Winter is around the corner in western Canada, time to get to some bike maintenance items.
My forks have been working well since I did the spring and re-valve work, linky here: https://thetenerist.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/the-crf1000-honda-africa-twin-fork-re-valve-procedure/
At roughly 10k km, they started to loose their shine. The bike would seem to feel harsh over the smallest bumps, track bumps, and have an overall shitty feel.
The results below, and in the picture link: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmjJSNZW
The pictures tell the story. Both forks had coating missing, ranging from quarter size to loonie size (for non Canucks…bigger than a quarter :] ) Oil was pretty dirty for less than 6k use, but that may have been from the new spring. All the wear was in the same spot on both forks.
Both lower triples were torqued back from the recommended 26Nm to 15Nm since I last looked at the forks, around the 4k mark.
At any rate, have a look at the pictures, oil sticks to the outer where the coating is worn or scratched.
Bushings look ok, but will be getting swapped out for new ones. Remember that the guide bush will need to be shimmed to take out the slack (2016/2017/2018 regular AT tubes)
The left damper shows some weird wear towards maximum extension, but is working as intended. Sean tells me this is likely due to full extension of the rod, and associated flex.
Have a listen to the forks without springs, oil, or bush spacer
Additionally, here’s a how to video, part one, disassembly:
Re-assembly part one
and part two
To sum up the issues with the 2016/2017, and 2018 forks:
- 2016/2017 Outer fork tubes wear. As early as 8k km. This is total crap. 2018 outers, long term wear tbd. Super dooper spoiler alert here, and below:
- The guide bushing has excessive slop. Fix this with a 0.05mm thick shim behind the bushing, giving you 0.1mm bigger diameter. In some cases you may need more than one shim. Not fixed for 2018 on the regular tubes. No idea about the ATAS jobbies
- Oil seals are ok. Kawasaki seals are better, and cheaper. I wrote about it when I re-valved the forks
- Dust seals have a weak spring, causing the majority of leaks.
I’ve had two leaks in 7k km. Dirt gets past the dust seal, and blows the oil
seal. This is an easy fix, it’s covered in the re-valve post. Simply take the spring from your OEM honda oil seal, and double your current springs on the dust seal. Job done.
- The entire fork has flex. It’s dumb that they made the triples to fit 48mm tubes, and put in these piles of donky dung. Can’t fix this unless you go to ATAS tubes…I think. I’m going with 2018 regular tubes.
SOOPER important update. Apparently, a good compromise is to use all your stock internals, and the ATAS inners/outers. Sean should have a thorough write up shortly as he purchased all the ATAS bits, as stated above.
–Valving is just ok. Can be fixed. Again covered in the re-valve blog.
So what now? Obviously this is a well known problem, but not known enough for honda to do something about it short of redesigning the 2018 fork tubes.
I’m off to the dealer to drop these off for warranty work. I’ll be requesting the 2018 outer tubes, new bushings, oil seals and dust seals. Interestingly, they have updated the dust seals, as they were turds, just like the forks.
Have a gander below at 2017 vs 2018 part numbers, and the kwak seal for those that may want to upgrade their fork:
- Kawasaki oil seal 92049-0118. I explain this in the video, and mentioned it in previous post, of why this is a better oil seal
- 2017 AT SEAL SET, FR. FORK 51490-MJP-G51
- 2018 AT SEAL SET, FR. FORK 51490-MJP-G51
- 2017 outer fork tubes TUBE (OUTER) 51410-MJP-G51
- 2018 outer fork tubes TUBE (OUTER) 51410-MKK-D01
- 2018 ATAS outer fork tubes Tube (OUTER) 51410-MKK-D21
- 2018 ATAS inner fork tube Right side, 51425-MKK-D21
- 2018 ATAS inner fork tube Left side, 51525-MKK-D21
- 2017/2018 dust seal dust seal 91254-KZ3-003
- 2018 bushings guide bush guide 51414-MFR-671
- 2018 bushing slider bush slider 51415-MFR-671. 2017 to 2018 Both guide and slider Bushings are identical. For a better fitting bushing you can contact Rick at Cogent dynamics, and he can hook you up with some Racetech jobbies
Super dooper spoiler alert, conspiracy theory: One of the inmates over at ADVR said that it’s very likely honda took 2016/2017 regular tubes, kashima coated them, slapped a new part number on them, and put them on the 2018 bikes. The slop is still there, and the guide bush requires shimming. Dollars to doughnuts, that the regular AT tubes will wear just the same as the non K coated tubes.
