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Old 12-19-2010, 09:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Mine still has the factory oil in it 79,000 miles later. Honda, in their infinite wisdom removed the drain plugs from these bikes so I will probably remove the forks and have a shop do the oil (Different, since I am used to doing all my own work). Thinking of doing it this spring. I have no leaks yet or anything and would love the front end to be a tad stiffer. Any problems with stepping up to the next grade (weight wise) of fork oil? I am also considering the progressive springs for the front end. How do these affect the ride overall?

Thanks folks'.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yep time to get to it dude. + 1 on the progressives & they recommend 15 wt fork oil, stock is tranny fluid-too mushy! Big improvement in handleing.
You could do it if you have the repair manual and make a fork cap tool. Not a hard job. There is a drain bolt on these.
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-76 CB750K Red(new) sold @ 45k
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Drain bolt used to be at bottom of each fork, but I do not recall it being there and thought Honda removed it on the 1500 SE's. Removing the cap is not the issue- my concern is proper fluid level, but I could measure what I take out I suppose. I guess I could buy one of those dipper guage things.
Why do you like the progressives over stock?
Thanks!
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Vote one for year-round riding! Finally a double darksider (Austone/Pilot Activ)... And I love it.
Currently at 106k on my 2000 GL1500 SE (17k on the Austone/Pilot combo...)

(Avatar- Our 'new' 1963 Kenskill camper interior. Chaste.)

Previous wings: 88k mile \'78GL1000, 13k mile \'77 GL1000 (resto at home, neat story!), \'81 GL1100 Interstate.
Previous non-wing others: CB360T, Suzuki GS550L, Yamaha 650 spcl (first bike!), Silverwing 500, Yamaha Spectre 1100, VFR700F, CB900 Custom.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Get the progressives, you will like them and they come with instructions to set the oil level at X amount from the top of the tube with the springs out and forks collapsed. Easy enough to measure.
I can't imagine fork oil that old, if there is any in them, still being liquid. I change mine every year and it looks bad then.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Just went and looked at the manual, I'm wrong again! No drain bolt.
The tool is to help get the cap back on.
Get a turkey injection syringe from Home Depot, add a length of clear tubing cut to length to suck out the extra new fork oil to required level.
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John 14:6 Psalm 118:19-29
CMA Wings of Eagles-Escondido CA SAN DIEGO
Patriot Guard Ryder
+2008 Cabernet Red ABS/Airbag bought 6/2013 @16,000 miles
+1999 Red Aspencade Barn find @18,000 miles to restore
+1983 ASPENCADE Barn find @36,000
Previous bikes
-1999 GL1500 SE(@57k)(totaled by cagger @105,000) Feb 2013
-76 CB750K Red(new) sold @ 45k
-75 CB750K Blue(new) 9,000 mi Before cousin totaled it.
74 CB450 Burnt Orange(new) 9,000 miles sold
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The 1500s do have a drain bolt.

You'll notice that the bolt circled below even hasa nicesoft-copper gasket (one of WingNut's many useful photos)





Since you have a 1500SE you should have air caps (US models). Removing the air valve from the fork cap to act as a vent, then removing the bolt (above) should get your forks drained in just a few hours.

For a stiffer kinda ride, you can refill through the removed air valve hole, with good quality 15W fork oil. However, if your oil is old, you may find the firmness you're looking for using 10W oil, several folks do not like the feel of 15W (I love the reassurance of the anti-dive performance with 15W, which can be softened by under-filling the forks slightly, but this is prolly just me ...)

With the spring in place you can set proper levels through the cap if you'd like (think if these measurements as "dipstick" measurements - free-air height above the oil level, which can be measured through the spring-cap on air-equipped 1500s)

OEM fill levels are stated as239 ('88-'93) or 194mm ('94 on). OEM specs are for collapsed tubes without spring-caps or springs installed.

Adding the 180mm fork extension value to that will get you the total "air" above the oil level measurement (419mm or 374mm). This does not include the spring-cap height or the oil displacement of the spring.


Spring Displacements look like:

* OEMspringsvary slightly, but tend to displace 31mm;subtract 31mm from the fill-height value.
* Progressive springs with the closely-wound end down will displace 33mm;subtract 33mm from the fill-height value.

* Progressive springs with the closely-wound end down will displace 39mm;subtract 39mm from the fill-height value.

Since you'll be measuring through the spring cap, you'll need to ADD the height of your spring cap (since all measurements so far reference a tube without a cap installed). I use 13mm, but this may depend on your measurement technique...


SUMMARY:

Changing fork oil quickly and accurately on the 1500 is entirely possible as a simple DIY task. Great for maintenance and tuning of your bike for better safety & enjoyment.

All of the measurements here are made with the air valves removed from the spring-caps, and the front-forks full extended (front tire off the ground)

With OEM springs, there should be401mm ('88-'93) or 356mm ('94 on) of air between the top of the spring-cap and the level of the fork oil.


TOOLING &NOTES:

If you've got the air-caps on your forks -- you can experiment all day on fill levels until you're happy.

