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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a spare fork that I bought awhile back and am just now getting time to overhaul it (2002'ish RockShox SID SL). I noticed it's starting to wear the stanchions at the bushings so I'd like to replace the bushings. But, this is something I've never done.

While the bushings are cheap (about $15 for the set), the actual RockShox tools to remove and replace the bushings will cost me over $100 and that doesn't include the parts I can't find (bushing install sleeves).

The MTBR forums usually have a solution to my problems. After searching last night and this morning, I found that Bad Mechanic had previously posted some excellent ideas on how to remove and install the bushings yourself.

Here's his recommendation for removal:

Take a washer which is the same diameter as the bushings. Grind flats into the side of the washer on opposite sides so it looks like this:



Put a washer on a long threaded rod, and keep it from falling off the end with nylock nut.

Take the fork's lower and angle the washer so it can slide past the bushing (the reason for the flat sides) and then get the washer flat and pull it up against the bushing's underside. Once there you can either use a slide hammer to pop the bushing out, or put another washer and nut on the threaded rod and tighten it down on the top of the lower and pull the bushing out like that.
And, his recommendation for installation:

This is a little more involved.

There are a couple ways to do it. The route I went was taking the old stanchion and JB Welding several old bushing onto it, one bushing's height from the bottom. I used fine sandpaper to knock off the slick coating on the inside of the bushing and the outside of the stanchion, and then used hose clamps on the bushings for 24 hours while the JB Weld set. I then drilled holes through right through all bushings, and glued metal rods in place, and ground their ends flat with the bushings. It's probably overkill, but it works. I then used sandpaper to slightly reduce the diameter of the bushings.



Before extracting the top bushing, I'll place my installation tool in the lower and mark the top edge of the lower with a Sharpie on my installation tool. I then remove the top bushing. Then I repeat the above procedure with the lower bushing. Then to install, I put the new bushing on the installation tool and set it at the correct height using the Sharpie mark on the tool, and then the same for the top bushing.
Well, I can follow those directions. Out to the garage...

I measured the inside of the lowers (not the inside of the bushings) and it was about 30.5mm. I found a washer that was larger than that, secured the washer to a bolt with a nut, and chucked the bolt into my drill. While spinning the washer I laid it on a coarse file and started shaving down the washer. I'd stop every now and then to see how much more I had to go. Once I had it down to 30mm, I used my bench grinder to flatten it on each side. Finished by sanding off any burrs.

Wood Hardwood Wood stain Metal Circle


Put it on a long piece of all-thread and put a smaller washer behind it just to add some stiffness.

Wood Hardwood Wood stain Guitar accessory Plywood


Line Fastener Household hardware Metal Steel


Fits nicely into the lowers...

Close-up Household hardware Macro photography Steel


Secure the other end of the all thread into a vice. Tap, tap, tap at the top of the lowers with a rubber mallet.

Wood Product Brown Yellow Hardwood


Out comes the upper bushing...

Blue Product Brown White Line


Out comes the lower bushing...

Product Cable Cup Metal Serveware


Overall, they came out much easier than I had anticipated.

Metal Brass Iron Bronze Circle


The top bushing was flush with the lip of the lower and I took the measurement of the lower bushing (from the lip) before removing it.

I ordered the new bushings today and I'll use the time (and the old bushings) to fabricate the installation tool.

Special thanks to Bad Mechanic!

To be continued...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
nice that is basically what the pro bushing removal tool is. don't replace bushings in lowers much anymore. they are pretty durable according the the manufacturers
Thank you. There were no wear marks on the lower part of the stanchions, just the upper areas. I probably could have just replaced the upper bushings. But, you can't buy the upper bushings separately and I was having fun using my new bushing extractor. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Donor fork is a Spinner Aeris Sport. The SID stanchions are 28mm and these are 28.5mm. I figured I would need to sand on the donor stanchions a bit in order to get the epoxy to hold, anyway. Should work out fine.

Bicycle part White Bicycle accessory Black Metal


I couldn't figure out how to get the lowers off. Want to know the beautiful thing about disassembling a fork that you don't care about? You can cut that s.o.b. and take a peek inside! :D

Peek in the drive side... Huh, not connected to anything. No wonder the nut was just spinning around (ha, spinning. Spinner. I made a funny.)

Wood Hardwood Wood stain Metal Office supplies


Peek in the non-drive side. A shaft of some sort. Oh, how can we solve this?

Bicycle part Black Metal Hardwood Silver


Cut it!

Product Metal Macro photography Iron Close-up


I'm enjoying this, can you tell?

Product Blue Brown Bottle Hardwood


For anyone actually trying to disassemble an Aeris Sport without a hacksaw, I could tell later if you remove the cap on the non-drive side and reach wayyy down there with a (I think it was) 6mm hex head you could actually unscrew it and remove the lowers gracefully.

Brown Line Metal Khaki Pipe


I removed all of the other pieces and parts (had to break some other things. Muahahahahah!) and then cut a slot in the crown and tap out the steerer.

The new bushings are in the mail. But, I have a few other projects I need to tend to before I can get back to this one. It may be awhile before I update the thread...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you. The beauty of this design is that you could easily fabricate the removal and installation tool for any diameter stanchion rather cheaply. And, it really doesn't take any specialized equipment to create them (unless you wanted to get fancy). :)
 

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Dude, most excellent, thanks for this. I have a few forks that could do with a bushing change, but like you the cost of the tools from RS made it not worthwhile, but now it seems more reasonable to me :thumbsup: I'd bump ya rep, but it says I have to spread some more around before I can rep ya again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Finished painting the fork lowers (more info here).

