SUZUKIPictures of how I changed the front fork oil and set the oil level on my 89-09 Suzuki GS500 motorcycle.

But first, lets pay some bills:

  1. Put the GS on the center stand with wood blocks under the frame to hold the front wheel up.
    Support Frame

  2. Removed bolts holding the front fender to the forks.
    Fender bolts

  3. Removed front brake caliper and brake line support bolts.
    Brake caliper

  4. Removed speedometer cable support.
    Speedo support

  5. Massacred the hell out of the old cotter pin that held the front axle castle nut.
    Cotter pin

  6. Used two breaker bars to remove the front axle nut. Then tapped out the axle.
    axle breaker     Wheel off

  7. Marked the orientation of the forks in relation to the handlebars. Permanent pen was not permanent on the metal fork tube. Marc Malagelada on the gstwin.com website said to put the forks back in the same orientation, which makes sense in case there is some warping or wear. I decided to put mine back in the exact opposite orientation, just to be a smartass.

  8. Removed handlebars.

  9. Broke the fork plugs loose so it would be easier to remove them when they are off and hard to grip.
    free the plugs

  10. Removed the bolts holding the forks into the triple clamp.
    upper triple clamp bolt     lower triple clamp bolt

  11. Once the triple clamps are loose, some effort pulled them out far enough to get the front fender off, then the forks came all the way off as well.
    no tire     no forks

  12. Forks on the table with the new fork oil seals ready to install.
    gs500 forks

  13. Removed fork plugs. Here are the plug, spacer, and washer. Short spacer for the progressive springs.
    Fork Plugs

  14. Turned the forks upside down and let the oil drain out for a while.

  15. Take a look at the "Fork Seals" page in the menu on the left for a description of the fork oil seal replacement that requires the special tools.

  16. Put the springs back in.
    progressive springs

  17. I put in about 420 ml or 14 oz of 10-40 motor oil. Yes I am a cheap lazy bastard. Don't read this if you're going to get all snippy about it.
    fork oil

  18. This comes to about 5.5" below the top of the fork. I measured using a zip tie as a dip stick.

    Zip Tie

    Dip Stick

    Just feels good saying that.
    Zip Tie Dip Stick

  19. Washer, spacer, and cap back on fork.
    cap on fork

  20. Tighten to hand tight. The vice is just barely holding up the fork tube.

  21. Forks back in triple clamps (and fender back in forks).
    triple clamps

  22. Cleaned and regreased the odometer cable connection and the axle spacer.

  23. Tightened the axle to spec. 26-37 ft lbs. I noticed that the Haynes manual shows the axle nut on one side while the FSM shows it on the other. I went by the FSM.

  24. And I put in a new cotter pin.
    cotter pin

  25. Tightened the pinch bolt to spec. 13-20 ft lbs.

  26. Reinstalled the speedometer cable holder. Tightened to whatever felt good at the time.
    odometer cable

  27. Reinstalled front brake.

  28. Tightened the fork caps.
    Fork Caps

  29. Reinstalled the handlebars.

  30. Tightened up the front fender.
    Front Fender

  31. Took her for a test drive, and had the gas tank repeatedly driven into my nuts.
    Originally I set the oil level to 5" down, but this was nut slappingly stiff.

    I used this syringe and some tubing (from Tap Plastics or a medical supply or online for about $5) to remove an inch of oil from the forks. Then I test rode it again for a few days.
    With the level at 6" down, still stiffer than the back end, which is the stock spring cranked to the tightest setting.
    Reset the level to 6.5" down. Finally felt balanced, like the front and back behaved the same. For reference I'm 200lbs.
    Oil level

  32. Next I sold out to make 02ยข so I can fulfill my lifelong dream of owning a 1986 944 with blown head gaskets.

    But no minivans!

  33. Then I finished my beer.


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Disclaimer: The technical information in these documents is provided without any warranty whatsoever and at no cost.   All information is in general terms and is not meant to apply to your particular situation, be current at the time you read it, or even be correct in the first place.   Improperly maintained vehicles can lead to serious injury, death, or unavoidable accidents. The author is not responsible for any errors on this site, and does not make any claim at all about the validity, safety, or veracity of the information contained on this website. Any work you choose to do or not to do on your vehicle is done at your own risk. The information on this site is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional advice, professional workmanship, dealer service, union labor, or psychological counseling.   The author disclaims any and all liability directly or indirectly arising from the application or use of any information or idea contained on this or any other web site.   By opening this page, you agree to never sue anyone ever or allow anyone to be sued on your behalf.   The appropriate professional should be consulted regarding your specific condition.    BeerGarage.com does not take responsibility for the information posted on other sites to which it links.

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Last modified: 11/22/2014