Right…I was on the lookout for a PCV on sale. One popped up, so I grabbed it.
I needed to install a new GPS cable, so it was as good of time as any.
Idea here is to get rid of the low rpm leaness. Tune the PCV for a K and N filter, and eventually if warranted, delete the cat, and make the OEM a full system.
PCV came with some black and white instructions. Fairly easy to follow.
First up, peel back the fairing, and remove the tank. CamelADV has an excellent video. I followed along, as I forgot where all the shit was for the plastics. I was super careful, but still managed to break off three of the front studs..aka dicks on on of the fairings. The way this is designed, is fucking retarded. Terrible set up for an ADV bike. At any rate, I’ll see how it comes back together, and if they are really needed..knowing my luck they bloody well are! I manged to glue them back in place. No idea if they will hold. I may use some silicone on the edge of the windshield if they don’t sit as intended.
One thing when removing the tank…two actually. The fuel line is easier to pull of at the TBs, and not at the tank. Also, the white collar is a push, not pull collar. Give it a light push, and it pulls the line off. Also, the pump power supply has a clip on the harness end, not on the tank end. This has tripped me up twice. I’m slow to pick up…
PCV calls for the air box to be removed. Off it went. I cleaned up my aux wiring while in there, and installed a longer drain tube for the center left drain tube. The OEM is way too short, so it overflowed, and shat itself all over the bottom of the air box. BTW..The rear air box/tb screw is not set, and has a tendency to fuck off and go places. Mine did just that..balls. It’s not in the intake ports, so I found a suitable M5 and put it back together. Will order a new one, and replace when I do the valves this winter.
On a separate note, the breather hoses are TPITB to put back together.
Another winning design from honda.
PCV wiring is plug and play for: injectors, TPS, and O2 sensor. Packaging on the AT is tight. But all the sensors except the 02 were easy to get at. The two ECU signals (crank and something else…) need to be tapped on the left ECU plug in. I used the provided stabby plug thing, and an inline splice block.
I tie wrapped the living shit out of all of it, and put it all back together.
While the tank was up, I also wired in the map switch. The PCV instructions suck, and don’t really say if it’s only a closed loop switch, or if one end needs to be hooked up to ground. I’m going to guess closed loop. Will check once I have the program on my small lap top, and plugged into the bike.
Fired up the bike to check if all the lights were blinking…and they were indeed blinking. No error codes to speak of.
Managed to find a good spot for the PCV and still retain my storage space.
The optional map switch was a TPITBs to wire. The wire port holes are tiny. PCV instructions say 22-24 gauge..not sure how the fuck that would fit. I ended up using paper clips, soldered to the wire, then taped up. Should work fine. Just a ground switch.
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.
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. ATAS jobbies don’t need shimming
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 donkey dung. Can’t fix this unless you go to ATAS tubes…I think. I’m going with 2018 regular tubes.
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.
Here’s a snip from a 2017 Honda front fork, just to get folks situated with the right terms, and a visual
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
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.
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. Forthcoming are: 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)
Ok, now that the rear is sorted, it was time to look at the front.
I looked into the pricier options, but frankly wanted to go el cheapo and try the re-valve, re-spring option. I was also curious to the state of my fork tubes at a mere 4500km.
Link to picture gallery here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmknkQRB
You can either read the write up, or go pic by pic, in order. I’ve described them as best possible.
First off, a big thanks, to Motociclo (aka Mr. S) from Adv rider. He was extremely helpful both on his on going posts, and emails back and forth to answer various newb questions I had about my first shim stack job. Both excellent posts below. Hopefully the below, will further assist someone else.
I mainly tackled this job to get better feel from the front end, and the correct springs for my weight.
You will need the following to pull this off:
Honda manual. Print out pages 17-14 to 17-21, for additional help, I printed out Mr.S write up on the revalve procedure
Fork spring compressor tool
Park tools AV-5 Spindle axle vice tool (or similar)
45mm seal driver. Turns out neither a 43, or 48 mm driver will do. A 1/1/4 PVC pipe cut in half, does the job half assed!
