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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few questions here, first how do you know when your lefty needs service/rebuilt, etc.? I have a 2005 Prophet 2000 with the Carbon Lefty Max 140 w/SPV and I have about 500 miles on it. Either I'm getting board with it or it just doesn't feel as plush as when it was new. I don't have easy access to a new one to compare it to - I might end up making a road trip to the bike shop. But just looking for general comments if anyone has any.

Second, does the lefty have oil inside? On a few occassions I've noticed what appears to be oil on the outside of the boot attracting dirt. Just wondering if it's leaked out (if it was ever there) and causing what I might be feeling?

Third, my rebound adjustment still seems to make a difference in settings but it no longer clicks between settings - just very hard to turn with no click points. Don't know if this means it just has dirt in it or something else - just throwing that out there.

Forth and last, can the (above) average guy rebuild the lefty? I've rebuilt Motorcross forks often and know my way around a toolbox quite well. Before I get in over my head I was just wondering if this is a project even worth undertaking or if special tools/equipment/parts are needed?

Thanks,

Tony
 

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Hybrid Leftys aren't real
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wakeboardR2wheels said:
A few questions here, first how do you know when your lefty needs service/rebuilt, etc.? I have a 2005 Prophet 2000 with the Carbon Lefty Max 140 w/SPV and I have about 500 miles on it.

At 500 miles it is a judgement call. Cannondale says about every 40 riding hours, I generally say once a year is sufficient. That said, riding conditions are a huge part of the equation, the nastier, muddier or dustier your rides are, the more frequent you will want to think about it.

Second, does the lefty have oil inside? On a few occassions I've noticed what appears to be oil on the outside of the boot attracting dirt.

Yes it does, but it should not make a difference in plushness. Which boot, and where, top little breather hole boot, or lower ridged boot?

Third, my rebound adjustment still seems to make a difference in settings but it no longer clicks between settings - just very hard to turn with no click points.

This makes me think you ride in crappy conditions, as it is just ball bearings perched on top of springs inside little holes that make the clicks against the underside of the red cap.

Forth and last, can the (above) average guy rebuild the lefty? I've rebuilt Motorcross forks often and know my way around a toolbox quite well. Before I get in over my head I was just wondering if this is a project even worth undertaking or if special tools/equipment/parts are needed?

You will need some special tools, or time and creativity to get around that. Most shops will charge $25 to $35 to rebuild it, if they charge more, find out specifically why, as it is not that long a job. If you wish to do it, I can help you through it, but it may be easier to get it to a shop. I also offer the service at my shop, and many folks send them in, but I strongly encourage supporting you LBS, if they are competent with these forks, if not, contact me, and I'm glad to help. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey, thanks for the quick reply!

Yeah, I've been known to ride in nasty muddy and if it's not muddy then it's dusty conditions.

500 miles at my pace is way past 40 hours! :) That's a good starting point I guess.

As far as the oil leaking, I'm not 100% sure, but I believe it was "toward the bottom/front" Whatever that means. I know with the MX stuff I've played with the seals are always the first to go due to mud/dirt and it causes the oil to leak out. Just wondering if my seal (if I even have one) is bad or needed replaced.

I didn't realize it was such a "cheap" rebuild. I have a LBS that I really like but they are not a cannondale dealer and he always gives me crap about my one legged fork... may have to ask the question anyways and see if it's something he can work on. My closest cannondale dealer is not to close and I don't have a good relationship (or bad - just none) with them. May have to give them a call as well. For 25-35 bucks I'd say it's well worth letting the pros do it. I'm still amazed how cheap bike shops are with their labor rates! Try pricing out fork seals/replacement on a MX bike...

Thanks again Mendon!
 

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LA CHÈVRE
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wakeboardR2wheels said:
Hey, thanks for the quick reply!

Yeah, I've been known to ride in nasty muddy and if it's not muddy then it's dusty conditions.

