Servicing the LC4 chassis swingarm suspension link

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by creeper, May 17, 2005.

  1. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    Servicing the LC4 chassis swingarm suspension link.

    Is your rear suspension not workin' like it used to Bunkie? Not trackin' well over the lumpy bumpies? Feelin' kinda clunky over the washboard stuff? Read on my brother.

    First, you need to know that unless you have a high pressure grease gun, you're not going to get any grease into the prolever or "shock bearing" on the link.
    Second, there are six more bearings which need attention... 10 if you count the swingarm, that don't have zerk fittings. :nod

    This is something that should be done at least once a year or even more frequently if your bike's suspension spends a lot of time under water, or in extreme heat/cold conditions.
    I have to admit that I didn't get to mine until about 16 months into ownership. :dunno

    Don't try to do this unless you have a decent selection of tools and a clean work bench... and are prepared to run into parts that need replacement.

    Disassemble, clean, inspect, lube and reassemble.

    It is not absolutely necessary to remove the rear wheel, but it sure makes getting to and seeing things easier. If you have a Handy Lift that gets a bike up 3 feet off the ground, then maybe removing the rear wheel is not so important.

    Once you have the wheel off, you can remove the three bolts that hold the link to the swingarm, shock and connecting rods. Note the location the individual bolts were removed from and from which direction, for reassembly. Take pictures if you think need to, or lay things out on the work bench in some sort of order that makes sense to you.

    It's not absolutely necessary to remove the swingarm, but it sure makes getting to the link arm/frame bearings easier.

    Once you have the swingarm off :evil ... again noting the position of the fasteners, spacers, washers and cable holders, you can now remove the special bolt holding the connecting rods (20) to the frame. Use the square hex on the right to hold the bolt and remove the last remaining nut... you can remove the bolt thru the hole in the right side of the frame.

    As shown in the diagrams, there are a few tolerance shims (thrust washers) (4 and 42 respectively) located under what KTM refers to as a "bucket" (6) on the link, or a spacer (44) on the swingarm. Note the location of these when you remove the buckets.

    [​IMG]

    I have developed a habit of marking the link with punch marks to identify the location which the buckets, bearing sleeves and thrust washer(s) came from and to identify the direction the bearing sleeves were removed from. You want everything to go back exactly as it was removed... just clean and freshly greased. A simple 1 punch, 2 punch, 3 punch and so on will permanently I.D. the link, and tiny file marks will I.D. the buckets and bearing sleeves.

    The shock bearing, or "Prolever" bearing (9)... the one with the zerk, has "bushings" (8) that are a light press fit into the bearing inner race. If these do not come out by hand or with the aid of an inside plier or soft jaw vice, you can try tapping on an inside end with a flat nose punch to break them loose.
    The problem with these is they can corrode inside the bearing, and cannot be removed without damaging the sealing surfaces. If this is the case you will have to buy new ones... better these than the $50 prolever bearing.
    The last time I did one, I pressed the entire bearing and bushing assembly out of the link, and proceeded to destroy the bushings outer surface removing them from the bearing... again, $12 bucks beats $50.
    As an alternative, there are penetrating spray greases that work pretty well for this application... fairly thick after the carrier evaporates.
    I've also reinstalled the bearing so the grease hole lines up straight with the zerk... this improves the chances of getting a little grease in the bearing with a gun. :fitz

    [​IMG]

    The buckets come off the bearing sleeves quite a bit easier that the bushings from the prolever bearing... usually. A soft jaw vice is perfect for this job.
    Remove the buckets, and bearing sleeves, again noting location and orientation. At this point, you should have a link with nothing but seals (still good I hope) and caged needle bearings.

    Inspect the bearing sleeves, buckets and bearings for corrosion and pitting, if they are reusable, you can clean, grease and reassemble these components. A bit of discoloration on the bearing sleeves may or may not be a concern. If you can feel it, and/or you can't buff it off with a bit of fine Scotch-brite pad... replace the sleeve. A 5X loupe comes in handy to look for fine corrosion and pitting.
    It is more likely you will need to replace sleeves from corrosive wear rather than bearing wear.

    If all four of the caged needle bearings are shot, as are the sleeves... and maybe the prolever bearing, you may want to consider buying a complete, new link assy. It will include all bearings, sleeves, spacers, buckets and seals assembled and ready to go.
    After you add up the individual parts costs, time and tools... it starts to look like a pretty cost effective alternative.

    Cleaning out a caged needle bearing can be an exercise in frustration as it takes repeated clean and flush cycles to get all the old grease out of its hiding places in the cage. Any product that will loosen and dissolve grease but not damage the seal rubber should be fine.

    Inspect the frame bearings and the bolt bearing surface for the usual issues, if reusable repeat the cleaning process used for the link bearings. An oil drain pain comes in handy here for the clean, flush, repeat cycles.

    On to the swingarm... see, there was a reason to remove it. :D

    Pretty straight forward here... just a variation of the link bearings. Inspect the bushings (40), bearings (41), seals (43) and spacers (44). If it is all acceptable, grease and reassemble.

    The idea with all this is hopefully you will not have to replace any parts at all. Clean, inspect, lubricate and reassemble.

