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  • Fork Frustration

    The forks on one of my Road Stars were very sticky. They would articulate up and down but would not return to center. I found the bushings worn down to the base metal. Replaced with OEM bushings and seals and dust caps. Still will not return to center. If I pull up on the front end it just stays there. If I push down it just stays there. The forks will not move except for the largest of bumps in the road but will compress nicely when braking. I have used Bel Ray, Maxima, and Lucas 5w fork oil. I have installed stock springs and Progressive springs. I have used 6 1/2", 6 1/4", and 6" preload spacers with the Progressive springs. When the forks are assembled without seals or dust caps they literally fall down when I let go. I install them on the bike without seals and they stick and won't return to center. This causes me to believe that seal stiction isn't the cause. I checked the upper fork tubes with a dial indicator and they are straight. The inside of the lower tubes are smooth but I don't have any way of measuring the bore. The fit of the lower bushing seems loose in the lower tube but not excessively loose. I shimmed the lower bushing .002" but it didn't help.I have loosened the upper triple tree and cap nut and bounced the forks. I have loosened the axle, the lower triple tree bolts, and the brakes. No change. The upper fork tubes have slight scratches that are visible but can't be felt but I don't think seals are in play here. The bike is a 2003 with about 60,000 miles. It has been bobbed and the rear end was flip and grind lowered. My other Road Star is basically stock with Progressive springs and the forks are as smooth as any I have ever had. Has anybody traveled this road and can offer some suggestions or advice?

  • #2
    Did you fill them with oil when they were compressed or extended? Should fill when compressed.

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    • #3
      Thank you for your quick response Shores. They were filled with the forks compressed and springs removed. When I used the progressive springs I under filled them because Progressive instructions recommended a minimum 5" air gap from the top. When I tried them with no seals or dust covers there was no oil in them at all. I didn't test ride it I just bounced the forks to see if they would return to center. I wanted to make sure the problem wasn't stiction from the seals or maybe a damper issue. This was a "bargain" Road Star from a guy that neglected and abused it. I bobbed it because it wasn't in particularly good condition and I really like it for short rides. The fact that the lower bushings were bright yellow and nothing I do seems to make any improvement is leading me to believe that the lower tubes are out of round. They perform fine when vertical and without any weight. It is only when installed that they quit moving freely.

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      • #4
        The lock piece on the end of the damper rod is clogged stuck or broken

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        • #5
          Thanks Pauli466. I have had these forks apart so many times and I haven't seen anything wrong with the lock pieces. Just to be clear, is the lock piece the aluminum cup shaped piece that fits between the damper rod and the bottom of the outer tube? If so, are you thinking that it would cause the damper rod to be cocked and not allow the spring to move freely inside the tube? I'll check it out. The damper rod is the perch for the spring.

          Comment


          • J89k
            J89k commented
            Editing a comment
            I replaced mine when I rebuilt forks. My old ones had taken quite the beating. Not positive that’s your problem though.

        • #6
          Replaced your lock pieces or lower fork tubes?

          Comment


          • J89k
            J89k commented
            Editing a comment
            Lock pieces. They were like 15 bucks a piece I wanna say. The old ones weren’t clogged but there were a ton of dings along the edge where it sits in the lower.

          • Chooch
            Chooch commented
            Editing a comment
            Okay, thanks. I'm taking them apart to check again. I know they aren't clogged or broken but dinged up is a possibility.

        • #7
          I’ve never used one, but wouldn’t a bore gauge tell you if your lowers were janky?

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          • Chooch
            Chooch commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah it would if I had one. You guys have given me some good information here. I needed a sounding board and some new direction. I have never been a parts changer and I'm not going to start now. I'll let you know if I find anything.

        • #8
          I don’t know why the lowers would be the issue. They are softer than the uppers and even if they were worn, they would still allow the upper to move freely. Sounds like a spring issue to me or a plugged damper.

          Comment

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