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I’m aware that there is already a “how-to” on the knowledge base site but my experience was different and therefore I’ll write a more in-depth recap about replacing the fork seals, bushings and oil.

-Before removing the forks from the bike, loosen the damper rod bolt as the pressure from the spring will be enough to at least get it loosened. If you remove it completely the oil will start coming out. I myself tried removing it completely but the damper rod started spinning in place inside the fork tube and so I stopped.

-Loosen the fork tube cap with a 22mm socket or wrench.

-Loosen the 2 pinch bolts and 1 turn signal light bolt on each fork.

-Slide out the fork. Carefully remove the fork tube cap as this is pressurized from the spring and space inside the tub. Mine came out unexpectedly and the spacer ended up cutting my finger due to the sharp edges on it.

-Remove the spacer, spring seat, and spring.

-Empty the fork oil while compressing and decompressing the fork. However do it slowly, because when you’re compressing the tube, what happens is the lower tube ends up pressing against the damper rod holder (also known as the oil lock piece in the service manual) and ends up getting caught. If this happens, just proceed to next step for now.

-Here’s where people get into a jam, myself included. The damper rod just spins freely inside the lower fork tube. The damper rod holder tool is roughly $300 and in my opinion isn’t worth it for the little amount of times it will be used. Others recommend shoving a half inch broom handle in the tube pressing against the damper rod while removing the bolt. This worked on one of my forks. For the other fork this didn’t work. So what I did is this: on the end of the broom handle that screws into the broom, wrap electrical tape on it and shove that end into the fork tube, into the damper rod. I tested this with the damper rod out and it provides a very tight fit and allows you to at least remove the bolts. Be mindful of the washer that falls out with the bolt.

-Now that the damper rod is freed, you can go ahead and remove the dust shields using a small flathead screwdriver. Then remove the oil seal clip using the same flathead screwdriver.

-You can separate the forks from each other by essentially using them like a slide hammer by continuously extending them quickly and forcefully and they will separate along with the seal and bushings.

-Put the seals and bushings aside for now. If your damper rod holder ended up getting stuck to your inner tube, you can shove the broom handle in there and knock it out from the inside of the fork tube.

-Now that you have your forks separated and parts on the side, grab a drink, relax a little and get to cleaning them. Everyone has their own ways of cleaning out fork tubes but all I did was use the disposable blue shop towels, and wiped everything clean inside and out, and then ran soap and water over everything and then cleaned and dried.

-Reinsert the damper rod through the upper tube and feed it down. Once it’s protruding through the bottom of the upper tube, place the damper rod holder on it and feed the upper tube into the bottom tube. Using the broom handle for pressure, hand tight the damper rod bolt and washer.

-Replace the bushings on the forks. For the outer tube bushing (the wider bushing), place the seal spacer on it, and use 1 ½ inch inner diameter pvc/abs pipe. For this part I ran into a snag because 1 ½ inch Inner diameter pvc/abs pipe in Canada is actually about 1.46 inner diameter and so it wouldn’t fit around the tube. I had to buy vacuum pipe instead which had the correct inner diameter for the tube. Anyways, once you have the correct pipe, place it around your upper tube, pressed against the seal spacer and use a rubber mallet to knock it into place. It was a huge pain to do this with new bushing so I reused my old bushing for this part since it was still in good condition.

-Insert the spring, spring seat, and spacer and then the upper tube cap. This will pressurize the damper rod enough for you to tighten it properly. This part is a little tricky because yes you can tighten the damper rod bolt nice and tight but it’s rated at 22 ft-lbs and when I tried hitting this limit with a torque wrench, the damper rod would spin. So what I did was apply the blue Loctite on the bolt, and hand tightened it with my ratchet as tight as I could. To test for leaks I poured a small amount of fork oil in the lower tube and left it overnight and there were no leaks. I believe for this section, some people use an impact wrench but that will definitely over torque it so I just used my hand strength instead.

-Remove the upper fork tube cap, spacer, spring seat, spring and compress the fork slowly (I say slowly because as earlier, the damper rod holder will get caught in the bottom of the upper fork tube again). Insert the seal spacer, and then the oil seal. To hammer in the oil seal, follow the same steps as the outer tube bushing. Next insert the oil seal clip, and then the dust shield.

-Pour in the fork oil with the fork compressed without the spring. Compress and decompress it to allow the oil to work it’s way everywhere. It should measure 4.25 inches from the top of the compressed fork. WT-10 is the stock fork oil for the vstar.

-Re-insert the spring, spring seat, spacer and fork tube cap and mount it again back on the bike.

Lower bracket pinch bolt: 22ft-lbs
Upper bracket pinch bolt: 14 ft-lbs
Front turn signal light bolt: 5.1 ft-lbs
Tube cap: 17 ft-lbs
Front wheel axle: 43 ft-lbs
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