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    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild

    MANY PHOTOS ARE CURRENTLY DOWN. I AM WORKING TO RESOLVE THIS. IT IS VERY TIME CONSUMING. PLEASE BEAR WITH ME. THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE.

    If you’ve got a KS LEV that has started sinking, this should fix it. I started this thread quite a while ago and used feedback to improve on it. The process seems to consistently work based on feedback I’ve received. Just the simple process of recharging the system resolves the issue that results after air and oil mix in the chambers. Even without replacing seals, this seems to resolve the issue for a long time however I recently added the specs for the seals with an exploded view of the post so that you can replace them while you’re in there. If you try this, please let me know how it goes. Also let me know if any steps are confusing or if you run into any other issues. I’ll use your feedback to improve the thread. ***If all of this blows your mind, I’ve also performed this service including seal replacement for $50 plus shipping (with additional fees if any other parts need to be replaced) – PM me if this is a route you’d prefer to take***

    DISCLAIMER: I’ve done this procedure A LOT. I started on my own LEV, and have since repaired numerous LEVs and Supernaturals. I initially went back into my own LEV multiple times to gain additional photos for this thread. Mine is still running smoothly and I only occasionally go back in to replace seals. I’ve refined this post to be as clear as possible and the method works great. I've also added some tips from mistakes I've made myself. That being said - ATTEMPT AT YOUR OWN RISK.

    Good Luck,
    -Chris

    ***************************************
    ***ATTENTION: Manufacturer Warning***

    I have been contacted by the manufacturer and they have urged me to add this warning to this thread on their behalf:

    "The procedure explained by the user in this thread is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and could result in severe injury or death to the person performing this. These warnings are also clearly stated on our website and in our manuals. This posting may cause some consumers to disregard our warnings and severely injure themselves attempting this procedure listed."

    "We at KS USA do NOT endorse the servicing of the oil system, it is factory sealed, and not to be opened by the user as the internals are under EXTREME PRESSURE!"

    "We offer a 2 year warranty on our products, so if a customer is having an issue, they can send the post in to us and we will REPLACE the cartridge at no charge under warranty. If it is outside of the warranty period, the consumer can purchase a new cartridge assembly thru their local dealer."

    Mike A from KS USA

    ***************************************


    I’m starting the procedure after disconnecting the remote cable from the post and removing the post from the bike. If you have trouble with this, consult your owner’s manual. Although there is a great instructional video at kssuspension.com to do the first 8 steps, I’ve included these anyway to demonstrate my technique for Step 5, which is far more difficult than appears in the video. Also pay attention to a warning in Step 7 to prevent damage to your DU Bushing. Alternatively, skip to Step 9 to get right to the cartridge section or to the near end to see the exploded view and links to replacement seals. I've also added a section regarding the Supernatural differences as this procedure works for it as well, with just a few modifications.

    Step 1: With your post in the soft jaws of a vice, remove the end cap using a strap wrench to expose the actuator lever. If you have the 2nd Generation Integra, see differences below (towards the end of this thread).

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-dsc_0007.jpg

    Step 2: Compress the actuator lever to slacken the internal cable. Rotate the end barrel in order to disconnect it from the lever.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0011.jpg

    Step 3: Gently pull the cable snug and tape it against the outside of the post with electrical tape.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0013.jpg

    Step 4: Push the post through or carefully pull on the actuator assembly to expose the inner shaft. Then spray clean with alcohol to prepare for the next step.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0016.jpg

    Step 5: Remove the LEV from the soft jaws, protect the exposed shaft with a portion of rubber inner tube, then place it in the soft jaws and snug it just enough to prevent the shaft from rotating while you loosen the actuator assembly with a wrench. Alternatively, you could use a rubberized soft jaws like this (but I don’t tend to have good luck with it):

    http://www.amazon.com/Brampton-Techn...club+vice+grip

    **THIS STEP MAY BE VERY DIFFICULT DUE TO A STRONG THREAD LOCK ADHESIVE – THE ACTUATOR LEVER IS A SOFT METAL AND CAN BEND EASILY – TAKE CARE NOT TO DAMAGE IT - ** (((EDIT))): LESS TOOLS ARE BETTER HERE IF POSSIBLE – SOME ACTUATORS MAY NOT BE AS DIFFICULT TO REMOVE AS OTHERS – VICRIDER222 RECOMMENDS THIS TECHNIQUE: “You will get as much if not more grip by putting on a clean, tight fitting household latex glove and grabbing the degreased shaft with your hand…keep your thumb out, place the shaft along the base of your 4 fingers and close them. Squeeze them as tight as you can, then turn the actuator base with your other hand”

    ##THIS PHOTO SOON TO COME – KEEPS SHOWING UPSIDE-DOWN##

    Step 6: Remove the actuator assembly, the rubber bottom-out bumper, and the piston/push rod - **NOTE THAT THERE IS A LONG END AND SHORT END OF THE PUSH ROD – THE LONG END NEEDS TO FACE OUT TOWARD THE ACTUATOR**

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0022.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0024.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-dsc_0025.jpg

    Step 7: Loosen the top collar with a strap wrench, then remove the cartridge assembly from the outer shaft. Be carefull not to lose the 3 copper guide bushings on the cartridge assembly. **WARNING – On the KS video, the shaft is yanked with some force so that the copper guide bushings knock the silver DU Bushing out. This works most of the time however if the DU Bushing is stuck, you may blow the inner coated ring out of the DU Bushing (See pic below). You can avoid this buy removing the black top collar, then protecting the stachion with a towel and grasping the DU Bushing CAREFULLY with channel locks and twisting it back and forth slightly to help loosen it (Pictured below though stanchion is not covered to make it easier to see). If you do blow out the DU Bushing, it’s OK. They can be purchased at Universal Cycle

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0029.jpg

    WARNING – avoid this at Step 7

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-img_3723.jpg

    The picture above can be avoided by loosening the DU Bushing using channel locks as pictured below (be sure to protect the stanchion first – (not done here for visability). You just need to twist the DU Bushing slightly in order to make sure it’s not seized before giving the firm pull mentioned in Step 7. BE SUPER CAREFUL IF YOU CHOOSE TO DO THIS AS YOU CAN EASILY SCRATCH THE STANCHION – I KEEP SPARE DU BUSHINGS AROUND BECAUSE I PREFER TO REPLACE IF THEY BREAK RATHER THAN RISK SCRATCHING THE POST

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-dsc_0003.jpg

    Step 8: Remove the 3 copper guide bushings, then slide off the DU bushing, collar, and bottom of the seat clasp

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0031.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0033.jpg

    Step 9: Unscrew the Schrader valve cover and release the pressure from the system using a screwdriver/nail/etc.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0035.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0037.jpg

    Step 10: **EYE PROTECTION AND POINT AWAY FROM YOUR FACE - SEE MANUFACTURER WARNING ABOVE BEFORE ATTEMPTING** Using snap ring pliers (or better yet, a spanner tool – Park SPA-2), unscrew the cap of the cartridge, lift the cap slightly, and dump out the oil. There may be a loud “pop” of pressure releasing when you loosen the cap.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0039.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0002.jpg

    Step 11: Flip the cartridge around and use your finger to push the Schrader valve assembly and the other internals through the cartridge as one entity. You may need to use a dowel rod or protected screwdriver to push it all the way through.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-dsc_0012.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-dsc_0013.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-dsc_0014.jpg

    Step 11 b: You can now break the internals down further as pictured below – **WHEN REMOVING THE SLIDING PIECE OF BLACK PLASTIC (INTERNAL FLOATING PISTON – IFP) FROM THE METAL TUBE IT’S ON, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO GET BACK ON BECAUSE OF A VERY TIGHT SQUARE GASKET ON THE INNER SURFACE – SEE TRICK MENTIONED BELOW TO REINSTALL IFP ONTO TUBE**

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-dsc_0015.jpg

    **BE CAREFUL REINSTALLING THIS – YOU CAN SEE THE INNER SEAL HERE THAT I DAMAGED TRYING TO GET THIS THING BACK ON THE METAL TUBE** The best technique to get the IFP back on the tube was demonstrated by “chukt” on page 14 of this thread. Simply use a Craftsman 10 mm socket – it has the same outer diameter as the tube. The IFP can easily be slid onto the socket over the rounded edge, then slide the IFP directly off the socket and onto the tube.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0011.jpg

    Step 12: Next, replace the valve assembly and the metal tube with the IFP on it. You will want the IFP approx. 2-3 mm away from the end opposite to the valve assembly end. You can assemble these and insert them as one entity. The IFP may need to be guided using your finger to keep it from slipping up further as you replace the tube it’s on. You can also reinstall the cartridge end cap after this step to help push it down approximately 3 mm.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0004.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0007.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0013.jpg

    Step 13: Add Fork Oil (I use 5 WT) to fill the cartridge at least to the bottom thread (though I go a little farther for good measure).

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0017.jpg

    Step 13 b: Preparation for step 14: When I went back into my own LEV, I noticed that the coated inner rod on the damper assembly was partially unthreaded (you can see a small gap just below the coated shaft on the first picture below – the second picture is after I rethreaded it down tight). This should be checked before step 14 because if it’s unthreaded slightly, the actuator push rod within the shaft will not be able to fully reach and activate the dropper. You will need to unthread this anyway if you plan to replace the seal in there.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0040.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0042.jpg

    Step 14: Insert the push rod (being sure the long end faces out toward the actuator). Then install the push rod cover. This will allow you to open the valve as you insert it into the oil in step 14 b.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0025.jpg

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0027.jpg

    Step 14 b: While depressing the actuator piston to open the valve, insert the damper assembly through the oil and down into the inner metal tube of the cartridge assembly just until the gold coated part is leveled with the top end of the inner tube. Oil should be overflowing as you do this, which should prevent air in the chamber. Tighten the cap using the spanner/snap ring pliers. **USE CAUTION WHEN TIGHTENING THIS AS THE CAP TENDS TO WANT TO CROSS THREAD – ALSO, IF YOU START TO GET RESISTANCE WHILE THREADING, IT HELPS TO TIGHTEN A LITTLE, THEN DEPRESS THE PISTON, TIGHTEN A LITTLE MORE, DEPRESS, AND SO ON**

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-csc_0019.jpg





    Step 15: Use a shock pump to add pressure to 150-250 psi. After you’ve added some air, depress the actuator piston to be sure the post is fully extended before filling to the desired pressure. After you’ve added air, with the internal shaft fully extended, you can attempt compressing it against your workbench – if it doesn’t sag, you’ve succeeded in eliminating the sag issue.




    Step 16 to finish: Simply follow the KS video to finish the reassembly. Here’s the video:
    KS LEV Service - YouTube

    **One problem you may run into is when threading on the post end cap. As advised by the video, you thread it on until the last few threads, then use the remote to activate and compress the post before tightening the last few threads. If the post won’t stay in the down position, tighten the end cap a little more and try again before you freak out.

    Please let me know how this goes if you try it. Additionally, if there are any really confusing areas or you feel there is some editing I need to do, please let me know.

    Also, thanks to everyone for the tips on posting, using Photobucket, and improving my technique.

    Good Luck

    -Chris

    *Additional Useful Information:
    If the internal cable is broken, replacement is pretty easy following this video from the KS Website: KS LEV Service - YouTube

    Ron Easton used to be pretty good about mailing you replacement parts but it seems things have changed and now they direct you to your local dealer. If you’re impatient like me, I’ve listed ways to have an endless supply of cable and isolator pellets to do this repair. (You can reuse the metal end barrels, but you need to use a lighter to melt the old isolator pellet out of there before passing the new cable through).

    1 mm Braided Kevlar Kite String:

    Free Shipping 100ft 250lb Braided Kevlar Line for Fishing Camping Kite Flying | eBay

    "Isolator Pellets" This is bean bag filler - they're a little big but you can easily snip them down smaller with wire cutters to get the size you need:

    Darice Bean Bag Filler Plastic Pellets, 16 oz: Crafts : Walmart.com

    If you prefer the actual parts, Art’s Cyclery is a great source

    Barrel (missing the grub screw which can also be purchased at this site) *Again, you can reuse your originals – just use a lighter to melt out the old isolator pellet:

    Kind Shock Lev Barrel Cable Clamp Each

    Cable:

    Kind Shock Lev Kevlar Link Cable

    Another great source for a lot of KS parts:

    Universal Cycles -- Kind Shock Seatpost Service Parts

    Lastly:

    I ran into this issue while examining my buddy’s broken LEV. His actuator lever assembly actually busted through the bottom of the post end cap. There is a lip on the actuator assembly that makes contact with a lip inside the end cap and it appears this holds the entire weight of the rider. In the picture here, you’ll see the lip is “stripped” on both the actuator and cap (using an allen key in the photo to point it out). When weight is placed on the saddle, the post begins to sink into the cap, eventually breaking the internal cable, then jamming the lever against the bottom of the cap. Once the lever hits the bottom, the post is locked into the activated mode (sinks when weighted, rises when standing). Be sure you examine yours if you dismantle it.





    LEV EXPLODED VIEW AND SEAL SPECS (LABELED BY MODEL NUMBER):



    B70016 -016 B70 (NBR) Buna-N Nitrile 70 Duro O-Ring [B70016] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    N2.00X008 2mm X 8mm Metric Buna-N 70 O-ring [N2.00X008] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    B70009 -009 B70 (NBR) Buna-N Nitrile 70 Duro O-Ring [B70009] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    QR-109 109 Buna-N 70 X-Rings / Quad-Rings [QR-109] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    B90007 -007 B90 (NBR) Buna-N Nitrile 90 Duro O-Ring [B90007] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    N1.00X002 (X2) 1mm X 2mm Metric Buna-N 70 O-ring [N1.00X002] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    QR-113 113 Buna-N 70 X-Rings / Quad-Rings [QR-113] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    QR-114
    114 Buna-N 70 X-Rings / Quad-Rings [QR-114] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    MUU-10X15X3 MUU-10X15X3 Urethane Metric U-Seal [MUU-10X15X3] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    N2.00X017 2mm X 17mm Metric Buna-N 70 O-ring [N2.00X017] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!


    __________________________________________________ ____
    _____________LEV INTEGRA DIFFERENCES__________________

    If you have the 2nd Generation LEV Integra, the initial steps will be slightly different.

    Step 1:

    With your post in the soft jaws, use a crescent wrench to unthread the bottom assembly from the black casing as shown below.


    Then simply skip to step 4.


    __________________________________________________ _______
    _____________SUPERNATURAL DIFFERENCES___________________

    This is something I originally posted later on page 1 of this thread. I recently tried to edit it and received a forbidden message for some reason so I'm tacking it on here.

    My wife's Supernatural needed a little more work than I anticipated tonight so I took advantage of the opportunity and created an exploded view of the post for comparison to the LEV (note that when you reassemble this post, it's actually better to have the IFP at the opposite end than is pictured below):

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-img_3437.jpg

    Of course once I got the thing apart, I realized that these are factory charged and there initially appeared to be no way to recharge the system. Luckily, there were other threads online with people who experienced the same sinking feeling.

    There's actually a very small hole within one of the craters on the cartridge end cap - this is the area where snap ring pliers are used to remove the cap:

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-photo-1.jpg

    This hole connects through to an even smaller pinhole beneath the lower o-ring on the cartridge cap. I've removed the o-ring in the picture below to reveal the pinhole:

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-photo-2.jpg

    Once the cartridge is reassembled and you're ready to add air, you have to get a little creative as some other threads have mentioned. I used a basketball inflater wrapped with electrical tape (there's got to be a better attachment that seals better - let me know if you're familiar with this) and my shock pump. **EDIT - you can actually use the inner plastic tubing from a standard piece of derailleurs cable housing around the inflator tip**

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-photo-3.jpg

    Downside is that you can't really get an accurate read on pressure so I just added a little at a time until I got the desired speed of activation. **EDIT - this is not true. You can get an accurate reading. I use the LEV guidelines of 150-250 psi

    The other difference over the LEV is that the air chamber is on the opposite end so oil is added a little differently.