Height measuring tool. A ruler will do the job too
Shop rags, preferably the micro fiber blue jobbies
Some amount of skill/confidence
Honda seals (not recommended) $80 for the set including dust seals, Kawasaki seals part # 92049-0118 $24 for a set of seals, or SKF seals (pricy, $150 for the set including dust seals but excellent quality)
I’ll largely base this on pictures, and shit I learned along the way.
Start with one fork.
I chose the left leg. Follow dis assembly as per manual.
Run both pre load and rebound all the way soft. leave as is. 19mm wrench
Tape yer nut
Let the fun begin!
So here’s the business end of things:
1-compression components, 2-rebound, 3, male fork bushing
Start with the rebound valve. You’ll need to remove the oil lock, in order to free the rebound valve from the cartridge. Don’t do this:
Clamp the rod above the oil lock. Use a small terminating screw driver to peel back the peened portions of the oil lock. Once that’s done, give the oil lock a decent whack and it will come off. I’ll expose the circlip shown below.
I’m not pulling the rebound just yet, as you need to free the compression first. Push the comp stack in a bit, to reveal circlip. Remove valve.
Easier said than done. My left leg came out easy enough, by putting a 15mm wrench between the valve, and treading in the adjuster, then tapping it with a rubber mallet
It wasn’t so easy on the right leg. Luckily I removed the oil lock 1st, then simply used the rebound valve to tap out the compression valve.
Here’s the compression valve freed!!
Here we go
Mr.S gave me a suggested comp and rebound stack that would work for me. I went with a .75kg spring. Note, Race tech spring is 35mm longer than the OEM. I to cut the spacer back. White end, re drill holes for compression tool to go into.
You may need to order new shims to get the desired stack. I ordered mine from Rod at RMR in Vancouver. Good dude.
Pay particular attention to how the stack comes apart. Lay it all out. Take your time. Don’t drink beer just yet. Make sure that all shims go back on. I forgot to put the .4mm last shim on my compression stack…I’ll be going back in shortly to install it. OCD…
Here’s both OEM shim stacks
Here’s my shim stack, with a .75kg spring. This will vary from rider to rider, and it’s not meant to be a go by. You will need to figure out what works for you. But the general idea is that by increasing the initial shims, i.e the 17 x .10 to a thicker 17 x .15mm shim this will errrmm….make thing better..Again, I know nothing. The formatting below is a bit f. up but it will give you a basic idea.
Refer to the above picture for actual stacks. Picture is accurate off my right fork leg.
Rebound stack. Left leg. Single shim/Valve to nut
Stock Shim OD/shim thickness (.10mm)
# of shims
new rebound shim OD/shim thickness (.10mm)
# of shims
17 x .40mm
17 x .15mm
8 x .20mm
12 x .20mm
15 x .20mm
Compression stack (actual)
Stock Shim OD/shim thickness (.10mm)
# of shims
new compression shim OD/shim thickness (.10mm)
# of shims
8 x .20mm
11 x.40 mm
Tubes. Both fork tubes were in good shape. Oil had metal residue but mostly from the springs. It’s way to early for the coating to start falling apart
At any rate, the fork bushing has too much play, and this may contribute to the slop/wear in the outer fork tube. Cut a 0.05mm shim 19mm by 135mm. Sand the edges down. Don’t sweat it too much, it sits behind the bushing
Below is the link to my buddy Richards video. His forks had about 13k km.
We’re ready to put it all back together.
Follow OEM manual for re-assembly, except for:
Run rebound 3.5 turns, then screw fork cap on to rod, seating gently. At that point tighten the nut, and pre load adjuster
Set oil at 50mm from top, c/w spring, fork fully collapsed. Each leg should take about 700ml.
Torque all components except bottom triples. I have mine at 12Nm.
Torque mark all your bolts
The sag range is about 65mm to 73 mm.
Start with 1.5 turns out on rebound adjuster. This equal to about 6 clicks. Will find 1 turn out is likely the right spot.
Enjoy your new boingers!
MID JUNE UPDATE!!
I have a mere 1500km more since the re valve. That said, the front end feels great. The initial dive is gone, and the forks feel more progressive, through out the travel. On big hit/air, I still have about 1″ left before the forks bottom completely.
