You will need to loosen the big nut on the top of the fork while its still clamped down on the bike via the triples. If you do not have a socket that can remove it, your alternate option is to take off the forks and remove it with a adjustable spanner and a second pair of hands or a vice grip to hold the fork down.
You can remove the forks however you like. I used a triple stand since thats what I had. So as long as you can support the front of the bike your golden.
The first thing you will do is completely back out your rebound, compression and preload settings. You want to bring everything back to zero. The reason we do this is to allow the fork cap to screw in all the way. If the preload was still set, then there would not be enough threads to tighten the cap.
If you are not changing springs, going to heavier oils, or replacing valves, then make note of your settings, otherwise your old settings will no longer work for you.
First lets talk a bit about tools. I built this gadget.
Once you loosen the fork cap you can slide the fork tube down revealing the preload spacer.
In order to remove the fork cap, you need to make a special tool that cost about $2 in home depot parts. I got this idea from the Haynes manual. Anything in this general shape will work. If you are really in need, I’ve used 2 wrenches in a jiffy, so as long as you don’t damage the fork cap, its all good. You'll know what to do with all the tools once you open up the forks.
Using your home made tool, compress the spring and slip a spacer under the damping rod. This will allow you to work on that adjuster without having to constantly push against the spring.
You can see in the picture below that there are threads showing above the nut. And below the nut is a shim that is being used to hold the spring down and the damping rod up.
Heres how the tool locks into the preload spacer.
Now you can remove the fork cap by un-threading it from the damper rod.
At this point you will need to be concerned with how much oil will be poured out. If youre simply replacing the oil, then marking off the original oil level with the all the springs and spacers inside will suffice. Otherwise you may need a measuring cup or those fancy syringe tools. I know this isnt the smartest way to measure it, but you get the idea.
Now you are left with something looking like this. The damping rod would of fallen down and all you can see is the preload spacer.
You can now pour out the oil.
Watch out for a few parts such as bushings, spacers and of course your fork spring. They will come out and fall into your pit of oil if you aren’t looking out for them. Note the order they come out in. It may or may not be the same as mine.
To get the rest of the oil out, you need to pump the damping rod. This will force air into the cartridge and force the remaining fluid out.
Generally speaking if you are just replacing oil or swapping springs, then you can stop here. Just fill up the fork with the amount of oil you intend to throw in there, then cut your preload spacer to match the length of the original spring and spacer. Install in reverse and your good to go. However, I went ahead and disassembled the whole unit so I could clean out the sludge at the compression valve and give everything a nice good cleaning.
You're next step is to remove the fork tube since at this point you may want to replace seals and the fork tube would be sliding everywhere if you are trying to access the compression valve.
To remove the fork tube, you should first pry off the dust seal.
Behind the dust seal is a snap ring which is easily removed with a small pick or screw driver.
Now, use the fork tube as a slide hammer keep. Keep pulling on the tube so you can tap the fork seal off.
You will get a series of bushings and seals in this order.
Note the order they go in. you should be careful removing the fork seal if you do not plan on swapping it out. There is a sharp edge that may cut the seal if you are not careful.
If you are simply replacing the fork seal, then you can get a ziplock bag and cut the top section off and use it as a sort of condom or whatever you want to call it. Slide the bag over the top of the stanchion and apply your sealing grease and it should guide the new fork seal in without any chance of getting cut up by the sharp edge.
If you want to keep going, the next step would be to either remove the compression valve. Now my pictures don’t do you total justice. My forks have the Race Tech goldline valve kit, so certain things may be here, or may not be here. Your race-tech parts should come with a manual to help with installation. So what you see from here on would be how it would look like after you installed you’re racetech setup.
The first thing you need to do to gain access to the compression valve is remove the lock nut on the bottom of the fork.
You will need a 19mm socket to get the lock nut. Make sure you backed out your compression damping. It may be hard to spin this valve, and it may take a few turns to really get it to break loose and spin freely.When you try to spin the locknut notice that the damping rod spins along with it. You can use frictional force by pressing the damping rod down to get the nut to spin. This is probably the most tricky part of the whole fork overhaul.
To remove the compression valve clamp the fork down via the brake caliper mounts. Using one hand to push the damping rod down, while using the other to spin the locknut, you should be able to remove it with a little bit of effort.
Once the nut pops off, you can lift the whole cartridge out.
THis is how the catridge is held in place
Now, to get access to the compression valve, you MAY OR MAY NOT have a piece that is not shown here depending on yourset up. Stock forks will have a white plastic piece that is held by 2 circlips. You can remove them and dispose of them if you are going to the racetech setup.
Once you removed that white plastic bumper, you need to tap the silver piece that the locknut holds on to with a drift and a mallet. It should slide into the cartridge to reveal a snap ring. Remove the ring with some small plyers of some sort and use the damping rod as a slide hammer to gently push that compression valve up. revealing soemthing similar to this image.
You're compression valve is INSIDE that silver piece. You need to continue to use the damping rod as a slide hammer to get it out. I stopped taking pictures at this point since I was by myself and my hands were filed with fork oil.
From here on, i have no more pictures. Next time I go in there to clean out the valve again, which is going to be at my 24,000 mile service I will snap some more pics of the compression valve. Im at 19,000 right now. So it should either be during winter recess or early spring.
Now heres the main point of removing everything. You can see the build up of metal shavings inside the fork stanchion. I cleaned everything out with a garden hose and let it air dry before reassembly.
Heres everything laid out. It isn't complicated and its doable in a few hours. You'd save a ton of money by servicing the forks yourself.
To put everything back together just do everything in reverse. You should be aware of how things fit after you've dismantle everything. If you don't, well you shouldn't of opened your forks up then!