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  1. #1
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    Marzocchi 44 Revisited

    I've been running the Marzocchi 44 Micro Ti for several months now on my WFO, and have actually been pretty happy. I reviewed it pretty favorably HERE, but as so many people have noted, I also wasn't blown away by the small bump compliance. Still, I've liked it enough to move it over to the paradox I'm building, so I called marzocchi and they hooked me up with a new pair of standard-steerer uppers on the cheap. I finally got around to swapping the uppers last week, and learned a few interesting things.

    1) The foam rings between the seals and the wipers should be burned. These things are both pointless and tight as hell, and are definitely not helping the stiction issue. I spoke with Ronnie from Zocchi & he agrees.

    2) There was dead rubber everywhere in the air spring side of the fork when I took it apart. This rubber appears to have come from the rubber guide on the negative spring assembly. In the process of talking to tech support about the small bump compliance, Ronnie pointed out that the bottom end of the negative spring is guided on the dummy rod by this rubber tophat guide/bumper. This guide sits tightly on the rod, and moves any time the negative spring is engaged. This means that in the top of the travel, you're getting all the added friction of moving this little bastard around with every small bump. Cutting the top hat off of this piece resolves the friction issues, while leaving the body to still function as a bumper. This schematic from Marzocchi shows what i'm talking about and you can see the rubber piece in this picture that I boosted from JCarpenter

    3) Marzocchi customer support has been impeccable. Between throwing me the new uppers for sub-wholesale, sending me tons of schematics and tech documents, and enthusiastically talking to me for over an hour across 3 or 4 conversations, everyone in Marzocchi tech support and sales has been awesome. While I realize it would have been better to ship the fork without some of these issues, I think they realize they've come out a little weak in the 29er arena, and are trying support these products. If you're not stoked on your 44, I would encourage anyone to call them and see what they can do for you.

    I'm also waiting on a pair of enduro seals and am going to switch to 5wt oil in the legs. I considered changing the oil in the micro cartridge after reading what others have had to say, but I actually find that the micro-comp is pretty much dialed. I'll report back when the seals are in and the fork is rebuilt, and will have a ride report when the fork is back on a bike.

  2. #2
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    So, to clarify...Ronnie recommended cutting off the bottom portion with the lip the spring sits against? That seems counter intuitive to me. If anything, I would be inclined to cut off the majority of the upper section, leaving the lip that seats the neg. spring.


  3. #3
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    Professional Amateur. Disagree? Submit your grievances here.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jncarpenter
    So, to clarify...Ronnie recommended cutting off the bottom portion with the lip the spring sits against? That seems counter intuitive to me. If anything, I would be inclined to cut off the majority of the upper section, leaving the lip that seats the neg. spring.
    I was about to cut the body of the cylinder off too - but the text that you can't read on the schematic says: "Trim the lip down so the cylinder is even from top to bottom". I think that with the lip cut off, the body of the remaining cylinder still functions as a bumper at the top of the rod.
    Last edited by good4nothing; 06-09-2010 at 08:55 PM.

  5. #5
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    If I'm understanding this correctly, they want you to remove the flange from the bumper so it no longer moves with the piston travel but still acts as a bump stop. I think this is a good idea but leaves no bushing material between the spring and the shaft(once the bumper slides down the shaft). That seems like a bad idea.

    I'd pick up a polyethylene or delrin flanged bushing from Mcmaster to replace the rubber piece. Cut the new bushing so it is 2/3rds the length of the rubber bushing and then place the modified rubber bushing beneath it to function as the bump stop. You'll loose a little travel but won't score the crap out of the shaft.

  6. #6
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    Hi guys, I can confirm this fix - we did it last night. I had a "clunk" at mid-travel on the rebound stroke. Marzocchi dude emailed the same schematic, we scratched our heads for ages saying "that cannot be right - he can't want us to cut off that" - but he did, and it works. It still acts as a bump stop, and now oil can move more freely through the holes in the metal silver retaining disc (it is seen side-on in the photo posted above).

    Still not amazed with small bump-compliance - but it feels solid for now. Will also think about dropping the oil weight back to 5 later on.

    Overall, Marzocchi were pretty speedy and helpful with the support.

  7. #7
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    I have had Great luck with my 120 and super impressed with how Easy it is to setup for the ride quality I want.
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Better suited to non-aggressive 125# gals named Russell.

