Africa Twin Premature Front Fork Failure (Current Owners and Prospective New owners Must Read)

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by bumbee800, Sep 1, 2017.

  1. NSFW

    NSFW who else would love noobs? Super Supporter

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    Noticed the left front fork has a leaky oil seal and soaked the disc and pads with fork oil.

    Took it apart, and all went well. Plan is put new fork seal. Oil was clean.

    Then, decided to the right side too....might as well. When I poured the used fork oil into a container, it was charcoal gray....not good.

    Removed the lowers from the uppers, sure enough, the anodizing on the upper was worn out.

    Thinking of getting 2 ATAS uppers and rebuild them myself like others. I don't like it but this will make a good stay-home project.

    Installed new brake pads on both sides so that's one less task to do later.

    • Model Year: 2016....VIN#0000000011
    • Country you are in: USA
    • Odometer at the time of inspection (specify miles or KM): 12.6K miles
    • % On/Off road riding you do: 10% Off Road
    • Inspection results: Left is good (looks like) just leaky fork seal, Right is gone.
    • Was it covered by Honda Warranty? (If no please specify why): Not sure if I want to take it to the dealer. They are shut-down at the present.
    Pcfly and AZ Africa Twin like this.
  2. Greg the pole

    Greg the pole There are no stupid questions, only stupid people

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    hi Joel,
    not a bad plan.
    If you have not bought oil seals, go with the kawi jobbies. Much better than oem.
    If you go ATAS uppers, you will not have to re-shim the bushings.
    All here if you want a read.
    https://thetenerist.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/2017-honda-crf-1000-africa-twin-fork-inspection/
  3. Moshaholic2

    Moshaholic2 PCUT

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    Would something like this reduce the flex ? (If designed specifically for the AT fork legs)
    Might still have leaky seals.. but possibly eliminate the anodizing being worn off?
    Silver-and-black-fork-brace.jpg
  4. NSFW

    NSFW who else would love noobs? Super Supporter

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    Thanks Greg, that link had been bookmarked for a while even though I have a lot of confidence it won't happen to me, and now it's my turn.....:rofl

    I appreciate you chiming in.

    Holding back to get new ATAS uppers until I pay my property tax, Fed and State Income Taxes. The AT will be grounded for a while, though this lockdown would be good timing to do it.

    Not exactly bikeless at the moment.
  5. Junglejeff1

    Junglejeff1 Long timer

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    That will not help much.They are designed more to stop week forks from twisting.They would not help the AT forks stop flexing unfortunately. My uppers are working smooth still with about 11k miles(replaced by honda at 7200 miles).The hard coating Seems like it is working.Will be checking soon to see how it looks in there.If they do shit out will put a set of adventure tubes on aND call it good. Bike has almost 19 k on it now.With a compression valve adjustment on my gold valves to make them a little more compliant I will be happy.It seems like the flex in them might cause binding and that may be my issue. If I hit a sharp bump they jar the bike a bit.Actually starts to hurt my neck if on a certain road that is chopped every 30 or so feet.They work decent except for that issue.
    BLU_FZ1 likes this.
  6. Greg the pole

    Greg the pole There are no stupid questions, only stupid people

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    It's still early...but I think the below is correct. I may still need more caff...
    that only works on right side up forks, fork brace moves with lower outer fork.....
    up side down jobbies..would result in a horrific crash on the first bump...wheel into brace, rider over bars..or catapulted into sky..
    Junglejeff1 likes this.
  7. Greg the pole

    Greg the pole There are no stupid questions, only stupid people

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    good deal! Tackle it when you can.
    Kwak seals are a very good upgrade.
    Save the spring from the shit oem oil seals, and add to dust seal.
    NSFW likes this.
  8. Bolzen

    Bolzen Been here awhile

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    What exactly is rubbing the coating off?
  9. Black99S

    Black99S Been here awhile

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    You, riding the bike.
    zivi123 likes this.
  10. bbanker

    bbanker Been here awhile Supporter

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    :photog:jack
  11. SkipD

    SkipD That looks stickey

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    The bushes on the lower inner fork tubes slide on the inside edge of the upper outer fork tube. The bushes are a wear item the upper outer tubes are a wear item, its the fact the upper outer tubes are wearing through the original internal anodizing in the area around the lower clamp on the upper tubes at low km that is the issue.
    Some options are 1) make the Upper tubes flex less (replace with next version of tubes) 2) Recoat with a harder material either Kashima or Hard Anodizing 3) Make the lower clamp better (more round with a greater surface area etc) .
    It looks like having the suspension set so that the upper bush does not constantly work right by that lower clamp might help as well, also reducing the lower clamp clamping pressure (TQ down to a much lower figure) seems to assist.
    This issue is not unique to the AT and is a common issue across a number of brands. A combination of a number of the above items looks like it has mostly resolved the issue, remembering upper tubes are still a wear item, they will need to be serviced over a period of time.
    Bolzen, bbanker and Lost Cartographer like this.
  12. Bolzen