This is a fail on honda’s part. Poor design, and execution, and a half assed attempt at not addressing the issue.
Here’s a hilarious read from one of the Revzilla guys, when they asked Honda USA about the issue, linky here: https://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/you-needed-to-know-honda-africa-twin-dct-crf1000l
exert from specific question, and honda response:
Giving Honda a chance to respond, I spoke with Colin Miller, who said they have had some complaints of static stiction and wear on the internal anodizing of the fork tube, but the majority of the complaints come from folks compressing the forks when sitting still. He said there have been almost no claims from people noticing any problems during regular riding. He reminded me that the anodizing is primarily used to prevent corrosion and signs of wear on an anodized surface is not necessarily a reason to be concerned. “I have seen some wear on the anodizing on some customers’ forks but I also inspected forks that function perfectly (a professional-level rider with no problem) and have seen the same wear,” Miller assured me. “Just for perspective, I can count on one hand the amount of warranty claims for wear on the fork tubes. We also investigated this with Japan and found no functional problem with some fork wear.”
To this, Alex said that it’s not so much the scoring in the anodization that’s the problem, but where those shavings end up. That being said, even Alex admits that whether or not folks will experience this problem depends heavily on the rider’s abilities, weight, and type of riding they are doing. As for us, we have yet to notice any problems with our 2017 model, but our bike has remained almost entirely on the street.
FFS honda…I didn’t know you had a sense of humor! Alex from honda has got to have pretty large fucking hands, with many many fingers. I know of 5 guys just around Calgary that had issues with their AT forks, and countless people on various forums.
If it wasn’t an issue why the hell would anyone visit this hopeless blog, and related posts? I don’t make this shit up! I write about the issues that a given bike has.
Update October 10th 2018.
I just got an ok from the dealer for warranty work.
2L of 5W oil of my choosing
2018 outer fork tubes TUBE (OUTER) 51410-MKK-D01
2018 bushings guide bush guide 51414-MFR-671
2018 bushing slider bush slider 51415-MFR-671
2018 dust seal dust seal 91254-KZ3-003
Kawasaki oil seal 92049-0118
The last two will not be as shown. Honda sells the oil and dust seal as a set. While there, I’ll get them to save the big spring from the old oil seal and install it on the dust seal
If you are still in warranty, take your forks apart if you know how. Or better yet, if they feel like a turd, take them to the dealer and have them inspected. Wear will always at the bottom triple clamp.
It’s a poor coat, and wears well before 10k km for most, if used as intended. If you stick to road, that might buy you another 10k if that.
Come on Honda, pull your head out of your ass. They were redesigned for a reason…because the 2016/2017 outer tubes sucked!
A follow up.
I gave up on honda. And decided to fix the issue by throwing money at it.
The above may have fixed it if I was able to get the ATAS tubes. I got the regular 2018 tubes. Instead, I reached for my cc, and bought Ohlins complete forks.
It’s a fuckload of money, but my thinking is:
- honda doesn’t deserve any more of my money
- The 2018 regular tubes may still wear due to flex
- I’m tired of dealing with this bullshit and just want to enjoy the bike
- When I’m ready to sell, I can put the OEM forks back on, and sell the Ohlins, or move them on to my next bike, if the layout is similar (unlikely)