Fork oil change and refill, 98 EV (others with same type forks?)

I'm known for being long-winded....these instructions assume you have never changed your own fork oil. There may be a better and simpler way to do this, if so, do that, and pass your method along to me! The following comes from several messy attempts before coming up with something that works well for me....your mileage may vary!

Draining the fork oil:

1) Place bike on center stand, turn forks so they are pointing straight ahead
2) Rotate compression and rebound adjuster screws at top of forks fully counter-clockwise to minimize damping. (Makes moving the forks up and down easier)
3) Place newspapers under wheel to catch any oil that misses the drain container! It wouldn't be a bad idea to cover the lower portion of the brake discs with plastic wrap in case any splashes out.
4) Place suitable drain container under fork to be drained, if you want to measure what comes out (advisable), use a large measuring cup. I use a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup, handy for all kinds of stuff, so handy that my wife made me go out and buy my own! (She got tired of finding hers stinking of gear oil....women!)
5) Remove small hex-head drain screw located at rear of forks.

At this point some fork oil will drip slowly from the filler hole, so have the drain container in place. It might even surprise you and come out at a pretty good clip.... done this 3 times now and each time it varies as to when the oil comes out and how quickly.

Slowly loosen the filler screw located at top of fork.
DON'T apply any downward force to the forks at this point or the oil will come gushing out!
7) As you turn the filler screw out, the flow of oil will increase until it comes out quite quickly!

Probably half of the oil will drain out at this point, so you're not through yet!

8) Paying close attention to how quickly the oil comes out, and where it is going, grab the front brake lever to hold the brake and push down slowly on the fork. More oil will come out, probably 3/4ths of the capacity.

Depending on how much of the oil you got out (the 98 EV fork recommended qty. is 490ml) you will probably need to apply more pressure than is easily accomplished with the bike on the center stand.
Replace the drain plug at the bottom of the plug, just snug it up enough to prevent leakage, it's coming back out in a minute!

Repeat steps 1-8 for the other fork

9) Put the bike on the side stand. (Allows more leverage in pumping the forks up and down to get the rest of the oil out)
10) Remove drain plug, and reposition drain container underneath and behind the drain plug. (It can squirt out with some force in the next step!)
11) Hold the bike level, raising it off of the side stand. Grab the front brake and move the forks up and down as much as you can with reasonable force to pump the remaining oil out of the fork.

If you drink beer, at this point you can go get one as the last little bit drips out of the fork with the bike resting on the side stand.

12) Replace and tighten drain plug.

Repeat 9-12 for other fork leg.

How to fashion Handy-Dandy Fork filler.

Materials needed:
1) Empty Gear oil container with bottom portion cut out, and uncut filler spout.
Stainless steel meat baster with "injector needle"

Here's the deal. Just by chance, the outside diameter of the injector needle I have fits perfectly inside the threads on the top filler hole; you're looking for a snug-fit. I don't know what brand this baster is, it was about $5 at the grocery store. The fit is snug enough to support the funnel apparatus without damaging the threads.... obviously you don't want to force something down in the threads and damage them. So, if you get one of these basters and the needle seems too large, you might turn the diameter down enough to do the job by (carefully) positioning the threaded end of the needle into a hand-held drill (drill press even better, I don't have one!) and remove some material with a strip of sandpaper or a fine honing stone. You would obviously want to clean it up and remove any left over grit before sticking it down in the forks.

1) Cut the gear lube filler spout straight across as close to the end as you can. You just want a small hole; you're going to force the needle through it to make a leak-proof fit.

2) Loosely screw the needle onto the end of the baster.

3) Using the baster as a handle, push the needle through the end of the gear lube bottle filler spout. I wrapped the needle threaded end with Teflon tape to prevent any leakage, but that proved unnecessary, as the final fit was watertight. It's important that the needle is a tight fit as it is going to be supporting the funnel with oil in it!

Unscrew the baster from the needle, and screw the filler top onto the gear lube bottle.

take the finished funnel and push the needle down into the filler hole, if you turn it clockwise as you go, it will screw itself down into the fork leg if the fit is tight enough. Obviously you want it to go straight in, if the handlebars or anything happens to be in the way, deal with it, you don't want to force the needle into the threads at an angle, or you could damage the threads. If the needle wants to push up into the filler spout, you could screw the baster back on and use it to put the funnel in place. It shouldn't take much force.

When you are satisfied that the funnel is held securely in place by the needle, with the bike on the side stand (works better) pour about half (or less) of the replacement oil into the funnel. It will just sit there! Gravity is not worth a damn for filling the fork tubes, unless you are VERY patient!

So, we are going to help things along with the fork action.

6) Hold the front brake lever, pull back slowly on the handlebars, unloading the forks. You will see the fluid level in the funnel go down quickly as the suction pulls fluid into the forks. Slowly let the forks return to the "neutral" position from the weight of the bike.

7) Now, still holding the brake lever, push down on the handlebars slowly. You will see air bubbles come up through the it with too much gusto and you might get a face full of fork oil! You only need to use a couple of inches of travel on the forks to do this, no need to try and bottom out the forks.

8)Whilst still holding the brake lever, pull up slowly on the handlebars and watch as the remainder of the oil is sucked into the forks with a very satisfying "squooshing" sound. Refill the funnel with the remaining measured oil and repeat steps 6-8. When all of the oil is out of the funnel, carefully remove it and replace/tighten the filler screw.

9) Repeat steps 5-8 for the other fork.

If everything went as planned, you'll be through with both sides in a matter of minutes, and you won't have spilled a drop of fork oil.

Any improvements, suggestions, comments always welcome.  If you found this tip useful, please donate $5-$8 toward a six-pack of your favorite is too short to drink cheap beer! (I believe thatís a slogan used by the Wernsteiner brewing company...not sure!)

Hubert Few
1998 V11 EV