    When I reassembled this, I pushed the IFP down into the cartridge by itself first, then replaced the middle tube and pressed it down in (luckily it didn't give me problems like the IFP on my LEV). **EDIT - a better way is to keep the IFP on the inner tube and insert them together, then using a thin dowel or other rod, push the IFP down into place**

    I then filled that inner tube with 5 wt. oil nearly to the brim, then installed the final inner shaft into the oil (I had to depress the activator lever against my workbench as I installed the inner shaft - only as far as needed to then replace the cartridge end cap)

    Next, screwed the end cap on and added air with the terrible taped-up needle tip. Post is working great now so I got lucky. Wasn't exactly a smooth process and took way longer to figure out than I care to admit but it's done now and I figured this may help someone along the way.

    Sorry for the rough layout and poor quality photos.

    **EDIT - I've since done this on another Supernatural that continues to run flawlessly**

    -Chris
    Last edited by cakelly4; 2 Days Ago at 06:44 PM. Reason: Photobucket made a dick move

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    LEV Rotational Play Repair

    If you have a SIGNIFICANT amount of rotational play in your post (nose of saddle rotates left and right), this should resolve it or dramatically reduce it.

    There appear to be 4 factors that affect rotational stability in the LEV:

    1. The copper guide bushings – these reside in the grooves in the cartridge/stanchion and slide along the groove tracks inside the black casing
    2. The one way roller bearing – if the post rotates one way slightly in the grooves mentioned above, this bearing prevents it from moving back, thus minimizing rotational play
    3. The grooves inside the black outer casing – I suppose these may get worn and potentially widen over time
    4. The grooves on the stanchion – these can likely get a little sloppy with wear over time and therefore allow a little play.

    The first two of these factors can be fairly easily replaced. By doing so, you will greatly reduce any rotational play you may be experiencing.

    The following procedure was performed on my wife’s LEV after the rotational play increased to the point of feeling the saddle move beneath her while pedaling. As always, attempt this at your own risk. Mine went very smoothly however damage to your post is possible and once you start the procedure, there’s no going back until you have finished.

    1. You will need to purchase a new one way roller bearing and 3 copper guide bushings. Be sure to order 3 guide bushings. They are available for a reasonable price here:

    https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...&category=3997

    2. I found it easier to get purchase on the old bearing assembly by first removing the nylon inner portion using a screwdriver. Once you do this, you’re stuck and will need to follow through to the end of the procedure before your post is functional again.



    3. Next, place your post upright in a vice with soft jaws and use a downhill tire lever (works great) or large screw driver (risk of marring) to gently work the metal outer ring loose. I did a little at a time and worked my way around slowly until it lifted approximately 2-3 mm.



    4. Next, reposition your downhill tire lever underneath the entire metal ring. The tire lever was perfect for this and really helps prevent damage to the post – keep that in mind. Gently lever the ring out by working your way around it gradually.



    5. Clean the bearing surface and grease it lightly with slick honey or other grease to facilitate pressing the new bearing.

    6. Prepare your new bearing. Pay attention to the orientation of the bearing. The surface that should be facing up (visible after installing) has a slightly more prominent and rounded edge when compared to the underside. The first picture below shows the top – it’s easier to see this when you have the bearing in front of you.





    7. Gently position the bearing level in the post so that the grooves (guide bushing paths) are lined with the same grooves in the black casing. I used my stanchion with the copper guide bushings in place to line up the new bearing, and pushed it down gently by hand to get it seated.





    8. Once the bearing is in position, you can get it partially seated by using your hands to push the bearing down into place. Be sure to apply even pressure all the way around so that it goes in straight.

    9. Once you get it evenly seated by hand, you can use a hub bearing press attachment and a rubber mallet to finish the job. I used a Hope Pro II Evo hub bearing press (I can’t remember the size) to gently tap it into place.





    10. Reassemble your post as directed. Don’t forget your new copper guide bushings.



    Good luck if you try it and as always, let me know if you have any better suggestions, questions, etc.

    -Chris
    Last edited by cakelly4; 06-30-2015 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Additional Service Procedure

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    Subscribed!!!

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    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild

    Excellent work! I've been doing this to my Reverb ever since RS released the videos, but I figured the KS post worked in a similar way. I've been wanting an offset post for awhile now and Rockshox won't make a reverb with an offset. Just curious, do you think the KS dropzone has the same or similar cartridge as the LEV? I would change to that in a heartbeat if I could rebuild a dropzone like you've done here with the LEV.

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    Don't know for sure. I think the cartridges are supposed to be fairly similar but I have not worked on one. My wife has the Supernatural (very similar to Dropzone) and she hasn't had any sinking issues yet. Since the actuator mechanism is on the top, I imagine there may be some differences in where the oil (or air if any?) goes.

    -Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    Don't know for sure. I think the cartridges are supposed to be fairly similar but I have not worked on one. My wife has the Supernatural (very similar to Dropzone) and she hasn't had any sinking issues yet. Since the actuator mechanism is on the top, I imagine there may be some differences in where the oil (or air if any?) goes.

    -Chris
    Good point. I will say though that the internals of the KS look very similar to the RS Reverb. The parts look a little different, and some parts are longer than others due to differences in the actuation point, but in the end, it is still 3 tubes with 1 tube extending up and down.

    I'm curious, did you change any of the o-rings on the inside of this post? If the RS Reverb starts to sag, it is pretty much a guarantee that one of the dynamic o-rings (ones that either move with the extending shaft or have the shaft moving along side the o-ring) has gone bad and needs to be replaced. It is a long procedure and maybe I missed the 'fix' step or didn't realize what was being fixed to prevent sagging.

    Lastly, you mentioned other threads/forums that have more discussion on this? Can you direct me where these are?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Laterilus View Post
    I'm curious, did you change any of the o-rings on the inside of this post? If the RS Reverb starts to sag, it is pretty much a guarantee that one of the dynamic o-rings (ones that either move with the extending shaft or have the shaft moving along side the o-ring) has gone bad and needs to be replaced. It is a long procedure and maybe I missed the 'fix' step or didn't realize what was being fixed to prevent sagging.

    Lastly, you mentioned other threads/forums that have more discussion on this? Can you direct me where these are?
    Good question regarding the seals. So far, the posts that I've fixed have done just great after this rebuild with no replacement of internal seals. Aside from mine, the other two I fixed began to have the problem shortly after purchase and so my theory is that there are some bad cartridges out there that already have a small amount of air in them. Alternatively, there could be a slow leaking seal and maybe my repaired ones will fail again sometime down the road. Another theory that I've read in some of the other threads is that by lifting your bike by the seat (with the post in the partially down position) you are potentially creating negative pressure in the system and sucking air into the oil chamber. This is also why I'm interested in receiving feedback from others who try this. Will be interesting to see if the rebuild effectively fixes the problem long-term, short-term, or not at all for some people.

    Here are the other sites that I previously mentioned:

    ks lev dropper post sag ?

    http://forums.mtbr.com/all-mountain/...st-778632.html

    So I just decided to edit this post because I found this quote from a thread I started on a local forum:

    Mischief Bruise Quoted:
    "My LEV developed 1" of sag last year during a cold weekend where the highs reached the mid-20's during the day. I called KS and spoke to Ron Easton about it, and he said that colder temps could cause some of the seals to shrink, letting air and oil mix, which was causing that sag. At the time, he said that KS was in the process of re-sourcing those seals from a different manufacturer, so I might recommend getting a new kit from KS when doing this repair."

    That thread is located here: Repair Your KS LEV

    Hope this info helps

    -Chris

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    Subscribed -- and many thanks to Chris for taking the time to post the this, saving us the hassle of having to send away the post to KS.

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    You're welcome. I hope it helps for others as much as it has for my own LEV.

    -Chris

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    Great step by step. rebuilding adjustable seatposts definitely is time consuming and lots of steps. Especially when you don't rebuild one every day, it is easy to make mistakes. When i rebuild mine, i just hope i don't have extra parts sitting there and be scratching my head saying "where were those parts supposed to installed?"

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    I wish more people did DIY/write-ups like this. I know how to do just about everything by now but it would have been nice along the way.

    Would be in for one of these on the Fox DOSS for when mine inevitably starts having issues.

    edit: you really put 150-250psi in a LEV? My DOSS asks for something like 15-20psi max and at my return speed preference it's in the <10psi range, so low it won't register on my pump! haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    edit: you really put 150-250psi in a LEV? My DOSS asks for something like 15-20psi max and at my return speed preference it's in the <10psi range, so low it won't register on my pump! haha
    Yup. LEV manual states 150-250. I believe factory setting is at 150psi. I'm guessing the air chamber on the DOSS is much smaller than the LEV's

    -Chris

    Edit: I mean the DOSS is probably a larger air chamber, hence lower pressure.

  13. #13
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    cakelly4, that's an awesome step by step, thanks for the effort you've put into it. I was looking for something like this and nearly gave up. I don't need to service the cartridge just yet, but I know one day I'll need these instructions.

    I have an issue maybe you can help with given you've done a few Levs already:

    I've just done the basic service on my Lev for the first time based on the KS youtube video, just cleaned everything and re-greased using Slickoleum.

    After reassembly the post is super smooth but I hear loud "breathing" when the post compresses and expands. I can hear air getting sucked in and out through the cable junction under the red KS logo cover where the cable terminates. Initially I wasn't concerned by that, just assumed that it might be because I used a bit more grease than necessary.

    But after the first ride following this service I discovered that the silver bottom from the bottom end cap blew out and was rattling inside my frame! Most likely because during the ride I compressed the seatpost quickly, and air did not have time to escape through the cable junction box so it blew out the bottom.

    The silver bottom is held in place by an o-ring, just like the cable junction cover so there was no permanent damage and I was able to reinstall it. This happened while the red cable junction cover was held in place by an extra thick after market o-ring and this is why I think the silver bottom blew out while the red cover remained in place.

    I have now switched back to the original size o-ring on the red cable junction cover and now when I push the seat post down to test it the red cover gets pushed out by the air pressure. If I don't address it I will probably lose it on the trail. Any idea what is going on? Did you experience this with the posts you serviced?

    I thought maybe I wasn't purging the air from the post properly during reassembly. But I don't see how that would matter since the post is able to suck air in through the cable junction box when it expands anyways. I'm at a loss as to how I've "introduced" this issue by the basic "clean and lube" service...

    Brings me to the second question:

    What is the purpose of compressing the post before the end cap is fully tightened as in the KS service youtube vid? Might it be related to my issue? Note that I did execute this step as per instructions.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    Good question regarding the seals. So far, the posts that I've fixed have done just great after this rebuild with no replacement of internal seals. Aside from mine, the other two I fixed began to have the problem shortly after purchase and so my theory is that there are some bad cartridges out there that already have a small amount of air in them. Alternatively, there could be a slow leaking seal and maybe my repaired ones will fail again sometime down the road. Another theory that I've read in some of the other threads is that by lifting your bike by the seat (with the post in the partially down position) you are potentially creating negative pressure in the system and sucking air into the oil chamber. This is also why I'm interested in receiving feedback from others who try this. Will be interesting to see if the rebuild effectively fixes the problem long-term, short-term, or not at all for some people.

    Here are the other sites that I previously mentioned:

    ks lev dropper post sag ?

    http://forums.mtbr.com/all-mountain/...st-778632.html

    So I just decided to edit this post because I found this quote from a thread I started on a local forum:

    Mischief Bruise Quoted:
    "My LEV developed 1" of sag last year during a cold weekend where the highs reached the mid-20's during the day. I called KS and spoke to Ron Easton about it, and he said that colder temps could cause some of the seals to shrink, letting air and oil mix, which was causing that sag. At the time, he said that KS was in the process of re-sourcing those seals from a different manufacturer, so I might recommend getting a new kit from KS when doing this repair."

    That thread is located here: Repair Your KS LEV

    Hope this info helps

    -Chris
    Been meaning to reply back to your post. Again, outstanding information and work done here. It's stuff like this that keeps me coming back to MTBr even though the vast majority of the posts on these forums are junk. Good to know there is still worthwhile posts out there.

    Ok, enough gushing; I've re-read your procedure many times over now as it is obviously full of details. I'm a like-minded person and would prefer to sweat all the details.
    It is so interesting to me that the designs of both the LEV and Reverb are almost identical, but with subtle differences. One of the main things I noticed was the use of quad seals (I believe you referred to them as 'square gaskets', cakelly4). This was a mistake on SRAM's part. All the internal seals are the typical round seals. I have since replaced all the dynamic seals in my Reverb with quad seals. It made a lot more sense to me to get double the sealing contact for any of the seals that have to move.

    The IFP for the LEV is pretty much identical to the Reverb. Yes, those seals are a ***** to get back in, but it can be done with some patience. I squeeze them together to make a little 'taco'. Place your pinky finger or a wooden dowel on the other end just below the recessed area where the o-ring will seat. Once I get one end of the taco in, I'll wedge the rest of the o-ring in the IFP so that it won't pop out, then slowly move the dowel around the recessed area while using my fingers from the opposite end. It's not easy, but it works and you can do this without damaging them if you take your time.

    Also, speaking of the o-rings durability, I too am very curious about the run time both you and your friends get from your posts since you did not change any of the o-rings. My experience with the Reverb is that one of the dynamic o-rings has blown if the sagging starts. I like your method of checking for proper operation prior to completely rebuilding the post. I came to the same conclusion with the Reverb. I would like to add something though, after checking to see if the posts sags on your work bench, jiggle the skinny shaft around a bit. If air or oil starts to spray out, the o-ring is blown. Sure, that inner shaft won't jiggle during normal operation, but a good o-ring will still hold that seal with a little bit of side to side movement. I'm sure Kind Shock is like the rest of the manufacturers out there and uses Buna-N o-rings so it shouldn't be difficult to measure them and get replacements. I go to theoringstore.com to get o-rings for my Reverb and forks. Super cheap, and they have quad rings. Comparing to the Reverb, my guess is that the o-rings that tend to go bad are the ones on the two silver end caps, and definitely the quad ring on the skinny inner shaft (the one surrounded by the two teflon glide rings). In addition, I'm assuming the silver end cap you removed using a snap-ring pliers also has an o-ring on the inside of it to seal it around the skinny shaft? That one goes bad on the Reverb as well.

    Your bleed procedure is brilliant. One of my main problems with the Reverb is the bleed procedure (for the internal portion of the post, not the remote). The more I looked at your bleed procedure, the more I realized that you are bleeding the LEV upside-down from the way that SRAM has instructed to bleed the post. No matter what I do, I always have 1-1.5mm of sag after a fresh bleed. I don't really notice it on the trail, but it is still annoying and I would like to get ALL the air out of the system. Whenever I get around to bleeding my Reverb again, I'm going to do it upside down using the same procedure you have listed here. The Reverb clamp head actually unscrews from the telescoping post part which would allow for an upside down bleed.

