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Race Tech Suspension
Installation of Race Tech springs and Gold Valve Cartridge Emulators
Step by step instructions put together by Paul Steinbacher
with comments (in green) by Eric Sheley from his install.
Just finished the installation so here are the details. First I think the setup instructions furnished with the emulator and spring were pretty poor and quite confusing regarding initial setup instructions. That said, I used the recommended parts and setup information from the RT web site. For a 170 lb rider weight the recommendations were;
Fork Gold Valve Emulator Kit FEGV S4301,
Number of Turns of Emulator Valve Spring Preload 2.0 turns,
Oil Level, 125 mm (4.9"),
Fork Spring Series FRSP S3732,
Recommended Fork Spring Rate 0.907 kg/mm
, Recommended Fork Spring Preload 15 mm (.59")
(for 225lb - the only difference was .989 kg/mm springs)
I removed the fork tubes without removing any bodywork. I put the bike on the center stand then tied the top triple clamp to the ceiling using soft ties and tiedowns. (pic 1 - I added some weight in my top box, which helped tip the balance toward the back, causing less pressure on the triple tree - and my ceiling) This held the bike in place while I completed the work. Remove the clamps that hold the wiring and brake hose to the fork tubes. Removed the two front fender pieces, brake calipers and then the front wheel. (pic 2)
Remove or loosen all handlebar hardware but left them in place (loosen pinch bolt) then remove the fork tubes by loosening the pinch bolts on the upper and lower triple clamps (bottom ones are difficult to get to with fairing in place). ( I completely removed the hardware so that I had access to the fork caps for the step below - see picture at right - pic 3). Now with the forks in hand, you have to remove the fork cap and the damping rod bolt. After trying two ways, I would suggest removing the damping rod bolt first (this is the 6 mm Allen at the bottom of the fork leg). Draining is messy and takes a while this way, but the fork spring holds the damping rod in place while you remove the damping rod bolt. Some forks I've worked on have an Allen slot on the upper part of the damping tube, this allows you to hold it in place, the Triumph fork does not. I loosened the fork cap and damping rod bolt slightly using a vise. I wrapped the fork tubes with rubber jar lid remover to loosen the fork cap. I then loosened the damping cylinder bolt using the same procedure only holding the fork leg in the vice instead of the fork tube. (As I didn't want to use a vise, I followed the recommendation of cracking both the fork cap and damping rod bolt, and then slightly tightening both to prevent the oil from leaking, while the forks were still clamped in the triple tree. The forks can then be removed and drained from the top)
I then used a Park bicycle stand to hold the fork tubes for the rest of the operation. After the forks have drained and you have the fork cap and damping rod bolt removed you can turn the fork upside down and the damping tube will slide out. Spend some time cleaning everything up.
This is the point of no return. The instructions tell you to drill 6 compression holes, at least 5/16" (8mm) in diameter in the damping rod (bigger holes are ok - smaller holes are not). The Triumph damping rod has one compression hole and no rebound holes. I enlarged the one hole to 5/16" and added 5 more. You need to deburr the holes and get rid of any metal filings (since I don't have a drill press, I used my handy Sears drill guide - (see pic 4) - made drilling a very simple process). Put the emulator in the top of the damping rod at this point just to see how it fits, take it out and set it aside (pic 5). Now you put the damping rod back in the fork and install the damping rod bolt. The Triumph manual does not say to use thread lock but there was some on it when it came out so I used locktite medium strength. Torque the damping rod bolt to 25 Nm (18.4 lb ft).(If you can't get the bolt to start, your oil lock has probably come loose. It sits in the very bottom of the lower leg and the bolt goes up through the middle. After a little fiddling, I found that using a longer bolt would allow me to set everything back into place. I then was able to put the stock bolt back in.)
