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Just getting ready to do the race-tec upgrade to my front forks. I already have the springs. I ordered new seals, bushings etc from HAL and will be ordering the gold valve upgrade in the morning.
I already run a traxion fork brace and all balls bearings.

What if any are the "gotcha's" on doing the install? Any words of caution or wisdom from those of you who have already done this? I'm doing the work myself with the exception of using my local bike shops parts washer to get all the crud out before putting the new stuff in.
 

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Cannot help, but know there are two differant upgrade kits. Let us know which one you are using and how it turns out!:popcorn:
 

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Doing it now...

My bike is on the lift right now as I am doing the RaceTech upgrade. In addition, I'm changing the bearings to All Balls. While I've got everything off I'm also changing the air filter, and changing the handlebar adjustment (forgot which kit as I've had it for over a year and kept putting it off). Probably flush the radiator and the clutch fluid while I have it in the garage too.

As to your question about the RaceTech kit, I think the short pole is the directions that come with the Gold Valve kit...specifically the right fork. The directions just are not very clear about which stock parts to use and where the parts from the kit fit in. You kind of have to decipher the directions and inject some common sense.

I changed to the 1.2 RaceTech springs which made my right fork about 2-3mm longer than the right. I noticed this while they were still off the bike so I did some research on here and found that this is normal and many people compensate at the top fork bridge. This is what I did...I let the right fork stick out a little over "flush". I put the front axle in to make sure my measurements went in right with no binding.

Overall, if you're just doing the forks, it's pretty straight forward. Take your time, stay organized and you should be fine. I'll send you a PM with my cell phone. If you really get stuck, give me a call and I'll see if I can remember enough to help.

You should have a service manual to attempt this, but next I expect someone to come on here and describe why you should have Fred's DVD set.
 

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Two of the more common issues I see are problems with the bottom drain bolt and getting all the cables correctly in place when reinstalling the forks. Take very good pictures of the cable routing and clamps and you should be OK with that. Using an air compressor to remove the bottom drain bolt will eliminate problems. Many times doing it with a ratchet the damper or cartridge will spin. Be sure to loosen those bolts with the caps and spring still tight on the fork. From there, assuming you have the right tools it's just assembling everything in the right order. There have been many posts on installing the RaceTechs, so you could do a search if you run into a problem or have a particular question.
 

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Spinning

I read about the issue that Ghump is referring to about the bottom drain bolt. For one, the loc-tite was laid on pretty thick so they were tough (especially for an allen bolt), but I didn't need my air ratchet/impact wrench to get mine out. The basic premise of the air tools is to spin the bolt faster than the internal components can spin...thereby removing the bolt. Could be a useful tip.

I haven't routed all my cables yet. There's a lot of them...taking a picture would be a good idea.
 

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Yes, use an air impact driver to get the bottom bolts out. If you don't, and they start to spin, you have a problem.

Do one fork leg at a time, then you have less opportunity to mix the parts up.

Drill enough holes in the bottom of the damper rod piece to pass lots of oil. You are trying to bypass that, so you want the oil to flow freely. The instructions don't list the number of holes that are actually there, but as I recall, you want to drill 6 more. Just make sure they are offset so you don't weaken the part.

The valve you drop in on the left (damper rod) side has a real tendency to flip over. Make SURE it retains the correct orientation.

RT has recommended (verbally anyway) that you use 15 weight oil in the left fork, and 5 weight in the right.

Getting the spacer the right length is kind of tricky, again the directions are kind of obtuse. Lay them out on your bench, and think it through.

We use non-chlorinated brake cleaner to do the final flushing on the legs and tubes.

Polish the tubes with a VERY fine grit sandpaper to remove any scratches or dings, then we use a good metal polish to smooth them out even more.

Use a fork seal grease to lube the seals when you install them. (RT carries this)

I consider the RaceTech installation to be much more of a pain in the p-tootie than the Traxxion, FWIW

Do you have a seal driver? If not, a PVC pipe of the right size works well for a one-time use tool.

Make sure your GoldValve kit has the complete setup for both sides. It should cost around $250, not $160 ish.



The real gotcha with the RaceTech setup is that it is not externally adjustable. You have to take the forks back apart if you need to fine tune them.

Good Luck,

=Dave=
 

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Some things to be careful about. I make no claim that these are the only things to be careful about.

Better cleanliness than you've ever had for motorcycle work. Get a tiny piece of grit in the shim stack and your careful choice of which shim stack to use is nothing but a bad joke. I assembled the valves on clean, lint free rags, with clean hands.

You'll need to have or get or rent a torque wrench that can measure 2.5 lb-ft or 30 lb-inch well. A 50 lb-ft clicker ain't gonna do it.

You actually use real live _red_ loctite (provided by Racetech) at one point. Unless you clean both threads carefully with something that doesn't leave a residue, like brake cleaner, this use will be another bad joke. You need to use enough, but not so much that it runs where it shouldn't be, like in the stack.