  8. #8
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    Dramatic improvement - Do it now

    Wow!
    I have been dissatisfied with the ride of my 44 Micro Ti since I got it but figured I made a bad purchase and would live with it until something else was available (like the 140mm reba). Small bumps were a problem, I never really found much to like about the fork. Running 50 psi Iost 20mm of travel to static sag.

    Then I read a Bikefix review that said there was a Marzocchi update that really helped the fork. I contacted Marz and got an email back from Ronnie. He said there was a guy in Evergreen that could do the mod for me and Marz would cover the labor.
    I contacted Santiago of Secret Cycle and got it done for $25 in 'oil charge' but didn't mind. I just wanted the fork to work.
    I rode it today at West Mag and was blown away. It feels better off the bottom than any air fork I've ridden. It totally improved the ride of my Rip. It's both more plush than a well set up Maverick and more progressive.

    With the factory set up the fork was super sticky, I was running the rebound full open to try and keep the fork moving. Now I'm at 8 clicks in, I still haven't touched the compression. I'm 160lbs and am running 55psi but may go down to 50psi to use more of the forks travel.
    At 55psi I may be giving up 3mm of fork travel to static sag but don't care, it works so well.
    I now for once like my Rip v2 as much as the v1.

    Bikefix story:
    http://www.bikefix.net/2010/06/bikef...r+the+ride.%29
    2 wheels

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by artnshel
    Wow!
    I have been dissatisfied with the ride of my 44 Micro Ti since I got it but figured I made a bad purchase and would live with it until something else was available (like the 140mm reba). Small bumps were a problem, I never really found much to like about the fork. Running 50 psi Iost 20mm of travel to static sag.

    Then I read a Bikefix review that said there was a Marzocchi update that really helped the fork. I contacted Marz and got an email back from Ronnie. He said there was a guy in Evergreen that could do the mod for me and Marz would cover the labor.
    I contacted Santiago of Secret Cycle and got it done for $25 in 'oil charge' but didn't mind. I just wanted the fork to work.
    I rode it today at West Mag and was blown away. It feels better off the bottom than any air fork I've ridden. It totally improved the ride of my Rip. It's both more plush than a well set up Maverick and more progressive.

    With the factory set up the fork was super sticky, I was running the rebound full open to try and keep the fork moving. Now I'm at 8 clicks in, I still haven't touched the compression. I'm 160lbs and am running 55psi but may go down to 50psi to use more of the forks travel.
    At 55psi I may be giving up 3mm of fork travel to static sag but don't care, it works so well.
    I now for once like my Rip v2 as much as the v1.

    Bikefix story:
    http://www.bikefix.net/2010/06/bikef...r+the+ride.%29
    Awesome.

    Mine is done and rebuilt with lighter oil, but the frame it's destined to live on won't show up until Thursday. But I will say that after rebuilding it per Marzocchi, it feels so much smoother just cycling it by hand, and all of the stickiness in the top of the travel is gone. With any luck i'll have a ride report on the Paradox/44 setup by early next week, and I'm pretty stoked on how I think this fork is going to do.

    It also sounds like another +1 on Marzocchi supporting the 29er crew - it's nice that they covered the labor for you on the fix

  10. #10
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    Anybody know if new ones have the fix? If so, when did they start it?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by good4nothing
    Mine is done and rebuilt with lighter oil
    What change in oil weight specifically did you select? What intended goal?

    I'm thinking of some thinner weight to imcrease compliance, but am having some problems with "stacking" of performance when hot -- so maybe I need a thicker weight... but then again, the oil doesn't necessarily provide a cooling function... like a combustion engine?

    By hot, I mean ambient air temp of 110 degrees (Arizona) with the surface of the fork being 150-160 degrees in the sun -- after a 10-minute downhill run of fairly big hits, it feels as though the compression damping keeps getting turned slower and slower until the "initial stiction" feel is present almost throughout the travel.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by V02 deficient
    What change in oil weight specifically did you select? What intended goal?

    I'm thinking of some thinner weight to imcrease compliance, but am having some problems with "stacking" of performance when hot -- so maybe I need a thicker weight... but then again, the oil doesn't necessarily provide a cooling function... like a combustion engine?