    I have a hydraulic press which comes in handy for replacing unusable bearings, but they can be replaced by hand if necessary with careful application of a hammer, drift and appropriate size socket as a press plug. If you have a heat gun, warm the area around the bearings first... they drive out a little easier.

    If you have to replace the swingarm bearings, note the position and spacing of the old ones before driving them out.

    If you can reuse everything... first of all, you lucky bastard you! It doesn't happen often.
    Second, when you repack the bearings use a good medium body waterproof grease and completely pack the area between bearing and seal... that way there is no space left for water to collect. Do this even if you buy a brand new link, as KTM does not pack them very well.

    That's about it; put it all back together the way you took it apart. Try and use a torque wrench, as the values are less than the size of the fasteners might lead you to believe.
    Also, on some swingarms there is a machined cut and a matching flat on the nut that goes on the left side of the swingarm to link bolt... it's easy to spot. Make sure and have these aligned when torquing the nuts.

    Sorry I didn't write this in 1, 2, 3 order... there is so much that is the same or similar that to do so would have gotten a little repetitive and boring.

    Hope this helps somebody,
    Creep

    Addendum: 04-01-07
    It was recently pointed out that there are them (refered to as "ignorami") that may not be aware of the fact that many of the needle bearings in the link system and swingarm are of the uncaged AKA "loose" variety... and they may attempt to escape from their respective races, en mass... when you least suspect it. They are sneaky bastadges... so you may want to do your clean and re-grease work over a large, clean white towel, on an equally large table. Needle bearings can jump far... but are easily exhausted, so the towel should slow them down.

    C
    #1
  2. dirtrider

    dirtrider Dusty Adventurer

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    You really are bored! I would recommend blowing the whole day off and going for a ride. :evil
    #2
  3. Loadedagain

    Loadedagain making chips

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    or you could ride up to my place and i'll cut outa werk for a couple days and we could ride here :dunno
    #3
  4. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    Between boredom and writing... I have stuff to do, places to go, people to abuse. :evil
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  5. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

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    [​IMG]

    :D
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  6. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    Christ!... how long did it take you to make that? It looks like the real deal... until you look at the upper right corner. :lol3
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  7. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

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    photochop is easy for some stuff

    just a lil' thank you for all yer typing! :thumb
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  8. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    So, when you gona' check yer' valves the first time? It'll be fun, I promise. :thumb
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  9. motorhead

    motorhead "Iron Horse-Born To Lose"

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    [
    First, you need to know that unless you have a high pressure grease gun, you’re not going to get any grease into the prolever or “shock bearing” on the link.

    is this is the bearing the manual recommends gets grease after the bike is washed or emersed in water?

    I attempted to grease it with a lever action grease gun and i had to pump 15 times and still saw no grease escaping which according to the manual "drives" out the water. I wonder now if in fact there was no grease entering the zerk valve at all. thank-you for that information if i am following what you are saying. :D
    #9
  10. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

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    I am awaiting my two new torque wrenches! :jump

    I will be stopping by a local distributor and buying some loctite.

    I am stopping by cycle gear and getting some motion pro feeler gauges (0.006)

    I am picking up a stoopid little part from a dealership this weekend (the little hook that holds the bar that holds the air filter in place; it fell off :huh) - while I am there I will get two valve inspection cover gaskets ($2.25 each).

    something I am fergettin'? :D

    the short answer is mebbe this weekend, or mebbe next (at PASSMORE's shindig if I can get over there!)

    can I have your home telephone number just in case? :lol3
    #10
  11. motorhead

    motorhead "Iron Horse-Born To Lose"

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    #11
  12. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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  13. hotwheels

    hotwheels Adventurer

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    If I go to all the trouble to disassemble a suspension as complex as the prolever on a KTM, I would then drill and tap and install "zerk" fittings or tapped holes, so I never have to spend that amount of time playing with all those little parts again. But then I own a Honda (xr650l). I've put grease fitting holes (plugged with set screws) on the kickstand, brake pedal, and master cylinder pushrod pivot. The lever pivots are next ! You're tech briefs are always very good, almost makes me want to buy a KTM. Keep up the good work !
    #13
  14. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    Now the shite is gona' hit the fanski. 'Course, nobody reads this crap but us.
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  15. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

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    how long you give aussie rob? :lol3
    #15
    Kanook likes this.
  16. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    He can read? :dunno
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  17. GODSPEED

    GODSPEED finger lickin' good

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    Only if it's orange and blue. :wink:
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  18. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    That explains it!
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  19. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

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    :getiton

    Any of YFF have the guts to try this?

    I personally liked this part:
    Item #: 58303080244
    ROCKER ARM CPL. FORGED LC4 '99
    Quanity On Diagram: 1
    Cost Each: $189.37

    Yes I am chicken...
    :nod
    #19
  20. Velocibiker

    Velocibiker Adventure Antagonist

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    No, but if I got the assembly "ready to go", I'd still take it apart to make sure it was properly filled with grease...:norton

    So far, I've had my linkage off twice and all was fine. Personally, I perform the yearly maint tasks every other year as I don't abuse my bike much. Oil & filter on regular intervals, but stuff like fork oil and steering head bearings and the linkage gets serviced every other year...this year just happens to be that year, so sometime soon the bike is going to get a complete teardown.
    #20