Now drop in the emulator (adjusted 2 turns for me),(2.75 turns for me - be sure to set your adjusters back to zero and then set the turns yourself. Mine were set to different amounts. 2 turns are recommended for street - 4 turns for Racing use or for heavy riders) make sure the emulator seats itself correctly as you saw previously. Drop in the spring with 2 spring washers on top of it. Measure the distance to the top of the tube (6.9" for me), (6.75" for me) now measure the fork cap height (1.2") subtract the fork cap height, that leaves (5.7"), add the preload (15mm or .6" - this value is from Race Tech) and you get the length of the spacer you require (6.3") (6.05" for me). Use a tubing cutter to cut the length of spacer that RT sends with the spring (if you don't have a tubing cutter, borrow or buy one - cutting a straight edge on the spacer is difficult with a hacksaw or dremel.).Once you have cut the spacer, dry fit all the parts - if your measurements are correct, your fork cap should be out by your preload - in this case 15mm.
Remove the spring and spring washers from the fork and fill with fluid. In my case they recommend using 5W oil and filling the tube to 4.9" (125mm) from the top when the fork is compressed. That turned out to be near 500cc of oil, I used Silkolene Pro RSF. (I used the Race Tech 5W - it took just under 1 quart to do both tubes). You will need to work the leg up and down to get oil throughout the fork before the measurement is taken. Just keep compressing and extending the fork until no more air seems to be coming up through the oil, then do it a few more times for good measure. Measure the distance from the top of the fork tube to the oil with the fork compressed and add or remove oil as required (remembering that it is easier to add than to remove...). Now, put the spring in, put in one spring washer, put in the spacer, put in the second spring washer. Use the original Triumph spring washer for the top, since the hair pin on the fork cap will interfere with the spring washer sent with the RT spring. The top of the spacer should now be about .6" below the top of the fork tube. If it is higher than the tube, the emulator probably got pushed out of the top of the damping rod when you were stroking the fork leg to get the oil distributed. Just hold down lightly on the spacer and stroke the leg lightly, the emulator will reseat itself in the proper position. You will know that when the spacer is the proper distance inside the tube. (If you can't get the emulator to seat, use a parts grabber to reach down inside the fork and grab the emulator).
Carefully thread in the fork cap, you will have to push down and start the threads, be careful not to cross thread the fork cap. Tighten the cap to 30 Nm (22 lb ft). Now put the forks back into the triple clamps, the top of the fork should be flush with the top of the top face of the handlebars (in my case with the risers installed, I found it easier to measure the heigth of the forks before removal - on replacing I simply set both forks to 21/32" above the triple tree with the bars and spacers removed). Tighten upper triple clamp bolts to 20 Nm (15 lb ft), lower triple clamp bolts to 35 Nm (26 lb ft). Handlebar bolts all get tightened to 22 Nm (16 lb ft). Slide the wheel into place (careful with the speedometer drive), tighten axle to 61 Nm (45 lb ft), Mount the brake calipers, tighten to 40 Nm (29.5 lb ft). Put the fender halves back on. Clamp the wires and brake line to the fork tubes.
Remove the ties to the ceiling. Take the bike off the center stand, pump the brakes a few times, now hold the brakes and pump the front end a few times to line the forks up. Tighten the lower fork pinch bolts to 20 Nm (15 lb ft). Double check all of the fasteners. Job done.
I spent about 6 hours doing this job (I spent about 4 hours with the benefit of Paul's instructions) and did not really find any areas that would create any difficulties for someone with some mechanical skills. Nothing here is overly complicated or difficult. All it takes is some patience and making sure that you check and double check your work.
Since this is an area that could impact your safety, don't attempt it if you don't feel confident.Feel free to contact either of us if you have any questions.
Thanks again Paul for the great instructions - Eric
Sample Settings:by Erik Miner
The settings for my 200lbs currently are:
Emulators at 2 turns
Preload adjusters at 7mm out
Oil is a 50/50 mix of 15wt and 10wt Silkolene synthetic