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  1. #1
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    Default How - TO: Lower Those XS650 Forks!!

    Alright gang, I've been working on these for a while, and after all the requests and emails, I'm finally getting time to get this How - To up for us


    Lower those XS650 Forks!

    You'll need the following tools:

    8MM Deep Reach Allen Socket (Make one yourself on the cheap, just cut an old allen wrench)
    17MM Fork Cap Tool (Grab an old 17MM Headed Bolt, weld it into a socket on the cheap!!)
    2MM Allen Wrench
    Modified 17MM Socket (Early forks only - See Below)
    LONG 3/8" Extension or a pile of short ones
    3/8" Ratchet, breaker bars, etc...
    Impact Gun (Not necessary, but might save you some work)

    You'll need the spacers as well: I've been trying like crazy to find a suitable way to lower these forks AND keep the valving ports operating, and these are what I have finally come up with. Fully Lathe Machined 6061 Aluminum, with Valving Ports and a Set Screw to keep them in place I can make these for you in ANY drop from .5"-3"

    Check me out in the Chop Market for more Details
    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6576

    OK, let's get started - (Once you have the forks removed from the trees, I'm not gonna show how to loosen up 3 Bolts and Remove a wheel, this is easy stuff)

    There are 2 types of 35MM XS650 Forks, Early and Late style. Here is a quick glance at how to tell the difference. The internals will be different as well, but I will cover modding both types



    I'll start with the "Late Style" forks and add the information for the Early Style a little further on.

    If you get REALLY Lucky, you can remove the lower from the upper just by using an impact gun and the deep allen on the bolt in the lower leg.
    (Homemade Tool Mentioned Above)


    The Lower Leg Bolt


    Try the Impact (if you have one)


    If that bolt comes out completely at this point, you just saved some work and time. IF the bolt comes out completely, go ahead and pull the lower leg apart from the upper. If not, don't sweat, at least its loose now

    Move on to the upper fork cap. Remove it with a 22MM Socket, Wrench, Crescent Wrench, Hammer, etc...



    Once it it out, you'll need to remove the small disk that goes over the spring. Should look like this:


    TAGS: XS650 XS 650 XS1 35MM Forks Lowered Lower Lowering Slammed Low Rider Chopper Bobber Cafe Racer Hugh Owings Hugh's HandBuilt Hughshandbuilt@gmail.com RE-Phased 277
    Last edited by Punkskalar; 11-19-2010 at 8:15 AM.

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    Remove the spring:


    Now you'll need the 17MM Socket Cap thing I mentioned above. Basically just a 17MM headed bolt welded to an old socket.


    I couldn't get a good picture, but stick your 17MM Tool on a long extension (or a bunch of extensions, whatever works for ya) and insert it into the upper fork tube until you feel it "lock" into place.


    Now hold the lower bolt and remove the bolt holding both tools at the same time. Get a friend if you need one, its not that hard, but it is a bit awkward.


    At this point, you should have an assembly that looks like this:


    Pull the upper apart from the lower, and your upper should have a dampening rod that looks like this sticking out of the end of it:


    Might need to use that long extension to work it out, but the rod should come out looking like this:


    If the spring is still in the fork, go ahead and work it out as well. If not, go ahead and pull the spring off the dampening rod.


    Now you might have to go fishing in the lower, but you need to work out this little coned spacer:

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    Now you can take your lowering spacer and mock it up on your dampening rod. MAKE SURE THE HOLE LINES UP!


    Slide the spacer onto the dampening rod:


    Once the hole is lined up properly, lock down the set screw using a 2MM Allen Wrench. Don't strip out the threads, just snug it down. It won't hurt to add a little red locktite if you want.


    Now install the top-out spring back onto the dampening rod:


    Should look like this compared to a stock setup:


    Now slide the whole assemble back into the upper fork leg.



    Once you have it all worked into the upper fork, the other end should look similar to this:


    I like to use a little bit of tacky grease to hold the conical spacer in place during assembly:


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    Now it is time to attack the upper fork tube. Remove the old rotten seals and dust boots if you want. Not necessary if you already have decent parts, but most are old and cruddy:



    Go ahead and remove the retaining spring:


    And the upper spacer:


    And the old cruddy seals, you might have to grab them with pliers, screwdrivers, etc.. Just get them out without damaging the legs. (told ya they were gross, most are if they haven't been replaced)


    Clean up the lowers as nice as you feel your build requires. I can shave and polish the lowers for customers, but how nice you make the lowers is all up to you at this point. Make sure to clean out the old oil and grease inside them while you are in there.


    New Seals and such go back into the forks in this order:


    Install a new dust boot:


    Now you are ready to re-install the lowers to the uppers. Slide the 2 assemblies together like this:


    Reinstall the lower leg bolt (there is usually a copper washer here, you can replace it or not, just make sure it is still there!!)


    Tighten up the bolt again while holding the upper in place just as you disassembled it:



    Now you need to remove some spring material. You can remove up the amount that you are lowering the bike. (IE 2" Lowered, 2" Removed from Springs, etc...) For a firmer ride, you can remove less and experiment with the ride until you have it just right. I use a 4.5" Angle Grinder with a CUT-OFF Wheel (not a grinding wheel, there is a difference)



    Install your shortened spring back into the legs. It is best to install the cut end towards the bottom of the fork, so that the flatter end is at the cap.


