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#52772 - 09/05/09 03:45 AM Slojoe's Fork Adventure *****
Slojoe Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 1187
Loc: Albuquerque, New Mexico
If it ainít broke, donít fix it. That is my recommendation when it comes to fork oil and seals on the XT225. Otherwise, take it to someone who is familiar with the XT225 forks and knows how to do the work. The maintenance schedule says to change the fork oil, seals and upper bushings every 6000 miles. Against my better judgment I decided to change the fork oil on my 07 XT225. I have nearly 13000 miles on the bike. I reused the original parts because I didnít have new parts on hand and because the forks were not leaking. I removed the forks from the bike to do the work. The first picture shows the rubber cap removed from the fork.

I removed the dust boot and found the upper tube was dirty.

I cleaned the upper tube with WD-40 and a rag.

Removing the wire snap ring from the inside top of the upper tube is tough. The cap must be pushed in enough to get a blade under the ring to pry it out.

After the wire snap ring is out, the cap is still tough to get out of the tube. By pushing the upper tube down into the lower tube, the spring inside will apply force to the cap. The cap will want to hang up when the o-ring seal on the cap gets to the wire snap ring groove. I sprayed WD-40 around the groove to help the cap slide by the groove.

I removed the spring and noticed the bottom of the spring has closer coils than the top. I dumped the oil in a drain pan. The oil was dark and had a metallic luster from very small metallic flakes.

The dust seal was easy to remove with a gasket scraper and small hammer.

Below the dust seal there is a wire snap ring. This one is easy to pry out.

This is my Mechanicís Assistant.

The bolt at the bottom of the fork uses a 6mm Allen wrench. I kept trying to secure the damper rod inside the upper tube because the manual says to. The book is wrong; the damper rod has a round hole with no way to secure it while removing the bolt from the bottom of the fork. I was able to loosen the bolt without holding the damper rod because there is no Locktite on the threads.

This is the damper rod sticking out of the upper tube after the bolt has been removed from the bottom tube.

This is the damper rod.

This spring was between the damper rod and the bottom of the upper tube.

After these parts were removed from the fork assembly, I pulled the upper tube out of the lower tube.

This is the bottom of the upper tube and a guide plug that fits inside the tube between the damper rod and the bottom of the lower fork tube. The bolt in the background goes through the bottom of the lower tube, through the guide plug and threads into the damper rod.

I removed the oil seal from the top of the lower tube with a slide hammer.

Here is the seal and the spring that fits around the lip of the seal.

Under the seal there is a washer, the sharp edge is facing the top of the fork.

The upper bushing is still in the top of the lower fork tube.

The bushing slipped right out.

This is the inside view of the lower fork tube. The bore was very shiny with no scratches.

Sorry about all the junk on the bench but here are all the pieces from the fork except for the lower tube.

This is the biggest problem I see with the XT225 fork. There is no slot or hex shaped hole to prevent the damper rod from spinning when trying to loosen the bottom bolt. The book wants the mechanic to use Locktite on the bolt. There is no good way to hold the damper rod inside the upper tube to loosen the bolt if it had been installed with Locktite.

I cleaned all the parts with brake cleaner. The upper tube is ready to have the guide plug set on the end of the damper rod. Then the upper assembly will be slid into the lower tube and the bottom bolt installed.

Next the upper bushing, washer and oil seal go in.

The snap ring is the next piece.

The dust seal is easy to push down.

The book calls for 12oz of 10W fork oil. I used Automatic Transmission Fluid because a friend with a lot of experience with forks recommended it. After adding the 12oz ATF I worked the fork to get any bubbles out. The oil level should be 147mm from the top of the upper tube with the tube fully pushed into the lower tube and the spring out. I made a dipstick out of a piece of wire and made a couple of marks 147mm apart. I needed to add a little ATF to get the correct level.

I cleaned the dust boots with Simple Green and a tooth brush. There was quite a bit of dust inside the boots. Afterward I dried the boots and installed them. I worked on one fork at a time so I had the other fork to compare when I installed the boot on the first fork. The final adjustment on the boots can be made when installing the forks on the bike.