    Lastly, I've been looking for a replacement for awhile for my Reverb. Not that the post is bad, I like it a lot, but I wanted the option of an offset seatpost. I fit better on those posts, but I didn't want a mechanical dropper like the Specialized blacklite. I was really considering the KS Dropzone, but there weren't any instructions on how to rebuild them.... that's what has kept me with the Reverb. Now that I've seen your procedure, I'm assuming the general design of the Dropzone will be similar and I'll be able to rebuild that one as well. So, I now have a dropzone in the mail on its way! I'll add to your thread here with a Dropzone re-build next winter (or the first time it starts to sag).

  15. #15
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    vicrider222,

    I definitely have experienced the "breathing" sound after servicing the post as you mentioned and would agree that it seems to be more notable when I've gotten a little carried away with the slick honey. I do think a thin smattering is more ideal. That being said, I've never seen the bottom blown out by air pressure alone. I DID however see the bottom blown out of a buddy's LEV where the actuator assembly lip stripped through the end cap lip and busted out the bottom (photos of this are in the above step-by-step) - this is the only reason I knew what you were referring to.

    As for the junction box cover, part of your problem may be a worn out barbed ferrule at the junction - the lip is actually designed to mate with an indent in the junction box lid to help keep it in place and to keep the cable aligned properly. The other possibility is that your cover is upside down (with the indent up instead of toward the ferrule). You can buy a new ferrule here: Kind Shock Lev Cable Housing Ferrule Each or ask Ron @ KS to send you one. I've spoken with Ron Easton not too long ago and he mentioned that there is potential for an alloy ferrule to be available soon - thus the barb would be more durable.

    The final step in the KS video is designed to prevent an excess bolus of air between the body and the cartridge. I think this step is only to keep a fairly neutral pressure as it seems impossible to keep any air from entering/exiting during operation.

    My thoughts would be to go in and lighten up the amount of grease, check your ferrule and junction cover placement, and try again. Also, is Slickoleum thin like Slick Honey, or thicker? Thin definitely seems better for this.

    Good luck. Let me know if this was helpful and how it goes. I'm always curious how these issues pan out.

    -Chris

  16. #16
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    Laterilus,

    Thanks for the positive praise. Psyched that this thread is helping others even a little. I am a little worried about my IFP after finally getting it back on. I did end up doing pretty much what you explained above to finally get it however I managed to shear a little rubber in the attempts before that. I will definitely keep this post updated as I get more miles on my post and as my buddies do the same. One guy unfortunately doesn't get to ride as often so it may be a while to get better feed back. So far he reports the post as being "sac-slapping fast" though, so that's a plus. The other guy has the LEV that had the stripped actuator so we're currently waiting on replacement parts. So far, the only one I can speak for is mine which has been problem free for miles after the first rebuild. I've since rebuilt it 2 or 3 times just to get more photos for this thread however. So I'm sort of resetting the longevity clock on that one (and with a slightly damaged inner seal on the IFP now - whoops). Definitely going to check out the o-ring website you referenced. And I agree that the quad seals just make more sense for the internals - weird that SRAM doesn't do that. I do wish there was a seal kit for the LEV similar to rear shock air sleeve maintenance kits. That would be the simplest way to maintain them longterm.

    Good luck with the drop zone. My wife has the Supernatural and although it's a sweet post, my biggest gripes are the cable connection at the saddle and the external activator arm and cable getting gunked up frequently - her post is being serviced by me as soon as I leave this thread as a matter of fact. It just doesn't do well in excessively wet and/or muddy conditions. I'll soon be creating an under the seat mud guard for hers.

    - Chris

  17. #17
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    Supernatural/Dropzone Slightly Different Internals

    If you’ve got a KS LEV that has started sinking, this should fix it. I started this thread quite a while ago and used feedback to improve on it. The process seems to consistently work based on feedback I’ve received. Just the simple process of recharging the system resolves the issue that results after air and oil mix in the chambers. Even without replacing seals, this seems to resolve the issue for a long time however I recently added the specs for the seals with an exploded view of the post so that you can replace them while you’re in there. If you try this, please let me know how it goes. Also let me know if any steps are confusing or if you run into any other issues. I’ll use your feedback to improve the thread. ***If all of this blows your mind, I’ve also performed this service including seal replacement for $50 plus shipping (with additional fees if any other parts need to be replaced) – PM me if this is a route you’d prefer to take***

    DISCLAIMER: I’ve done this procedure A LOT. I started on my own LEV, and have since repaired numerous LEVs and Supernaturals. I initially went back into my own LEV multiple times to gain additional photos for this thread. Mine is still running smoothly and I only occasionally go back in to replace seals. I’ve refined this post to be as clear as possible and the method works great. I've also added some tips from mistakes I've made myself. That being said - ATTEMPT AT YOUR OWN RISK.

    Good Luck,
    -Chris

    ***************************************
    ***ATTENTION: Manufacturer Warning***

    I have been contacted by the manufacturer and they have urged me to add this warning to this thread on their behalf:

    "The procedure explained by the user in this thread is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and could result in severe injury or death to the person performing this. These warnings are also clearly stated on our website and in our manuals. This posting may cause some consumers to disregard our warnings and severely injure themselves attempting this procedure listed."

    "We at KS USA do NOT endorse the servicing of the oil system, it is factory sealed, and not to be opened by the user as the internals are under EXTREME PRESSURE!"

    "We offer a 2 year warranty on our products, so if a customer is having an issue, they can send the post in to us and we will REPLACE the cartridge at no charge under warranty. If it is outside of the warranty period, the consumer can purchase a new cartridge assembly thru their local dealer."

    Mike A from KS USA

    ***************************************


    I’m starting the procedure after disconnecting the remote cable from the post and removing the post from the bike. If you have trouble with this, consult your owner’s manual. Although there is a great instructional video at kssuspension.com to do the first 8 steps, I’ve included these anyway to demonstrate my technique for Step 5, which is far more difficult than appears in the video. Also pay attention to a warning in Step 7 to prevent damage to your DU Bushing. Alternatively, skip to Step 9 to get right to the cartridge section or to the near end to see the exploded view and links to replacement seals. I've also added a section regarding the Supernatural differences as this procedure works for it as well, with just a few modifications.

    Step 1: With your post in the soft jaws of a vice, remove the end cap using a strap wrench to expose the actuator lever. If you have the 2nd Generation Integra, see differences below (towards the end of this thread).

    LEV Service Pics - Album on Imgur

    Step 2: Compress the actuator lever to slacken the internal cable. Rotate the end barrel in order to disconnect it from the lever.



    Step 3: Gently pull the cable snug and tape it against the outside of the post with electrical tape.



    Step 4: Push the post through or carefully pull on the actuator assembly to expose the inner shaft. Then spray clean with alcohol to prepare for the next step.



    Step 5: Remove the LEV from the soft jaws, protect the exposed shaft with a portion of rubber inner tube, then place it in the soft jaws and snug it just enough to prevent the shaft from rotating while you loosen the actuator assembly with a wrench. Alternatively, you could use a rubberized soft jaws like this (but I don’t tend to have good luck with it):

    http://www.amazon.com/Brampton-Techn...club+vice+grip

    **THIS STEP MAY BE VERY DIFFICULT DUE TO A STRONG THREAD LOCK ADHESIVE – THE ACTUATOR LEVER IS A SOFT METAL AND CAN BEND EASILY – TAKE CARE NOT TO DAMAGE IT - ** (((EDIT))): LESS TOOLS ARE BETTER HERE IF POSSIBLE – SOME ACTUATORS MAY NOT BE AS DIFFICULT TO REMOVE AS OTHERS – VICRIDER222 RECOMMENDS THIS TECHNIQUE: “You will get as much if not more grip by putting on a clean, tight fitting household latex glove and grabbing the degreased shaft with your hand…keep your thumb out, place the shaft along the base of your 4 fingers and close them. Squeeze them as tight as you can, then turn the actuator base with your other hand”



    Step 6: Remove the actuator assembly, the rubber bottom-out bumper, and the piston/push rod - **NOTE THAT THERE IS A LONG END AND SHORT END OF THE PUSH ROD – THE LONG END NEEDS TO FACE OUT TOWARD THE ACTUATOR**







    Step 7: Loosen the top collar with a strap wrench, then remove the cartridge assembly from the outer shaft. Be carefull not to lose the 3 copper guide bushings on the cartridge assembly. **WARNING – On the KS video, the shaft is yanked with some force so that the copper guide bushings knock the silver DU Bushing out. This works most of the time however if the DU Bushing is stuck, you may blow the inner coated ring out of the DU Bushing (See pic below). You can avoid this buy removing the black top collar, then protecting the stachion with a towel and grasping the DU Bushing CAREFULLY with channel locks and twisting it back and forth slightly to help loosen it (Pictured below though stanchion is not covered to make it easier to see). If you do blow out the DU Bushing, it’s OK. They can be purchased at Universal Cycle





    WARNING – avoid this at Step 7



    The picture above can be avoided by loosening the DU Bushing using channel locks as pictured below (be sure to protect the stanchion first – (not done here for visability). You just need to twist the DU Bushing slightly in order to make sure it’s not seized before giving the firm pull mentioned in Step 7. BE SUPER CAREFUL IF YOU CHOOSE TO DO THIS AS YOU CAN EASILY SCRATCH THE STANCHION – I KEEP SPARE DU BUSHINGS AROUND BECAUSE I PREFER TO REPLACE IF THEY BREAK RATHER THAN RISK SCRATCHING THE POST



    Step 8: Remove the 3 copper guide bushings, then slide off the DU bushing, collar, and bottom of the seat clasp





    Step 9: Unscrew the Schrader valve cover and release the pressure from the system using a screwdriver/nail/etc.





    Step 10: **EYE PROTECTION AND POINT AWAY FROM YOUR FACE - SEE MANUFACTURER WARNING ABOVE BEFORE ATTEMPTING** Using snap ring pliers (or better yet, a spanner tool – Park SPA-2), unscrew the cap of the cartridge, lift the cap slightly, and dump out the oil. There may be a loud “pop” of pressure releasing when you loosen the cap.





    Step 11: Flip the cartridge around and use your finger to push the Schrader valve assembly and the other internals through the cartridge as one entity. You may need to use a dowel rod or protected screwdriver to push it all the way through.







    Step 11 b: You can now break the internals down further as pictured below – **WHEN REMOVING THE SLIDING PIECE OF BLACK PLASTIC (INTERNAL FLOATING PISTON – IFP) FROM THE METAL TUBE IT’S ON, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO GET BACK ON BECAUSE OF A VERY TIGHT SQUARE GASKET ON THE INNER SURFACE – SEE TRICK MENTIONED BELOW TO REINSTALL IFP ONTO TUBE**



    **BE CAREFUL REINSTALLING THIS – YOU CAN SEE THE INNER SEAL HERE THAT I DAMAGED TRYING TO GET THIS THING BACK ON THE METAL TUBE** The best technique to get the IFP back on the tube was demonstrated by “chukt” on page 14 of this thread. Simply use a Craftsman 10 mm socket – it has the same outer diameter as the tube. The IFP can easily be slid onto the socket over the rounded edge, then slide the IFP directly off the socket and onto the tube.



    Step 12: Next, replace the valve assembly and the metal tube with the IFP on it. You will want the IFP approx. 2-3 mm away from the end opposite to the valve assembly end. You can assemble these and insert them as one entity. The IFP may need to be guided using your finger to keep it from slipping up further as you replace the tube it’s on. You can also reinstall the cartridge end cap after this step to help push it down approximately 3 mm.







    Step 13: Add Fork Oil (I use 5 WT) to fill the cartridge at least to the bottom thread (though I go a little farther for good measure).



    Step 13 b: Preparation for step 14: When I went back into my own LEV, I noticed that the coated inner rod on the damper assembly was partially unthreaded (you can see a small gap just below the coated shaft on the first picture below – the second picture is after I rethreaded it down tight). This should be checked before step 14 because if it’s unthreaded slightly, the actuator push rod within the shaft will not be able to fully reach and activate the dropper. You will need to unthread this anyway if you plan to replace the seal in there.





    Step 14: Insert the push rod (being sure the long end faces out toward the actuator). Then install the push rod cover. This will allow you to open the valve as you insert it into the oil in step 14 b.





    Step 14 b: While depressing the actuator piston to open the valve, insert the damper assembly through the oil and down into the inner metal tube of the cartridge assembly just until the gold coated part is leveled with the top end of the inner tube. Oil should be overflowing as you do this, which should prevent air in the chamber. Tighten the cap using the spanner/snap ring pliers. **USE CAUTION WHEN TIGHTENING THIS AS THE CAP TENDS TO WANT TO CROSS THREAD – ALSO, IF YOU START TO GET RESISTANCE WHILE THREADING, IT HELPS TO TIGHTEN A LITTLE, THEN DEPRESS THE PISTON, TIGHTEN A LITTLE MORE, DEPRESS, AND SO ON**







    Step 15: Use a shock pump to add pressure to 150-250 psi. After you’ve added some air, depress the actuator piston to be sure the post is fully extended before filling to the desired pressure. After you’ve added air, with the internal shaft fully extended, you can attempt compressing it against your workbench – if it doesn’t sag, you’ve succeeded in eliminating the sag issue.




    Step 16 to finish: Simply follow the KS video to finish the reassembly. Here’s the video:
    KS LEV Service - YouTube

    **One problem you may run into is when threading on the post end cap. As advised by the video, you thread it on until the last few threads, then use the remote to activate and compress the post before tightening the last few threads. If the post won’t stay in the down position, tighten the end cap a little more and try again before you freak out.

    Please let me know how this goes if you try it. Additionally, if there are any really confusing areas or you feel there is some editing I need to do, please let me know.

    Also, thanks to everyone for the tips on posting, using Photobucket, and improving my technique.

    Good Luck

    -Chris

    *Additional Useful Information:
    If the internal cable is broken, replacement is pretty easy following this video from the KS Website: KS LEV Service - YouTube

    Ron Easton used to be pretty good about mailing you replacement parts but it seems things have changed and now they direct you to your local dealer. If you’re impatient like me, I’ve listed ways to have an endless supply of cable and isolator pellets to do this repair. (You can reuse the metal end barrels, but you need to use a lighter to melt the old isolator pellet out of there before passing the new cable through).

    1 mm Braided Kevlar Kite String:

    Free Shipping 100ft 250lb Braided Kevlar Line for Fishing Camping Kite Flying | eBay

    "Isolator Pellets" This is bean bag filler - they're a little big but you can easily snip them down smaller with wire cutters to get the size you need:

    Darice Bean Bag Filler Plastic Pellets, 16 oz: Crafts : Walmart.com

    If you prefer the actual parts, Art’s Cyclery is a great source

    Barrel (missing the grub screw which can also be purchased at this site) *Again, you can reuse your originals – just use a lighter to melt out the old isolator pellet:

    Kind Shock Lev Barrel Cable Clamp Each

    Cable:

    Kind Shock Lev Kevlar Link Cable

    Another great source for a lot of KS parts:

    Universal Cycles -- Kind Shock Seatpost Service Parts

    Lastly:

    I ran into this issue while examining my buddy’s broken LEV. His actuator lever assembly actually busted through the bottom of the post end cap. There is a lip on the actuator assembly that makes contact with a lip inside the end cap and it appears this holds the entire weight of the rider. In the picture here, you’ll see the lip is “stripped” on both the actuator and cap (using an allen key in the photo to point it out). When weight is placed on the saddle, the post begins to sink into the cap, eventually breaking the internal cable, then jamming the lever against the bottom of the cap. Once the lever hits the bottom, the post is locked into the activated mode (sinks when weighted, rises when standing). Be sure you examine yours if you dismantle it.