You'll need a tool to set the air gap for the fork oil precisely.

The oil weight recommendation in my instructions was either 10 weight or, preferably, 10 weight in the cartridge side, and 15 in the damper rod side. Note that some fork oils run a little thick, some a little thin.

Measure each shim with a caliper as you stack them. It's pretty easy to get two stuck together. Be sure to check that the washer used as a one way valve moves freely after you assemble the valve, it's pretty easy to get it jammed tight.

You need to disassemble the stock Honda valve by carefully filing off some peened over thread, then cleaning the edge up with a file carefully. If you don't do that well, it's pathetically easy to crossthread, and I don't know where you'd get the part.

If any of this seems anal, consider a professional install. This isn't an extremely difficult job, but it requires anal. And the Racetech instructions are not exhaustive, they basically assume the Honda shop manual is being used where appropriate. If you're not comfortable about dissasembling your fork, including disassembling things Honda never intended to be disassembled, consider a professional install.

The following are less certain.

Many people leave the fork legs slightly matte finished, like what oiled 600 grit sandpaper or emery cloth leaves behind. The theory is that it lets the fork legs hold just a tiny bit of oil. It's best to create a spiral pattern by twisting the sandpaper while pushing it along the tube.

A phone call to Racetech gave a recommendation for drilling just two more holes, to add to the original four. Cleaning out the drilling swarf really well is mandatory, the cartridge emulator is not quite as sensitive to dirt, but it's sensitive. Drilling swarf could also destroy your bushings or even your fork leg.

Getting the spacer exactly right isn't tricky, it's almost impossible. The "top out spring" messes things up. I checked mine by pushing the fork down on a bathroom scale, and noting when the fork started to move. Equal "weight" is good.

If you're also replacing steering head bearings, experience at doing that or Fred's video is extremely useful.
 

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You need to disassemble the stock Honda valve by carefully filing off some peened over thread, then cleaning the edge up with a file carefully. If you don't do that well, it's pathetically easy to crossthread, and I don't know where you'd get the part.

Great advice..

Pretty much any internal parts you screw up are available from a Traxxion installer.. since Traxxion pretty well guts the forks. The only things that are kept are the tubes and legs, 1 bolt, and usually both crush washers. We know a machinist guy who scavenges what we take out for stuff he wants, the rest goes to the metal pile at the dump. I'm sure other installers have the same bunch of extras, and would probably be happy to share..

=Dave=
GWBBA #9
Rocketmoto.com
 

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The oil weight recommendation in my instructions was either 10 weight or, preferably, 10 weight in the cartridge side, and 15 in the damper rod side. Note that some fork oils run a little thick, some a little thin.
Sorry ... other then OEM or Progressives I have not played much with front springs. Am I reading this right? RT wants different weight oils in the forks. That sounds really funky to me. No wonder why a fork brace is needed for an unbalance set up like that. How else would they stabilize the forces of one fork wanting to dampen and the other wanting to be stiff over a bump. I guess that is not much different then the OEM set up with a dampening rod on one side only.
 

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Sorry ... other then OEM or Progressives I have not played much with front springs. Am I reading this right? RT wants different weight oils in the forks. That sounds really funky to me. No wonder why a fork brace is needed for an unbalance set up like that. How else would they stabilize the forces of one fork wanting to dampen and the other wanting to be stiff over a bump. I guess that is not much different then the OEM set up with a dampening rod on one side only.
At first glance perhaps, but if you consider that one leg is a cartridge fork and the other a damper rod fork it makes sense. Cartridge forks don't need a super heavy oil to dampen, the cartridge does the work.

I'm a heavy guy, 245 geared up, and my last bike with cartridge forks Racetech reccomended a 5wt oil. I tried 10wt thinking in damper rod fork mindset and it rode like a brick. 5wt was dead on for that application.
 

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Sorry ... other then OEM or Progressives I have not played much with front springs. Am I reading this right? RT wants different weight oils in the forks. That sounds really funky to me. No wonder why a fork brace is needed for an unbalance set up like that. How else would they stabilize the forces of one fork wanting to dampen and the other wanting to be stiff over a bump. I guess that is not much different then the OEM set up with a dampening rod on one side only.
Actually, mechanically it's less unbalanced side to side than stock, since the former damping rod side now has a cartridge emulator, which is kind of a crude cartridge with simple multi stage damping (a blowoff valve) on compression. While there's been some argument on the point, it seems to me that the emulator also introduces more rebound damping on the left fork than stock.

I presume the recommendation for different weight oils is intended to bring it more into balance, as far as damping forces are concerned.

As has been discussed here before, it's not clear that damping forks differently on both sides is that big a deal anyway. A fair number of bikes, including some sport bikes, have been designed that way.
 
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