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Fork leg bushes mystery..bushes? What bushes?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by bigdog, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. bigdog

    bigdog XS400 Enthusiast

    Recently stripped the forks on my XS400Special for a refurb. Followed the Haynes manual carefully, bagged and labelled all the bits. Sent the badly pitted stanchions for a rechrome and the fork lowers to be powder coated. So far so good.
    Once the parts were back I attempted to rebuild them. Oil seal spacer, oil seal and retaining clip in without problem...and that's where the good news ends. Trying to get the stanchions into the lowers was hard work, especially trying to avoid damaging the new seals. I eventually got one in but it wouldn't slide smoothly and kept catching, the other wouldn't go in at all. Initially I blamed the rechroming (and/or powdercoating, but that shouldn't get on the inside anyway) as being too thick, but we're talking microns here and it was a very reputable company
    In desperation I took them to a local bike mechanic who immediately asked about the bushes which should go inside the fork lower. "What bushes?" I said "There aren't any". Pointing inside the tube he showed me what appeared to be a bush jammed inside..remember this had been cooked during the powder coating..which was locked in solid. He kept the legs and today called to say the bushes were out but new ones were needed. The Haynes manual clearly states (on P.82) "As bushes are not fitted, wear in the fork leg lower can only be remedied by renewal of the complete fork lower leg".
    So WHF do I do now? Do these bushes officially exist? If they do then can someone give me a part no. or advice please. Cheers guys.
     
  2. bigdog

    bigdog XS400 Enthusiast

    Thanks for your prompt reply. No pics I'm afraid, I haven't seen it (them) out of the stanchion. There is nothing in the parts diagram that looks anything like a bush inside the fork lower or around the chrome stanchion, so I'm still stumped. Can you confirm that there should be nothing, other than what's in the parts diagram, inside the fork lower? In other words is the Haynes manual correct?
    Another question, the chrome stanchion has a wide indentation around it, near it's bottom end (close to the no.18 in the diagram). Why is that there? The mechanic reckoned the bush should fit here, but if there is no bush what is it for?
    Btw I was in Canada last September. First visit, loved it!
     
  3. xschris

    xschris miles of smiles =)

    The part you are looking for is not listed as a separate part. It looks like a coated sleeve in the top part of the tube that the fork slides on. Yamaha lists the entire lower as one part to be replaced. These never get power coated from the factory, just painted or left raw aluminum.
     
  4. bigdog

    bigdog XS400 Enthusiast

    Thanks for that Chris. Your explanation of a sleeve inside the fork lower certainly fits with what I saw. It looks like the mechanic got it wrong but if he's never worked on forks like these before I can understand why he thought there were bushes in there. I'm surprised he was able to get them out, no idea (yet) how he did it. I hope I'm not going to find a pair of mangled fork lowers but I've a horrible feeling these parts are now junk. Obviously replacement sleeves have never been available.
    Still don't know why the refurbed stanchions wouldn't fit easily inside the lowers.
    What would you do?
    Amazingly I've found a pair of forks at my local breakers. He says they're in good nick (but then he would) and wants £70 (what's that, about $85?). Should I go for them?
     
  5. xschris

    xschris miles of smiles =)

    If that's the cheapest set you can find then I would get them. I think when you heated the old ones for the powder coat the coating on the old sleeves bubbled or expanded making them out of spec.
     
  6. bigdog

    bigdog XS400 Enthusiast

    Had a chat with Malcolm the mechanic, showed him the Haynes manual and explained your theory. He wasn't fazed at all, just a little surprised that Yamaha built them that way (but as we know they also used plastic bushes in the swing arm spindle, so maybe money was tight). He used the fateful phrase "leave it with me" and so I have. He reckoned there would be no need to buy a second pair of forks. Hope he's right.
     
  7. xschris

    xschris miles of smiles =)

    Keep in mind that back when these bikes where new and lots of parts around, replacing fork lowers was a cheap easy deal. Also these where meant to last a very long time. Most often the life of the bike.
     
  8. bigdog

    bigdog XS400 Enthusiast

    The fork lowers were knackered so I had to buy the forks from the breakers (haggled them down a bit but not much). They are in amazingly good condition considering their age, perfect chrome on the stanchions, polished lowers with only a couple of marks and no oil leaks. I'm considering whether to strip them and use the (expensive) re-chromed stanchions but on the other hand why disturb what seem to be perfectly useable forks? Any opinions welcome.
     
  9. xschris

    xschris miles of smiles =)

    Don't mess with them if they are good;)
     
    spectra likes this.
  10. spectra

    spectra XS400 Addict

    I agree as Chris stated my mess with something that is still good.
     
  11. bigdog

    bigdog XS400 Enthusiast

    Went with your advice and they're now fitted. Still annoyed that the 'new' stanchions aren't being used but hey ho. Now I need to buy a torque wrench to tighten up the front axle, rear axle and swing arm pivot, an expensive way of tightening 3 bolts but I don't know anyone with a t.w. going up to 105Nm (or 75ft/Ibs).
    If I could figure out how to get pics on here from my Macbook I'd show you what I've been doing to the bike over the past 2 years, now that it's finally taking shape and actually looks like a bike again. Although at the moment my new Triumph Street Twin has priority!
     

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