    LEV EXPLODED VIEW AND SEAL SPECS (LABELED BY MODEL NUMBER):



    B70016 -016 B70 (NBR) Buna-N Nitrile 70 Duro O-Ring [B70016] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    N2.00X008 2mm X 8mm Metric Buna-N 70 O-ring [N2.00X008] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    B70009 -009 B70 (NBR) Buna-N Nitrile 70 Duro O-Ring [B70009] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    QR-109 109 Buna-N 70 X-Rings / Quad-Rings [QR-109] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    B90007 -007 B90 (NBR) Buna-N Nitrile 90 Duro O-Ring [B90007] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    N1.00X002 (X2) 1mm X 2mm Metric Buna-N 70 O-ring [N1.00X002] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    QR-113 113 Buna-N 70 X-Rings / Quad-Rings [QR-113] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    QR-114
    114 Buna-N 70 X-Rings / Quad-Rings [QR-114] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    MUU-10X15X3 MUU-10X15X3 Urethane Metric U-Seal [MUU-10X15X3] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!

    N2.00X017 2mm X 17mm Metric Buna-N 70 O-ring [N2.00X017] : The O-Ring Store LLC, We make getting O-Rings easy!


    __________________________________________________ ____
    _____________LEV INTEGRA DIFFERENCES__________________

    If you have the 2nd Generation LEV Integra, the initial steps will be slightly different.

    Step 1:

    With your post in the soft jaws, use a crescent wrench to unthread the bottom assembly from the black casing as shown below.


    Then simply skip to step 4.


    __________________________________________________ _______
    _____________SUPERNATURAL DIFFERENCES___________________

    This is something I originally posted later on page 1 of this thread. I recently tried to edit it and received a forbidden message for some reason so I'm tacking it on here.

    My wife's Supernatural needed a little more work than I anticipated tonight so I took advantage of the opportunity and created an exploded view of the post for comparison to the LEV (note that when you reassemble this post, it's actually better to have the IFP at the opposite end than is pictured below):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Of course once I got the thing apart, I realized that these are factory charged and there initially appeared to be no way to recharge the system. Luckily, there were other threads online with people who experienced the same sinking feeling.

    There's actually a very small hole within one of the craters on the cartridge end cap - this is the area where snap ring pliers are used to remove the cap:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This hole connects through to an even smaller pinhole beneath the lower o-ring on the cartridge cap. I've removed the o-ring in the picture below to reveal the pinhole:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Once the cartridge is reassembled and you're ready to add air, you have to get a little creative as some other threads have mentioned. I used a basketball inflater wrapped with electrical tape (there's got to be a better attachment that seals better - let me know if you're familiar with this) and my shock pump. **EDIT - you can actually use the inner plastic tubing from a standard piece of derailleurs cable housing around the inflator tip**

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Downside is that you can't really get an accurate read on pressure so I just added a little at a time until I got the desired speed of activation. **EDIT - this is not true. You can get an accurate reading. I use the LEV guidelines of 150-250 psi

    The other difference over the LEV is that the air chamber is on the opposite end so oil is added a little differently.

    When I reassembled this, I pushed the IFP down into the cartridge by itself first, then replaced the middle tube and pressed it down in (luckily it didn't give me problems like the IFP on my LEV). **EDIT - a better way is to keep the IFP on the inner tube and insert them together, then using a thin dowel or other rod, push the IFP down into place**

    I then filled that inner tube with 5 wt. oil nearly to the brim, then installed the final inner shaft into the oil (I had to depress the activator lever against my workbench as I installed the inner shaft - only as far as needed to then replace the cartridge end cap)

    Next, screwed the end cap on and added air with the terrible taped-up needle tip. Post is working great now so I got lucky. Wasn't exactly a smooth process and took way longer to figure out than I care to admit but it's done now and I figured this may help someone along the way.

    Sorry for the rough layout and poor quality photos.

    **EDIT - I've since done this on another Supernatural that continues to run flawlessly**

    -Chris
    Last edited by cakelly4; 3 Days Ago at 07:08 PM.

  18. #18
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    Once again Chris, nice work. Looks like that is what I'm going to have to deal with when my Dropzone arrives as the only thing different between the supernatural and dropzone is the clamp.

    First of all, I'm confused as to why this small port is needed to add air. What is the matter with the normal schraeder valve for adding air? Isn't that what you did with the LEV? I think I'm missing something here. I know with the Reverb you add air to the normal schraeder valve once you are finished charging it with oil.

    If the small port needs to be used, you could try using some sort or wax or rubber plug. It would be similar to a Fox rear shock when you have to charge the N2 chamber under the IFP. They don't have a schraeder core on their rear shocks, they use a rubber plug. That would produce the seal you want, then you stick the needle through that. It should seal back up as you remove the needle..... or at least that is what I will try when I have to do my post.

    It doesn't surprise me that your procedure is a little upside down from the LEV since the valve has switched sides between the two posts.

    Yes, I agree about the actuation lever on the Supernatural/Dropzone. It isn't ideal where it is located, but in my opinion, hydraulic is the way to go and I needed an offset post. The only way a mechanical post works for me is if I know the trail perfectly. That way I can set up my post where I want it well ahead of time before I actually need it. The hydraulic posts allow you to drop it whenever, where ever, and you don't have to slam it all the way down for it to be out of your way. I hate trying to 'find' the click in spots. Sometimes I only have time to drop my post 2 inches. That is still better than none at all if I'm coming up to a really chunky spot I didn't know was coming and my speed is a little more than what I wanted going into the section.

    Thankfully, I don't ride in muddy areas so this probably won't affect me much. However, doesn't KS already make a mud boot for the supernatural? Isn't it this part?
    Supernatural Mud Boot ? KS | Get Down and Dirty

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    Laterilus,

    Yeah, that mud boot is on hers but they still tend to get a little gunked up. In fact, I'm convinced that the boot also funnels water and grime down into the cable housing. Mostly a problem in very wet/muddy conditions though.

    Now for the bad news: There is no Schraeder valve on the Supernatural (and probably the same for the Dropzone). This is likely due, at least partially, to the reversed chambers which leave no room for a Schraeder valve on the air side of the cartridge.

    -Chris

  20. #20
    rox
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    great post, thanks for the detailed pics. I just finished a relube of my lev which is basically this procedure but leaving the oil cartridge sealed. I used silkolene pro-rg2 grease as I have had a bad experience using slickoleum in the past. in warm temps it gets too thin and runs down to the bottom bracket. hopefully this is not too thick or sticky for the lev.

    do you know the size or have a supplier for the o-ring that holds the cable attachment cover on? It appears to be 1/32 width 3/4 ID but I cant find anywhere to order this.

    also when disassembling the post how do you pop out the upper bushing without damaging it? for me, the rounded ends of the 3 brass rods were not kind the lower edge of this bushing.

  21. #21
    rox
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    I take it back about the o-ring. metric 1x19mm makes more sense. still interested to see if anyone knows for sure

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    Quote Originally Posted by rox View Post
    great post, thanks for the detailed pics. I just finished a relube of my lev which is basically this procedure but leaving the oil cartridge sealed. I used silkolene pro-rg2 grease as I have had a bad experience using slickoleum in the past. in warm temps it gets too thin and runs down to the bottom bracket. hopefully this is not too thick or sticky for the lev.

    do you know the size or have a supplier for the o-ring that holds the cable attachment cover on? It appears to be 1/32 width 3/4 ID but I cant find anywhere to order this.

    also when disassembling the post how do you pop out the upper bushing without damaging it? for me, the rounded ends of the 3 brass rods were not kind the lower edge of this bushing.
    Not sure what o-ring size. I actually need to do this to mine soon and plan to bring it to the hardware store to find a similar match.

    As for the DU bushing, that's tricky. I definitely ended up with some indents as well. Not sure there's a great way to avoid this. Maybe try gently extending the post until you can feel the guide bushings make contact with the DU bushing, then pull with steady pressure until the bushing pops out of the post body - may be slightly better than pulling hard and slamming them into it. I think the most important part of that Bushing is the inner teflon coated portion. I've gotten a few scratches on that just removing it from the cartridge as it runs over the guide bushing grooves - my recommendation there is to only remove the DU bushing if absolutely necessary to protect the inner surface. Also, Ron Easton was nice enough to mail me a new one when I called and asked.

    Have you tried Slick Honey for the grease? In the Supernatural service video found on the KS website, they mention Slick Honey as being a similar alternative to the KS Post Paste. I use a thin smattering of that and it keeps the post buttery smooth.

    -Chris

  23. #23
    rox
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    slick honey is just the marketing (and marked up) name for englund slickoleum. I ordered a pack of 50 1x19mm orings. can send you some if needed and if they turn out to be the right size.

    you have much better luck with ron than I do. I bent the upper plate of the seat clamp in a crash and have been trying to get a replacement forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rox View Post
    I take it back about the o-ring. metric 1x19mm makes more sense. still interested to see if anyone knows for sure
    I believe the cable junction cover o-ring size is ID=20mm by 1mm. I've tried both 20mm and 19mm and the 20mm comes closer to the original when compared side by side.

    The circumference of the o-ring channel on the cover is around 66.5mm. The internal circumference of the 20mm o-ring is 62.8mm. 59.7mm for the 19mm.

    I've recently obtained an obscene quantity of the 20mm X 1mm for cheap. Also happy to post a few to anyone who makes a decent contribution to this thread. Till I run out Just PM me your delivery address.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post

    I definitely have experienced the "breathing" sound after servicing the post as you mentioned and would agree that it seems to be more notable when I've gotten a little carried away with the slick honey. I do think a thin smattering is more ideal. That being said, I've never seen the bottom blown out by air pressure alone....
    Thanks for the tips Chris. The red cover was the right way up but I did not push the ferrule all the way up to lock it. The ferrule is new, just replaced one I accidentally cut with the cable...

    I'm pretty sure the silver bottom blew out because of air pressure. If it was from the actuator base slipping past the end cap lip I would have felt it. But I just heard a pop, thought "that's a strange drive train sound" and kept riding...

    I've repeated the basic service again, this time paying attention to the amount of grease used. To be honest I don't think it made much of a difference to how much grease ended up inside the mast. The stanchion is 25mm in diameter, while the internal diameter of the black mast is around 25.15mm. So even a light cover of grease is bound to fill the gaps almost completely. The "breathing" is still there (through the gaps around the cable ferrule) but it sounds a bit lighter. The red cover would still try to move out a bit so I put a bit of tape around it and went for a ride. The silver bottom stayed in place this time. I think after a couple more rides when the grease "settles" I won't need the tape on the red cover either.

    To be honest I'm not surprised there is pressure build up and loud breathing occurring during operation. It's basic physics. But I'm REALLY PUZZLED why it wasn't there before my first service!

    As rox said Slickoleum and Slick Honey are the same thing. I have both at home. They look, feel, smell and taste the same.

    I'm in Australia, temperatures have been between 30C and 40C and beyond for the past couple of months (86F - 104F) but the grease has not dripped to the bottom of the end cap yet. The local KS distributor/service centre themselves recommended Slickoleum.

    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post

    Step 5: Using a portion of strap wrench or thick rubber, firmly grasp the inner shaft with channel locks and use an open-end wrench/crescent wrench to loosen the actuator assembly.
    When I serviced my post I did not use a strap wrench. You will get as much if not more grip by putting on a clean tight fitting household latex glove and grabbing the degreased shaft with your hand. To avoid frustration do not try to grab it like a ski pole, it's too short to accommodate your thumb. Keep the thumb out, place the shaft along the base of your 4 fingers and close them. Squeeze them as tight as you can then turn the actuator base with your other hand.

    You'll also find that there is no need to use a wrench to turn the actuator. Just use your other hand which you'll find is capable of producing sufficient torque to eventually twist the shaft out of the grip of your fingers. Tightening it beyond this point is pointless. This is one of those threaded couplings where once the two parts meet and bottom out on each other they won't turn any further. This is why they use thread lock. I cleaned out the original white stuff and used the blue wax based Loctite 248. Just make sure the threads are totally free of slick honey when you apply the threadlock. When I went to do the service the second time I used the glove method with a cheap adjustable wrench on the actuator to break the bond.

    I also use the glove on the end cap and the top collar. Just watch the torque because it works so well you might overdo it and damage the threads.
    Last edited by vicrider222; 03-03-2014 at 06:20 AM.

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    Vicrider222,

    I agree that you probably just had air pressure pop yours out (although that's still pretty crazy). You would know if your actuator busted through the post - it becomes unrideable. **Speaking of this, KS is finally sending a replacement actuator for my buddy so we can finish fixing his post and Ron mentioned to him that parts like this and others should soon become available through retailers**

    As far as the breathing sound, I agree that it seems more notable right after a service compared to when the post is new. I think any amount of grease just makes it more audible when air passes in and out (like having a snotty nose - typically louder when breathing than a non-snotty nose). I can appreciate a similar sound in the KS video so I consider it to be normal.

    Thanks for the info on the technique with the latex glove. I definitely noticed some variation on the 3 posts I worked on. One of them required almost no force at all to remove it despite the fact that it had never previously been serviced. Meanwhile, the other 2 were miserable and I tried everything (including an inner tube) before I progressed to the channel locks, vice grips, and brut force - in that case the thick rubber was more to prevent me from marring that inner shaft. I agree that it would be best however to start with minimal tools to avoid damaging that shaft. When I replaced the actuators, I didn't use any thread lock and pretty much just hand tightened them snugly. I'll go back and edit that step with your recommendations.

    -Chris

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    Ok, so I got my Dropzone in the mail last night. This is my first piece of KS equipment. I'm definitely pleased with the construction, especially considering the price is much lower than the other top of the line models available from all the manufacturers right now. I'm not a weight weenie, but I like to weigh things just for kicks, so I compared my Reverb (380mm post, 30.9, 125mm drop) to my new KS Dropzone (380mm post, 30.9 clamp, 125mm drop).


    <img src="http://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3767/12950939335_f480a896cb_c.jpg" width="480" height="640" alt="RS Reverb"></a>

    <img src="https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7384/12951362874_809f677a43_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="KS Dropzone"></a>

    I was actually surprised the KS was considerably more weight. Still not nearly in the range that would bother me, though. If it were over a half-pound difference, then I would think KS needs to do some work.

    Even though I was prepared by Cakelly4's previous post on his Supernatural, I decided to get the dropzone anyway since I so desperately needed an off-set post. It seems so very odd to me that KS would design the Supernatural series this way. I understand manufacturers not wanting the customer to work on the cartridge (although, it really isn't that much different from a shock or fork and manufacturers seem to be ok with the end users messing with those), but to not offer the option of re-filling the cartridge with air? That is weird. Temperatures change throughout the year. You need the ability to adjust the pressure in the post to allow it to work properly. Right now, my Dropzone drops and extends at a little under half-speed of my Reverb. Granted, it is cold right now so I know the factory charged air has dropped in pressure, but I should have the option to add more air to compensate. Every other manufacturer (as far as I know) has the schraeder valve setup so you can add air.