Here is the bike after my Fork Adventure. The Yamaha shop manual has the wrong information for the XT225 forks. The manual shows forks like my 94 XT350 has, with air valves on the top caps and damper rods with a hex hole for a holding tool. I rode the bike around the block and didnít feel any difference. Time will tell if I did any good or should have just left things alone.

#52783 - 09/05/09 04:31 AM Re: Slojoe's Fork Adventure [Re: Slojoe]
Reggie Offline

Registered: 07/25/05
Posts: 11645
Loc: Lancashire, England
Mornin' Slojoe,

nice write up there matey.

Shame you've not felt a difference but you've given us all something to think about.

My Brazilian XT225 has the same fork types but my Japanese XT225 has the usual adjustable type.

Team Cabra, Brazilian XT225, Team Ukulele, Japan import XT225, a 250 to be named and loads of 2 stroke Kawasaki AR's!

#52813 - 09/05/09 05:05 PM Re: Slojoe's Fork Adventure [Re: Reggie]
Az4x4 Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 4395
Loc: Heber/Overgaard, AZ
WAY more project than I'd ever want to tackle alone Slojoe, but your write up and photos make it understandable should anyone be required to do such a job on their own. Still not sure about your shopmate/mechanic's helper however! Did it just show up and decide to hang out awhile, or is it a resident?
"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." Isaac Asimov's 100th birthday 01/02/2020

#52814 - 09/05/09 05:35 PM Re: Slojoe's Fork Adventure [Re: Az4x4]
Slojoe Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 1187
Loc: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hi George, about 7 weeks ago we had a big storm, the next day Cindy found the baby bird laying on the ground covered in flies. Cindy knew I had experiance with birds and brought it home. After 4 weeks of hourly feeding(baby food)we finally made the transition to seed. The bird likes to hang out with us when we are working around the house. There are numerous cats and a hawk working the neighborhood so we are careful when we let her out, not too early in the morning and not late in the afternoon. The hawk feeds at those times. We hope that she will continue to stay with us but she does seem to like exploring the neighborhood. She likes to sleep on a plant in our sunroom at night.

#52815 - 09/05/09 05:49 PM Re: Slojoe's Fork Adventure [Re: Slojoe]
Slojoe Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 1187
Loc: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hi Reggie, I'm glad the forks don't feel different because I was only wanting to end up with clean oil. The forks were in perfect working order before this project. I think the ATF is very close to 10W oil so I decided to try the ATF in my XT225. I was careful to adjust the oil level to the factory specification.

#52817 - 09/05/09 06:04 PM Re: Slojoe's Fork Adventure [Re: Slojoe]
Matches Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 08/14/08
Posts: 1180
Loc: Wenatchee Washington
Hey Slojoe, OUTSTANDING write-up, thank you thank you thank you! Not something I look forward to doing but if I ever had to this artical will be every bit as essential as Moto-Psycho's DIY on the XT carb was for me.

Again, well done, and thank you!

Cheers, Matches

#52831 - 09/05/09 11:25 PM Re: Slojoe's Fork Adventure [Re: Matches]
JerryH Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 1522
Loc: Chandler, AZ 85224
Nice job. I have never changed fork oil in my life. I have had a number of bikes with drain screws on the bottom of the lower fork legs, you just remove those and drain out the old oil, then put them back, unscrew a cap on top, and pour in new oil. I still never did it.

I have also had a few old bikes with leaky fork seals, one in particular was really bad. You could pour in new oil, and within a few days it was all over the front end, and the forks had no damping. I solved the problem by filling them (to the proper level) with 140 weight gear oil. The seals never leaked again, and it also solved the nose dive problem on hard breaking. The ride was a little rough, but it never bothered me.

