The following pics and text are intended to help someone through the Race Tech Gold Valve compression and rebound valve installation on the Yamaha FJR1300 forks. I've tried to explain some points that are not all that clear in the manual and the instruction sheets. I've replaced both the compression and the rebound valves and I used the Race Tech #1 fork oil at $25/qt.

Once you have the kit, and have viewed the video tape (which is only partially helpful) you need a few other things. The FJR service manual is a must unless you are thoroughly familiar with fork internals, disassembly, reassembly, etc. An impact wrench or availability of one is really needed to remove the damper rod assembly bolt from the bottom of the fork legs. If you have availability of the damper rod holder (shop tool) you should not need an impact wrench.

I also used a big throwaway aluminum turkey roasting pan, a gallon of mineral spirits, and a spray bottle -- to soak and clean everything with, and some contact cleaner. A compressor to blow everything clean and dry is handy. I decent vice with aluminum jaws is needed -- I used some scrap aluminum angle iron I had and screwed them over the existing jaws.

A torque wrench that is in the 30 inch-lbs range is needed if you need to change the shims on the compression valve. A note on this -- I had to add one shim to the compression valves based on specs for my weight and riding style and this requires disassembly of the valve to add it. On reassembly, be very careful to make sure the washer (check valve) below the spring is free to slide up the bolt shaft. It can get pinched under the compression bolt collar area if not perfectly centered first. Then you torque the nut to 30 inch-lbs with red 271 loctite.

You really cannot use a torque wrench on the rebound valve or the compression valve when putting everything back together -- just 2 flats to wrench on so I just firmly snugged with calibrated wrist and an open end wrench. These use loctite as well so I'm not concerned about accurate torque here. Next, seriously consider what fork parts to replace. I can pretty much guarantee you'll need to replace the seal spacers - the washer-like piece under the fork seal. Mine were quite deformed from the stroking to separate the fork tubes from the fork legs

I'm also replacing both sets of bushings, the fork seals and the dust seals although none of these looked to be that bad after 28k miles. It's always a good idea to at least replace the fork seals anytime you take the forks apart though. If money is no object you might try the Race Tech replacements which they claim are super slick and really pricey. Lastly, you'll need to have a method of seating the fork seals and dust seals. I'd suggest bringing the forks to your bike shop if you do not have the proper tool to do this -- takes about 2 minutes to do. So, by following the service manual and Race Tech instruction sheets, keeping in mind stuff from the video tape, and referencing what I've written here, you should be able to pull off this redo of your forks with minimal confusion.

I had a lot of confusion after having read the Race Tech instructions and referencing the manual. Once I had everything apart things started to come into place. Plus I had a helpful article from the May 2003 Motorcyclist titled: "How it Works: The Cartridge Fork" and a good picture of the disassembled internals.

Once you get the forks off the bike, have one of them in the vice, here is what you have after taking the fork cap off.

With the top cap off the fork tube, this is what you have -- minus the fork spring and top washer which I have already removed. I put the nut back on for this picture. The skinny rod sticking out of the top is the damper adjusting rod. This is what your rebound adjuster on the fork cap acts on to adjust a needle valve on the opposite end inside the rebound cartridge. The threaded portion visible is the top of the damping rod. Note the nut -- when putting everything back together, this nut needs to be 12 mm from the threaded end when tightened against the bottom of the fork cap (actually there are about 12mm of threads inside the fork cap so not too critical).

Under the nut would be a washer and then the fork spring. What you see under the nut here is a spacer rod. To continue disassembly, remove the nut and the spacer rod. One thing that is not mentioned clearly in the manual is that the spring seat (the washer that the bottom of the fork spring rests on) sets on top of the damper rod assy. It is not really a press fit but fits snugly on top of the 26mm hollow nut on top of the damper rod assy tube. If you do not have an impact wrench to remove the allen head bolt in the bottom of the fork tube, you need to get the shop tool or make one (26mm socket welded to a length of pipe) to hold this nut on top of the damper tube assy. You need to pop this washer off first to do this (check next 2 photos below).

This is the damping rod assy with the spring seat washer in place on top of the brass nut. You need to get this washer off if you have to use the damping rod holder (shop tool) in order to remove the bolt from the bottom of the fork legs. It is not really a press fit onto the nut but there is no loose play either. You might be able to spring it off by tapping on the outer edge with a long screwdriver and hammer. Otherwise you need to hook under the edge of it and pry it off.

This is the brass nut on top of the damping rod assy. Notice the round raised area of the nut. This is where the spring seat washer sits which you can see in the previous picture. This is where the manual is unclear in step 5 of disassembling front forks. It says "Remove: -washer,-damper rod bolt,-copper washer". I'm pretty sure the "washer" they mention is really the #7 spring seat shown in the schematic diagram. After that, it says "if washer is difficult to remove, use impact wrench to loosen damper rod bolt".

