RACETECH SPRINGS &
GOLD-VALVE EMULATOR INSTALLATION


This was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Anyone with the slightest mechanical inclination would be able to do it. Do yourself a favor though, and get the Clymer or Haynes book on your bike before doing anything. They show very nicely how things go back together, and in what order, should you forget!


GETTING STARTED

In addition to installing the RaceTech stuff, I went ahead and replaced all my fork seals and bushings too. However, the spring and emulator installation can be done without replacing your seals and bushings if yours are fine.

Of course, you won't know if they're fine without taking things apart, and I didn't want to have my bike sitting in pieces for too long, so I just ordered everything possible ahead of time. If I ended up not needing something, I could return it later.

However, even the most prepared person forgets something, and I forgot the most obvious item - the fork oil -- doh! I ended up getting a quart of RaceTech Ultra Slick 15wt synthetic fork oil for about $25, and waited a week to get it. I don't know if the price was worth it or not... we'll see when I drain them this winter.

thumbnailI bought the springs and emulators as a kit from RaceTech for about $230. The RaceTech bushings were close to $60 total, and the seals and snap rings, from Yamaha, were about $50.

I also needed to make a tool to get the damper rods out. I got all the parts I needed at Home Depot. I used a 12" x 3/4" threaded rod with two 5" x 3/4" bolts with 15/16" heads and two 3/4" couplers. The total length of the tool had to be at least 20" in order to reach. I screwed everything together and then drilled out two holes in each of the couplers, going through each end of the threaded rod and bolts. I then put some 6mm cap screws through and bolted them to the couplers to keep it all together when ratcheting the damper rods out. Take a look at the pictures to see it more clearly.


BREAKING THINGS DOWN AND BACK

The main fork disassembly and reassembly procedure is here:


After getting the fork tubes, sliders, dampers and seals back together, I needed to figure out what length my spacers needed to be. RaceTech has a nice web page that gives you the recommeded information about your fork setup in thier valving and spring rate search section. You give some info about how you ride, and your weight, and it spits out the recommended spring rate and preload, along with some other good things. Run through this and print it out before you start. My recommended spring preload was 20mm. Now, this isn't the length of the spacer, but it's used to calculate it.


A QUICK CALCULATION

To calculate the spacer length, you need to drop the emulator, spring and washers down your fork tube. Using a measuring tape, measure from the top of the tube down to the top of the washers sitting on top of the spring (makes it easier to get everything back out for oil level measuring) -- this is measurement A. Now you measure your fork tube cap, from the bottom of it, where the spacer touches, to the bottom of the sealing lip - this is measurement B. You take A, subtract B and you get C. This is the necessary spacer length for zero preload. Take C and add the recommended preload to it. This is your spacer length. Use a pipe cutter or a hack saw to cut them -- making sure you deburr and clean the ends!


FINAL ASSEMBLY

thumbnailNow the final step is to take the spring and washers out, leaving the emulator in. Slide the fork slider all the way down into the tube, bottoming it out, and start dropping the fork oil in. You pour some in, and pump the slider up and down, pour more in, pump the forks -- this gets all the air out. You'll want to do this until you don't hear the oil being sucked in and air stops coming out. The directions said to fill up with oil to 130mm down from the top of the fork tube. There are a few ways you can do this, and some of them cost money, but what I did was grab my turkey baster, measure 130mm from the tip, and marked it with some tape. After eyeing the fork oil to just about the right level in the tube, I sucked up the excess with the baster.

Assembly is finished by dropping the first washer in, then the spring, then the original top spring washer, your spacer, and the final washer. The RaceTech directions didn't say to use a washer between the emulator and spring, but I thought I should -- that's why I say use the original top spring washer because you only get two washers with the springs which are meant for going at either end of the spacer.

Before screwing the cap on, recheck the spring preload -- this will tell you if the emulator is seated properly or not. This is easily done by setting the cap on top of the spacer and washer, and measuring from the bottom of the cap lip to the fork tube. It should be your recommended preload, not total spacer length - so mine measured 20mm. Now you can gently but firmly, push down on the cap and hand thread the first few turns. You really don't want to cross-thread these so go slow!

That's it, put them back on the bike, tighten the triple tree clamps first so you can then tighten the slider caps. Finally, put the wheel and everything else back on. You don't need to worry about aligning the fork tubes because they will spin around to the proper alignment when you tighten the front axle bolt.


SETTING SAG

The Race Tech folks tell it best... but if for some reason they get rid of the article, I've duplicated it here.