    Bolzen Been here awhile

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    You suggest just looking at it?
  13. Bolzen

    Bolzen Been here awhile

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    It's a wear item for sure, but not that fast ) Do they run dry or have rough edge maybe?
    Quercus petraea likes this.
  14. Quercus petraea

    Quercus petraea Been here awhile

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    No, that problem was never resolved by Honda in the standard CRF1000L. Kashima was never a real solution.

    And no, it’s not a common issue across a nunmber of brands, at least if we’re talking about adventure bikes. It’s not a common issue as in the AT the wear is really and abnormally fast, causing a dangerous “slop” in the suspension.
    As Bolzen said, upper tubes are wear items, but not that absurdly fast.

    Thanks god you can swap with ATAS’ tubes, but they aren’t cheap.
  15. SkipD

    SkipD That looks stickey

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    So my bike is a Jan 2016 and at 20k km I had it opened up to look for the wear spots, which it had and so did my buddy,s that had slightly more km. In the shop that day there were 6 other sets of forks that were heading to Japan each with between 60k and 80k km on them they were all WP units. Mine was one of the first sets he had done on an AT, he has been shipping tubes to get Kashima coating for many years. So it was not a problem that had to be solved just for the AT. Its a regular maintenance item on all brands of fork tubes.
    So a combination of things seam to make the AT tubes have a high wear rate.
    Honda initially changed the outer tubes on the AS (I am assuming because of the extra weight) in the next model cycle. Then in the last model cycle they put the stiffer outer upper tubes on all models but at the same time they softened the frame (up by the stearing head) to get more flex. I would assume they where trying to keep the feel of the bike the same or make improvements.

    This would indicate to me the original design was to have flexy fork tubes for bike feel but they ended up with high wear. Changes to the frame let them use the stiffer tubes on the standard bike.

    I ride with quite a number of ATs and about 75% of those have never had the front end serviced never mind look for outer tube wear, they are typically used off road. I only know of 1 AT that's used exclusively on road its got quite high km more than 80k km its been lowered but no other suspension work, again no idea if there is tube wear or not, nobodys ever looked even though I have said might be a good idea.
    So it would seem that Honda have addressed the issue in their own good time (4 Years for the two updates to those that had a standard bike, 2 years if you had an AS) for new owners and left those that have noted an issue to solve it in their own way (a combination of the fixes in the forum above).
    I am still picking the majority of owners don't know or don't care, and that's probably a high percentage.
  16. Quercus petraea

    Quercus petraea Been here awhile

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    Well, nop. Indeed, 2018-2019 ATAS uses exactly the same frame as the standard 2016-19 AT, and the ATAS upper tubes are wider than 2020 AT/ATAS. And 2018-19 ATAS tubes don't wear (well, they may wear, as everything does, but not abnormaly fast).
  17. SkipD

    SkipD That looks stickey

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    I am referring to the 2020 standard AT getting stiffer tubes, (that they would appear to have) and the 2020 model getting an updated frame. No discussion on an 18-19 frame.
  18. Quercus petraea

    Quercus petraea Been here awhile

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    I was refering this sentence. 2018 ATAS have same frame as 2018 standard AT, so I can't find your point as a fair reason.
    Difference between 2018 ATAS and standard AT are, basicaly, the extra fuel, bash plate and crash bars (and -almost- every body put crash bars and bash plate in their standard ATs).

    I think Honda used that upper tubes because they were cheap, and then they realized that, well, that they were too crappy.
  19. SkipD

    SkipD That looks stickey

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    Unfortunitely you are misreading my statement but I will clarify for you in highlight.
    "Then in the last model cycle (this being the 2020 model) they put the stiffer outer upper tubes on all models but at the same time they softened the frame (up by the stearing head) to get more flex. I would assume they where trying to keep the feel of the bike the same or make improvements.

    This would indicate to me the original design was to have flexy fork tubes for bike feel but they ended up with high wear. Changes to the frame (this being the 2020 model) let them use the stiffer tubes on the standard bike (this being the 2020 model).
  20. Black99S

    Black99S Been here awhile

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    I understood it the first time - AT frame / fork flex ... etc.
    Can’t be bothered to read the pissing match.
    Motociclo likes this.