Fork oil level - Yamaha R3 Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-01-2017, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Fork oil level

For those who have installed cartridges, what was the recommended oil height that came with your instructions and how much oil did you end up using in terms of volume? My set up instructions from Ohlins said 130mm from the top. I had ended up using only 400 ml in the left leg. Seems a bit on the low side. I have done another 41mm fork on the ninja 650 and I don't recall it using that little fork oil.

In Jesse's fork rebuild guide he mentions using exactly a whole bottle for both legs, but that's without cartridges, only a rebuild.

I bled the crap out of all the air and still had barely used 400 ml. Just seems like a really low amount.
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-02-2017, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Kojiiro View Post
For those who have installed cartridges, what was the recommended oil height that came with your instructions and how much oil did you end up using in terms of volume? My set up instructions from Ohlins said 130mm from the top. I had ended up using only 400 ml in the left leg. Seems a bit on the low side. I have done another 41mm fork on the ninja 650 and I don't recall it using that little fork oil.

In Jesse's fork rebuild guide he mentions using exactly a whole bottle for both legs, but that's without cartridges, only a rebuild.

I bled the crap out of all the air and still had barely used 400 ml. Just seems like a really low amount.
Kojiiro,

Don't worry too much about the new volume of the oil being too low. You have made a major change to the internal makeup of the fork by taking out the damper rod and going with a cartridge. The oil does 2 things; give you the damping you need and sets the air chamber (air spring). The air spring adds to the steel spring to make up your overall spring rate. When you add more "stuff" in the fork, you have to take something out (oil) or you will have too small an air chamber. This would prevent your fork compressing all the way (hydralock) and the ride would be over harsh.

What have you done with the spring? When you gave your info to set the cartridge set up, did they increase the rte of the spring? If so, that would be another reason for the lower level as they are setting up your overall spring rate to be more linear (more reliance on the steel spring) and less on the air spring. That would also give them reason to reduce the level of oil.

Slap a zip tie on the fork and track your suspension use with the new setup and post back.

Jerry
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-02-2017, 08:21 AM
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ok, now I understand the full context of your email to me.
the spring guide takes up a lot of air volume which means you have to lower the oil to compensate. The C-leg has no valving on the up stroke so resistance will be very light compared to the R-leg when you're attaching the cap.
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-02-2017, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Kojiiro,

Don't worry too much about the new volume of the oil being too low. You have made a major change to the internal makeup of the fork by taking out the damper rod and going with a cartridge. The oil does 2 things; give you the damping you need and sets the air chamber (air spring). The air spring adds to the steel spring to make up your overall spring rate. When you add more "stuff" in the fork, you have to take something out (oil) or you will have too small an air chamber. This would prevent your fork compressing all the way (hydralock) and the ride would be over harsh.

What have you done with the spring? When you gave your info to set the cartridge set up, did they increase the rte of the spring? If so, that would be another reason for the lower level as they are setting up your overall spring rate to be more linear (more reliance on the steel spring) and less on the air spring. That would also give them reason to reduce the level of oil.

Slap a zip tie on the fork and track your suspension use with the new setup and post back.

Jerry
Not sure what the stock spring weight us but the ones sent with the cartridges are rated for a 70kg rider.
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-02-2017, 05:28 PM
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Places like Hard Racing I think will put the correct spring with the kit when you buy it. I think if you order from some places they send you the kit as it and dont match the springs to your weight. Thats the way I understand it tho I may be wrong here. You might check with the place you bought the kit and see if they can swap springs for the correct rate... if they are Ohlins service certified.
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-02-2017, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Places like Hard Racing I think will put the correct spring with the kit when you buy it. I think if you order from some places they send you the kit as it and dont match the springs to your weight. Thats the way I understand it tho I may be wrong here. You might check with the place you bought the kit and see if they can swap springs for the correct rate... if they are Ohlins service certified.
It was purchased as a kit from Hard Racing. I know I have the correct springs for my weight. I read the ratings on the springs themselves.