500 miles at my pace is way past 40 hours! :) That's a good starting point I guess.

As far as the oil leaking, I'm not 100% sure, but I believe it was "toward the bottom/front" Whatever that means. I know with the MX stuff I've played with the seals are always the first to go due to mud/dirt and it causes the oil to leak out. Just wondering if my seal (if I even have one) is bad or needed replaced.

I didn't realize it was such a "cheap" rebuild. I have a LBS that I really like but they are not a cannondale dealer and he always gives me crap about my one legged fork... may have to ask the question anyways and see if it's something he can work on. My closest cannondale dealer is not to close and I don't have a good relationship (or bad - just none) with them. May have to give them a call as well. For 25-35 bucks I'd say it's well worth letting the pros do it. I'm still amazed how cheap bike shops are with their labor rates! Try pricing out fork seals/replacement on a MX bike...

Thanks again Mendon!
I'd rather let a Cannondale authorized shop do the work if it was me. Most others won't know much about the Lefty (they'll probably say: Bearings in a fork? What the?) and if they don't, you're probably better off doing it yourself... and a lot of them just refuse to touch them anyway.
 

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LA CHÈVRE
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wakeboardR2wheels said:
Thanks Dan, I hear ya there!

Hey OT question - what's LA CHEVRE mean to you?
A good friend calls me that when I'm on the bike. It's french (english is not my first language) for 'THE GOAT' as I'm known to be a natural climber.
 

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Since ya'll are here...

I just did the first basic service on a 1 yo 130 Max/TPC unit. all was basically cool - half of the filter holes were oilydirt clogged, but the filter itself was clean.

My real Q is - the grease on the leg was more like oil, and at first I thought there was crud in it but it turned out to be grease blobs. So, is this an internal damper leak or just the factory setup. I wiped&cycled&wiped til it was just as clean as I could make it - then regreased it. Damping works well, but I noted that rebound was one click from full.

Any checks to tell you if an internal seal is going????
 

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wadester said:
I just did the first basic service on a 1 yo 130 Max/TPC unit. all was basically cool - half of the filter holes were oilydirt clogged, but the filter itself was clean.

My real Q is - the grease on the leg was more like oil, and at first I thought there was crud in it but it turned out to be grease blobs. So, is this an internal damper leak or just the factory setup. I wiped&cycled&wiped til it was just as clean as I could make it - then regreased it. Damping works well, but I noted that rebound was one click from full.

Any checks to tell you if an internal seal is going????
Was the grease just very light viscosity, or literally runny, and came pouring out when you opened the boot? If there was oil in enough quantity to make a run down the leg with the lower boots' zip tie off, you have a leak. Typically it's the so called Quad seal at the top of the fork's rebound assembly. It seals the rebound assembly shaft as it moves through the top cap of the inner leg. Need more info?
 

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I need more info.

MendonCycleSmith said:
Was the grease just very light viscosity, or literally runny, and came pouring out when you opened the boot? If there was oil in enough quantity to make a run down the leg with the lower boots' zip tie off, you have a leak. Typically it's the so called Quad seal at the top of the fork's rebound assembly. It seals the rebound assembly shaft as it moves through the top cap of the inner leg. Need more info?
That sounds like my 130 TPC+ Max. So it is the quad seal at the top of the rebound assy, eh?

Has anyone done a step by step rebuild write up (with photos) for the Lefty Max?

