BMW motorcycle telescopic fork alignment procedure, Randy Glass, page 13

13 – Torqueing the Top

      Now that the lowers are sliding properly and you have verified that everything is in alignment down there, it is time to start buttoning things up.  The following section contains some of the most important information in this entire article, so please read carefully!

      Begin final assembly by removing the upper spring retainers and installing the fork springs (and their spacers if so equipped).

      Replace and torque the two upper spring retainers.  When torqueing them into place it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to USE A TORQUE RELIEF BAR against the center bolt and somewhere else.  If you learn anything from this article this is the keystone principle you need to take with you, whether your forks need alignment or not.  This technique has to be followed every time a wrench is used on the upper fork retainers.

anti-torque tightening

As you can see here, a large screwdriver is being held against the top retainer nut and a tool adaptor that I have inserted into one of the spare holes in the upper fork bracket.  The places where the screwdriver is resting are indicated by the arrows.  My left hand is holding the screwdriver while my right hand is tightening the upper spring retainer.

Clymer states that the correct torque is 87 ft/lbs which is quite a bit.  Be sure that the anti-torque bar will not slip during the torquing process!  Further, it is CRITICAL here that the fork yoke not be allowed to come into contact with the steering stop during the torquing process.  Notice that in the above picture that the forks are in their center position.  If the forks are forced onto the stop during this process then you just about guarantee that you will twist the forks in the yoke and ruin all your hard work and you will have to start the adjustment process all over again.

This is not quite as easy as it may sound.  It is difficult to hold the anti-torque bar and have enough leverage to tighten the nut at the same time.  One user recommends using a long piece of heavy angle iron that can be held in place on the upper fork bracket with a C-clamp or two.  With all the extra holes on the plate of the /7 it wouldn’t be too difficult to fabricate some type of adaptor plate with a 1/2″ or 3/4″ square hole in the top of it to locate a breaker bar or such.  The main thing, once again, is to hold the top plate still while tightening the nut so that the forks are not forced against the steering stop.

      When the three big nuts are torqued to specs on the upper fork bracket you MUST recheck the X-plane and the Y-plane alignment again with the plate of glass and the special tool.  This is critical because the torquing of the two upper spring retainers may cause them to “walk” on the upper fork bracket allowing them to throw things out of alignment.  This is particularly true with /5’s.  The tubes will probably still be in alignment, but it is very important to check to be sure.  If there is any discrepancy after torquing, repeat the alignment procedures.  Once this is done and the tubes are adjusted properly, return the parallelness gauge and glass plate to a safe place.

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