To measure AND adjust the free-air measurements above, Iuse a length of 7/32 tube (aluminum "hobby tubing from the Ace Hardware store) fitted with a length of 1/4" clear tubingat one end.I added sliding stop (1.4" drill stop works nicely) so that the value can be perfectly rpeated in both fork tubes.

If you "overfill" the forks, use your shop's vacuum source (anything from lung power on up) to remove any excess fill. You should be able tosuck-out both forks to a common fill level in a matter of minutes ...

Value-added note would be to test-ride with your forks slightly fuller (smaller value for air above the oil), then slowly suck-out more and more fluid until you arrive at the value that would seem "right" for your chosen fluid viscosity.

Some notes on Fluid choice from Progressive spring:
Quote:
Oil viscosity can be changed to alter damping. Heavier oil to increase damping. Lighter oil to decrease damping. Increase in 5 weight increments (i.e. from 10 weight to 15 weight.) Oil viscosity will have more effect on rebound damping than compression damping, too high a viscosity can create harshness on sharp edge bumps. The oil level also affects the ride, too high an oil level and the forks will feel too stiff, too low an oil height and the bike will bottom and feel soft or dive
Remember also that the SE should have air-adjustable forks -- 6-7 PSI max, would mean that you'll need to take great care in adjusting the values, and they can be difficult to match exactly from side-to-side -- but adding a few PSI should increase your front-end stiffness.







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Old 12-20-2010, 09:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Good write up satan.
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John 14:6 Psalm 118:19-29
CMA Wings of Eagles-Escondido CA SAN DIEGO
Patriot Guard Ryder
+2008 Cabernet Red ABS/Airbag bought 6/2013 @16,000 miles
+1999 Red Aspencade Barn find @18,000 miles to restore
+1983 ASPENCADE Barn find @36,000
Previous bikes
-1999 GL1500 SE(@57k)(totaled by cagger @105,000) Feb 2013
-76 CB750K Red(new) sold @ 45k
-75 CB750K Blue(new) 9,000 mi Before cousin totaled it.
74 CB450 Burnt Orange(new) 9,000 miles sold
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Agree! Thanks!
I will look for that bolt. Maybe drain both in to a small cup and measure, adding back the same amount. A place to start anyway.
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Vote one for year-round riding! Finally a double darksider (Austone/Pilot Activ)... And I love it.
Currently at 106k on my 2000 GL1500 SE (17k on the Austone/Pilot combo...)

(Avatar- Our 'new' 1963 Kenskill camper interior. Chaste.)

Previous wings: 88k mile \'78GL1000, 13k mile \'77 GL1000 (resto at home, neat story!), \'81 GL1100 Interstate.
Previous non-wing others: CB360T, Suzuki GS550L, Yamaha 650 spcl (first bike!), Silverwing 500, Yamaha Spectre 1100, VFR700F, CB900 Custom.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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That drain never seems to be "convienient" for dropping into any kind of container and may end-up dribbling where it shouldn't (brake rotors).

I find that a sheet of aluminum foil can be useful to direct your draining fork oil into whatever container you'd choose.

I'd kinda advocate to actually measure the fill level closer to specs, rather than replacing what's there -- over the years the fill levels will be a bit different from so amny reasons (the forks wipe this oil along the tubes all the time, quite a bit is just "gone-missing" wihtout leaving a puddle, etc...) and while adding as much as was removed could be a good start, and I do understand that, having new-fluid with different levels may actually feel worse than the old fluid at the same 'different levels', as the new fluid would likely be a bit less shagged-out.

It'll be great to hear what you find though, and good on ya for gettin' in and gettin' it done !
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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My '88 has no drain plugs. I considered the turkey baster trick, but others advised that a full dissassemby / cleaning would be best, so I opted for that. At 65K miles and 21 years (with original fork oil I'm pretty sure), my oil somewhat resembled tar, so I'm glad I did the 'full' job. The shop manual advised replacing the black teflon-coated copper sliders if any copper was showing and I discovered that more copper than teflon was showing on mine, so I replaced them while I hadthem apart. The stock springs were still within spec, but I replaced them with new Progressive's - probably the best $100 I ever spent. Used Honda 10w fork oil (again taking the advice of others who suggested that 15w tended to be a bit stiff with the Progressives). After getting it all back together, I can't believe the improvement in the ride! The Progressives soak up all of the small bumps, but still have plenty of spring for the larger ones - just like they are supposed to do. I used to feel every crack in the road, but now I tend to hear them without feeling much of anything. I like them so well, I'm in the process of doing the same thing on my CB-750.



I've never done this before, so I can't say it was a 'breeze', but the shop manual is pretty detailed on the process. Just take your time and don't skip any steps. Biggest disassemby problem I had was breaking the lower pinch bolts free, but after a few good soaks with WD-40 and use of a good ratchet-mounted allen wrench with a breaker bar, managed to get them free. For reassembly, it helps to have a strong helper (or an understanding wife) to hold and rotate the fork tubes while you mash the caps down with a short piece of 2x4 and get the threads started.
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