Mendon, I am wondering about the oil that is forced out when replacing the rebound assembly. Is there a trick to keeping that oil in place, or is the amount that is put in compensating for the displacement caused?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Dan Gerous said:
I'd rather let a Cannondale authorized shop do the work if it was me. Most others won't know much about the Lefty (they'll probably say: Bearings in a fork? What the?) and if they don't, you're probably better off doing it yourself... and a lot of them just refuse to touch them anyway.
English is not your first language? Very inpressive then. I was wondering if you weren't from around these parts... :) I kept thinking La Cherve was goat cheese and couldn't get anything to compute! I like it! (not the cheese)
 

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MendonCycleSmith said:
Was the grease just very light viscosity, or literally runny, and came pouring out when you opened the boot? If there was oil in enough quantity to make a run down the leg with the lower boots' zip tie off, you have a leak. Typically it's the so called Quad seal at the top of the fork's rebound assembly. It seals the rebound assembly shaft as it moves through the top cap of the inner leg. Need more info?
There wasn't a pool of liquid at the bottom of the boot, just a complete coat of greyish oily stuff with the black blobs. Not runny until you wiped enough together. But what you are saying is that if the rebound seal goes - you get enough 2.5wt to really float stuff. Which means that my seal is not blown, but is this normal blowby? Or CDale assembly lube?
 

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damion said:
That sounds like my 130 TPC+ Max. So it is the quad seal at the top of the rebound assy, eh?

Has anyone done a step by step rebuild write up (with photos) for the Lefty Max?

Mendon, I am wondering about the oil that is forced out when replacing the rebound assembly. Is there a trick to keeping that oil in place, or is the amount that is put in compensating for the displacement caused?
It is a seal in the top, that caused a bunch of leaks for many folks. It WAS a typical O ring in the past, till '005 when they went to a quad seal which looks like an O ring that went square in profile, then got all it's flats dimpled inward. It works much better, pretty simple to chagne too. As far as I know, no one has done a blow by blow on the lefty, maybe someday if I get time.........You say when replacing the rebound assembly, did you mean compression? Reason is, no oil comes out when sticking the rebound in, a bunch comes out when doing the compression. It's normal for it to come out, and you want it to, as it means the level is sufficient, and it is compensating for displacement, as you so aptly stated. If you have lots of time, you could probably get the level close enough so that only a tiny amount came out, I am happy with a little drizzle though, I typically fill to about 2" from the top, then stick it in, wrap a rag around the fork, that catches all the overflow, and make clean up easier! Remember to pop the bleed screw out to allow the presure to equalize, or you blow seals much more quickly! Rock on.
 

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wadester said:
There wasn't a pool of liquid at the bottom of the boot, just a complete coat of greyish oily stuff with the black blobs. Not runny until you wiped enough together. But what you are saying is that if the rebound seal goes - you get enough 2.5wt to really float stuff. Which means that my seal is not blown, but is this normal blowby? Or CDale assembly lube?
The lube in there should be fairly tacky, if it's as you describe, you are probably getting some blow by, and ought to think about it's replacement. I had a customer that had it so bad, it would fill his boot, leak onto his brake, and effectively kill his ride. Doesn't sound like yours is there yet though.Good luck!
 

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Compression.

MendonCycleSmith said:
It is a seal in the top, that caused a bunch of leaks for many folks. It WAS a typical O ring in the past, till '005 when they went to a quad seal which looks like an O ring that went square in profile, then got all it's flats dimpled inward. It works much better, pretty simple to chagne too. As far as I know, no one has done a blow by blow on the lefty, maybe someday if I get time.........You say when replacing the rebound assembly, did you mean compression? Reason is, no oil comes out when sticking the rebound in, a bunch comes out when doing the compression. It's normal for it to come out, and you want it to, as it means the level is sufficient, and it is compensating for displacement, as you so aptly stated. If you have lots of time, you could probably get the level close enough so that only a tiny amount came out, I am happy with a little drizzle though, I typically fill to about 2" from the top, then stick it in, wrap a rag around the fork, that catches all the overflow, and make clean up easier! Remember to pop the bleed screw out to allow the presure to equalize, or you blow seals much more quickly! Rock on.
Compression is what I meant. THe next time I am in there, I will replace the o-ring with the Quad.

I am glad to hear that I am getting the oil amount OK.

I am running my rebound almost full slow. This tells me to get some heavier oil, right? (To get back to a useable adjustment range.) However, I am running the compression fully open. Any suggestions?
 