    By hot, I mean ambient air temp of 110 degrees (Arizona) with the surface of the fork being 150-160 degrees in the sun -- after a 10-minute downhill run of fairly big hits, it feels as though the compression damping keeps getting turned slower and slower until the "initial stiction" feel is present almost throughout the travel.
    That sounds more like seals binding than oil. The typical problem with heat and suspension oil is that the oil gets thinner when hot and compression and rebound damping gets lighter (underdamped) as the oil heats.

    What you describe sounds like a problem I had when I used Silkolene motorcycle suspension fluid in a Marzocchi Z1FR. If you happened to use any motorcycle suspension oil that contains "seal swellers", then you'll need to replace your seals and start over with Bel Ray, Honda, or some bicycle specific suspension oil that does not contain seal swellers.
    It's a 6" 29er, 69 HTA, 29" standover, setup for 31.6 Joplin, 83mm BB, blah blah blah. A bike for being stupid. --Walt Wehner

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by V02 deficient
    What change in oil weight specifically did you select?
    I went from the 7.5 w to a 5w oil in the air spring side and tst micro sides, but stayed out of the cartridge itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by V02 deficient
    What intended goal?
    I know it's an open bath, but I figured it might speed up the valving a bit, and if it didn't work, it certainly wasn't going to hurt.

    Quote Originally Posted by V02 deficient
    I'm thinking of some thinner weight to imcrease compliance, but am having some problems with "stacking" of performance when hot -- so maybe I need a thicker weight... but then again, the oil doesn't necessarily provide a cooling function... like a combustion engine?
    I certainly don't think that the thinner weight is going to hurt you. If you're going to get in there anyway to do the bushing mod, why not. In terms of cooling, the oil isn't going to help you there.

    Quote Originally Posted by V02 deficient
    By hot, I mean ambient air temp of 110 degrees (Arizona) with the surface of the fork being 150-160 degrees in the sun -- after a 10-minute downhill run of fairly big hits, it feels as though the compression damping keeps getting turned slower and slower until the "initial stiction" feel is present almost throughout the travel.
    Interesting. It does sound like seals binding, and I would second the idea of seal swell being a possible factor if you've used a moto-application oil with additives. If the fork is getting super-hot, your oil will be getting lighter, and should be speeding things up if anything. The only other thing I would wonder about would be the possibility of an poorly bled cartridge on the tst side. I'm not sure, but with the small air volume in the closed cartridge, extra air/cavitation from a crappy bleed might getting 150-160 degrees hot might be enough to dampen the compression everywhere.

    Have you done any work on the fork yourself? Have you done/do you plan to do the bushing mod?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by checkpoint22
    Hi guys, I can confirm this fix - we did it last night. I had a "clunk" at mid-travel on the rebound stroke. Marzocchi dude emailed the same schematic, we scratched our heads for ages saying "that cannot be right - he can't want us to cut off that" - but he did, and it works. It still acts as a bump stop, and now oil can move more freely through the holes in the metal silver retaining disc (it is seen side-on in the photo posted above).

    Still not amazed with small bump-compliance - but it feels solid for now. Will also think about dropping the oil weight back to 5 later on.

    Overall, Marzocchi were pretty speedy and helpful with the support.
    I'm not sure if I understand this correctly, but what if you just drilled some holes through the lip or remove only parts of the lip? Wouldn't that work if this is just an oil movement problem?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by In Hiding
    I'm not sure if I understand this correctly, but what if you just drilled some holes through the lip or remove only parts of the lip? Wouldn't that work if this is just an oil movement problem?
    the bushing flange is not rotationally fixed relative to the ported bushing, so holes wouldn't necessarily stay lined up. Also, I think that part of the stiction issue was from the flanged rubber bushing always moving with the negative spring, as it was a pretty tight fit on the rod. Cutting the flange off fixes this too.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by artnshel
    Wow!
    I have been dissatisfied with the ride of my 44 Micro Ti since I got it but figured I made a bad purchase and would live with it until something else was available (like the 140mm reba). Small bumps were a problem, I never really found much to like about the fork. Running 50 psi Iost 20mm of travel to static sag.

