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Library Home Page > 1st Generation (1983 to 1993) > Suspension
Progressive Fork Spring Replacement
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Progressive Fork Spring Replacement

Progressive Fork Spring Replacement on a '91 Venture Royale Before beginning, place the bike on the center stand, put newspapers under the front wheel and release as much air pressure in the forks as possible. Read the manual and instructions thoroughly before starting. Make sure that you have the right tools…it makes the job easier.

1.Remove all chrome accessories on the front brakes to make access to the drain screw easier.
2.Remove handlebars and assorted trim pieces around fork tube top. You can remove the piece with the hazard lights after you remove the handlebar on the right. I just tucked it up under the lid that you access the coolant with to keep it out of the way.
3.Loosen the bolts on the top of the fork tubes……2 on each side. If you don't do this, the removal of the cap is really hard!! I used a ¼" ratchet with the appropriate size socket….10mm. I was able to get my hand inside the steering head area with the ratchet and loosen these bolts. You will have to move the wheel around to find the correct spot to do this but it can be done!
4.Remove the cap of the fork with a 17mm hex key socket or equivalent. If you put an extension on the socket it makes it easier to get in there. You may have to move the wheel around to get it into a position where it will come out without hitting anything. Remember that with the cap screws off, the forks will compress easily and the bike will drop down on to the forks if bumped hard.
5.Open the drain screws on each side of the bike. Let this drain for 15 minutes to get most of the old fluid out. I let mine go for 30 minutes and it still dribbled a little. This is where the newspapers come in!!
6.Cover the top of the bike with a blanket or something that you don't mind getting fork oil on . Remove the spacer, cap and old springs.
7.Slowly, grab the front of the bike(under the mirrors work well) and lower the bike so that the forks compress fully. I pumped the bike a few times to help any fluid trapped between the tubes drain. Wait a minute or so and reinstall the drain screws.
8. Fill the forks with new oil to a level 5.5" from the top of the compressed fork. I measured how much fluid that was from my bottle and each side took approximately 400cc. This is just a little under what stock recommends, however, since there was a little bit of residual from the previous oil, I would guess that 409cc would work well for a perfectly clean fork assembly (ie when seals are replaced). I used a high tech tool to measure the oil level……a tape measure.
9.Slowly raise the front of the bike. Put in the new springs with the compressed end down. The Progressive notes suggest this although it makes no difference to the operation of the springs.
10.Progressive provide a plastic spacer and washer to adjust the preload. Their spacer is 1 ¼" long and can be cut to adjust the preload. I took the old spring washer, turned it upside down so that the lip that used to go in to the fork is now pointing up, took the old cap that sat on the old spacer and put it on top and inserted it. This gives approximately 1" of preload and is easier to install than their spacer. The Progressive instructions include a good description of preload.
11.Do steps 4,3,2,1 in that order.
12. Take the bike for a ride and wipe the grin off your face!!!

Notes: Progressive does not recommend any air pressure in your forks, however, that is a personal choice and is easily adjusted with the compressor. I would suggest riding without air at first and then slowly add it to fine tune your ride.

I have learned a bit about the proper weight of oil to use in your forks. I know that there are a lot of recommendations about brands and types, however, the stock fluid is 10wt and I have put in 15wt. I tried 20wt and had some problems with the EAND units not working properly. Progressive even mentioned this to me in emails to them. They do not recommend any more than 15wt. I would personally stay away from multigrade oils because they are not designed for forks and they are designed for hot and cold applications in engines. The fork fluid will get hot and cold but not to the same degree as an engine. Remember, this is just my opinion. I went with a 15wt because I had that in for the previous few years and was happy with it. I am a big guy and with the wife and luggage, the forks take a beating so the extra wt of the oil helps a little. Also, 15wt isn't as viscous so it won't try and leak out as easily through small scratches,etc on the fork tubes. This is just my experience of doing this, use it as a reference if you want, hopefully it sheds some insight to the installation of springs.

Not including drain time, the whole process took me approximately 1 hour. - Dave Watts


Last update: 03:43 PM Sunday, September 26, 2004

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