    While Cakelly4's electric tape-wrapped needle is genius (and hilarious), there certainly has to be another way available to the end user. I found this video on Youtube last night. This is a sweet setup for adding air to the Supernatural series and be able to read the pressure. Too bad I don't know multiple languages. Would be sweet if this guy spoke English. I don't know if he mentions in the video or not how he made the air fitting. I have to imagine there is some item that I can buy that already fits, then simply adapt it back to the threads of a shock pump fitting.
    KS 2ªparte,Toma de presion. - YouTube

    Overall, I'm very pleased with the quality of the KS products. It looks like to me the quality of the Supernatural series is on par with the LEV, except that the LEV took care of all the very obvious design flaws. Most notably, the air system. Also, I can't tell from the pics, but are all the dynamic o-rings on the Supernatural quad rings like the LEV? I didn't want to open mine all the way without a way to charge it back up with air. I know people don't like the moving cable housing, and the stationary setup of the LEV is certainly nice, but not completely necessary for me. I've always had a moving housing with the Reverb. KS also made a much better saddle clamp with the LEV, although seeing the Dropzone single bolt clamp up close, it is much better than I anticipated. The only gripe I have with it is the length of the clamp istelf. It should have a longer rail holding section to spread out the pressure from sitting on the saddle. At the same time, it is a bonus for me because it allows me to gain even more than 20mm of offset. Sure, this puts even more stress on the saddle rails, but I don't care. I'll replace saddles all day as long as I'm in a comfortable riding position. I also use a saddle with titanium rails. They shouldn't bend as easily as the cromoly, and so far that has proven correct as I've always shoved my saddle as far back as possible. Downside is that titanium tends to break instead of bending, but its break point is beyond the cromoly bend point. Time will tell here.

    Speaking of saddle clamps, I am curious if KS simply threaded in the saddle clamp into the telescoping tube (I know for a fact that Rockshox threads in the saddle clamp into the Reverb. It sorta makes me think about a possible franken-KS post in the future. I bet the Supernatural and LEV use the same telescoping post. I wonder if it would be possible to unscrew the saddle clamp from a Dropzone and thread it onto a standard LEV? I wonder....

    2 major things I noticed that KS got right over SRAM: First, the brass keys are twice as long. They are thinner than what RS uses, but they also have a tighter fit. I bet there is still more surface area on the KS posts which of course will spread out the load and allow the keys to last longer. In addition, the DU bushing is a separate piece from the threaded collar. it is only $9 to replace as opposed to buying a $40 threaded collar every time that bushing goes bad, and I expect that bushing to last maybe a season considering how far back I push my saddle. Curious though, RS does use 2 bushings instead of 1. They have another bushing to receive some of the 'seated position' load that is located right under the brass keys on the telescoping tube.

    As for cable operated systems, I MUCH prefer the KS setup to my Specialized Blacklite (my backup post). The button is awesome! I also didn't know that it could take the place of an ODI collar. Extra bonus! Having the cable adjuster on the noodle was also a nice bonus. Great design. Lastly, removing the cable barrel from the post to do post maintenance is 10 times easier than the blacklite. My only gripe here is there are two 1.5mm set screws. 1.5mm? Couldn't KS just used a 2mm or 2.5mm? Thankfully, I have a high quality wrench set that goes that small.

    Cakelly4, you were right about the bottom locknut! Wow, I cannot believe how difficult that was to remove! It's a joke that KS would make service videos showing them easily removing it compared to how it is in real life. The thread locker they use here is the kind that says to me, "We DO NOT want you to remove this nut". Had I damaged something, I would have had a real problem with KS considering they encourage the end user to do the basic maintenance. The Reverb is also setup in the same way, but all I've ever needed were my aluminum soft jaws to hold the tube tightly to remove the bottom nut. I needed to use my aluminum soft jaws (tightened down way past what I do for my Reverb) and two separate vise grips around thick rubber, same as you. I honestly thought I was fractions of a mm away from crushing that tube. That still wasn't enough. I sprayed it with some thread-loosening compound and gave it 15 minutes or so. Nope. I tried using my heat gun. Rarely do I have problems after using my heat gun. Nope. Still not enough. I resorted to holding a lighter on the nut for 2 minutes. Yeah, the nut turned black and so did the red bottom collar, but finally I started to hear the threadlocker bubbling. That was my cue to try again. It made the most God-awful, high pitched screaching/creaking noise, followed by a loud pop. I was certain that I definitely broke something, but it was just the threadlock finally letting go. Ridiculous.

    Lastly, (sorry for the long post and slight derail on the thread), but this thread should be followed by everyone that uses a dropper post. It gets old seeing how many people complain and bicker about how their post fails or this or that manufacturer's post sucks, etc... If there is one thing I've learned now from this thread is that all the hydraulic posts out there work pretty much the same exact way. The only differences are minor tweaks to bushings, keys, location of o-rings and location of actuation. Too many people get bent out of shape when it is obvious to me that all of these posts just need regular maintenance. People accept that suspension needs regular maintenance, why not these posts? Suspension has some leniency since it is allowed to constantly move.... and the o-rings still go bad in suspension on a year, to 2 year basis. hydraulic dropper posts are required to hydraulically lock the post in place. That is an extreme amount of stress on those o-rings. They are eventually going to fail... so why not replace them like you would on a fork? It is simple enough to do and o-rings are super cheap, even quad rings. Ok, I'll get off my soapbox. Back to the great discussion here. Also, if anyone figures out a good solution to charge air into the Supernatural series, please post it here!

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    That video was interesting - mostly because I noticed that he had unthreaded the seat clamp assembly from the post. For the life of me, I could not figure out how to do this and eventually gave up for fear of completely destroying the post.

    Although he used a shock pump, I'm guessing his technique is still limited on how accurate to get the pressure. The shock pump seals well on the ball inflator that I used as well. The factor that prevents an accurate pressure read is the internal o-ring covering the pinhole. Once you stop pumping, the o-ring covers that hole, preventing a read. You can read the pressure as you inflate but I'm certain this is not very accurate.

    If you decide to add air to your Dropzone, I've come up with an idea that I may try on my wife's Supernatural. Find a small bit of electrical wire with housing that has a diameter similar to one of the craters in the end cap. Strip a piece of the housing off and give it a nice square edge to insert into the crater with the air hole, THEN insert the ball inflator needle into the housing. This should create a snug fit and prevent the problem I had with the electrical tape sliding up the needle instead of sealing. I also had to use pliers to put a slight bend in the needle in order to be able to attach the shock pump (can't remember if I mentioned that).

    I may try this soon to make her post a little faster. It performed very nicely on her first ride after service.

    -Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    That video was interesting - mostly because I noticed that he had unthreaded the seat clamp assembly from the post. For the life of me, I could not figure out how to do this and eventually gave up for fear of completely destroying the post.

    Although he used a shock pump, I'm guessing his technique is still limited on how accurate to get the pressure. The shock pump seals well on the ball inflator that I used as well. The factor that prevents an accurate pressure read is the internal o-ring covering the pinhole. Once you stop pumping, the o-ring covers that hole, preventing a read. You can read the pressure as you inflate but I'm certain this is not very accurate.

    If you decide to add air to your Dropzone, I've come up with an idea that I may try on my wife's Supernatural. Find a small bit of electrical wire with housing that has a diameter similar to one of the craters in the end cap. Strip a piece of the housing off and give it a nice square edge to insert into the crater with the air hole, THEN insert the ball inflator needle into the housing. This should create a snug fit and prevent the problem I had with the electrical tape sliding up the needle instead of sealing. I also had to use pliers to put a slight bend in the needle in order to be able to attach the shock pump (can't remember if I mentioned that).

    I may try this soon to make her post a little faster. It performed very nicely on her first ride after service.

    -Chris
    I too noticed that the saddle clamp was removed from the cartridge. The one on my Reverb 'naturally' unscrewed itself, but I'm not about to do it to a new post. I then found this:
    Kind Shock Seatpost Service Parts (100108898) at CambriaBike.com
    LoL. So at one point, KS was selling the full cartridge kit! That's nuts if the only problem is low pressure! I would have loved to sit in on the design meeting when it was decided the little air hole with the o-ring is the best idea for filling the cartridge with air.

    I tried the tape method on the needle last night and failed miserably. I had this whole plan setup where I was going to use a 90 degree bend fitting for a schrader valve, a cut down needle with an o-ring to seal the hole, then smash it together in a vise. Problem is, not much room to work with. I may try my method once I get a 90 deg bend fitting, but in the meantime, I like your idea with the wire coverings. I'll try that tonight. My post needs air for sure. It is a sloooow return, but it works well. Just need to get in some more air.

    The pressure reading in the video shouldn't be all that off. As long as everything is sealed, once you pump to a pressure that is higher than what is in the post, the pressure in the pump circuit and post will be the same after every pump stroke even though the o-ring re-seals the hole every time. The gauge would simply read the last pressure it saw from the last pump you just put in. The o-ring is just acting like a check-valve after every pumping stroke.

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    Oh, and the diameter of the hole is 2mm. Maybe I could find some tube that is 2mm in OD with a hole in the middle.

  31. #31
    rox
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    how about a 1mm tube and an o-ring? maybe a pump needle with an o-ring and tape above it to keep the ring from sliding up

  32. #32
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    GOT IT!!!!

    <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7374/12990013234_c2ff77e74e_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="IMG_2682"></a>

    <img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2576/12989618165_5b1b9940ff_z.jpg" width="480" height="640" alt="IMG_2815"></a>

    <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7438/12989745573_6aa784150e_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="IMG_2803"></a>

    cakelly4, I thought about your idea yesterday about the wire casing then realized I could possibly take it a step further. Why not use something that would make the diameter of the needle slightly larger in an incremental way? Like I mentioned before, the diameter of the hole is roughly 2mm. I measured the needle last night and got 1.8mm. Oh so close. It then occurred to me to try using some small heat shrink tubing around the needle. That increased the needle diameter to 2.5mm. It wasn't too hard to squeeze the needle into the hole and it made a perfect seal! I was able to secure the needle in the air port well enough to the point I didn't need to hold it in. I just pumped up the seat post as if it had a schrader valve. I should have measured afterwards, but I want to say I was able to push it into the air port about 10mm. I slightly bent the needle with my fingers so it wouldn't rub up against the center shaft (as seen in the picture), then I took an extra step and put an old portion of a tire tube around it to make sure I didn't scratch it while pumping it up.

    I also proved my theory to be correct. My shock pump read the pressure just fine. Now, it isn't exactly how you would see it on a normal shock or dropper post, but it still works accurately. Again, you have to think of the o-ring that covers the inner hole as a check valve (and a pressure safety valve for that matter). When you first start pumping up the Supernatural, you are only filling the shock pump hose with air. It takes 3 pumps to fill the pump hose to 200psi. The next pump I did I saw the needle raise a little, then drop back a few psi. That was the break point. My dropzone was at 200psi. Pressure simply works over a differential. High pressure always moves to low pressure. The moment I made the pump hose the higher pressure than the seat post chamber, the o-ring (check valve) let loose, and the seat post chamber and shock pump chamber equalized their pressures. At that point, the o-ring closes again since there is no longer a differential pressure. The shock pump now 'stores' the pressure reading on the gauge of the equalized pressure.

    I pumped my dropzone up to 250psi. That increased the speed somewhat.... but still not quite as fast as I would like it. Either way, it is better and the post works very smoothly. Now that I know how to get air in it along with your great bleed procedure, I think I'm going to get a lot of good use out of this seat post!

    Then maybe one day SRAM will make an offset saddle clamp for the Reverb....

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    Nicely done. I'll have to check the pressure on my wife's Supernatural after I get some cable housing or shrink wrap. I haven't had much experience with shrink wrap - what size did you get?

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    crap! I forgot to measure it with my calipers. It has to be 3-5mm, un-shrunk.

    My best guess is either 1/8" (3.175mm) or 3/16" (4.763mm).
    http://www.amazon.com/Install-Bay-He...22+heat+shrink
    Amazon.com: Install Bay Heat Shrink 3/16 Inch x 4 Feet: Car Electronics

    I just remembered I had some in my house still after having to splice some small electrical wires on another project. It fit perfectly over the needle after I shrunk it with a heat gun, but I'm sure a lighter will work just the same.

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    OH! and before I forget, it only took one layer of heat shrink. I first thought I'd need to build up a few layers, but not so. One thin sleeve is all it took. You can find heat shrink at home depot in the electrical dept. or at Radioshack. Any store along those lines that will have electrical tools.

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    cakelly4, I had another question:
    What brand of oil did you use for your post bleed? I noticed you mentioned 5wt, but every manufacturer's weights are different. I'm hoping that I have whatever you used so I can test the viscosity. The Reverb uses Maxima 2.5wt oil which is some pretty thin stuff. I'm wondering if KS uses some fairly viscous oil for their posts. If so, I can speed mine up by using a less viscous oil.

  37. #37
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    I used Buzzy's Shock Nector 5wt.

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    I use a nearby motorcycle shop anytime I need fork oil. They carry every weight I ever need.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-photo.jpg

    -Chris

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    Great thread - subscribed!
    Looks like I'll be trying this service soon as my LEV 150 turned into a pogo stick on the last ride.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    I use a nearby motorcycle shop anytime I need fork oil. They carry every weight I ever need.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    -Chris
    Perfect!!! I was hoping you would say Maxima 5 wt. Now I know for sure I can get my post to move faster to my liking. I'll use some Rockshox 2.5 wt. (same thing as Maxima 2.5 wt.). It has a much lower viscosity than the 5 wt. and should move through the orifices at a greater velocity.

  41. #41
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    I havent used it on the lev yet but I keep motul "light 5w" around for this

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    Quote Originally Posted by PerthMTB View Post
    Great thread - subscribed!
    Looks like I'll be trying this service soon as my LEV 150 turned into a pogo stick on the last ride.
    Good luck. Let me know how it goes and if you run into any issues with my instructions.

    -Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by Laterilus View Post
    Now I know for sure I can get my post to move faster to my liking. I'll use some Rockshox 2.5 wt. (same thing as Maxima 2.5 wt.). It has a much lower viscosity than the 5 wt. and should move through the orifices at a greater velocity.
    I'll be interested to see how well that works for you. Keep us updated.

    -Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    Good luck. Let me know how it goes and if you run into any issues with my instructions.

    -Chris
    Thanks! One thought though, and its something that's stopping me taking mine apart right now, and pondering instead whether I should send it back under warranty.

    Presumably there is some reason all these LEVs are failing in exactly the same way - bad design, premature failure of seals, poorly assembled at the factory, etc...

    Because great as your service instructions are, if I understand correctly its basically a bleed of the cartridge because air has got in there? But, I can't see anything that has addressed how the air got in there in the first place, and therefore would stop it happening again.

    So, does anyone know what LEV themselves do when they get one returned? Is there a modified part, new design of seals, different oil or something they do to make sure its really fixed?

    If we knew this, and it was a part/service kit that was available aftermarket, then this could be incorporated into your service instructions, and I'd be more confident of it being a permanent fix.

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    I totally agree. If it's under warranty and you don't mind the wait, it's likely worth it to send it in.

    From reading several threads, it sounds like they replace the entire cartridge. I've also read a post that stated that KS may be getting seals from a different source since there have been so many problems (a common problem mentioned was seals shrinking when cold, allowing the oil into the air chamber). Whether that has happened, I don't know but it seems there's at least a slight chance that a replacement cartridge may be equipped with these improved seals. Would be a great question to ask Ron Easton.

    The main reason for my thread is to provide a quick fix so people can ride the next day, and maybe send it in when they don't have big riding plans for a while. That being said, mine continues to go strong and feels better than it ever has. Maybe no matter how great the seals, oil and air eventually mix and a bleed is the repair.

    -Chris

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    Hi Chris, yes that makes sense. In fact, apart from being a quick fix for 'pogo stick syndrome', I also think your procedure would be perfect as an annual service even if there isn't a problem.

    Anyway, as I'm in Australia and bought my LEV online from Germany I could be looking at a few months turnaround for warranty, so I'd be real interested to know if it's worth it because I'd actually get something new & improved inside, or whether they would basically just do what I could do myself by following your excellent instructions. Maybe if you get an opportunity (or someone else in the US) could ask Ron Easton - I don't think he'd be interested in an enquiry from Australia!

