BMW motorcycle telescopic fork alignment procedure, Randy Glass, page 14

14 – Button it Up

      At this point we are almost done.  Install the new felts into the fork boots if so equipped and oil them, then slide the boots or fork gaiters onto the fork tubes. Install the two crush washers at the ends of the damper rods.  Use a bit of grease to hold them in place so they don’t end up loose inside the dampers.  Now reinstall the leg assembly and torque the retaining nut into place while holding the damper rod from turning with a hex wrench, install the fender and it’s brace along with its related brake parts including the calipers.  I left the axle and my Telefix fork brace in place during all this to help maintain alignment.

      You can now replace the fender and then the front wheel. Insert the wheel between the fork legs along with its spacer and slide the axle through.  It should move through fairly easily, particularly once it is aligned in the left fork leg’s axle pinch opening.  You should be able to easily move the axle left and right with all this assembled, only hampered by the friction caused by the weight of the wheel itself.  Hand tighten the axle nut and then snug down, but do not tighten the pinch bolts. Holding the axle from turning by placing a screwdriver through the large hole in the right end and tighten the axle nut against left fork leg.  Now torque the pinch bolts.

      Reinstall the instruments and the bars, refill the forks if you haven’t already done so, and you are just about ready to ride.  Note that the tool you see me using above to tighten the top spring retainer is actually a bicycle bottom bracket fixed cup tool.  I had two of them with my bicycle tools for fifteen years (I am an amateur bicycle mechanic as well), not knowing that it fits the upper spring retainer and steering bearing nuts.  It works great with the bars off, anyway.  Of course, it does not allow you to apply a torque wrench, but can still do the job quite well.

      Once done, double (and maybe triple) check every piece of hardware. Brakes, steering, and suspension are no laughing matter!  Be sure all cables and wires have gone into their proper place and nothing is interfering with the steering by checking it a few times all the way to both stops- right and left.  Be sure that the bars are tightened and correctly aligned for you and that the controls are in their correct positions for your hands. Recheck the brake adjustment and front tire pressure and re-synch the carbs if necessary.

      Once you have the bike back on the ground, lock the front wheel using the front brake and bounce the front suspension as violently as you can.  It should certainly feel far more compliant than it use to.  Now try the compress/rebound and extend/rebound test you did in the beginning.  You should now find that the forks settle much closer to their original at-rest position each time.

      Beyond that, you are doing the bounce test to check for odd sounds, clanks, binding, leaks, and anything else that might indicate a problem.  In the garage is the best place to find those things- not out on the road!

      The forks should feel almost like new.  Mine felt so good I had to call my wife out into the garage to watch the forks bounce.  I felt like a Faith healer.  I had lain my hands upon the stricken, and the crippled did walk the earth upon their own feet once more… HALLELUJAH..!  Can I have a Amen?  O.K. So I get carried away sometimes…  So what?  It was exciting to have working forks again.  I actually did the “Happy Fork” dance- sorry, no video available.

      Down the line, if you want to be sure that most everything is still in alignment, you can remove the front wheel and replace the axle.  The axle should slide very easily through its respective openings in the fork legs- as easily as it did in preliminary testing.  I did this as a demonstration for my wife earlier in the process.  I hit the end of the axle with the palm of my hand and the axle went flying out of the forks and across the garage floor!  Wow.. It’s never done THAT before!

Previous Page