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Old 08-10-2009, 04:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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After my recent bout of stupidity in which I had to replace both shocks, I have noticed what an amazinglysmooth ride I have since I got everything back together. I am sure part of the reason is new parts but I don't think that explains everything. The replacement air shock I got was minus an unknown amount of fluid so I ended up draining the rest and refilling it. Now I started thinking about it. It has fluid just like the forks, rear end, brakes and clutch. I know that a lot of folks change those fluids on a regular basis. Well the air shock has fluid that is regularly exposed to outside air when adjusting so it stands to reason that it should also get contaminated after a while and lose it's damping ability. I know that there is dessicant in the compressor that should filter out contaminants but even still, I imagine that it will still go bad after a while. Why shouldn't this be changed on a regular basis too?

I discovered that it really isn't that hard to do. It does need to be removed from the bike to do it as it needs to be turned upside down to drain it. Right saddlebag needs to come off. The air fitting needs to be removed using a 14mm socket and then the top and bottom shock bolt need to be removed. After that, turn it upside down and pump it a few times but be careful because it will spray out. After pumping a few times, it should be pretty much drained. Next turn it right side up and slip something through the bottom mounting hole so you can stand on it and keep it up right. I used a long screwdriver. At this point I found one of the cone shaped fittings from my mityvac kit that was cone shaped on one side and flat on the other. I believe I used the second one from



the top on the right. The backside fit inside the opening for the air fitting pretty well by winding it in. I then attached a length of clear hose to it. Next I used a syringe that had a cone shape on the end that fit tightly into the other end of the clear hose. It was similar to this one and can be found at pet supply places for a couple bucks: http://www.birdb.com/osc/product_inf...mp;language=en

I bought a bottle of Honda SS-7 suspension fluid. I pulled the plunger of the syringe out and filled it to 60cc=60ml of fluid holding my finger over the end, stuck the plunger back in and turned the syringe upside down. Leaving the shock collapsed, I then put the syringe into the other end of the clear plastic tube. While holding the syringe in one hand, I pulled up on the shock while standing the screwdriver. This created a vacuum and while squeezing the syringe, the fluid got sucked right into the shock. After the fluid went in, I pulled the plunger out to release the vacuum then pulled the syring off to fill it again. I collapsed the shock again and repeated the above step a second time. I did this one more (third time) but only filled with 20cc=20ml of fluid. The capacity of the shock is 140cc=140ml of fluid. This last time, I didn't collapse the shock. I did however pull the plunger out on the syringe and put the plunger back in squeezing one last time to force all the fluid out of the hose. I then brought the shock back over to the bike and installed the top and bottom bolts. FYI, they only need to be torqued to 17 ft lbs so this is just slightly more than snug. I then attached the air fitting making sure that there was still the o-rings on either side of the banjo fitting.The air fitting only needs 4 ft lbs so basically just snug.

This procedure was no more difficult than changing out the fork oil or anything else, I may just to add it to things to periodically change.





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Old 08-10-2009, 10:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Great info Pwhoever............. gonna give that low-down to the schitz-it and flip that flubber up against the wall.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Very good point. I just rebuilt my 2 rear air suspension shocks ('82 GL1100 Interstate). The left one was leaking oil. I purchased the parts from Dillion Brothers. I ordered all rubber part plus bushings. I followed the Honda service manual and used ATF to refill. What a difference the ride is now! Forget progressives. I noted that the old oil was "rancid" and milky. That indicated water contamination. However, it is very difficult to drain oil. Also '82s did not have compressor. Just old fashion hand pump.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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thanks for the information on this. I just did mine, and when I drained the old stuff, there was only about 90ml in the shock. when filling, I put in 140ml. (now I have to see how that affects the ride!)
As for getting the ATF into the shock, I bought a cheap ketchup sqeeze bottle from the dollar store, measured out 140ml and put it in the bottle, stuck the nipple into the fitting, and extended the shock. I had to extend it slowly, and it just sucked all the fluid into the shock. Worked slick!
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thats a great idea about the ketchup bottle. It would probably be the easiest way to do it. Thanks...
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That should have been on my to do list 2 winters ago when i put a new rear tire on. Also a new u-joint boot to replace the 6yr old one that just developed an inch long split. Black silicone works great until the new one gets installed.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I just changed mine, didn't have 140 ml in it, maybe 90 ml. Color was good. Can't wait to see the difference (tomorrow). Is there any damping action on the right shock, or is it just air spring all the way ?

In any event, raising the level of oil changed the effective mechanical spring rate at any pressure, and new fluid most likely lowered the sliding friction, raising the compliance some.

Result-less tendency to hobby horse from front to rear (have progressives in front). Bike is actually smoother over some types of road irregularities. Secondary roads with multiple RR tracks at X-ing, better control, less harsh. Since there is more fluid now (145 cc called out in 2000 year SM), the air volume is less, so compression stroke results in a higher restore force, sort of similar to a higher compression engine due to smaller combustion chamber volume.
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Last edited by Ericson38; 07-02-2013 at 04:15 PM. Reason: rode it after changing rear shock oil
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Help Cant get oil back in shock

1986 changing oil in rear air shocks

Oil drained out over night.. but cannot for the life of me get any back in.

Dont have a press so I could compress the shock. Have to experiment.

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Old 07-03-2013, 10:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Would have like to try the compress method but off the bike.. didnt have anything handy to do this. I used a cone shaped rubber fitting as mentioned above. Short piece of plastic tubing... then slowly (and I mean slowly) I fed the 10 plus oz in.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This has just became my next "Must do" when I work on the wing again. If I have problems compressing it, I will try a ratchet strap to compress it. If that doesn't work, 2 dozen donuts the the guys in the fleet shop at work will get it done.

Ride Safe,
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