    Anyway, thanks for a great thread, and I'll let you know if I decide not to go the warranty route and try out your procedure...

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    PerthMTB, there is no such thing as a 'permanent' fix. Things wear out, things fail. There are 2 reasons why to follow cakelly4's procedure: First, you unfortunately received a seat post that was improperly put together at the factory. Second, you've either been riding on the post for awhile or simply got a bad seal from the start. Either way, the seals failed and you have to replace them and then do the bleed procedure.

    I find people's lofty expectations of these dropper posts very interesting. There is no special magic behind them. They are semi-complex hydraulic systems that are under an extreme amount of stress. What is funny to me is that people expect their suspension to eventually wear out and require maintenance, but when it comes to dropper posts, they are supposed to somehow last forever. Not possible with the current industry design. I say 'industry design' because they are all using the same one. The only difference between these posts and suspension after seal failure is that your suspension can keep being ridden (albeit with horrible performance) and the seat post cannot.

    So, what is the solution? Well, they could use better materials of construction over Buna-N for their seals, but if they did that, they would increase the MSRP well beyond a reasonable price range for most people. I know. I'm a chemical engineer and I deal with liquid piping systems all day and seal compatibility with a variety of chemicals. There is better stuff out there, but it comes at a hefty price. The MSRP of these posts is already past $400 and that gets under most people's skin as is.
    What if manufacturers hired more competent people to assemble these posts? Then no one would get a dead post at the start. That's another good plan. The problem is, competent people want to be paid a wage that reflects their competency. The more you pay your employees, the more you have to charge for your products. Manufacturers pay good engineers to come up with designs to stay competitive. Those guys/gals do not have time to answer the phones, deal with warranty issues or assemble the products. That's what the lower paid people do. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that all bike manufacturers pick up whatever joe-shmo off the street and then don't bother training these employees on how their products actually work (or anything about their products in general).

    So, things seem dire at this point. What is the real solution? Knowledge. Plain and simple. Bike manufacturers annoy me. They make great products, but overall, their product support afterwards is not that great.... and I don't mean warranty issues. Most are pretty good when it comes to warranty, but when the trails are dry and it is beautiful outside, a new part coming my way in the mail is not currently on my bike and without that part, I cannot ride. This is why I don't care much for warranty unless it is absolutely necessary. When it comes to dropper posts, I'm never going to wait on a warranty replacement. Not when there are threads like this online where we can help each other figure it out ourselves. I'd much rather replace 4-5 o-rings that cost me a total of $1, spend one hour of my time fixing it then be back on the trail that day.

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    Ok, so I got through my first post bleed on the Dropzone last night (Same post as the Supernatural but with an offset saddle clamp). I'd like to say it was completely un-eventful, but there were a few hiccups along the way. Not a huge deal though and it got me thinking more on what I could improve, and in the end, I got the results I wanted.

    First things first, I needed to remove the bottom end cap without first evacuating the air. I was a bit nervous as I've seen people open dropper posts, forks and shocks without first bleeding the air pressure. Since there is no way to do that on a Supernatural, I put a towel around it and slowly made turns. Thankfully, a little over halfway through, the air will start to hiss and there is plenty of thread engagement left to where you can allow the air to escape without having stuff fly all over the place.

    I poured out the oil in a cup and was amazed at how thick it was. I can see where Cakelly4 got better performance out of 5wt oil. This stuff was definitely more viscous than Maxima 5wt. A quick run through a Ford #5 viscosity funnel confirmed my suspicions. Maxima 2.5wt oil was twice as fast through the funnel as the stock KS oil. I thought about doing things incrementally, but decided to go past the Maxima 5wt and directly to 2.5wt.

    I also decided to measure all the o-rings and quad rings while I had things opened up. I do this for all of my forks, shocks and dropper posts because I refuse to pay the elevated prices that bike manufacturers charge for simple o-rings. I went online to theoringstore.com and compared my measured sizes to what they had. These are my best guesses, but I'm pretty sure they are all correct.

    Bottom End cap:

    <img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2868/13038582145_289ef928d8_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="IMG_2829"></a>

    <img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2227/13038731663_e82a37a5e3_z.jpg" width="480" height="640" alt="IMG_2828"></a>

    Piston Shaft:

    <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7420/13038581575_528c57337c_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="IMG_2830"></a>

    IFP:

    <img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3834/13038730003_a878121230_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="IMG_2831"></a>

    <img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3425/13038939404_c084e5150f_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="IMG_2832"></a>


    If I don't have something marked, then I couldn't find something comparable online. O-rings that have 2 sizes associated with them could be either of those sizes. These are small measurements and it is difficult to get with perfect accuracy. Sometimes it is a bit of trial and error. One thing I did notice in contrast to the Reverb is how tight each of the o-rings are. I think KS erred on the side of a slightly smaller o-ring to make the seal as strong as possible. On the flip side of things, that causes more friction and slows the post down (which the post didn't need help considering the highly viscous oil they use). In addition, I'm curious if that extra friction would cause faster wear? Time will tell. Also, KS uses a lot of quad rings. This is a great idea, however, I've only ever found quad rings in standard measurements, never metric. I'm sure someone makes them in metric, but I can't ever seem to find them. This makes the sizing a little off in my opinion. Sure enough, KS uses the exact same size tubes (stanchion tube, IFP tube, piston shaft) as SRAM in the Reverb. No joke. All of their inner and outer diameters are the same, and they are all metric. In some places, the quad rings work very well. In others, the size is a bit off and makes it a massive pain to deal with. The quad ring on the piston shaft fits perfectly. The IFP? Wow, massive pain in the ass.

    During one of my reassembly attempts, I could not for the life of me get the IFP tube back into the IFP. The inner quad ring was too small to fit around the outer diameter of the IFP tube. I mistakenly though that hitting the IFP tube with a rubber hammer would help pop it in. It didn't. I shredded the inner quad ring on the IFP. I didn't worry though as I knew I had something that could fit in its place as I have many o-rings for my Reverb. Sure enough, a 2.5mm x 14mm metric o-ring fit perfectly. It was still a tight fit, but not ridiculous as the quad ring was. Will it blow out quicker? Don't know until I start putting a lot of miles on this thing. I will say this: SRAM doesn't use quad rings on the IFP and I've never had an IFP o-ring fail. That's in a Reverb, though. The Reverb has the air pumped in through the piston shaft. When the valve closes on a Reverb, all the stress of sitting on the saddle is put into the o-rings on the bottom end cap o-rings and piston shaft o-rings. The Supernatural is a bit different and I think the stress from sitting on the saddle is spread out between piston shaft, bottom end cap and IFP o-rings. If I'm right, it is a slightly better design to spread out the load over more places. Again, time will tell if my standard o-ring holds up. If not, I'll go back to the quad, but I'm not quite sure how I will get the IFP tube through it.

    Ok, onto the bleed procedure. KS definitely followed what I've told others in the Reverb thread. You need to push the IFP down at least to the length of how far your post can extend, or past that point. Following Cakelly4's plan will work.

    Next, I placed my seatpost in my vise (with aluminum soft jaws) in a way that kept the post stable, but also had the valve depressed at the same time. A little rigging with a cassette lock tool seemed to do the trick beautifully.
    <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7404/13037230594_c56dd30ef4_z.jpg" width="480" height="640" alt="IMG_2833"></a>

    At this point, I do things slightly different from Cakelly4. I was bored and wanted to figure out if there is a way to completely remove all the air from the internal system. I think I was able to do that. Once I had my post in the vise with the valve pressed in, I poured in a small pool of 2.5 wt. Maxima oil (or Rockshox which is re-branded Maxima with some food coloring added in). The pool was maybe 4-6mm deep. I then pushed in the IFP into the stanchion tube by itself all the way to the end (all the way to the saddle clamp). I happened to have SRAM's IFP tool and it works perfectly on the KS posts as well. It's a nice tool because you won't scratch the inside of the stanchion tube while pressing in the IFP (although a piece of PVC pipe the same size would also work fine)
    <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7354/13037011263_2c51edf68a_z.jpg" width="480" height="640" alt="IMG_2834"></a>

    My reasoning here is that I do not want to trap ANY bubbles behind the IFP. Any air and oil the IFP contacts as I push it to the end of the stanchion tube will escape up through the inside of the IFP. Once the IFP is in place, then I install the IFP tube. This is where having a very tight quad ring on the inside of the IFP caused me fits. My bleed plan doesn't work if I can't push the IFP tube through the IFP. So I destroyed the quad ring, replaced it, and moved on. The IFP tube displaces a small amount of oil and that just goes slightly up into the IFP tube. Doing this in 2 parts though seals off the IFP perfectly from any air getting trapped underneath it.

    I now filled the IFP tube all the way to the top, but I didn't stop. The act of pouring the shock oil tends to make a lot of small bubbles (and a few large ones). I could have just filled the IFP tube to the top, went away for awhile and waited for all the bubbles to float to the top and escape, but I was impatient and stole a trick from the Reverb bleed procedure. If you keep pouring into the IFP tube and let it spill over the sides, it will start to go into the cavity between the IFP tube and stanchion. Don't worry, we don't leave it there. It is just a way to get the air bubbles moving. They'll go out with the oil that spills over the sides.

    Once all that air spills out, I pressed in the piston shaft into the IFP tube only until the quad ring on the piston shaft engages the IFP tube. That creates the last seal needed to close the system. I then remove the post from my vise and pour out the excess oil (with air in it) that spilled into the cavity between the IFP tube and stanchion.

    I put the post back into the vise and re-setup my system to keep the post steady and have the actuator pressed in. I then took a cue from the other video I posted and used the piston shaft to set the IFP depth. With the valve open, the piston shaft will move the IFP via hydraulic pressure. I simply pushed the piston shaft into the IFP tube until the threads of the bottom cap could engage the stanchion. I screwed the bottom cap back on, pumped my post back up to 200psi, tested it, and sure enough, it didn't drop at all. No sag! Not even 0.5mm. First ever perfect bleed for me on a hydraulic dropper post. The speed of the post was also drastically increased. Still, I wanted a little more so I took it to 250psi. That did it.

    Here is a small video of the speed of my post right now. Mind you, the temperature here was in the low 30's when I took this video, so the post is a little slower than what it was last night when I first tested it, but the speed is still plenty fast to be useable on the trail. It should speed up a lot more once it gets hot outside. At that point, I'll probably drop the pressure a bit so it doesn't go as fast as those ridiculous mechanical posts that launch you to the moon while crushing your nuts at the same time.

    So that's it. Hopefully this helps you guys out. Remember, the LEV, Reverb, Supernatural, etc. all work the same way (and probably the other hydraulic posts on the market). They can all be fixed by the end user with a little bit of detective work. The only real difference is that you have to think about where is the valve located internally. That will determine where you want your IFP and how you should bleed the system. I thank Cakelly4 for starting this thread to get the creative juices flowing!

    <object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="480" data="http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=141178" classid="clsid <param name="flashvars" value="intl_lang=en-us&photo_secret=f45eb85093&photo_id=13037384974"> </param> <param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=141178"></param> <param name="bgcolor" value="#000000"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=141178" bgcolor="#000000" allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="intl_lang=en-us&photo_secret=f45eb85093&photo_id=13037384974" height="480" width="640"></embed></object>

  49. #49
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    Laterilus, Nice work with the seals identification. Would be nice to have that info for the LEV as well. I damaged the inner IFP seal exactly the same way - death by rubber mallet (in hind sight, a poor choice). In my instructions, there's some tips on how to get it back on from another MTBR member for future reference. Though as you know, it's easier to avoid air in the system if the IFP can be inserted by itself before the shaft it rides on. Hope the seal you replaced it with holds.

    PerthMTB, I called Ron Easton and left a message asking about the new cartridges they're providing people with. My thoughts are that if they did upgrade the seals, why not use the warranty to get a new and improved cartridge. I agree that all seals will fail and need replacement at some point, similar to suspension, but if they fail prematurely and have since upgraded the seals, you may as well get a new cartridge out of it. I've read threads where LEVs failed after only 1-2 rides and that's clearly not normal wear and tear. Downside of replacing obviously is the down time and shipping costs. Would be nice to eventually get the specs on the seals or to have a KS replacement kit available for purchase (though likely overpriced as Laterilus mentioned).

    The other reason I called Ron is to get information about a possible alloy replacement barbed ferrule. Last I spoke with him, he mentioned that there was rumor of one being available soon and told me to check back in with him at a later time.

    I'll keep you posted if/when he calls me back.

    -Chris

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    Laterilus, Nice work with the seals identification. Would be nice to have that info for the LEV as well. I damaged the inner IFP seal exactly the same way - death by rubber mallet (in hind sight, a poor choice). In my instructions, there's some tips on how to get it back on from another MTBR member for future reference. Though as you know, it's easier to avoid air in the system if the IFP can be inserted by itself before the shaft it rides on. Hope the seal you replaced it with holds.

    PerthMTB, I called Ron Easton and left a message asking about the new cartridges they're providing people with. My thoughts are that if they did upgrade the seals, why not use the warranty to get a new and improved cartridge. I agree that all seals will fail and need replacement at some point, similar to suspension, but if they fail prematurely and have since upgraded the seals, you may as well get a new cartridge out of it. I've read threads where LEVs failed after only 1-2 rides and that's clearly not normal wear and tear. Downside of replacing obviously is the down time and shipping costs. Would be nice to eventually get the specs on the seals or to have a KS replacement kit available for purchase (though likely overpriced as Laterilus mentioned).

    -Chris
    Chris, I suspect the standard o-ring I used in place of the quad ring on the IFP will hold considering the IFP o-rings on my Reverb have been fine for 2.5 years. This isn't a complete apples to apples comparison, but it is very, very close. The IFP for both the Reverb and Dropzone are exactly the same. The only difference is that the Reverb uses standard o-rings with teflon glide rings on either side and KS uses quad rings. RS uses 2.0mm thick rings and KS uses 2.5mm to fill the gap where the glide rings would be on the Reverb. Either way, the internal o-rings are the exact same size. The Reverb uses a 2x14mm o-ring and the Dropzone uses a 2.6x13.9mm quad ring (size 113). Considering manufacturing tolerances, essentially the same size o-ring. It's just easier to get the Reverb IFP tube through the IFP since it is only a standard o-ring. The main stress points on the Reverb that eventually fail are the bottom cap and piston shaft. If for some reason the standard o-ring doesn't hold strong in my Dropzone, I'll re-create the Reverb design and change to a 2mm thick o-ring and put teflon glide rings on either side to see if that helps.

    Speaking of the o-ring failures inside the Reverb, I think that ALL of these posts probably fail the exact same way. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that in addition to the Reverb and Dropzone (Supernatural), I bet the LEV also uses the exact same diameter for the stanchion tube, IFP tube and piston shaft tube. If that's the case, it also uses essentially the same size o-rings as I've discovered on the Reverb and Dropzone. The Reverb has a few different ways of failing with internal o-rings. First, the o-ring on the piston shaft (with glide rings on either side) will fail, allowing air and oil to mix. Prior to seeing this thread, I had already changed the o-ring on my Reverb's piston shaft with a quad ring just like KS already provides. Same exact size between the two, size 109. Secondly, the large o-ring on the inside of the bottom end cap that seals around the outside of the piston shaft. If that fails, the air leaks out of the post and can't hold you up. Lastly, the o-rings just below the threads of the bottom end cap. I've run into this problem numerous times on a Reverb. The bottom end cap will unscrew itself and eventually, the o-ring can't hold containment and gets blown out and destroyed. The air leaks out and can't hold you up. See the picture below.
    <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7348/13085478305_a3ea909f7f_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="IMG_2867"></a>

    Anyway Chris, you could probably get away with getting a lot of the same size o-rings for the LEV and I bet they would work fine. I'll be curious as I go through this season if the Dropzone endcap also unscrews itself over time or if any of the other o-rings go bad. Either way, it is very quick and easy to break it down and get it fixed. Also, since it has the same size stanchion as the Reverb, it can also use the drop-setting collar as a quick fix on the trail to get you out of the woods.

