Beware shade tree mechanics! KLX fork DESTROYED by incompetence >.<

So, a mate sends me his KLX via Thailand Post Logispost for some upgrades. First thing I notice when I pick up the bike from the post office here in Bangkok is that both forks are leaking badly:

Left fork:

Right fork:

That’s weird I think to myself. These are quite good quality, Made-In-Japan forks and it’s a low mileage bike. Even if Logispost shipped the bike with the forks fully compressed I really wouldn’t expect them to leak like this…

It was an interesting ride home with the front brake disc completely soaked in fork oil!

Forget about using the front brake!!!

Ok, so obviously these forks need to be rebuilt. I ran over to Rama 9 and grabbed new oil seals, dust seals, fork oil, etc and get to work.

The caps won’t come off… WTF, they are supposed to be torqued to 22 ft-lbs, I swear they were closer to 80!

OK, that was weird… Seems someone may have worked on these forks before? They are a mess-

But why would someone have messed with these forks when the bike has only 8000km on the clock? The massively over-torqued top caps should probably be replaced…

I unscrew the cap and discover the next surprise:

Holy crap! The piston rod is not connected to the cap! If this happened on both forks the inner fork tubes will simply slide right out of the outer tubes and you’ll find yourself on a unicycle!!

This is how it’s SUPPOSED to look:

I remove the dust seal and discover that the inside edge of the outer fork tube has been beat to hell:

Pulling the tubes apart I discover that the degenerate who “serviced” this fork last had even managed to damage the oil seal seat:

But wait, there’s more!!! They also managed to destroy the inner fork tube:

Check out the guide bushing!

I’m at a loss! There is NO REASON to hammer this bushing into place- it slides right over the inner fork tube. At most you might have to spread it a wee little bit with a flat edge to get it onto the tube, but that’s it. There is NO REASON to use a hammer on this part!

Fortunately the left fork is in MUCH better shape:

Just a bit of corrosion in the retaining clip groove, but otherwise it appears this fork was not abused like it’s brother on the right, though the top cap was massively over torqued…

How the heck did this happen?

My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that the previous owner, for reasons unknown, gave this KLX to a shade tree mechanic who had never seen or worked on an inverted fork before. Rather than simply separating the tubes it appears the “mechanic” tried to pry the oil seal out with the fork tubes still assembled! I can’t believe this person didn’t notice the damage they were doing to the fork tube?!? Seems they did manage to disconnect the fork piston from the top cap. All they needed to do after that was remove the dust seal and oil seal retaining clip, then pull the tubes apart. Then everything slides right off!

This fork is ruined, and it’s made in Japan. I’m going to run over to Kawasaki now to see what a new fork will cost- I reckon it’s not going to be cheap!

Moral of the story: If you want something done right, use a competent mechanic or do it yourself!! Be very wary of letting unqualified mechanics work on your bike!!! The result can be expensive and quite dangerous! If this “mechanic” had disconnected the fork piston in the left fork, as he did in the right, chances are you’d lose your front wheel the first time you catch a bit of air over a bump!

Happy Trails!

Categories: DIY, maintenance, Motorcycles, Thailand | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Beware shade tree mechanics! KLX fork DESTROYED by incompetence >.<

  1. Ivo

    Could have happened at a Kawasaki dealer in a place that I will not say …. where they destroyed the bearings of my KSR. Note yourself : Always overlook the work done and always check, double check everything yourself! I had just 4 new tires installed on my car at “Cockpit” and when riding home I bumped all over the road … my tires were at 40psi instead of 29psi! A second “Cockpit shop” confirmed … 40psi is OK …. RTFM!

    • Lol, no way a Kwacka dealer would destroy a fork like this. They’ve been selling and servicing Inverted fork bikes for years. As for the tire shop, that doesn’t surprise me one bit, folks here often like to over inflate to get better mileage at the expense of ride quality and safety… TiT, in it great? ^_^

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