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post #1 of 9 Old Oct 25th, 2008, 3:29 pm Thread Starter
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Replace front shock '03LT

Ok, so I know that I "should" be able to accomplish this search on my own, but I seem to be reaching the same dead end every which way I search.
Hall of Wisdom-Maintenance-Suspension &Rear Wheel-Front Shock pictures that I can't open?

So I am wanting instructions/secrets/hints in removing/replacing the front shock. I just ordered a set of springs from EPM Performance Imports and am trying to get prepared.

Klause was very helpful. When I asked about compressing the springs to do the swap-out, he volunteered loaning a set of spring compressors to get'er done.

So I've read bits and pieces about pull the rear shock, leave it out, lift/jack the front end, pull the brake line bracket, don't remove the front tire,...

But the gap in the info is removing the handle bars? Replacing the bushings with new or just reuse? Dork with the ball joint or no?

I apologize prophetically for the rehash, but I would appreciate some seasoned input.

03 K1200LT
97 Royal Star
79 XS1100
85 XS850
72 Norton 850
72 RD250
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post #2 of 9 Old Oct 25th, 2008, 3:39 pm
 
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Re: Replace front shock '03LT

I've assisted with replacing 1 set, and actually replacing another with help. It's a heck of a lot easier than you're thinking that it is. I wish I lived closer, I'd be there to 'just do it' for you. Perhaps you'll get a forum member or two to come on over and help, or you can go to their place. One thing's for sure, I wouldn't want to do it without a lift. Makes it very simple. Strap the front end down to the lift, then jack up the bike. The shock practically falls out into your hand. And what's this about removing the handlebars? Forget about that noise.

I'll PM you my number so we can chat about it.
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post #3 of 9 Old Oct 25th, 2008, 3:48 pm
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Re: Replace front shock '03LT

There was a write up here somewhere about doing the shock.
I live "just up the road" from you (west of savannah) if you need/want help. While I've never done the shock replacement, everything on these bikes is pretty straight forward. Either that or I am too used to workng on airplanes.
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post #4 of 9 Old Oct 26th, 2008, 5:47 am
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Re: Replace front shock '03LT

I just replaced my shocks. There is an EXCELLENT write-up on the procedure done 8/22/04 by David Major of Charleston, SC. I have it as a word document so if us PM me with your email I will send it to ya. Or PM David, he is a great guy.

It is titled "Wilbers Shock Install Front & Rear" but covers the removal of OEM shocks, so I followed it and just re-installed another set of OEM shocks instead of Wilbers (Ohlins and Wilbers are just too expensive for me). Got used shocks with under 10K on them.

Would post it here but it is 6 pages long.

Dan Sullivan
2011 vStrom DL650
1999 K1200LTC
Hillsborough, NJ
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post #5 of 9 Old Oct 26th, 2008, 8:22 am
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Re: Replace front shock '03LT

I first installed Wilbers on my 01 at a tech session in 2005 with the help of Dave Dragon at Lynn Keen's place in Mt Dora FL. Since this time I had to have mine rebuilt last December.

I found the word doc by David Major to be good but didn't find it necessary to remove the steering damper or separate the ball joint. You do need to get to the gas tank and slide it back so you can remove the plastic piece where the ignition lock is located in order to remove the top nut. I removed the rear shock which allows the front end to be jacked up high enough for the threads of the shock to clear the frame. You may also be able to get this clearance by just removing the rear wheel. I used an air tool on the top nut to remove and reinstall which worked well also.Be sure and separate the brake lines on both front lines so they do not get stretched when jacking the front to allow the shock to clear for removal. With the Wilbers I didn't have to make any modifications, I installed the 630-509-00 front and 640-509-00-00 +625 preload adjuster.


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Joe and Robin
2001 K1200LTC 60K miles
space coast of Florida
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post #6 of 9 Old Oct 27th, 2008, 7:46 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Replace front shock '03LT

Lavamanz, your response is exactly why I posted my "silly" repetitive question.
Some have said ball joint and damper need to be removed while some had denied the need. I believe I even read that someone didn't need to move the tank?
Anyway, just trying to get prepared. I'll be doing a 24K service so I will be having the tank off to replace the fuel filter any way. So thanks for chiming in...