    I highly doubt KS has changed their design by making different sized tubes for the LEV. If they have upgraded their seals from Buna-N, I'd love to know what they are using, but I'm guessing nothing has changed. While premature failure sucks pretty bad, it can, and does happen. I certainly understand wanting to get a warranty post replacement, and assuming it works, it will still only work for a period of time. Might as well learn to fix it yourself instead of having down time, but to each their own.

  51. #51
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    Chris- Thanks for these instructions. Worked great for me. As you said, feels better than it ever did. I don't know if the seals were bad and/or bad assembly from the start. I actually think the latter, for sure.

    A few points that came to my attention when doing the rebuild:

    *Reinforcing that when you use the snap rings to remove the end cap, be super careful. Mine popped like a volcano! Sort of like a stuck down shock. (step 10)

    *Good use of belt wrench makes it easier.

    *When reinserting the push rod, take care to not push it too far. If you're not careful here, you'll need to redo when you are paying better attention. (step 14b)

    Excellent, comprehensive instructions! thanks again.

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    You're welcome. Glad it worked out for you! Keep me updated on the performance after some significant mileage. Mine has been flawless ever since and I'd be interested to know if the same holds true for others.

    -Chris

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    Great guide, but to my disappointment it doesn't apply to the 27.2mm version. My Lev has gotten stuck in the extended position, and I thought a first step would be to examine it.

    This is what it looks like:
    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-lev1.jpg
    The whole cartridge package. Notice that it's made up of two parts.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-lev2.jpg
    The top of the post. No air valve. KS says that this version isn't adjustable regarding air pressure, but there should be some way of relieving or adding air to the cartridge.

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-lev4.jpg
    The push rod. Symmetrical design. When I shine a flashlight down the tube where the rod goes, it seems as if the actual valve pressing point is slightly smaller than the tube, and surrounded by a metal ring. If the push rod has to push the very center of the valve, this might be the issue - but then, why isn't the push rod conical in the end going down the tube?

    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-lev3.jpg
    Where the piston meets the cartridge. With a socket wrench, you should be able to open it here. But with the post still pressurized, I can't get the piston to compress, and I don't have a socket with a hole and an external gripping point. It could work with a socket and a strap wrench.

    The problem isn't the cable, since I can't compress it by just pressing on the push rod. I guess it's going back to KS, but someone here might have an idea of how to depressurize, open and pressurize it again?

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega View Post

    *Reinforcing that when you use the snap rings to remove the end cap, be super careful. Mine popped like a volcano! Sort of like a stuck down shock. (step 10)
    I find this only happens in one of two different situations: First (and I'm assuming you did not do this), if the air from the post isn't first released, that bottom cap will definitely pop when released.

    Second: Air got by one of the seals and mixed with the oil. Since air is now trapped where it shouldn't be, there is no way to release it prior to working on the post. This is a good indication that one of the o-rings is going bad. Sure, it is still working somewhat (it did trap air and not allow it to escape), but more stress by sitting in the saddle will keep making it worse or you will keep seeing the same situation happen over and over. I'd say change the internal o-rings if it happens again soon. Either way, good job on the rebuild! Maybe there is a third situation here and you've corrected a very poor build job by KS? If everything wasn't screwed together properly, the o-rings couldn't perform their task properly and air was able to sneak by.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laterilus View Post
    Second: Air got by one of the seals and mixed with the oil. Since air is now trapped where it shouldn't be, there is no way to release it prior to working on the post.
    Thnx. Exactly my thought. Same as on a rear shock where it gets "stuck down" - air pushes past a seal - in that case creating a massive negative spring - and you can't release it through normal means.

    We'll see what happens longer term. Nothing was obviously wrong but tolerances of those o-rings is pretty tight. Did a two hour ride yesterday and all's well so far. Would love it if KS offered an o-ring rebuild kit but since this isn't technically user serviceable I don't see that coming..

    Crossing fingers...

  56. #56
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    Adding a bit more info: from out of the box, my LEV was very easy to 'pull up' when in a compressed state. So if you - say repositioned the rear of the bike by the seat, the post would pull up / extend. My 950 didn't do this and I saw the LEV warning not to pull up on the seat when depressed so I was cautious about handling it... Well, after the rebuild, the post behaves like my 950. It feels solid in a compressed state and doesn't extend from trivial handling. That's part of my reasoning for thinking it was bad from the factory.

  57. #57
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    Carl Mega,

    That was going to be one of my questions - if you happened to have lifted the seat much. I've read threads that report it IS normal for the seat to rise some if lifted in the down phase, but that it could create enough negative pressure to suck air past the seals into the oil chamber. I've definitely been avoiding that action since reading it.

    Monocles, That is a major bummer. My first thought was that maybe you add air like you do on the Supernatural and Dropzone (pictured on one of the previous pages here) but that doesn't appear to be the case based on your pics. Do the two parts of the cartridge come apart perhaps? I saw the small hole on the side of the gold portion of the cartridge and wondered if pressing that in with a small screwdriver disconnects the lower gray portion. Hard to tell without handling it as it's definitely foreign to me and quite different than the LEV.

    Good luck
    -Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    Monocles, That is a major bummer. My first thought was that maybe you add air like you do on the Supernatural and Dropzone (pictured on one of the previous pages here) but that doesn't appear to be the case based on your pics. Do the two parts of the cartridge come apart perhaps? I saw the small hole on the side of the gold portion of the cartridge and wondered if pressing that in with a small screwdriver disconnects the lower gray portion. Hard to tell without handling it as it's definitely foreign to me and quite different than the LEV.

    Good luck
    -Chris
    It really is a bummer. The small hole is actually one of those small ball joints (I don't know what it's called in english), where you press down on the ball and then you can slide them apart. But not in this case. I've tried pressing on the ball but I keep slipping, and it feels like I'm only going to scratch the cartridge. The ball doesn't seem to move at all. I think it's only there to keep the cartridge in a certain position sidewise.

    I think the key to my issue is within the large socket where the piston goes in the cartridge. But this area is pressurized in your LEV, right? Isn't that where you're using the snap ring pliers?

    Also, how is the valve built up? In my LEV, the push rod pushes on a flat surface inside the piston. Have you tried unscrewing the whole piece on picture 13b in your guide? My issue seems to be stiction somewhere in the valve piece, since the push rod is completely solid.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    That was going to be one of my questions - if you happened to have lifted the seat much.
    It's been on my mind ever since I read the warning. I was very surprised that the post acted differently than the 950; it was so easy to 'extend' that you could do it just by looking at it . Seriously, a simple touch would move the saddle. After the rebuild, it's very different. I think it already had some vacuum issues or similar.

    I wouldn't hang the bike from the seat when compressed but normal stuff one might do like moving the bike or leaning it over seems fine so far.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by monocles View Post
    I think the key to my issue is within the large socket where the piston goes in the cartridge. But this area is pressurized in your LEV, right? Isn't that where you're using the snap ring pliers?

    Also, how is the valve built up? In my LEV, the push rod pushes on a flat surface inside the piston. Have you tried unscrewing the whole piece on picture 13b in your guide? My issue seems to be stiction somewhere in the valve piece, since the push rod is completely solid.
    Yes, that's the area that is pressurized. If you were able to get a socket wrench on there, it would be similar to when I disassembled my wife's Supernatural post - no way to release the pressure first. I just pointed it away from my face with goggles on. The problem with yours is even if you get it apart, how will you add air?

    I didn't disassemble the valve any further but I could see through the holes in the valve that when the rod is pushed through, a little spring loaded door opens and is then closed by the spring when you release the rod. I did see some stiction on one of the posts I serviced but it was more a problem of sticking open rather than closed. I'm guessing you've already tried using some brut force against the work bench to try unsticking it?

    -Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    Yes, that's the area that is pressurized. If you were able to get a socket wrench on there, it would be similar to when I disassembled my wife's Supernatural post - no way to release the pressure first. I just pointed it away from my face with goggles on. The problem with yours is even if you get it apart, how will you add air?

    I didn't disassemble the valve any further but I could see through the holes in the valve that when the rod is pushed through, a little spring loaded door opens and is then closed by the spring when you release the rod. I did see some stiction on one of the posts I serviced but it was more a problem of sticking open rather than closed. I'm guessing you've already tried using some brut force against the work bench to try unsticking it?

    -Chris
    That's why I've haven't tried opening the cartridge The case could also be that when you loosen the socket, you can remove the silver piece of the cartridge and find some sort of air valve. But I don't want to be the first trying and ending up with a manual seatpost. Though, somehow KS manages to pressurize it...

    I see. I've actually gotten the post to start working again, by standing the post on stone floor and putting my bodyweight on it. It said pop and started moving. Now I've put grease down the piston by using the push rod, so if the stiction is in the moving metal parts down there it should be fixed. It's still working this morning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega View Post
    It's been on my mind ever since I read the warning. I was very surprised that the post acted differently than the 950; it was so easy to 'extend' that you could do it just by looking at it . Seriously, a simple touch would move the saddle. After the rebuild, it's very different. I think it already had some vacuum issues or similar.

    I wouldn't hang the bike from the seat when compressed but normal stuff one might do like moving the bike or leaning it over seems fine so far.
    Sounds like to me that KS has some quality issues in personnel over components. If people here are constantly solving problems associated with air leaking by o-rings without having to change the o-ring, then the person building the seat post in the first place is doing a very poor job. That sucks considering KS says their posts are not user serviceable (except for in this thread.)

    Monocles,

    I agree with you that there is something here we are all missing concerning your seat post. I like it because it is a new challenge, but I feel your pain with a malfunctioning seat post. Could you possibly take some more detailed pictures all around the post? If it weren't for Cakelly4's pictures of the Supernatural, I would have NEVER noticed that little pin hole meant for pressurizing the post. I feel like that same pin hole is somewhere on your seat post. Also, my guess is that it would work just like the Supernatural. I too was worried when I first unscrewed the bottom end cap, but I did go slowly enough that I could release the air without having the cap blast off the end. There should be a point in the threads where once you've unscrewed it enough, you'll start to hear it hiss. At that point, I just stopped unscrewing and allowed all the air pressure to vent.

    As far as getting a socket over that area, how far in does the piston shaft go into your seat post? That is how I'm guessing you could remove the bottom end cap. If you push the piston shaft a little past 'flush' with the end of the end cap, you could get a socket in there to take it out. This is assuming we first find out how KS got air in there in the first place. Have you closely examined all around inside the end cap for a small pin hole? What about shinning a light down the piston shaft? Any indication in there that they filled it with air through the piston shaft?

  63. #63
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    monocles, glad you got it unstuck. I wondered if brut force was the ticket. It's definitely an interesting challenge and some extra pics would be nice. It'd be even better if someone out there had some experience with dismantling the 27 mm and posted the info here. I'm guessing that's not likely though. Hope it continues to work well for you.

    -Chris

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    The post is still working. I'll leave it be til tomorrow to see if it will get stuck again, and then I'll tear it apart again to take more pictures. Too dark to get good pictures now anyway.

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    The post was working all fine indoors, so I took it for a ride. It worked flawlessly, til the very end of the ride when it started to get slow on the return. Then it got stuck extended, but the lever was working fine (so the push rod shouldn't have been stuck). Stepped off the bike, and pushed the saddle by hand - it's working! It continued to the same thing the following 10 mins - slow return speed, sometimes took a thump to make it start moving.

    Got the bike back indoors, and now it's stuck. The lever isn't working, so it should be the same problem as last time. The behaviour of partially stuck also happened last time.

    I'll tear it apart later, and hopefully we can find a solution to this riddle

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    I'm curious. Does your post have the same internal kevlar cable that the other LEVs have or is it activated some other way? I agree that it's probably the same issue, but if you get in there and the push rod is not stuck, you should check your internal cable for stretch. The first symptoms I noticed when my internal cable stretched in the past were inconsistencies in activation and sometimes no activation at all followed by occasional normal activations.

    Keep us updated.
    -Chris

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    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild-2014-03-26-10.39.05.jpg

    I found one of them holes! It's really small, guessing diameter around 0.5-1mm. So I'm guessing the 27.2mm LEV is more like the Supernatural/Dropzone, rather than the bigger LEVs.

    I've also heard from the previous owner (of whom I bought the post as-is) that his bigger LEV that had the same problem, has been behaving better when he lowered the air pressure.

    The only problems for me to proceed from here is to find the right tools. First, the ball pump head and shrink wrap. I don't know if my hole is smaller than in the Supernatural/Dropzone, but I find it unlikely that a ball pump will fit in that hole. Especially with shrink wrap. But I'll bring the post to a hardware store and look through their air section, as well as a sporting store.

    Second, the socket. I'm going to need an allen key with a hole through it. I've only seen holes that doesn't go all the way through, like this one: http://www.biltema.se/ProductImages/...e/10-102_l.jpg
    The size I need is 14. Any idea of where to find one with the hole in it? If I can't find one, one solution might be to get a soft (cheap) size 14 and drill a hole through it.

    Thanks for the help guys, I would definitely not have found the hole weren't it for this thread

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    Great find!

    As for the allen key, I don't think you need one with a hole through it. Push the actuator valve and push the piston shaft into the stanchion. That should get it out of your way to use a normal 14mm allen key.

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    The piston doesn't go all the way in. If it did, the actuator would hit the allen screw. I've used a screwdriver to compress the piston and it's seated level with the screw. I.e., I need a hole

    Also forgot to answer cakelly4's question regarding cable, yes, my post has the same design with kevlar cable. The cable is a bit worn but I don't think it has anything to do with my problems.

  70. #70
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    KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild

    Interesting. At least you can make it flush with the screw. I was afraid you were going to need a really long Allen key with like a 5" hole through it! Now it only seems like you need one with a 1/2" or 3/4" hole. I bet you could do it with a nice drill bit and steady hand.

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    Monocles, any update to removing the bottom cap to your post? What about the air charging hole? The only thing I can think of is to get a needle meant for injections (like getting a shot at the doctor) and trying to get some heat shrink tubing around that.

    I also wanted to update this thread on the KS Dropzone that I've slightly modified. The size 113 quad ring on the inside of the IFP that I replaced with a 2.5mm x 14mm o-ring is holding fine, as I thought it would. My post has not sagged a bit, and I run my saddle ALL the way back and I'm a good 240lbs or so geared up. I'm becoming a fan of the KS button. I almost like it as much as the Reverb. If it was just a little lower and didn't need to 'rotate' so much when pressing it, it'd be perfect. Minor details though. The most important thing is that I can do it without thinking about it. That's where a dropper post shines. If it is as easy as shifting, then I'll use it every time it is an advantage to get my saddle out of the way.

