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  1. #1
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    Having some strange lefty problems

    I have a lefty DLR2, non-solo air, with a 2 year old damper assembly that was replaced under warranty as the old damper kept leaking oil. I am having a few problems that seem a bit weird. First of all, i need to run it at 120psi in order to get my sag to around 1 inch. The reason this is strange is I weigh 200 lbs, 210 with gear. According to the manual, I should be at least at 145. The damper has the large red negative spring. Im not sure if this matters, but thought I would mention it.

    Recently, a loud klunking at top out started. No worries, I thought, I'll just do the bearing reset. I do this, pump it back up, and am still getting some clunking. I measured the fork fully extended, and it was at the correct length (700mm), but still knocking. What could this be caused by.

    Also, my lockout lever is not staying in place. If I manually hold it to locked out, it works, so it doesnt seem like a blown seal, but if I let go of it it drifts back to unlocked.

    Finally, even at the lower pressure (120 psi), the fork still seems pretty harsh over multiple high speed impacts. I tried this with the rebound both all the way in and all teh way out, so I dont think its a packing down issue.

    Any thoughts on my recently troublesome lefty?

  2. #2
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    Wanted to add that I just palyed with it again, and the knocking is not occurring at full extension or topout, but rather near the top of the travel as the fork is coming back up. Its not a true topout knock.

  3. #3
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    Bump... no lefty gurus around? I called the cannondale techs, and they recommended servicing the fork. Seems fairly obvious and I agree that some new oil and seals may help, but in the absence of any clear leaks, I don't know if this will really eliminate these problems altogether.

  4. #4
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    Ping Mendon Cyclesmith

    He is our resident Lefty Expert on MTBR. Does lightning fast rebuilds that are done right.

  5. #5
    FIRENZE rulez !!
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    holidayssss for Lefty gurus too

  6. #6
    Ridin' dirty!
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    Sounds like a broken negative spring to me...time for a rebuild for sure.
    Give mendon a call....go to:
    http://www.mendoncyclesmith.com/
    for more info.
    "Common sense isn't always that common!"
    Custom Prophet and Custom Delta V

  7. #7
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    Craig is on vacation. I tried his shop, Mendon, and they informed me when trying to get some information about a problem I'm having on a Lefty.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdalemaniac
    Sounds like a broken negative spring to me...time for a rebuild for sure.

    Yeah, I was pretty sure I need to overhaul the fork, but I just want to make sure that would be enough to fix all of these weird clunks and lockout lever slipping issues. Dont' think the negative spring is broken, b/c the fork contracts strongly if all of the air is let out.

  9. #9
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    I've had my Lefty apart and still have the damper out. I can tell you that in the DLR2 the top part of the shaft containing the lockout fits over a smaller section shaft and has two vanes which control the flow of oil through the valve when locked out. If for some reason that assembly has begun to come apart you might encounter the condition described above where the lockout lever migrates.

    Does the lockout work? If so, then you shouldn't have fluid loss.

    To check, you have to take the it down to the lockout lever with the damper in the outer sleeve and even on the bike. There is a 10mm nut under the lockout lever which holds the lockout mechanism down on the valve body. It holds the two shafts in place. That nut requires locktite and may have come loose. You'll need to consult the manual to check the torque specs and put some blue locktite on it when you put it back down.

    Initially, you may try by gently tightening that nut and see if the lockout lever is still migrating. If not, then you're golden. Be sure not to exceed the torque specs!

  10. #10
    YB1
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    I have a "problem," with the lock out function on my Lefty as well, it's the DLR on my FLash Carbon 29'er. What's happening is the lockout isn't catching at the top of the travel so that when I actuate the lock I still get, at first a little less than one cm. of travel- now it feels like more than 1.5 cm and THEN I hit the lock which makes a bit of a clunk at that point because of the downward momentum. This isn't "normal" in my experience with the Lefty. Usually when you set the lockout it locks with the fork almost fully extended...
    Emory Kalahari Kruiser

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by YB1
    I have a "problem," with the lock out function on my Lefty as well, it's the DLR on my FLash Carbon 29'er. What's happening is the lockout isn't catching at the top of the travel so that when I actuate the lock I still get, at first a little less than one cm. of travel- now it feels like more than 1.5 cm and THEN I hit the lock which makes a bit of a clunk at that point because of the downward momentum. This isn't "normal" in my experience with the Lefty. Usually when you set the lockout it locks with the fork almost fully extended...
    The top cap of the damper of mine came loose and lost all the oil. The dampening was gone as was the lockout. Last night we refilled the damper and reassembled and the lockout is now having the same symptoms you describe. I'm thinking we don't have enough oil in the damper or there's air in it. So in your case maybe you're loosing oil. Just a thought but I agree it's not functioning as normal.

  12. #12
    YB1
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    My bike was parked on it's side for about two weeks in transport. Now I'm thinking that might have something to do with my problem. Could the oil have migrated somewhere it normally wouldn't? If so what's the fix? Any suggestions appreciated!
    Emory Kalahari Kruiser

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by YB1
    My bike was parked on it's side for about two weeks in transport. Now I'm thinking that might have something to do with my problem. Could the oil have migrated somewhere it normally wouldn't? If so what's the fix? Any suggestions appreciated!
    Another concern I have is I don't think we got it bleed properly either so that may pertain to your situation as well. Having it lay on it side for an extended amount of time and then being stood up may have introduced air into the damper.