03 K1200LT
97 Royal Star
79 XS1100
85 XS850
72 Norton 850
72 RD250
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post #7 of 9 Old Oct 27th, 2008, 8:53 pm
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Re: Replace front shock '03LT

I did remove the steering damper, loosened the A-frame connection, removed the gas tank and round fork bridge cover (to get access to upper strut nut). All of this was done while the rear shock was removed. Then I installed the new front strut and then the rear shock.

David Major's instructions cover this in detail with great pictures. Here is his procedure without the pictures (wouldnt reproduce here).

Wilbers Shock Install - Front & Rear.

Some of what’s below came from the www.bmwlt.net site. Thanks to those who helped put that together. I would not have started this with out the information from Sherman Brown, Raffy and whoever else has ventured here.

The info on the site was written relative to Ohlins, and should be the same for almost any shock installation. I chose Wilbers due to a friend’s very good experience with them, and my feeling that Klaus (www.wilbersusa.com) and his associates would build a shock for my well rounded self and my good looking wife. I didn’t want a off the shelf shock where they just put a heavy spring on it or crank the pre-load up. I also wanted the Pre-Load adjuster at the minimum setting when my wife and trip loads were not on board.

The shocks were purchased through Jerry Finley, Pirates' Lair Motorcycle Accessories
1279 Charlotte Hwy, Fairview, NC. 28730. www.piratesk12site.net .

Let me start by saying the workmanship on the Wilbers is first class with super clean machining and design. A work of art compared to the stock ones.

Below is the merging of what I found on bmwlt.net and what I found while doing the install with no other help than bmwlt.net, BMW shop manual and one phone call to Klaus of Wilbers and Jerry Finely (Pirates Lair). By the way, they picked up the phone on Sunday afternoon!

A. Strip the bike including:
1. right & left side fairing panels
2. belly fairing
3. the gas tank,
4. The right "battery cover" panel (in front of the right side saddlebag). You’ll have to remove the chrome (on the LTC & E) plate that supports the pillion’s foot rest.
5. The front fender.
6. Pretty sure you can leave the headlight cowling on and the lower side fairings.
B. To be on the safe side tie off the center stand so it can't unexpectedly fold up. I use one of the small ratchet webbing tie downs that you can strap bikes to pickup trucks and trailers. When I had it tight, I then tie wrapped it with heavy tie wraps. A collapsed center stand with no suspension is NOT FUN.
C. As per Bob Rasters, remove the rear shock first, and then swap out the front shock before installing the rear. This allows the front of the bike to be raised without fighting the rear suspension.
D. Besides the "normal" tools you will need a 21mm combo (box/open), propane torch, 3/8” drive 7mm (I think) allen wrenches, miscellaneous other wrenches. A small floor jack works really well, however some other types of hydraulic bottle jack should work. It needs to be short enough to get under the motor. You’ll also need a block of 2x4 and a thin pry bar or piece of plywood.
E. Get some Locktite #290 (aka 2900) which is the wicking green stuff and also some standard #242 medium strength blue.

************************

Now the condensed procedure........
1. Put bike on center stand and strip the tupperware. Secure center stand in place to avoid surprises.
2. Disconnect the negative battery cable at the battery (not for safety, but for clearance).
3. Remove the nuts securing the shock bolts on the rear shock. You will find that the lower shock bolt will JUST come out. It wants to hit the lower frame member. Very close to not coming out. You will probably have to unload the rear suspension by placing that thin sheet of plywood or the pry bar under the rear tire and then remove the rear shock bolts. I preferred to use the small floor jack with piece of 2x4 under the swing arm to lift the rear suspension in minute amounts to get it just where I wanted it – freeing up the bolts. Once the bolts are out, lower the rear end.
4. Move on to the front of the bike. Loosen and remove the steering damper at the rear where it attaches to the black “A” frame.
5. Remove the black plastic protection cover on the ball joint (front of the black arm just in front of and on top of where the front shock is bolted). Use a propane torch to gradually and slightly (BMW says <120°) the 21mm nut. I got it just warm. Get your 21mm box end and put it on the 21mm nut and use the appropriate allen socket (7mm?) wrench on a 3/8 drive into the allen head bolt in the center of the 21mm nut. Remove the nut.
6. This is real tight all the way until it's off thanks to the green loctite. The torch heat loosens it some. It’s a good idea it to put tape over the exposed threads of the ball joint for protection.