    Re-Install the flat disc:


    Re-Install the fork cap:


    AT THIS POINT, THERE IS NO OIL IN THE FORK!!! I Usually install the forks into the trees back on the bike, remove the cap, and pour in the proper amount of oil (about 175ML) while the forks are upright, its just easier that way.

    If all went well, you should have a nicely rebuilt, lowered fork that looks similar to this:

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    FOR THE EARLY STYLE FORKS!! THERE ARE ONLY SLIGHT DIFFERENCES

    When you remove the cap from early forks, there will be a spacer under it. This spacer is 1.5" long or so. You can remove the cap using the same 17MM tool mentioned above.



    Spacer:


    Remove the springs just as you would in the later style forks. If the impact gun removed the lower bolt from the lower fork leg, then you can pull the forks apart just like the later style forks.

    IF NOT, you'll need to make a tool. Take a 17MM 6Pt. Socket and modify it to look like this with a grinder and a cut off wheel, dremel tool, claw hammer, whatever it takes. It's ugly, but it works.




    Using the long extension and ratchet, you'll need to feed the new tool into the upper and lock it into place, you should feel it it you made the tool just right.


    Loosen the bolt in the lower leg just as you would above, holding this end tight.


    This is what the Dampening rod should look like on the early model forks:


    And here is how that tool should have fit, but if you got this far, then you made the tool just fine



    The Dampening Rod removed (NOTE, there is no top out spring on the early models, it is inside the upper fork tubes and snapped into place via a snap ring. There is not a need to remove it.)


    Doing the same procedure as in the later style forks, install the spacer and make sure the valving hole is left open.


    Re-Install the assembly into the fork upper:



    Tighten it all back down just as you would with the later style forks mentioned above.


    NOW, you will need to remove some material from either the spacer, the spring, or both.


    If you are lowering more than 1.5", ditch the spacer and remove some material from the spring. If you are lowering less than 1.5" you can just trim the spacer. If you are lowering 1.5" you can just toss the spacer


    Reassemble the whole thing just like mentioned above, and you'll have some really nice forks ready to rock


    Here is a set of 34MM forks I lowered, shaved, polished, and installed new seals in for a customer. Spend some time on these things and they will look awesome.


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    BEAUTIFUL!!!!
    I'm sending you some cash for the spacers, Hugh!
    Thank You!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ember View Post
    BEAUTIFUL!!!!
    I'm sending you some cash for the spacers, Hugh!
    Thank You!
    Thanks Kevin! Thanks for buggin me and making me get this all done, its been a while in the making



    Examples of lowered forks installed:



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    Awesome write up!! Just waiting for next semesters loan money to come in and then we will be in business

  9. #9
    coachstorms
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    Thanks for taking time Hugh - awesome work on the write-up, best i've seen.

  10. #10

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    Damn those 34s look good!! Some lucky SOB is gonna be real happy when he gets those! Cant wait to get em on the bike!! Got my firestones mounted today so those will be going on right away.

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    any differents when lowering 34mm forks? my 72's are quite different

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    Quote Originally Posted by ABP View Post
    any differents when lowering 34mm forks? my 72's are quite different
    Yes, the 34MM forks are very different inside, everything is much smaller. I just did a set (pictured) and made the spacers custom for his bike since I see 34MM forks rarely in the shop. If you need a set of spacers, I can make those for you as well...

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    cool...definitely different and smaller. but the assembly looks similar…..I need to get into the garage this weekend and think about final ride height. I will hit you up on your email

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    Quote Originally Posted by ABP View Post
    cool...definitely different and smaller. but the assembly looks similar…..I need to get into the garage this weekend and think about final ride height. I will hit you up on your email
    Sounds good man. PS, I had the wrong pricing on these, they are not $65 but rather $45 shipped in the US

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    Quote Originally Posted by Punkskalar View Post
    Sounds good man. PS, I had the wrong pricing on these, they are not $65 but rather $45 shipped in the US
    wow that is awesome, 65 seemed a bit high, but i think 45 shipped is a really great price.

    i have read some other tutorials on this that didn't say anything about the valving and it seems like most people haven't had any problems, but those holes are obviously there on the dampening rod for a reason. can you explain how that would affect the the forks if the hole was obstructed by the spacer?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MiniDanzig View Post
    wow that is awesome, 65 seemed a bit high, but i think 45 shipped is a really great price.

    i have read some other tutorials on this that didn't say anything about the valving and it seems like most people haven't had any problems, but those holes are obviously there on the dampening rod for a reason. can you explain how that would affect the the forks if the hole was obstructed by the spacer?
    Yeah, the hole being blocked is an issue. The first few sets of forks I modded I blocked the hole, and the forks were very sluggish to respond at times to road changes. At high speeds they almost seemed locked up when trying to compensate quickly to road imperfections. I decided to start leaving the port open and haven't had a problem since. The Set Screw really helps to keep the spacers exactly where they need to be in relation to that hole. Hope that helps

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    awesome yeah, that makes sense. thanks for dropping that knowledge. i'll def be picking up a set.

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    thanks for takin the time to doc all this, i'll be usin some of this knowlege real damn soon.

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    Thanks for this! Feel free to keep posting more how- to's, I can use all the help I can get!

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    Very helpful for XS650 owners. Maybe someone will do a "how to" for Showa 39mm forks!

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