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MY first max was doing that.

MendonCycleSmith said:
The lube in there should be fairly tacky, if it's as you describe, you are probably getting some blow by, and ought to think about it's replacement. I had a customer that had it so bad, it would fill his boot, leak onto his brake, and effectively kill his ride. Doesn't sound like yours is there yet though.Good luck!
Maybe. It was spewing its oil all over the caliper and rotor, ruining pads and my brain. After 3 rebuilds by me and 2 by Cannondale, I finally got through to them. PM me if you want the details.
 

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damion said:
Compression is what I meant. THe next time I am in there, I will replace the o-ring with the Quad.

I am glad to hear that I am getting the oil amount OK.

I am running my rebound almost full slow. This tells me to get some heavier oil, right? (To get back to a useable adjustment range.) However, I am running the compression fully open. Any suggestions?
Sounds like you would be well served bumping up to the next weight oil, as you said it will bring back your useable range. I run my compression all the way open too, I have not had a problem doing that, as I like a plush fork. The first Max I got I inadvertantly ran the compression all the way firm, and was flummoxed as to why my wrists hurt so badly. I could squish the fork on the floor and it felt fine. I called Cannondale, and dicussed it with them, thinking that the spring rates were incorrect, (which still didn't sound quite right) and was informed that the compression will feel soft on the floor, but hard hits make it stand up and say hi! So, I backed off on it, and wow, it worked great.
 

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wakeboardR2wheels said:
English is not your first language? Very inpressive then. I was wondering if you weren't from around these parts... :) I kept thinking La Cherve was goat cheese and couldn't get anything to compute! I like it! (not the cheese)
Thanks! I have been using english for a long time now so I'm getting good... and even in the french part of Canada, you still need english quite often. I also have some german knowledge but just enough to order beers, buy bus tickets, say 'nicht schlecht die frau!' and a few other things.
 

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Dear MendonCycles,
Question (it may be bad, but try to bear with me), my 2006 Lefty feels a bit to plush for my liking. I would prefer less sag and more resistance on the compression. I've filled the fork up to the max air pressure, is there anything else that I can do?

And, you mentioned that maintenance should be done periodically on 'migration' in other threads, can you explain how to do this work?

Thanks for sharing the expertise.
-CB
 

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Hybrid Leftys aren't real
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smithersjones said:
Dear MendonCycles,
Question (it may be bad, but try to bear with me), my 2006 Lefty feels a bit to plush for my liking. I would prefer less sag and more resistance on the compression. I've filled the fork up to the max air pressure, is there anything else that I can do?

And, you mentioned that maintenance should be done periodically on 'migration' in other threads, can you explain how to do this work?

Thanks for sharing the expertise.
-CB
Hey there, how much do you weigh? What is the max air you have put into it, and which fork do you have? As for the migration, on an 06, they are all about the same. Remove the top cap, so that you can push down on the fork, and have the rebound assembly come up, and out of the fork. Remove the two split rings at the top, and firmly extend the fork downward, several times till it "feels" bottomed out. Before that it will feel a bit differently, like you are not hitting the bottom of the fork. Hope that helps, get back to me on that other stuff. Cheers!
 

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On the topic of Lefty service.

The other day I don't know why I bought 750 ml bottle of hydraulic oil, thinking that this is what the foam filter required when cleaning and re-oiling it. When I rechecked the owners manual it said, air filter oil. DOH! Can I use the hydraulic oil or should I just return it and get the proper stuff.

Secondly, I have a big ol' tub of Park Tool grease that has lasted me for years of bicycle maintenance. I think it works pretty good for my needs. Can I use this to re-grease the races on my Lefty. The manual calls for that Royal Purple stuff, however I get the impression that any good quality grease will do.

Both sound like a no-brainers, just thought I'd ask anyways. Since we are on the topic of maintenance and re-builds.

Shane
 
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