I am not saying I don't have the correct springs, I am just pointing out my observations that the springs actually feel lighter than stock, just sitting in the bike. It might feel different on the road. I am observing this because the stock forks definitely felt a bit heavier. And most people are saying the fork was a bit light for them.
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-03-2017, 12:43 AM
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Ahhh, I see. Please keep us up to date on how they work out for you and your thoughts on them.
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-03-2017, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Ahhh, I see. Please keep us up to date on how they work out for you and your thoughts on them.
Went for a quick ride. In short, I like them not because I spent money on them, but I am a very big fan of good suspension on a bike. If you can tune it, it makes it worth it imo. Change settings for commuting, then again on weekend canyon runs and again on track days. Not sure why everyone would want to spend money on other items first, but to each their own. I did not like the settings Ohlins sent me. I kept rebound at the recommend 12 clicks but the comp side felt soft. I went out to 10, and it felt better. Ohlins recommends 8. I will try it at 9 on my ride back home.

Not sure if it was you or someone else asking Hard Racing for an install video, but the instructions as I mentioned before are cut and dry. If you can follow basic instructions, the Ohlins guide is good. This is assuming you know how to remove a front tire and fork legs. Even if you don't, Jesse at yamahar3 racing has awesome guides for those two as well. Some tips:

If your hardware store sells threaded rod and couplers, find some m8 X1.25. Saves having to buy the motion pro, pit posse or race tech tools.

Use an impact driver on th damper rod bolt. Either using the stock spring, preload tube and end cap or a broom handle works, but using an impact driver after loosening with a standard ratchet works fast and easy.

One bottle of oil should be enough if you follow the Ohlins guide. I ended up with probably 400ml per side.

Working in 9 degree Celsius weather sucks. Wait till it's sunny.

If you don't have the proper size socket for the Ohlins cap, tape your crescent wrnch to avoid scratching.

If anyone knows of a better fork oil suction device other than the motion pro, please post. The motion pro does its job but at a very very slow rate.

For the ride itself, the front end seems much more stable. The bike going over bumps, as expected is much more stable. It holds a line better than stock goi g over bumps. Small road imperfections don't jar the bike and unsettle the front end. Grants I'm not hitting any 90 degree sidewalks and curbs, just every day potholes, bumps, manhole covers, etc.

Last edited by Kojiiro; 02-03-2017 at 01:08 AM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-03-2017, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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As a side note, as always Ohlins customer support was very helpful. They offered to call to answe install questions but being stationed overseas the time difference kind of messed that up. That isn't the first time they helped in that way. I've talked to a txt rep before while installing a shock on my ninja 650.
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-03-2017, 11:40 PM
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Kojiiro, outside of exhaust, suspension is probably the most expensive upgrade on a bike, so I think that is the main reason people do other uogrades first. One defintely wants to get rid of the fugly rear fender and turn signals immediately and those mods require small cash outlays. A rear shock will easily run $900 and $700 for a fork cartridge kit, as you well know.

I upgraded my front brake master cylinder and lever and front caliper with Brembo parts which was not only an ergonomic and aesthetic upgrade but a safety one as well. If fact I probably upgraded almost everything before the suspension. On my 92 FZR600 I installed a Progressive rear shock with remote reservoir and it was one of the few upgrades I did to it, but it was an amazing performance and comfort upgrade. I kept my Honda 2003 CBR600RR mainly stock. So my R3 is the first bike where I have do mass overhauls and modifications. I still have the forks and tires to do. While I am a big believer in upgrading suspension and tires, I think the stock ones are pretty good and will suffice until worn out. I will definitely upgrade the tires to some Battleaxes or Diablo Rosso II's but still on the fence about the forks. I'm thtinking of some Andreani's or Ohlins Nix-22's but might even go with Sonics through Matt. My next ourchase is probably an Ohlins steering damper and Graves mount kit. The steering is just too light without it and need it more so than the front forks IMAO.

By the way. I spent 8 years in the Army as a tanker. ?
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