A couple of updates. My buddy Richard put me on to some Kawasaki seals. He measured them up and everything. Pics/part # below. Bonus sprung scraper top lip, which Honda seal doesn’t have. Price wise, it cost $28 CDN for two K seals (no dust seals), and $80 for the H seals, including two dust seals. I will be installing these before my September trip, or if my H seals keep acting up.
At 5800km, my left seal shat the bed. I managed to save it with a seal saver, but lost a bit of oil in the process.
My forks seals are holding up well. I’ve installed some neoprene booties over the forks, and even after some seriously muddy and shitty rides, no leaks. No idea about the inner fork tubes, but suspension seems to be working well.
SOOOPER BIG findings by my buddy Richard. The dude is a constant tinkerer and seriously sharp dood.
Here’s what he found.
The OEM dust seals have weak springs. He did back to back tests by running OEM vs OEM dust seal c/w 2mm oil seal spring
pics below of OEM
vs OEM c/w upgraded 2mm oil seal spring
I’ll be tearing into my forks prior to warranty expiry this december. I’ll check the tubes etc, if they appear ok, and have no play with the bushing shim removed, then I’ll install the KWAK fork seals, re-use the honda oil seal spring on the dust seal, and Bob is someone’s uncle.
Moving on to the 2018 forks. Richard got his forks warrantied by Honder. Sadly the forks may have better coating, but the shims are still very much needed. Oh well.
so I finally got a chance to put in some proper seat time on the 2017 6 speed AT.
Richard (on another AT), Evil Greg (2011 DL 650) and Reg (2012 DL 650), Loaded up the bikes and headed south to California.
Plan was to ride roughly 80% pavement, and the rest decent gravel. It was a great trip. Will not go into detail, but fuel was burned, tires well used, wheelies well executed, to date, probably one of the best trips I’ve done to California. Link to Cali album here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmhkuxCq
Below, the four Canadian muppets. <
On to the bike.
Before setting off, I took my sweet ass time to equip the bike.
Check my previous posts for the big ticket items.
The only thing I didn’t really write about was the Tractive rear shock. Yes the rear shock is rebuildable, but it’s a feeble little thing, and I usually default to buying a rear shock. For me it’s a good investment, and I can usually sell it on after I trade in my bike, for about half price of new. Shock was purchased from Ted and Jeff at the Beemershop. Good dudes. I’ve dealt with them on several shocks, and will keep coming back. http://www.beemershop.com/ <
Above, Honda OEM boinger and the Tractive shock. Notice how beefy the shock shaft is. With the correct spring, I have one or two turns of preload in, while riding with zero added luggage. The shock rides nicely.
Fork worked a treat on the trip. The bike was nicely loaded. Two 36L tin cans and my camping gear.
AT Thoughts to date.
-Ergos. I swapped the OEM bars to my flat-ish renthals. No complaints or aches after long day, getting stuck in snow, or having to detour, due to errmm…more snow <
-Seat. For shorter days, say under 300km, the seat is really decent. But after 5 non stop days on the bike, I was in agony. The bit between your ass, and thigh…was in pain. For shorter days, I’m happy with the seat. It works well off road, if you need to stand up, shift your weight back towards the passenger seat. I’ll leave it be for the time being.
I may just need to switch the foam out to something a bit higher quality. The overall fit and finish of the seat is holding up well, and staying clean unlike the red ATs.
-Suspension. I spoke about the shock. Winner. The front forks, for road work actually did ok. A bit of dive on them, but not bad. Regardless, I’ll be tearing into them next week to fit SKF seals, linear springs to my weight, and shims to take up the slack behind the main fork leg bushing. I also have shims coming, and will re-valve the meh..OEM shim stacks (comp and rebound). There is a but…The longevity of the outer tubes remains to be seen. My buddy has issues with his tubes at 13k km. I’ll speak to it on the next blog post.
-Brakes. No complaints. They’re not brembos, but this bike doesn’t need brembos. They do the job well. Rear brake has a bit of travel, and nice wide take up. It’s not grabby or anything like that
-Motor. This motor was never going to set anyone’s hair on fire. That said, it’s good. It did great from sea level (wheelies, yes please!) all the way up to 6000′. It’s linear, and has a decent step in power around 4500rpm. Pulls nicely to the low-ish red line
-Fuel consumption. The entire trip, the bike averaged 5.4L/100km of spirited riding.