My XT is a '94, and almost certainly still has the original fork oil, and the seals don't leak. I have no intention of changing it. As far as I am concerned, engine oil is something you change, fork oil is good for the life of the bike. Jerry.
The above is my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
2001 XT225, 1994 XT225 highly modified

#52832 - 09/06/09 12:14 AM Re: Slojoe's Fork Adventure [Re: JerryH]
Muniac Offline

Platinum Member

Registered: 01/16/04
Posts: 5877
Loc: Montrose, CO
SloJoe - Very nice write up and photos. I too have done this job 3 times on both bikes. It sucks. I used a 36" furniture clamp to depress the slug under the fork's spring. An "easy out" attached to a socket extension will hold the dampening rod while you work the hex cap screw. I turned down a piece of PVC pipe (2" sch 40 I think) to make a quick and dirty tool to tap in the sleeve bearing. These little tricks made the job go a lot easier for me and perhaps others thinking about doing it can benefit. I certainly don't look forward to the next time I need to do fork service. Matches set me up with aftermarket boots that are nice.

You have a nice place to work and an interesting avian friend. Jeannie and I had two parrots for 20 years. Thanks for posting your knowledge and experience.
Evolve & Simplify
Be There or Be Nowhere! A Few Adventures & Video

#52837 - 09/06/09 02:18 AM Re: Slojoe's Fork Adventure [Re: Muniac]
Slojoe Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 1187
Loc: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hi Everyone, I've been thinking of an easy way to change the oil without the total disassembly of the forks. I think the metal top caps could be removed with the forks still mounted on the bike. 1st, the front wheel would need to be off the ground to unload the fork springs enough to depress the caps enough to remove the snap rings. Then the top of the forks would need to be covered with a rag to capture the caps when the front end is lowered to the ground to apply spring pressure to the bottom of the caps. Once the caps are out, the forks could be bottomed and the springs removed. The bottom bolt could be removed at this point and the oil would drain out. The important thing to remember at this point would be, KEEP THE FORKS BOTTOMED to keep the damper rod and guide in place at the bottom of the outer fork tube. I don't think this method would drain all the old oil out but it would get a major portion out. Once the oil has drained out, the bolt would need to be reinstalled and new oil added to the forks. The measuring stick is important to get the correct oil level with the forks bottomed with the spring removed. I think the oil level will affect the compression tendancies of the forks. My friend with much experiance with fork service filled his XT225 forks to 120mm from the top insted of the 147mm as called for in the manual. He said the bike is much better to ride off road. The higher oil level may be a help to heavier riders that have trouble with the front end bottoming out. I like a soft setting on my suspension so I went with the factory specification on the oil level. My bike does have a severe nose dive when stopping fast with only the front brake.

I'm not sure this method would work but it may be a way to change the oil without taking the chance of ruining good seals.

#52854 - 09/06/09 03:14 PM Re: Slojoe's Fork Adventure [Re: Slojoe]
KLRchickie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 88
Loc: Calgary, AB
If your seals aren't leaking, I wouldn't fully disassemble the forks to change the oil - I feel that the risk of damaging a previously good seal while doing this is too high. The forks are easy to remove from the triples, pop the caps, pull the springs & turn the forks upside down to drain. Pump the forks a few times & you'll get the majority of the oil out. If the oil looks particularly cruddy, you can pour in a little new oil, slosh it around, pump the forks a little & pour it back out. If desired, leaving the forks upside down overnight in a drain pan will also get more oil out.

Raising the oil level a smidge will stiffen the front suspension a little. I've added preload to my forks (3-14mm washers in each side works great for me!) to stiffen up the front end just a bit & went with the factory spec. level of 10W fork oil.

Renewing the oil in damper rod forks like these often doesn't make a noticeable difference in the ride (I added the preload at the same time - so I got a huge difference there) --- renewing the oil in cartridge forks *may* have a HUGE effect on how the front suspension handles. We change fork oil yearly in all seven of our bikes, keeping metal bits from sludging up the XT & KLR forks & keeping the cartridge forks on the other bikes behaving well is worth the efforts (& price of oil) to us.
'05 KLR650
'02 XT225
'06 Monster S2R1000
'08 WR250X

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