Kawasaki Concours Forum

The C-14, aka Kawasaki Concours-14, the new one :) => The Bike - C14/GTR 1400 => Topic started by: SmokinRZ on January 23, 2018, 05:54:04 am

Title: Fork Oil Change
Post by: SmokinRZ on January 23, 2018, 05:54:04 am
Hello, I'm about to remove my forks to change the oil and grease the steering stem bearing.  The seals are fine but the bike has 30K miles, is new to me, and I feel it is time to change.  On other bikes I have just removed the cap and dump the oil in a ratio rite and then install the cap and cycle the cartridge a few times and dump again keeping accurate record of how much comes out.  I understand the the cap will still be attached to the damper rod.  I will replace the same amount of oil with 5wt Bel Ray fork oil.

Will my method work with the Concours fork with out any hiccups?  Is 5wt the recommended weight of oil?  Thanks!         
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: VirginiaJim on January 23, 2018, 01:08:51 pm
I really don't know.   That's not the way I did it.  I did it similar to what the manual states to do.   Also followed Fred Harmon's video on how to do it.
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: tjhess74 on January 23, 2018, 08:51:55 pm
Ditto, I followed the prescribed method. It's not difficult, but you do need the tool to compress the inner works.
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: SmokinRZ on January 28, 2018, 10:25:17 pm
Well, my method worked.  I drained 15oz from the fork and then reinstalled the cap hand tight and pumped it 30 times to clear the cartridge and drained another oz for a total of 16oz.  Exactly the capacity the manual has for a drain.  The fluid was really clean and not what I have experienced with a damper rod fork.  Even the last few drops were clean without any sludge, so I didn't waste any fluid trying to flush.  I could have gone more miles but I feel better knowing I have fresh fluid in there.  When the fork seals start to leak I will buy the tools and do a full disassemble and cleaning.             
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: VirginiaJim on January 29, 2018, 06:19:30 am
Can you elaborate more on how you did this?
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: maxtog on January 29, 2018, 03:17:33 pm
Can you elaborate more on how you did this?

Yeah, I was a bit confused at first- I thought he was able to do this WITHOUT removing the forks, but re-read it and I think he removed the forks but just opted not to totally disassemble them.

To me, it seems like if this was a wearable fluid, there should be a way to check level and change it without the major steps of removing the forks (to me, that is pretty major).  So I am thinking it really isn't meant to be changed much in the life of the bike, further bolstered by the total lack of any maintenance schedule in the manual (if I remember correctly).  Mine might be 7 years old, but what was leaking out was perfectly clean/clear and slippery, AND I generally ride in the "clean" AND it is "only" 32K miles.
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: connie_rider on January 29, 2018, 04:38:37 pm
It is possible to change the fork oil without removing the forks.
Just takes a little planning......

For now; I'll assume you know how to remove the caps/springs etc.
   {If not, I can post a video or we can do some basic instruction}...

Basic/quick Fork Oil Change
After the caps are removed, {with bike on center stand} remove the springs and let the front settle as low as possible.
    NOTE: Put a rope or other on the center stand to assure it does not fold us when the fron end settles.
 Use a suction tool to remove all fluid possible. Fluid measurement NOT necessary. All the oil will not come out...
 Put some clean fluid into the forks and exercise them up and down to flush the oil.
 Repeat this operation until you feel the oil is clean. {perfection NOT needed}
   With the caps and springs removed, {with bike on center stand} let the front settle as low as possible.
 Pour fork oil into each fork until it is approx. 6" from the top.
 Exercise the forks up and down to flush the air out of the oil.
 Put your suction tool into each fork leg to a depth of 6 1/2".
   Suck the oil out until you draw air.
   When you draw air, your fork level is 6 1/2"...
Raise the front to full extension, and put a jack under the engine.
   Reassemble spring, spacer, cap, etc...
Ride it...........

NOTE: The perfectionists will kill me, but I'll add this.
                 ATF makes excellent Fork Oil.. [hint, hint]
                 ie; Fork Oil and ATF are both anti foaming hydraulic fluid and the ATF is approx. 10 wt..

Ride safe, Ted

Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: maxtog on January 29, 2018, 05:00:45 pm
Interesting.  I suppose the measurements will be off a bit too, though, since the forks are angled when you are using the 6 1/2" suction method.  Perhaps the exact amount of fluid isn't that important?  Really, I have no idea...

Where did you get that level measurement?  I breezed through the factory manual and can't find find a way to derive a measurement with this method....  did you just get the measurement yourself by observation after doing a full service or something?
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: connie_rider on January 29, 2018, 05:55:09 pm
Some of it is just from working on a lot of bikes. But, if you look closely, it is in the manual.
  Go to page 12-6 {suspension} in your manual.
  It sez 171 mm (6 3/4"} Level for the A9 Concours {forks compressed}.
    But, I'm certain that all Connies {including the 86/87} will work fine with 6 3/4 - 6 1/2"..

NOTE: When the forks are fully compressed they are closer to vertical than you might realize.
              Look at the photo "Fork Oil Measurement" and measure in the middle of the leg if you want to be more exact.
           But the dimension is not that critical as it's much more exact then pouring in "X" volume of oil.
           ie; If you pour in a measured amount, it is not as exact as measuring the level....