-Controls, and dash. Straight forward and easy to use. I didn’t find issues in seeing the dash, it worked well for me. Lots of useful settings on the dash, between the trip meters, avg. fuel display, and remaining liters/km’s to empty <
-Electronics (TC and ABS)
TC. Compared to my 2012 XT1200, and my 2015 FJ09, the TC fucking rocks.
The on the fly adjustment is awesome. Additionally, the settings all do a different job. E.g. TC1, in 1st gear, pre-load the suspension a bit, and give it a handful on rebound..instant wheelie. <
For Gravel roads, and minor wash board. TC2 does a great job. TC3 work well on fast and smooth gravel. Happy days.
ABS. Good set up. I like the fact that the brakes are not linked. I played around with the rear ABS off button, but didn’t need it in Cali as we never did anything that crazy. I’ll be useful at home on the hairier shit.
-Tires. I was brave/cheap/stupid enough to keep the Dunlop OEM tires on after I fitted the Outex kit. Surprisingly, they did great on road. Wet, dry, on the side of the tire, mid corner corrections, and overall confidence. The good out of the way, they flat out sucked off road. I had so many close calls on wet gravel, that I was super happy to lever on my set of Mitas E07 dakars waiting at home.
-Lights. OEM LEDs were great. The Chinese bought LEDs did a good job too. High beam melts paints off cars.
-Exhaust. I ditched the OEM slip on for a Staintune. The baffle stayed in all of a day. Great noise with the baffle out.
Overall riding impression. Very good. We mostly road paved roads, ranging from smooth as glass, to bumpy shitty pot holed side roads. The AT did great. Off road, in California with the dunslops, it did great in the dry..tires were the limiting factor. I can report that with the E07s, the bike rocks off road. Light enough, changes direction well, and there’s a lot more confidence in the 21″ rim with deep gravel, ruts etc. Surprisingly, it’s very good at changing lines mid corner if you screw up. And I screwed up regularly.
Right, first up, the cheap stuff. Apologies for the crap pics. Had my phone in the garage. I’ll post up some decent pics eventually. You’ll get the gist of it.
Fork shield deflector.
I rode a buddy’s AT last year with a TT shortie, and a fork shield deflector that he made at home. No turbulence, no funny business. Had to build one. Went out and got some 1/8″ black puck board. After many failed attempts,
I finally drew a shield to scale on some 11*17 engineering paper, cut out a shield that actually fit, and we were off to the races. Went to my local bolt place, procured some not so flashy, but functional bolts, and slapped it on the bike. Job done.
It took a bit to get it right, but I got it done. On the plus side, a few versions were gifted to buddies with ATs, and I still have a boat load of puck board left over. Ride report to follow.
Rox fender riser kit.
Ordered the kit on a recommendation. Well made, easy to follow instructions. Sprung for a t-shirt as well. Install was straight forward. Pretty sure I broke a couple of the small tabs on the black parts of the fender. Oh well.
He also designed a tasty bracket for the pipe
Will post up a vid with and without baffle on full chat!
Tractive rear shock.
Got this http://www.beemershop.com/Merchant5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=402-5870 ordered up from Ted and Jeff at the Beemershop in California. http://www.beemershop.com/
Not cheap, but that’s why its called a shock!
OEM shock went out without too much fuss. To make the removal easier, remove the hand wheel, and raise the rear wheel to maximum. No need to remove the wheel or swing arm, as per below.
Also, when removing the shock, keep in mind that the top bolt is slightly longer than the bottom one, mark them accordingly, or else they will not work when interchanged.
Tractive shock went in with no fuss. Interestingly the shaft is 2mm larger in diameter than the OEM swinger. Side by side shot:
I have to change the spring in the shock. We originally spec’d a 100Nm spring, but the shock showed up with a 90Nm spring. I’m currently at max preload to get static and rider sag. I’m working with Jeff to get things sorted out. Additionally, I either lied about my dressed weight, or gainded a few lb’s as I’m 13LB heavier than originally advertised.
Stand by for more updates.