The penguin's motorcycling and Jeep blog

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Mule at ready

Well, I got the wiring sorted out on the Green Mule today. There's a big pile of wires sitting by the bike, I took off my ad-hoc relay kit for the headlights that never seemed to give any improvement for some reason (I think my ground wasn't good enough), I took off all the GPS wiring (for two different GPS'es!), the brackets for handlebar-mounted windshield and GPS, and I got all the cruise control wiring sorted out I hope (still need to test it). The fuel tank is bone dry empty and clean (it's plastic so no worries about rust), the float bowl is empty, it's waiting for fresh gas. I took the lowering links off the back and lubricated the needle bearings and put the original dogbones back on, and put the front forks back at their regular position.

The only thing left to do, really, is to change that frackin' fork seal. Now, there's a number of ways to do this, but I'm going to try to take the shortcut way. I'm going to take the fork leg off, remove the boot and then the C-clip that holds in the fork seal, and then put some air into the fork leg. The old fork seal ought to pop right on out at that point, then I can slide it off the end of the fork, slide the new one in, and push it right on down to where it needs to be. The "canonical" way is to disassemble the fork and use a seal remover, but that requires a looooooong extension to unbolt the bolt at the bottom of the fork tube that keeps the fork tube from escaping from the fork lower, and it's a general PITA all the way around. But anyhow, once that's done, I'll be ready to list it on Craigslist for sale -- hopefully just as the warm weather arrives and people's minds turn to thoughts of dual-sport bikes :-).

-- Badtux the Motorcyclin' Penguin


Gordon said...

One of the reasons to pull the connecting bolt and let the slider fall off is so you can replace the seal with the fork tube still on the bike. This presupposes that you can reach the bolt from the outside, which is not as common as it once was. Not too big a deal unless there are full-coverage headlight ears or a fairing in the way or something. A lot of the newer bikes are set up so you have to take the tube out and slide the new seal down over the tube unless you have the loooong extension with the big hex head tool on the end.

Be sure to have the slider pointed up when you put the air to it or you are liable to blow a hole in the ceiling! I've never tried that. I just jerk 'em or work 'em out with a suitably bent tool.

BadTux said...

Gordon, the KLR is one of those "newer bikes" that you mention. Taking the slider out of the fork bottom requires a *long* extension, I think I have enough extensions and adaptors to make it but frankly no reason to do it because re-assembling it is a PITA. Frankly, taking the front wheel off and sliding the leg out is a lot easier than the alternative.

As for blowing a hole in the ceiling... LOL! Not too likely, the KLR has a *long* slider! That said, logistically speaking you have a good idea there, set the air hose on the pavement, press slider to air hose, watch fork seal pop out. Keeps my hands out of the way of the fork seal if it *does* decide to exit precipitously :-).

Gordon said...

It's kinda laughable sometimes. My idea of a 'newer' bike and your idea of the same are probably a quarter century apart. Heh.

In the old days, the only reason to take the fork tube out of a Triumph was to straighten it - yes, we used to do that before lawyers got in the act. There were definite guidelines for the continued safety of the rider and we did it without benefit of dial indicators, by feel and we got it right - or to work on the steering head, but we could usually leave the tubes in situ and get the whole assembly off by removing just the top triple clamp.

The seal wasn't in the fork slider like the *newer* bikes. It was in a 'dust excluder nut', more commonly referred to this side of the pond as a 'seal holder', which unscrewed from the slider. On the bike you just disassembled the fork leg 'til it slid off.

Getting the fork tube out of one of those things was a royal PITA. Steel tube in a steel clamp. Rust, and no WD-40 in those days. We used Marvel or some other penetrating oil. First, we'd take out the pinch bolts and do whatever we could to spread the steel clamp a little, like inserting a thick washer and tightening the pinch bolt in backwards on it ( the threaded hole went all the way through). We would tap upwards on the center of the bottom triple clamp with a brass hammer and sort of shock the tube out a little at a time 'til it got past the rust. Sometimes it seemed like it took forever, and the first almost infintesimal little bit of movement was cause for cheering because we knew we were going to win. Once in a great while, the fork leg would come out pretty easy, but not often. Sometimes those things had been, er, bonding together for years.

Putting the tube back in through a steel headlight ear and against the pressure of the external spring was a PITA too. I have a long puller for it now, but we never heard of such a thing then. The easiest way was to shove the tube in and then reassemble the lower back on piece by piece.

When the modern arrangement came in in the late '60s, '71 for Britbikes, it was a huge improvement.

Thanks fer yankin' me down memory lane.

Gordon said...

You're right about the air. The seal will probably just exit the slider far enough to let the air escape past it.

Remind me to tell you what happens in air assist forks if you take out the oil drain screw without first letting the air out of it, and don't ask me how I found out! Heh.