  14. #14
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    The damper is sealed,.. being upside down, on it's side, etc. should make no difference. As long as the top cap, bottom cap and bleed screw are all holding then the unit shouldn't lose oil. The unit should be full of oil and contain no air. if there's air then it wasn't bled properly at the last filling.

    I can't speak to all the Lefty problems here, I can only provide insight into how that damper shaft is built. it is two parts and the bottom shaft turns 1/4 turn to create the lockout via the valving near the top of the inner shaft where the two come together. By the sound of it, and that's a very loose term, the shafts are not mating properly and that would create the "Clunk" at lockout. I may be wrong,.. you'll want to pull the damper out of the leg and see what's going on. If you ride it like that you could damage it.
    Last edited by 29erBob; 08-10-2010 at 09:34 AM.

  15. #15
    YB1
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29erBob
    The damper is sealed,.. being upside down, on it's side, etc. should make no difference. As long as the top cap, bottom cap and bleed screw are all holding then the unit shouldn't lose oil. The unit should be full of oil and contain no air. if there's air then it wasn't bled properly at the last filling.

    I can't speak to all the Lefty problems here, I can only provide insight into how that damper shaft is built. it is two parts and the bottom shaft turns 1/4 turn to create the lockout via the valving near the top of the inner shaft where the two come together. By the sound of it, and that's a very loose term, the shafts are not mating properly and that would create the "Clunk" at lockout. I may be wrong,.. you'll want to pull the damper out of the leg and see what's going on. If you ride it like that you could damage it.
    You're saying riding with the lockout not stopping the travel from the top could cause damage...
    Maybe it already has because now it goes 3cm before "lock" stops fork action. What do I do??
    Emory Kalahari Kruiser

  16. #16
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    Do nothing, just stop riding it and send it to Craig at Mendon cycle smith


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by YB1
    You're saying riding with the lockout not stopping the travel from the top could cause damage...
    Maybe it already has because now it goes 3cm before "lock" stops fork action. What do I do??
    I intend on riding mine and just not utilizing the lock out. Mine seems to function fine when unlocked. Although tonight will be the first test ride.

  18. #18
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    I've taken the DLR2 catridge apart before to change the oil and change the negative spring before, so I have no problem doing the basic overhaul. I haven't ever touched the internals of the lockout shaft before, so if anyone has any tips on what to do if a simple seal and oil change doesn't keep the lockout lever from migrating out of locked position, it would be greatly appreciated. I will try to tighten the nut under the lever after changing the oil, but looking at it now it doesnt appear to be loose, so any other ideas on this problem?


    Dumb ? number 2: Is the bullet tool really necessary to put the lower oil cap back on? It is the only tool I dont have ready access to right now.


    Quote Originally Posted by 29erBob
    I've had my Lefty apart and still have the damper out. I can tell you that in the DLR2 the top part of the shaft containing the lockout fits over a smaller section shaft and has two vanes which control the flow of oil through the valve when locked out. If for some reason that assembly has begun to come apart you might encounter the condition described above where the lockout lever migrates.

    Does the lockout work? If so, then you shouldn't have fluid loss.

    To check, you have to take the it down to the lockout lever with the damper in the outer sleeve and even on the bike. There is a 10mm nut under the lockout lever which holds the lockout mechanism down on the valve body. It holds the two shafts in place. That nut requires locktite and may have come loose. You'll need to consult the manual to check the torque specs and put some blue locktite on it when you put it back down.

    Initially, you may try by gently tightening that nut and see if the lockout lever is still migrating. If not, then you're golden. Be sure not to exceed the torque specs!

  19. #19
    YB1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elzippo


    I'm in Liechtenstein, and if I was in the USA it would go back to Cannondale for warranty repair...
    Emory Kalahari Kruiser

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by YB1
    I'm in Liechtenstein, and if I was in the USA it would go back to Cannondale for warranty repair...
    I'm in the USA and mines going to Mendon.

  21. #21
    YB1
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    Swiss Eighty-Aid is only about an hour drive away so on Wednesday they're going to fix it.
    Emory Kalahari Kruiser

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dawkins20
    Dumb ? number 2: Is the bullet tool really necessary to put the lower oil cap back on? It is the only tool I dont have ready access to right now.
    I don't have that tool either. couldn't find one anywhere. I didn't use one,.. What I did do was put a very light layer of new damper oil on the interior of the new seal and use a fine pick edge to gently get the new seal over the end of the damper shaft. Don't force it, just work it gently over an around the shaft to preserve the seal. Like any other seal if you force it you'll most likely damage it. I used the clamp tool (Cannondale 1/2in clamp tool) and a vice to hold the damper shaft while it was full of new oil to make this possible. You need 4 hands otherwise,..

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by YB1
    Swiss Eighty-Aid is only about an hour drive away so on Wednesday they're going to fix it.
    And i take it that you enjoyed your experience at Schlossmühlestrasse 9 today!

    Cheers
    I maybe getting older but i refuse to grow up!

  24. #24
    YB1
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    Yes! Was a very fun and elightening one. I posted some pix in a new thread.

    Also enjoyed the brauhaus too.
    Emory Kalahari Kruiser

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