What I was going to do: Using the caps that came on the stanchion, I was going to rig up a way to spin the stanchion using a drill and then gently file it down to 28mm.

What actually happened: A kind soul on here took pity on me and volunteered to turn it down using his metal lathe. I won't mention his name (so he's not inundated with lathing requests ;)). But, I am very grateful as I'm sure the final product will be much better than what I would have cobbled together.

He let me know it's finished and should be shipped back to me sometime soon. Once it arrives, I'll finish out the bushing installation and snap some photos.

If I have time, I might try to turn the other stanchion down just for grins and to see "what would have happened". :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I didn't have time to try and turn down the other scrap stanchion. But, I did receive the finished tool in the mail. It's beautiful... If I would have been able to make a functional busing driver from the other stanchion, it would have looked nothing like this...

Brown Tan Khaki Maroon Beige


Finger Brown Skin Tan Nail
Finger Brown Skin Nail Amber


Who was the kind benefactor of this wonderful tool? None other than Bad Mechanic, himself. Sir, thank you very much for assisting with this. If anyone on here deserves some +rep, it's you...

I sent a loose stanchion and one old bushing and this is what he returned to me. And, yes, it works as good as it looks (see next post).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Time to get down to business...

Product Cable Stationery Office supplies Wire


Insert the lower busing onto the driver.

Finger Skin Nail Thumb Silver
Finger Product Skin Thumb Nail


Insert the assembly into the lower and give it a few firm hits with the hammer. Remove the driver, measure (you did measure the depth of the bushing before you removed it, right? ;) ). Re-insert driver and repeat until the bushing is at the desired depth.

Bag Carmine Luggage and bags Nail Material property


Finger Nail Hardwood Tool Hand tool


Rinse and repeat for the upper bushing.

Finger Rolling pin Thumb Chemical compound Nail


Finger Thumb Nail Kitchen utensil


All done. Will install new seals and overhaul the internals this weekend (hopefully).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If anyone in the North Dallas area needs to have bushings removed and/or installed in their 28mm stanchion RockShox fork, send me a PM. Your only payment will be to provide some company (a good joke or story wouldn't hurt) while the work is being done. :thumbsup:

Well, you do need to provide the bushings. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I do have a question. This is the first time I've replaced fork bushings and when I put the stanchion back in the lowers I have to use a very "firm" push or pull to get them to move. They're not sticking. There is just absolutely no play. Is this normal? Can anyone chime in with some sage advice?
 

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Gotta break them down. Normal. It means your stanchions are still very good and you replaced the bushings before they start damaging the stanchions.
 

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I do have a question. This is the first time I've replaced fork bushings and when I put the stanchion back in the lowers I have to use a very "firm" push or pull to get them to move. They're not sticking. There is just absolutely no play. Is this normal? Can anyone chime in with some sage advice?
It is possible, depending on the design of the lowers, that the bushing surfaces in the lowers have a slight taper that allows you to adjust bushing fit. I have not done the 28mm SIDs but the you do seem to be able to tighten or loosen up the lower and upper bushings on the 32mm SIDs by slight (eg. 0.5-1.0mm) bushing insertion depth changes.

Provided the bushings and stanchions are generously lubed in fork oil (or Mobil 1 if that takes your fancy), then I adjust the bushing tightness so that there is no discernible slop but almost no resistance. eg. the lowers should almost slide off the stanchions under their own weight.

If the bushings are any tighter then you may have an insufficient gap to get lube oil in there. They may eventually loosen up, but will wear prematurely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
eg. the lowers should almost slide off the stanchions under their own weight.
I did some more reading last night and your advice is spot on with what I've read. The lower bushings are fine. It's the upper bushings that are a bit too tight. I'll tinker with it some more this weekend to see if I can get them setup a with a little less "grip".

As long as I'm gentle about it, should I expect any problems if I remove and re-install the upper bushings?
 

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I did some more reading last night and your advice is spot on with what I've read. The lower bushings are fine. It's the upper bushings that are a bit too tight. I'll tinker with it some more this weekend to see if I can get them setup a with a little less "grip".
Before pulling them out, I'd slide the lowers down far enough that the lower bushing isn't engaged, and then push the lowers back and forth and side to side to make sure the top bushing is well seated. Or, remove the lowers entirely, and use the tool to do so.

As long as I'm gentle about it, should I expect any problems if I remove and re-install the upper bushings?
You should be fine.
 

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You can use your bushing removal tool to back the top bushings out a couple of mm and then test fit, then use the bushing driver to ease the bushings back in bit by bit until you get the fit you need. Make sure the bushings and stanchions have a generous coating of the splash lube. You want to dial the fit in with the lube you'll use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think I have it fixed. I went ahead and tapped out the upper bushings and tried the stanchion lower bushing to see how it was fitting (it fit fine).

I then put some 15wt fork oil on a clean rag and wiped the inside of the lowers and the outside of the bushing. This definitely helped me drive it in gently and in small increments.

After resetting the bushing, I used the tool to work the bushing from side to side to ensure it was seated. The stanchions then slid in the bushings as I expected. I must have driven the previous bushings in just a tad too far.

Thank you all for your help!
 
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