    Then I read a Bikefix review that said there was a Marzocchi update that really helped the fork. I contacted Marz and got an email back from Ronnie. He said there was a guy in Evergreen that could do the mod for me and Marz would cover the labor.
    I contacted Santiago of Secret Cycle and got it done for $25 in 'oil charge' but didn't mind. I just wanted the fork to work.[/url]
    Do you have the contact info for Santiago? What bike are you riding this fork on?

    Thanks

  17. #17
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    The fork is on a Rip 9 v.2.
    Santiago's info is on his Secret Cyclery website
    http://www.secretcyclery.com/
    2 wheels

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by good4nothing
    the bushing flange is not rotationally fixed relative to the ported bushing, so holes wouldn't necessarily stay lined up. Also, I think that part of the stiction issue was from the flanged rubber bushing always moving with the negative spring, as it was a pretty tight fit on the rod. Cutting the flange off fixes this too.
    So how the flange has been cut ? It's pretty hard to imagine
    Thanks


  19. #19
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    this is a VERY useful thread!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbcht
    So how the flange has been cut ? It's pretty hard to imagine
    Thanks

    the lower, horizontal red line in your picture pretty much says it - cut the lower, larger diameter flange off, leaving the rest of the bushing as a uniform-diameter bumper. After you cut the flange, the bumper should move freely on the shaft inside of the spring.

  21. #21
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    Wow, lot of information here. I have the exact same problem with my 2009 44 TST2 140mm. Got about 40 hours on it now and it's still sticky as hell. Basically no small bump compliance at all. I'm contacting Marzocchi to see if this mod applies. It should, right? I think the difference between the Mirco TST and TST2 is just in the cartridge; the negative spring should be the same.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by huber
    Wow, lot of information here. I have the exact same problem with my 2009 44 TST2 140mm. Got about 40 hours on it now and it's still sticky as hell. Basically no small bump compliance at all. I'm contacting Marzocchi to see if this mod applies. It should, right? I think the difference between the Mirco TST and TST2 is just in the cartridge; the negative spring should be the same.
    I would suspect that the air spring/negative spring side will be the same, but it never hurts to ask. You could also just open it up and take a look - it's really easy to get into the 44 and do this mod without taking it off the bike, just make sure that you have snap-ring pliers.

  23. #23
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    No other special tools I need, just snap ring pliers?

    How do I go about taking the fork apart? I would assume unscrew bolts at the top and bottom of the legs and pull the stack out. All the oil drain out when I remove the lower bolts, right? Can I just pour new oil in the top of the fork before reattaching the upper bolts (and after reattaching lowers)? I watched a youtube video on a Marzocchi 44 rebuild and he reattached the upper bolts first, turned the fork upside down and poured new oil in the bottom. I was really not looking forward to that because it requires taking the fork off the bike.

    Still waiting to hear back from Marzocchi.

  24. #24
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    You can pour oil in through the top after reattaching lowers...but I prefer to remove the fork just to avoid getting the fluid on the caliper/pads.


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by huber
    No other special tools I need, just snap ring pliers?

    How do I go about taking the fork apart? I would assume unscrew bolts at the top and bottom of the legs and pull the stack out. All the oil drain out when I remove the lower bolts, right? Can I just pour new oil in the top of the fork before reattaching the upper bolts (and after reattaching lowers)? I watched a youtube video on a Marzocchi 44 rebuild and he reattached the upper bolts first, turned the fork upside down and poured new oil in the bottom. I was really not looking forward to that because it requires taking the fork off the bike.

    Still waiting to hear back from Marzocchi.
    You don't actually need to take the tops off of either side of the uppers to get to the air spring assembly. After getting into mine a couple of times, I would actually advise against taking either top-cap off if you're just doing the mod or even changing the oil(I can explain in more depth if you really want to get into it). This also lets you do it with the fork on the bike, but you'll still need to take the caliper off (which you should anyway as jncarpenter pointed out).

    If you just flip the fork over and unscrew the bolts (you'll need a metric allen for the rebound knob, and metric sockets for the bolts) at the bottom of the legs, you can pull the lowers off. This exposes the bottom of the cartridge on the left and the air spring/negative spring assembly on the right. From there, pop the snap ring that retains the negative spring assembly and you'll have the shaft with the negative spring pictured in the earlier post. Snip-snip, replace the rod, snap ring, lowers, bolts, rebound knob, done. If you want to do an oil change just dump the uppers and refill.

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