7. Loosen but do not remove the top shock nut using the proper box end wrench which, with the tank removed, it is now easy to reach.
8. Loosen the lower shock nut, but do not remove yet. Be careful not to damage the radiator.
9. Place the 2x4 under the oil pan, then using the jack slowly raise the front of the bike while jiggling the black arm loose from the ball joint. Keep raising until it is out of the arm then pull the front wheel and forks away from the bike (forward) freeing the arm. It is strange to see how far the front forks will move forward. The ball joint can now pivot out of the way a bit and the “A” frame can easily be moved down to allow clearance to remove the shock. This sounds tougher than it is.
10. Now totally unbolt the front shock and remove the bolts.
i. Remove the rubber spacer from on top the shock
ii. Remove the metal sleeve on the upper shock stud. The sleeve keeps the upper and lower donuts from over compressing when the nut is tightened.
iii. Lower the shock as far as it will go into the “A” frame
iv. Fish out the little rubber spacer between the top of the shock tower. This spacer (donut) is exactly like the one on the top of the shock where you removed the nut. It IS there though it may feel like it is part of the shock. It consists of a rubber donut type of washer/spacer (about 3/8” thick and 1.5” diam.) with a metal washer. By removing the donut/washer, you provide room for the shock to move up enough to clear the “A” frame. Removal is difficult with donut in place.
11. With the rubber donut out of there, push the old shock top stud back up into the hole and pivot the bottom of the shock out while pushing down on the black “A” frame arm. No grinding is necessary.
12. Install the shock in the same manner. Do not put the donut or the metal shim onto the new shock!! I even left the washer off. Put the upper part of the shock through the upper mount hole as far as it will go. This will allow the lower part of the shock to clear the “A” swing arm and get into the center of the arm. Now lower the shock as far as possible into the “A” arm. This will create JUST enough room at the top to then install the washer and rubber donut.
13. After the donut is on, push the shock stud through the upper hole. Replace the metal shim, top donut, metal washer and start the nut.
14. SUGGESTION: put a rag between the upper mount and the motronic and air filter area. It is amazing how quickly the washer or nut finds its way into that crevice of no return. I also ended up putting another rag on top of the lower “A” arm for the same reason – the washer and donut are tough for my size 13 hands to get on top of the shock in the upper shock tower area. Should have asked my wife’s assistance!!
15. Tighten the bolts for the front shock. I suggest blue loctite as it provides a bit of insurance. Torque the lower bolt and nut to factory specs, tighten the top tight.
16. Work the ball joint into the black “A” arm and slowly let the jack down which seats the ball joint into the arm. Be careful of the threads on the ball joint. Tighten real tight using your 21mm and that allen/socket wrench as a breaker bar. Put your green loctite on after assembly and tighten.
17. Move on to the rear shock and position the shock into the bike after fishing the hand adjuster and long tube through all the wiring and such. The Wilbers had the adjuster coming out at a slightly different spot than the OEM shock but I found that the tube and the adjuster worked very well in the stock location. Just play with location the Wilber mount and the stock pivot. It will work. Be sure that the Pre-Load adjuster cable does not rub on battery case or other items.
18. Install the rear bolt on the rear shock first, then with my floor jack I raised up on the back of the bike till the front (top) shock bolt would go into the shock and frame.
19. Tighten and blue loctite the nuts for the rear shock.
20. Reassembly of the tupperware is the reverse of removal.

Dan Sullivan
2011 vStrom DL650
1999 K1200LTC
Hillsborough, NJ
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post #8 of 9 Old Nov 11th, 2008, 3:04 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Spring replacement

I really appreciate all of the help provided in my quest to get the straight skinny on pulling the front shock. After reviewing all of the info in the hall and from members I proceded forward anad started riping off plastic!!

