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Fork Removal & Installation

9143 Views 28 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  MadDogXR
Something interesting to note as you start this job. While most of the fasteners on the XR are SAE, the fasteners attached to the forks are metric, however the front wheel axle uses an 15/16 SAE or a 24 mm nut. I am not able to find any place in the manual where it states which it is. So I used a 6 point 15/16 inch socket as it fit nicely, my 24 mm is a 12 point.

Before putting the XR on a lift, I like to loosen the front axle nut. Do not remove it at this time just loosen the nut on the left fork leg (15/16 inch socket).

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Lift the XR. Since I use a motorcycle jack, I jack up the XR to the height that I will be working on it. I then shim the rear tire. This prevents the bike from wanting to rock backward off of the jack when removing the weight from the front of the bike. I do this even if I strap the bike to the jack. Peace of mind....

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Remove the brake caliper mounting bolts on both sides (12 point 10mm socket). Secure the calipers out of the way. (Note: Do not operate the front brakes or the pistons will be forced out of the calipers).

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Remove the axle nut from the left side of the axle.

Release the pinch bolt on the bottom of the right fork (8mm hex or 5/16 inch hex would work in a pinch).

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Pull the axle out of the hub while supporting the wheel. Make a note of the placement of the spacers as you remove the axle and lower the front wheel ( you will want this info when installing).

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Remove the 4 front fender bolts and remove the fender (6mm hex).

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Using a T-45 Torx remove the upper and lower pinch bolts from the triple tree and the forks will slide down and out of the triple tree.

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Supposedly HD puts Loctite on the triple tree pinch bolts so they will need to be wire brushed to remove the residue. However, mine were clean as someone forgot to put the Loctite on when installing the factory forks. Just to be on the safe side I went ahead and cleaned the bolts and used compressed air to blow out the holes.

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Now to install the new forks.

Apply Loctite (HD recommends Loctite 262/red) to the pinch screws and start them in the threads, but leave them loose. Slide one of the forks into the triple tree. Measure the distance from the top of the upper fork bracket to the top of the fork assembly. Note that both sides need to be exactly the same measurement. HD recommends 0.338-0.468 inches (9.85-11.89 mm). Raising the forks higher will quicken the steering, so you decide how far up you want them. Some have slid them up until the contact the handlebars, others like the recommended height.

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Once you have the height set tighten the pinch screws to 30-35 ft-lbs (40.7-47.4 Nm).

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Repeat for the second fork. Make sure that this fork is set to the same measurement as the first one you installed.

Install the front wheel. First apply a light coat of anti-seize lubricant to the axle (some people prefer to use a bearing grease, HD recommends anti-seize). With the spacers in place put the wheel into position between the forks and slide the axle into place.

While holding the axle stationary, tighten the axle nut to 60-65 ft-lbs (81-88 Nm). 15/16 inch socket

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Tighten the pinch screw on the right fork to 41-48 ft-lbs (66.6-65.1 Nm) 8mm hex

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Install the brake calibers. It is recommended that you clean the screws of old Loctite. Then using Loctite install the brake calipers and tighten the mounting bolts to 28-38 ft-lbs (38.0-51.6 Nm) Use a 12 point 10mm socket. Give the break lever a squeeze or two to be sure that the pads seat against the pistons, release and be sure that the wheel spins free and true. Check break fluid level.

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Install front fender. Loctite the mounting bolts and torque to 15-19 ft-lbs (20.4-25.8Nm). Use a 6mm hex

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Time to ride!
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Very cool!

Taking all those pics and recording all those sizes and torque settings is time consuming, too. You did a good job!
I agree with Joe. GOOD JOB!
+3, good 'un JC!
+6 this will certainly help anyone who is attempting to do this job.
Now, if we can only find this thread when we need it
+7 :)
Thanks for doing this. Great job!
I know this has been asked, but where is the best place to get the complete X suspension kit? I searched and some said Zannotti's, which doesn't seem to be a choice anymore. I also found 2 different part numbers, 53530-10 and 54530-10.
+8 :rolleyes:
Thanks for doing this. Great job!
I know this has been asked, but where is the best place to get the complete X suspension kit? I searched and some said Zannotti's, which doesn't seem to be a choice anymore. I also found 2 different part numbers, 53530-10 and 54530-10.
Try New Castle HD in PA, they took over the Zannotti's mail order
Part # for performance suspension upgrade kit is
I purchased the forks through New Castle, however, I already had the shocks so I ordered the forks separately. Part numbers

48771-10 & 48778-10
Today was the day for the test ride. There is such an improvement with the new forks as the front wheel feels more planted to the pavement and more predictable. I had already upgraded the shocks, but it was not until recently that I could afford the forks which my wife purchased for my birthday. Then as I installed the forks on Monday I realized that I would not be taking it for a test ride.

This picture shows the reason why.

Automotive tire Tread Wood Wheel Alloy wheel

You probably noticed in the write up that this tire is flat. 0 PSI.

The last ride I had was a night ride and evidently I ran over something that put a gash in the tread that called for a replacement of my rear Michelin PR2 that only had 2,000 miles on it. So yesterday the new Michelin PR2 arrived and today I had it mounted on the wheel. Sure does roll easier with air pressure inside the tire.

And about the forks - night and day difference from the stock forks. Well worth the money spent.
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Nice work, this thread should be a sticky IMO.
Nice work, this thread should be a sticky IMO.
Sweet write up with pic's etc,
but one thing gets me every time i take the wheel off #$#$# getting the axle through with the spacers nothing lines up it takes about 30 minutes to get it through the fork legs the axle has an taper on the nut side and it's hell to line up.
what gives?????????????????????:censored:
What I have found helpful for getting the axle through is to place the wheel and spacers below the forks and lower the jack so that the forks slide down over the tire and spacers. (Of course I remove the shim at the rear wheel when I lower the jack).
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