Sunday, 16 May 2010

Suspension linkage gets another shot at life

Instead of working, spent a dreamy afternoon assembling parts onto the newly cleaned up chassis. These pics show how even the most unpromising bits and pieces can sort themselves out. Blasting by Pete at Summit, Paint by Simoniz Three Wheel Steel rattle can, bearings by Dave Silver spares. Unfortunately the four genuine Honda chassis bearings in this linkage were an odd size (24.5mm OD) and thus £73, plus another £18 for the seals. The swing arm bearings, exactly the same thing but 26mm OD, were a tenner for two at Anglia Bearings in Peterborough. The other good source of suspension bearings is Wemoto's website, but they didn't have the full set for the Dommie so I didn't bother this time.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Shock rebuilds

Most people would regard a knackered old oe shock as scrap, and it is – but a decent quality new one starts at £300. So rebuilding one for £180 is worth thinking about.

I've had five shocks rebuilt by Falcon Engineering ( a TDR250, VFR750, ZZ-R1100, RRV Blade and now this. Robin Packham opens the cylinder, cleans everything up, and puts in a better-than-new PTFE piston ring, new oil and usually a new damper rod and seal too. He also cuts a thread in the cap and screws it back on. A final gas-up to get the pressure back and the job's done.

I've had the best results with non-adjustable shocks. The rebuilds on the Blade and ZZ-R altered the damping range somewhat. As the Dommie's shock is straightforward (once you've hacked off the plastic outer cover which eventually keeps the dirt and moisture in – note the blocked drain hole in the rusty 'before' pic) I got it blasted and sent it off. It came back quickly and with only a few paint chips on my rattle can-sprayed spring and shock body. On this shock there's nowhere to put the gas valve except the top portion of the thread (Honda must have assembled the original in a pressure chamber). So I lined up the best place and marked it with some tape before packing it in the box.

Robin replaced the spring and fitted the preload collars before Loctiting the valve in and gassing up. I can never change the spring now, or reduce preload beyond a certain amount, but that's OK.