I purchased HyperPro replacement springs from EPM Performance after talking with Klaus. Klaus fessed up a "loaner" spring compressor to perform the task.

In just under two hours I had all the plastic off, tank removed , and both stock shocks sitting on the bench!! Although several had mentioned the benifit of using a bike lift, I found that once I loosened the front shock I was able to easily raise the bike and keep the front wheel on the ground just by pushing down on the wheel.

EPM's spring compressor was easy to use and made the spring swap very easy. I had a little issue with the setup for the rear shock and called Klaus to discuss. He informed me that the compressor kit was new, he had not used it yet, and that I was "beta" testing it. With a little modification (fileing on the inside of the casing) the BMW adapter fit correctly on the rear shock, then I had to extended the compression threaded bolts(see picture).

So another two hours later I was out for a test ride.
Overall, the straight line performance is marginally better, but under breaking I'm experiencing far less nose dive on this 850lb bike! Most important, my bike feels much more "planted" and solid during cornering, no more "wiggle". Additionally, with no pre-load dialed in, I'm no longer scrapping the center stand with my wife on board.

Thanks Klaus and EPM.
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03 K1200LT
97 Royal Star
79 XS1100
85 XS850
72 Norton 850
72 RD250

Last edited by Labman; Nov 11th, 2008 at 3:12 pm. Reason: add picture again?
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post #9 of 9 Old Jan 19th, 2009, 6:40 pm
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Re: Spring replacement

Hey Labman,

Not having any luck in finding anyone to do the change so looks like I'll have to make my own compression tool.

I am in the process of installing my HyperPro springs & have a question on how the Tool from Klaus worked.

At the top, did the top pressing bracket just push on the outer top part of the Aluminimum protion of the shock?
Did you just turn the shock then to remove it from the bottom bracket? As in another thread it was mentioned to hold the nut and turn the bottom bracket off!

Checking so I don't bugger anything.......

Thanks In Advance

Phil



Quote:
Originally Posted by Labman
I really appreciate all of the help provided in my quest to get the straight skinny on pulling the front shock. After reviewing all of the info in the hall and from members I proceded forward anad started riping off plastic!!

I purchased HyperPro replacement springs from EPM Performance after talking with Klaus. Klaus fessed up a "loaner" spring compressor to perform the task.

In just under two hours I had all the plastic off, tank removed , and both stock shocks sitting on the bench!! Although several had mentioned the benifit of using a bike lift, I found that once I loosened the front shock I was able to easily raise the bike and keep the front wheel on the ground just by pushing down on the wheel.

EPM's spring compressor was easy to use and made the spring swap very easy. I had a little issue with the setup for the rear shock and called Klaus to discuss. He informed me that the compressor kit was new, he had not used it yet, and that I was "beta" testing it. With a little modification (fileing on the inside of the casing) the BMW adapter fit correctly on the rear shock, then I had to extended the compression threaded bolts(see picture).

So another two hours later I was out for a test ride.
Overall, the straight line performance is marginally better, but under breaking I'm experiencing far less nose dive on this 850lb bike! Most important, my bike feels much more "planted" and solid during cornering, no more "wiggle". Additionally, with no pre-load dialed in, I'm no longer scrapping the center stand with my wife on board.

Thanks Klaus and EPM.

BIGHOPPER (Phil)
BGB 602
2016 R1200RT LC Purchase March
2003 R1150GSA Black Beast (purchased Nov 2011- 32,372klms)
2006 K1200LT Grey
(Purchased 2008, 7,350 mls) Trade in on 2016 RT at 80,600miles
1975 Norton John Player Replica (Sold When I got Married)
1973 Norton Interstate
1965 Atlas 750
1971 Triumph Trail Blazer(Rode from London to Sydney Aust, no maps for that)
2014 Tour Balkans
2017 3 mth tour of Australia
2018 Tour Namibia,Botswana, Zimbabwe

2019 Tour Peru
2020 Tour Greece (Sept/Oct)


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