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Old 05-30-2009, 07:32 AM   #1
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Default '81 KAW LTD 440 D2 belt dr. fork oil change

'81 KAW LTD 440 D2 belt dr. and want to do a fork oil change. The problem is that there is no nut under the cap as per the manual. It looks like just a solid fork with no O-rings or any other sort cap. How would I go about changing the oil?
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Old 05-30-2009, 09:34 AM   #2
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Kawasaki often "cheaped out" and went with a "plug" that's retained by an internal-circlip at the top of the fork tube. They used these on many bikes, and the Ninja 500 still has them even today.

Easiest way to change the oil on these (by far) is to remove the forks from the bike, put the stanchion in a padded vise (with the sliders aimed slightly "downhill") and depress the plug with a screwdriver while using another small screwdriver or needlenose pliers to remove the circlip. The plug is under spring pressure, so use extreme caution when easing off the plug after pulling the clip. The spring will push the plug "proud" of the end of the fork about 3/4" or so, IIRC - but it's fully capable of "launching" it across your workspace.

Remove the spacer, washer (if there is one) and the spring.

Then, dispose of the oil (I just dump it in the engine-oil recycle container), and clean the internals with a bit of solvent such as Kerosene or Diesel (NOT GASOLINE) by pouring a bit into the fork, and "pumping" it. Do this until it comes out clean. Pump them upside-down several times to remove the last of the cleaning solvent, and fully-extend the forks and let them drain all the solvent out. You might even pump them a bit every now and again to get it all.

To refill; with the spring and spacer still out, add a bit of fork oil and slowly pump the fork to get all the air out of the lower (slider) part. Once the entrained air is out, you want to fill the fork with it collapsed-fully, to 115mm to 125mm fromthe top of the fork upper (stanchion). Smaller number for firmer ride, larger number for more splooshy. It's all personal preference. You'll put in a bit-less than a half-liter, give or take (mem'ry here).

I use a small turkey-baster marked-off in 5mm increments from 90mm to 125mm to measure the amounts in all the forks I service. Easiest way to measure, and I don't worry about "overfill".

Assembly is the reverse, don't forget any washers and what order they go. A dab of fork oil on the o-ring of the plug will help it go in. You may need a partner to help you put the circlip back in while depressing the plug.

While you're at it, you should consider changing the steering-head bearings, based on what you've said about the bike in your other post.
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Old 05-30-2009, 01:43 PM   #3
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Thats what I read and I looked for a clip (the kind of retaining clip with the two little holes in them to remove them) and didn't see anything like that. Then after reading your second reply I looked at it for a fourth time and sure enough there was that little "circlip"! Talk about "cheaping out" or what ! ? Now thats cheap!!! Not even a halfway decent retaining clip! Well at this point I'm just going to ride it like it is unless I can find some decent second hand dust boot for the top of the fork, because I'm not paying $40.00 for new ones. After I find those I just might overhaul the whole front end. I might even look around for some uncheaped out front forks on ebay so I can change my fork oil the easy way. As a matter of fact thats what I'll do. That will take care of two things @ once....the dust boots and the refilling problem.
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