{Some will ask, why 6 1/2" instead of 6 3/4"}
It's an Old Dirt Bikers trick;
   Raising the level helps stiffen the forks, and ride "slightly" {by decreasing the air space inside the fork leg}.
   Lowering the level helps soften the forks, and ride "slightly" {by increasing the air space inside the fork leg}.

I'll fully admit, I am NOT an expert and the "purist's" will scoff at what I said.
    But, it works fine... {Even using ATF}...

Ride safe, Ted

Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: SmokinRZ on January 29, 2018, 07:57:20 pm
Can you elaborate more on how you did this?

Yes, the forks were removed.  I just loosened the caps without removing them from the damper rod and flipped them over into my ratio rite.  Then reinstalled the caps and pumped them about 20-30 timed against the ground to purge the cartridge and flipped them over again to get another ounce out.  Exactly 16 oz came out of each fork which is what the manual states for a drain.   

My seals did not leak, I just wanted fresh fluid in there and I was changing the front tire and greasing the steering stem bearings that were loose.  I changed the fluid in my C10 when it was three years old and had 16K miles and there was all kinds of nasty stuff in there.  It took several flushings with ATF before it came out clean.  With the C14 that was not the case, just few little crumbs came out and the fluid was super clean.  Probably unnecessary at 31K miles but it makes me feel better knowing it has fresh fluid.           
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: VirginiaJim on January 29, 2018, 09:17:55 pm
On one of my previous bikes (Voyager XII) the front suspension got really stiff.   Changing the fluid put it back to normal.
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: SmokinRZ on January 30, 2018, 06:08:05 am
I've seen bushings get so worn that new fork seals only last a few thousand miles.  I had my C10 12 years, plan on keeping the C14 that long.   
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: 2talltim on March 15, 2018, 07:09:48 am
Bushings are not replaceable on the C14 they are pressed into the fork tube.


As far as changing fluid with out disassembly my MO is if your not going to do it properly why even do it at all. There is a reason Kawi tells you to do it the way they say and it's not just for shits and giggles.
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: SmokinRZ on March 15, 2018, 08:42:15 pm
Bushings are not replaceable on the C14 they are pressed into the fork tube.

All the more reason to change to a fresh quality fluid.  I used Motul synthetic.

As far as changing fluid with out disassembly my MO is if your not going to do it properly why even do it at all. There is a reason Kawi tells you to do it the way they say and it's not just for shits and giggles.

As far as I know, there is no schedule for fluid change from Kawasaki.  That is why they only describe complete disassembly.  I have never changed a fork seal that didn't leak and replace only the side that does.  I've never had to go back and replace the other side that I can recall, or it went so long it was ready for another fluid flush.     

Having said that, the steering bearings had plenty of grease and the fork oil was amazingly clean, unlike my C10 that had dry steering bearings and nasty stinky fork oil at two years old and 16K miles.  Knowing what I know now, I could have waited to 50K.  But I sure feel good knowing it's all done.                     
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: 2talltim on March 16, 2018, 05:42:31 am
As far as I know, there is no schedule for fluid change from Kawasaki.  That is why they only describe complete disassembly.  I have never changed a fork seal that didn't leak and replace only the side that does.  I've never had to go back and replace the other side that I can recall, or it went so long it was ready for another fluid flush.     

Having said that, the steering bearings had plenty of grease and the fork oil was amazingly clean, unlike my C10 that had dry steering bearings and nasty stinky fork oil at two years old and 16K miles.  Knowing what I know now, I could have waited to 50K.  But I sure feel good knowing it's all done.                     

Did my fluid for the fist time at 50k and 9 years old still wasnt bad. First seal leak was at 60k and 10 years. That was due to a hard landing doing whoolie. LOL
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: PlaynInPeoria on May 30, 2019, 08:57:57 am
Going to replace my fork oil soon, also will replace brake and clutch fluid.  I anticipate all will be the consistency of chocolate fudge on my 2012 with 80k miles.  Everything still feels fine, forks don't leak, brakes are fine but it will probably not look fine.
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: maxtog on May 30, 2019, 03:23:17 pm
Will be interested to see what you find (fork oil).  I think you will be surprised (that it is in better condition that you think).
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: VirginiaJim on May 30, 2019, 03:50:45 pm
I don't think so.  I changed mine at less than that and it looked like Texas T....
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: maxtog on May 30, 2019, 09:09:47 pm
I don't think so.  I changed mine at less than that and it looked like Texas T....

Oh :(
Title: Re: Fork Oil Change
Post by: Cheesecake on June 19, 2019, 07:23:21 am
Going to replace my fork oil soon, also will replace brake and clutch fluid.  I anticipate all will be the consistency of chocolate fudge on my 2012 with 80k miles.  Everything still feels fine, forks don't leak, brakes are fine but it will probably not look fine.
I will change my clutch and brake fluid every year after my rear brake failed. The fluid looked clear, but crud blocked the port on the side of the master, so no braking. I fear the front doing the same. DOT 4 is cheap.