Any tool that will fit down the inside for the fork tube and has a right angle bend on the end should be able to pop off the washer and slide it up and out. If you have an impact wrench (preferred tool) just use that to take out the bottom bolt. You may need to hold onto the damper rod end and pull on it to provide a bit of resistance while loosening the bottom bolt all the way out. Once you have the bottom bolt (and washer) out, you can pull the damper rod assy out of the fork tube. This is where the compression valve (on bottom) and rebound valve (on end of damper rod inside tube) reside. Now the fork tube and fork leg are ready to come apart. Just follow instructions in the manual for disassembly and then get everything squeaky clean.

This is the damping rod assembly with the compression valve screwed into the end. You can see part of the brass nut at the top end that I just snugged in the vice enough so the whole thing will not turn. This is the nut that the damping rod holder (shop tool) holds when you are removing the bolt from the bottom of the fork leg. The bottom damper rod assembly bolt actually goes through the bottom of the fork leg and screws into the end of the compression valve. To remove the compression valve, which was installed with loctite, you need to put some heat on the end of the tube where the compression valve is.

I used a propane torch and just aimed it in the area where the valve screws in. Less than a minute of heating then use a 19mm or 3/4" open end wrench and screw out the compression valve. Once you have that out, the rebound valve and rod will come out the bottom of the tube as well (this is Step 3 on the Race Tech rebound valve instructions) You do not need the special Race Tech tube holder as we do not need to take off the brass nut on the top.

This is the rebound adjusting rod sticking out of the hollow damping rod. You need to measure the length sticking out before you remove the rebound valve from the rod. Press this down until it bottoms out and measure how much rod is sticking out. Mine was 22mm. This is how much you need to have sticking out when you replace the rebound valve. I had to cut 23mm off the rod. Check that you end up with both rods the same length after cutting.

How it works: when you adjust your rebound adjusting knob, it acts on the rod which contacts a spring loaded needle valve in the rebound cartridge. When you put everything back together, you should have the same setting on the preload adjuster as you did when you took everything apart, the actual setting on the needle valve should be the same -- if we measured and cut perfectly. Since this setting is based on turns/clicks OUT from fully seated in, you need to screw in the adjuster until it bottoms (needle valve fully closed) and then back it out to the recommended setting. Even if we were off a bit in cutting the rod, screwing the adjuster all the way in puts us back to the baseline starting point.

This is the rebound cartridge on the end of the damping rod. It is held in the vise with 2 rod holders provided in the kit. Back off the jam nut and heat up the top part of the cartridge where it threads on to the damping rod, then screw the rebound cartridge off the rod. Don't worry about the nut position on this end, the rebound cartridge screws on until it bottoms and the nut then screws against it.

Note: don't lose track of which end is which on the damping rod.

Sorry for the poor pic. The Race Tech compression valve is on the far left next to the stock one. The stock rebound valve is on the far right with the Race Tech unit next to it. Notice the difference in length of the 2 rebound cartridges. Due to this and internal differences, this is why you need to shorten the rebound adjusting rod -- in my case by 23 mm as I ended up with 45 mm of rod sticking out vs 22mm on the original.

This is the end of the damper rod that the rebound valve screws onto. The Race Tech instructions say the 2 ends are different (thread relief on first 3 mm of rebound end) so don't lose track of which is which. I marked the rebound end with a marker. When replacing the rebound valve, the ID of the tube has to be enlarged to the diameter of a #1 drill bit (5.8mm/.2283") to a 1" depth. I did this in 3 increments -- 13/64, 7/32, and then the #1 drill (this is actually #1 wire size and can be found at Grainger or McMaster-Carr if you can't get it locally). The tube holder shown is provided in the kit. I figured that doing it in 3 steps with a hand drill I would keep the hole centered.

These are some of the parts I ended up having left over. Just kidding. Pictured are the bushings, oil flow stoppers, old valves, the 2 different washers (the bigger one being the spring seat that rests on top of the damper rod assy), spacer tubes, bottom bolts, seal spacers and fork seals. I used new bushings, seal spacers, fork seals, and dust seals. The springs are Ohlins pieces that I installed awhile ago. Once you have the new rebound valves on the rods (with loctite), insert them into the damping rod assembly tube. Then screw in the new compression valves into the bottom of the damping rod assembly (with loctite). Then put everything back together just like the manual says.

One last high tech tool you'll need -- a turkey baster. Put a line on it or tape at the depth you need to do the fork oil level. Hold that line at the top of the fork tube, suck out the extra fork oil and you're done (Race Tech spec for me is 130mm). Screw on the fork cap. Fork revalving is complete.

Copyright © 2005, by H. Marc Lewis and Dick McWay. All rights reserved.