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Old 01-04-2013, 06:25 AM   #1
Michelangelo OP
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How to hold damper rod when putting forks back together?

Just installed new seals in a set of right side up Bandit GSF1200 forks. Now I can't get the bolt in the bottom of the fork legs to lighten up, even when using an airgun. The dang damper rod inside the fork just wants to spin and spin. I tried stuff a small metal rod down in there with an old sock attached to the end (how I took it apart) to keep it from spinning but not having any luck.

Any ideas or a homemade tool I can use (correctly, lol)?
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:38 AM   #2
manic mechanic
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Put the spring back in with the top on, then use the impact gun.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:22 AM   #3
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So putting spring in, screw back on the cap onto the damper rod, then tighten?
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:52 AM   #4
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See if the top of the damper rod is socketed. On '86-'06 Kawasaki Concours forks, a 5/8" (I'm pretty sure that's the size) nut fits in the top of the damper rods. Lock two nuts together on each end of a length of allthread, then hold the assembly with a wrench. You might be able to do something similar with yours.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:10 AM   #5
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on 'standard' (not USD) forks I have to use an impact to loose the bolt BEFORE I remove from the bike.

I can usually get the bolt tight enough to not leak before I do the final tightening with forks installed on the bike.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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on conventional forks, i reinstall spring, and cap. flip it over so i can impact the retaining bolt. compress the fork leg while doing so, for more pressure on the damper rod. i'm assuming the bottom of this damper rod is smooth and not notched to keep it in any position...
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:51 PM   #7
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Great ideas, thanks guys. Will let you know how it goes.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:21 PM   #8
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No luck with either of these methods. I even put a 1 inch extra spacer preload spacer on top of the stock spacer to get more tension and put pressure on the fork after assembled (upside down) with the impact tool and still spins.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Michelangelo View Post
No luck with either of these methods. I even put a 1 inch extra spacer preload spacer on top of the stock spacer to get more tension and put pressure on the fork after assembled (upside down) with the impact tool and still spins.
Did you look at the top of the damper rod to see if it will accept a nut?
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:33 PM   #10
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i've used square aluminum stock that just fit in the top holder for obstinate bolts on the damper.


i think i may have peened the sharp side edges a touch so it'd make a good fit.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:24 AM   #11
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I've used a broom handle, cut a cone in the top with a rasp and hammer it into place to lock the damper rod.

The catch is the obvious one, possible wood chips, but they come out if you wash it with kero.

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:14 AM   #12
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I would pull the damper rod and make very sure the threads are clean and the bolt easily spins all of the way into it before going any further. Also check that you are not missing any washers or whatnot that might affect the spacing of the fixing bolt- if it bottoms onto a shoulder before it is getting tight then something is wrong.

As stated by other posters the effort required to thread in the bolt and snug it down should be far less than the effort needed to spin the damper rod when it is being compressed by the spring.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:59 PM   #13
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I've had luck with an old bicycle tube pushed down in the fork leg, after fre turns it started to grip and let me tighten the bolt
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:27 PM   #14
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May have already been said, but most of the old style damper rod forks have a 12 point (?) socket type top to them. The correct size nut, bought from a hardware store, will fit in this socket. All that needs to be done is to hillbilly engineer that nut so you can get a rachet wrench with a long extension on it, put down the fork tube from the top.

I've got the most recent one of these hillbilly devices at home and can post a pic if you want.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:48 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Skowinski View Post
May have already been said, but most of the old style damper rod forks have a 12 point (?) socket type top to them. The correct size nut, bought from a hardware store, will fit in this socket. All that needs to be done is to hillbilly engineer that nut so you can get a rachet wrench with a long extension on it, put down the fork tube from the top.

I've got the most recent one of these hillbilly devices at home and can post a pic if you want.
As I mentioned earlier in this thread, mine is a length of allthread with two nuts jammed together on each end. One end fits in the top of the damper rod and the other end sticks out of the top of the fork to be grabbed by a wrench or socket.
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