 AM||#18362|
Once you go Triple...
Joined: Nov 2005
Top notch write-up
'12 Tiger 800XC
'02 Sprint ST
'99 Speed Triple
|09-05-2013, 05:51 AM||#18363|
Joined: Apr 2003
Location: Deep Woods
How 'bout that!
|09-05-2013, 07:51 AM||#18364|
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Central Coast, Cal
Yes. Thanks P3!!
"Deeply flawed people make deeply flawed decisions."
|09-05-2013, 08:52 AM||#18365|
PIN IT & BANG GEARS
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Orange County, CA
Where is 'close by'?
|09-05-2013, 11:50 AM||#18367|
Joined: Sep 2013
WIMAK screwed with this post 09-05-2013 at 11:56 AM
|09-05-2013, 12:24 PM||#18368|
PIN IT & BANG GEARS
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Orange County, CA
|09-05-2013, 12:28 PM||#18369|
Loftin' the wheel
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Charlotte area
Triumph Tiger 800 XC
Ninjette (needs resuscitation)
|09-05-2013, 12:32 PM||#18370|
Loftin' the wheel
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Charlotte area
Triumph Tiger 800 XC
Ninjette (needs resuscitation)
|09-06-2013, 12:08 AM||#18373|
Joined: Aug 2008
Click to see the Tiger 800/800XC LED brake/tail light upgrade
|09-06-2013, 07:00 AM||#18374|
Joined: Feb 2010
too long, didn't read
Nice pics though.
Work harder, millions on welfare depend on you.
09 KLR 650
|09-06-2013, 07:55 AM||#18375|
Joined: Oct 2012
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