Woe the US '03 suspension. Consensus has it this first US Yamaha FJR1300 was delivered with softer than Euro Spec springs. Paul Winslow came up with the rear shock spacers to substantially fix the rear. Now, here is a cheap fix for the front. Install the US '04 springs. And while you are there, replace the filthy original oil.

Tools Needed

Counting the coils of the two springs, I found the 04 had 20 turns, the 03, 17 turns.

The Springs


  1. Support the front of the bike. I attach a strap to the fairing brace and hang it from the garage truss. [HML: you can also use this inexpensive front-end stand]
  2. Release the spring preload to 5 lines and back off the rebound damper adjuster to 17 clicks out.
  3. Loosen the top clamp 6mm allen cap screw.
  4. If you don't plan to change the fork oil, remove the top clamp and handle bar. (If you are to change the oil, remove the front wheel, brakes and fender and slide the fork tubes out.)
  5. Loosen fork tube 24mm cap bolt.
  6. Slowly lower the front of the bike to compress the front suspension.
  7. The cap bolt and damper rod are now out the top of the tube.

  8. Hold the damper rod nut with a 14mm end wrench while loosening the cap bolt using the 17mm socket on the spring preload hex fitting. You will need to remove the small black adjusting knob at the top of the cap bolt.

    Exposed spring preload hex fitting and rebound adjuster with black knob removed.

  9. Grip the threads of the damper rod and the nut should spin off. Now the spacer tube holding the washer on top of the spring will slide off.
  10. With a small wire hook, pull the washer and fork spring up out of the tube.
  11. With the suspension compressed, the damper rod is reachable through the open fork tube. There appears to be an up and down to the fork springs. I found the tighter wound coils to be at the bottom. It may not matter which way they install.
  12. If you have replaced the oil, remember to set the oil height with the springs out.
  13. Install the springs, washer, spacer tube and damper rod nut.
  14. It is important to spin the damper rod nut on just finger tight, minus a tick. This leaves about 1/8" play between the spacer tube and damper rod nut. Slowly spin on the top cap applying side pressure to the spacer tube until the top cap reaches the end of its threads.
  15. While holding the top cap with the 17mm hex on the spring preload hex, tighten the damper nut with the 14mm wrench. Carefully torque the nut to 18ft/lbs. Again, there will be about 1/8" play between the damper rod spacer tube and the nut.
  16. With the lower clamp tight, torque the cap bolt to 18ft/lbs also. Tighten upper pinch clamp to 24ft/lbs.
You now have 10% stiffer front suspension during the last 1.7in of compression. Set the spring preload and rebound dampening.

Once you have the proper tools and information, this is not a difficult task. As always, attempt this procedure at your own risk. These components are delicate and will not suffer abuse.


Rebound adjusting rod resides inside the damper rod

Spacer tube installs above the spring washer and below the damper rod nut.

Copyright © 2004, by Dave Lockard and H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.