    As suspected, the speed of the post increased again with the warmer temps. Grease is less sticky and viscous in the warmer weather. This post is just as smooth as a Reverb or LEV in my opinion. Other than the hokey air charging system, this post is a steal at $200. We'll see how it goes all summer. I'm currently at 7 hours of ride time and 50 miles on this post. It could randomly blow up the next ride or not til October.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laterilus View Post
    Monocles, any update to removing the bottom cap to your post? What about the air charging hole? The only thing I can think of is to get a needle meant for injections (like getting a shot at the doctor) and trying to get some heat shrink tubing around that.
    I'm in the middle of moving so I haven't had the time to work on it anymore. I think I'll have my workshop up and running in a few days, so hopefully an update is coming

    Good idea about the injection needle. My wife works at a hospital and she'll bring a needle which is 1.2mm thick tomorrow. This needle, some shrink wrap and some kind of DIY needle-to-thread adapter should do the trick.

  73. #73
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    While we're updating the thread. I did finally start to get some very mild sag in my LEV on a ride the other day. Almost too slight to notice but I wasn't hearing it slam up with a "thud" anymore so I checked it. Did a quick oil change and good to go. I'll likely need to get more serious next time and start measuring seals for replacement.

    Laterilus - I've never ordered seals before but I'll definitely check that site you mentioned (somewhere in this thread). How are they measured (i.e.: where/what do I measure to order the appropriate sizes)?

    It may be a while but once I do that, I'll add the measurements and a link to the site for o-rings into the original DIY post.

    -Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    While we're updating the thread. I did finally start to get some very mild sag in my LEV on a ride the other day. Almost too slight to notice but I wasn't hearing it slam up with a "thud" anymore so I checked it. Did a quick oil change and good to go. I'll likely need to get more serious next time and start measuring seals for replacement.

    Laterilus - I've never ordered seals before but I'll definitely check that site you mentioned (somewhere in this thread). How are they measured (i.e.: where/what do I measure to order the appropriate sizes)?

    It may be a while but once I do that, I'll add the measurements and a link to the site for o-rings into the original DIY post.

    -Chris
    O-Rings are measured by their cross-section (thickness) and internal diameter. Don't worry about the outer diameter as that is automatically set if you measure the other two. You'll notice on theoringstore.com website that the metric o-rings are separated by their CS (cross section). You choose the cross-section, then look for the internal diameter you need. The standard measurement o-rings have a simple number designation to them. For example, the quad o-ring that goes on the piston shaft is a standard 109. a 109 o-ring is 3/32" CS x 5/16" ID (or 2.62mm x 7.59mm). Measuring can be a bit tricky, and this is even more problematic with the relatively large tolerance range these o-rings have. That is why some people's seat posts or forks fail immediately. I lay the o-ring flat on a table and take the backside of a caliper and slowly open it til it can pick up the o-ring on the inside to measure ID. I close the normal side of a caliper around the thickness of the o-ring (trying not to flex the o-ring) to measure cross section. Some are pretty obvious and measure perfectly. Others do not. I will usually buy a few o-rings in a range of sizes around my measurements, especially for those that don't exactly give me 'clean' measurement numbers. If you keep getting odd looking numbers that aren't in 0.5mm increments, start looking in the standard size o-rings. Good chance you'll find your measurements there.

    I usually get Buna-N 70

    Speaking of updates, I unfortunately have another one. LoL. Looks like I spoke too soon with my replacement o-ring for the size 113 quad (or what I believed to be a size 113 quad) for the inner quad ring on the IFP (the one I destroyed with a hammer). I noticed after my ride last night that my post was sagging a good 2.5mm. That isn't a good sign. It is now in that unpredictable stage where the o-ring could go bad any day. I can only assume the culprit is the 2.5mm x 14mm o-ring as the remaining o-rings in my post were brand new. I removed my bottom cap to bleed the air out, but the piston shot off when I completely removed the cap. Lots of foamy air bubbles rushed out of the oil. Sure sign I had an o-ring leak. I decided to replace it with a 2.5mm x 13.5mm o-ring hoping that would seal a little better, but I'm not exactly counting on it as KS designed this area to use a quad ring.

    Looks like I might be experimenting here a bit. The IFP tube is 14mm in diameter. A size 113 quad ring should fit perfectly (2.62mm x 13.94mm). The slightly smaller diameter should help with a tighter seal. The thought has crossed my mind though that the fit on the original quad ring and IFP tube was exceptionally tight. Does KS use a size 112 (2.62mm x 12.37mm)? That is getting pretty small in comparison to the IFP tube, but the o-rings obviously flex and the fit was extremely tight. I may try the smaller quad ring, but I was also wondering how this never seems to be a problem with the Rockshox Reverb.

    The IFP tube on a Reverb is the exact same diameter, but Rockshox doesn't use quad rings on the IFP. I've never had one issue with an IFP o-ring on my Reverb after multiple years' use. The IFPs for both KS and Rockshox are the same size, but a slightly different design. Rockshox surrounds the o-rings on their IFP with teflon glide rings. I'm not a gasket, o-ring, sealing, etc. expert, so I'm unsure exactly how those glide rings help. Do they aid in sealing? Do they keep the o-ring from getting deformed? To they help relieve some stress that would otherwise be felt by the o-ring? I don't know. My first thought was to get the Rockshox IFP and use it in my Drop Zone, but I can't buy it on its own. It comes with the IFP tube and other crap. I think I saw the MSRP on it was around $75. So my current idea is to set up the KS IFP with an o-ring and teflon glide rings around it. The problem is, the o-ring groove on the KS isn't as big as the Rockshox since it only houses the quad ring and not the extra thickness of the teflon glide rings. I may either use just one glide ring or sand down the glide rings I ordered to fit one on either side. Hopefully, I can come up with a solution other than trying to fit the IFP tube into the IFP with a super-tight quad ring. It makes getting a good post bleed much more difficult.

    Chris, my guess is that your o-rings have gone bad. You've been on your post past a year, correct? While constant bleeds will fix it temporarily, you've now run into air leaking by your o-rings on multiple occasions. It takes a bit of time to tear down these posts and build them back up. It would make sense to replace those o-rings while you have it completely disassembled. I could be wrong, but my guess is you will run into the same problem again in another month (or less).

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    hi all, first I want to thank all of you for the step by step introductory (especially Chris) guidance and other comments in great detail. Made my life much easier. I followed the steps you guys suggested to service my KS Lev dropper seatpost, it worked for a while, but again same problems, sag... So I came to the point of Laterilus, I want to change the o-rings and see how it will go. I think during the cold times all the o-rings went bad. I noticed that during the summer time it was working well, but real problems started after the winter (in Finland). I'd like to learn if one of you measured the size of o-rings in KS Lev cartridge.

    -Ferhat.

  76. #76
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    For those that have had the issue re-surface after rebuilding it on your own, how long or how many rides in between failures are you seeing?

    I rebuild mine about 10-15 rides, ~150-200 miles, ago with no issues still.

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    I had several months and many miles on mine since the last service. To answer the question about seal measurements, I haven't measured mine yet but hope to eventually do so. With the season change, I've been getting as many rides in as possible and just haven't had a chance to dismantle the post. I may wait until there's a problem again before going in (although I should try to get seals soon before any more failures).

  78. #78
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    quick update: Many hard rides on mine since my rebuild and the performance has been great. No complaints. Something I just started noticing tho is long vertical lines of grease/soot on the outer shaft. I think this may be lining up with the copper bushings. Can't tell if it's wear or just dirty grease (I used slick honey). I can wobble the saddle a bit but I think it's always been like that - same as my 950. If someone has an idea - shout back. Thanks.

  79. #79
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    It's definitely common for me to have to wipe slick honey off the post after most rides. Can't say as I get vertical lines though and I'm wondering if maybe it's time for you to get in there and simply re-grease the post. Mine tends to get a little water and grime down in there over time and I like to periodically clean out the dirty grease and re-lube it.

  80. #80
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    Thanks. I'll take a pic next time for reference and then do a quick regreasing / inspection.

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    Very useful resource. Unfortunately, I too have a 27.2 Lev. The return speed is kinda slow and inconsistent - sometimes it doesnt go up all the way. I'd have to slam the post down and up again to get it to go up. I'm thinking this is because of low pressure.

    Monocle: any luck with pressurizing through that tiny hole?
    SCB Nomad, SCB 5010v2, Turner RFX, Voodoo D-jab 650B, Voodoo Wazoo CX/commuter
    ...so far...

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    Quote Originally Posted by cobym2 View Post
    The return speed is kinda slow and inconsistent - sometimes it doesnt go up all the way. I'd have to slam the post down and up again to get it to go up.
    What you're describing may actually be the internal cable starting to slip/stretch/break. If that thing is even 1 mm too long, the internal valve will not fully open when activated and the post will act inconsistent and slow. I would start there. The video for cable replacement is on the KS site. I'm assuming this is the same for the 27 version.

    Good luck and let us know what you find.

    -Chris

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    Hi there,

    Firstly, thank you for this post. I was able to eliminate the sag issue, but unfortunately trashed the post on re-assembly. So I thought I'd come and highlight to everyone that extra caution should be taken when attaching the actuator assembly to the inner tube. The KS service video shows a strap wrench and spanner being used to tighten the assembly back into the tube. One simple twist using this method caused the whole assembly to break off the threaded portion that screws into the inner tube.

    My advice, this is a hand tighten ONLY step!

    I now have a piece broken inside the inner tube, and a broken actuator assembly. This renders the post useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post

    Step 5: Using a portion of strap wrench or thick rubber, firmly grasp the inner shaft with channel locks and use an open-end wrench/crescent wrench to loosen the actuator assembly. **THIS STEP MAY BE VERY DIFFICULT DUE TO A STRONG THREAD LOCK ADHESIVE – THE ACTUATOR LEVER IS A SOFT METAL AND CAN BEND EASILY – TAKE CARE NOT TO DAMAGE IT - YOU MAY ALSO NEED TO GET ADDITIONAL GRIP ON THE INNER SHAFT AS SEEN IN THE 2ND PICTURE FOR THIS STEP** (((EDIT))): LESS TOOLS ARE BETTER HERE IF POSSIBLE – SOME ACTUATORS MAY NOT BE AS DIFFICULT TO REMOVE AS OTHERS – VICRIDER222 RECOMMENDS THIS TECHNIQUE: “You will get as much if not more grip by putting on a clean, tight fitting household latex glove and grabbing the degreased shaft with your hand…keep your thumb out, place the shaft along the base of your 4 fingers and close them. Squeeze them as tight as you can, then turn the actuator base with your other hand”

    Last edited by DomP; 05-09-2014 at 01:04 PM.

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    The other area where I experienced some difficulty is that when I removed the cartridge from the outer tube, the DU Bushing came out of the silver "collar" that is shown in your pictures below. The main collar screwed off fine, but the silver ring stayed attached to the outer tube. I thought nothing of it until I tried to get it all back together. I have still not been able to put the DU Bushing back in place together with the cartridge assembly. Is there a way to get the silver DU Bushing housing out without damaging the post?

    Of course I'm assuming I can get the broken thread out from my previous post, and also somehow get a replacement actuator assembly. I haven't managed to find one yet, and any pointers would be appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    Step 8: Remove the 3 copper guide bushings, then slide off the DU bushing, collar, and bottom of the seat clasp (these could stay in place but will just be annoying)




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    Hmmm. These are slightly confusing issues.

    Firstly, I don't see anywhere in the video where a torque wrench was used to replace the actuator assembly. On the KS site service video for the LEV, the actuator is given a single firm crank with an open end wrench while holding the inner shaft with a strap wrench. Not sure where you saw a torque wrench and spanner being used. The link to the video is in my original post and I'll go back and make sure the link doesn't direct to a different video. My suggestion for removing the broken bits from the tube are to purchase a bolt extractor set which should allow you to remove the remaining portion. Obviously, this may be a delicate procedure so be careful not to damage the threads. The bolt extractors should look something like this:

    Vermont American Screw Extractor and Drill Bit Set-21829 at The Home Depot

    As for the DU Bushing, I've never had the teflon coating disconnect from the metal part (I think that's what you're describing). Ron Easton has sent me a new DU Bushing when asked in the past so if you CAN get the other part out, you can replace the whole thing. Usually, the copper guide bushings knock the entire DU Bushing out when you pull the cartridge out of the casing.

    Let me know how you make out with this and good luck.

    -Chris

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    It just occurred to me that you probably meant to type 'strap wrench and spanner' so sorry for the confusion. Either way, I hope you can get that remaining piece out. Good luck.

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    Re: KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by cakelly4 View Post
    It just occurred to me that you probably meant to type 'strap wrench and spanner' so sorry for the confusion. Either way, I hope you can get that remaining piece out. Good luck.
    Correct. I have amended my post.

    Sent from my SM-N900 using Tapatalk

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    Many thanks to cakelly4 and others here for an extremely useful thread. If I had more time and a few more tools, this would give me all I need to rebuild my Lev. But I know my limitations in the shop, and since my squishy Lev is still under warranty, I am sending it in for a fix. Thanks again!

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    You're welcome. Good luck with your LEV.

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    Alright, I just did this rebuild twice and both times I end up with a little bit of up and down play at full extension, but definitely not the sag it had before. It seems like I can cycle the post up and down slightly when fully extended, and with enough little cycles it starts to firm up...if that makes sense. Could it be that I inserted the piston too far in step 14b? I had a real hard time making a smooth insertion with that one. It seems like the rod would hang up on the first o-ring and I would have to push real hard to keep it moving in and then it would finally push in further, but with so much force required, it may have gone too far. I backed it out some with the activator depressed and topped off the oil, but I'm still not sure if it's too far in. The post is definitely better than it was though. I can't lift the seat up when the dropper is down anymore, but I want to know if it could be even better. Any help guys?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikebreen View Post
    Could it be that I inserted the piston too far in step 14b? ...it may have gone too far.
    It could be that it's gone in too far for sure. Also check step 12 and be sure you get the IFP in the right place. I do this by installing the end cap with the snap pliers at this step since the cap will push the IFP into the proper position. I then remove the end cap and proceed to the next step. My suspicion is that one of these 2 steps is where you need to tweak your technique. I do think you can get it where there is no sag after repair.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes if you dive in again.

    -Chris

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    Right on, thanks for the reply Chris. I believe the IFP is in the right spot. I used the end cap technique the first go around, and the next time it looked like it was still in the right spot. I have a strong suspicion that it's the piston. For the life of me, I could not get the thing in past the second o-ring without a ton of force, which ended up with oil splashed everywhere and the rod in too far every time. I think I'm just gonna call it good for now unless things get worse. It's not really so much as sag even, more like not quite reaching full extension. I might talk to KS and see what they have to say about things. I don't really want any downtime at the moment though.

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    Yeah. I hear ya on the down time. Unfortunately, my suspicion is that KS will simply request that you send it in. I also understand your frustration with that inner piston - I too have worn more oil on me than is actually in my LEV.

    Another tip is to be sure to smear a thin layer of Slick Honey (or similar) all over the post and between the DU Bushing and collar when reassembling to make sure you're not just getting a little stiction in there.

    Otherwise good luck with the post.

    -Chris

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    thanks for the step by step!!...After about a year and a half of some good use started to develop some 3/4 inch sag in the LEV...I followed the procedure posted in here and now its gone! thought everything was straight forward and smooth sailing.

    Although upon removing the bottom seatpost cap there was quite a bit of dirty oil so I guess thats why I was getting some sag. Hope that doesnt mean my seals are bad or maybe something rattled loose inside?

    we'll see how long this fix lasts...If I start getting sag again I will probably just end up sending it in assuming its a bad seal allowing oil to leak??

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    Glad the instructions got you through it. When mine failed, I had a similar finding but mine actually spewed tons of oil because the cartridge cap had somehow unthreaded to the point of leaking. I hope things continue to work well for you.

    Chris

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    I followed Chris' instruction and now my KS LEV won't compress more than 1cm. Let me back up. I started by having the 1 inch sag problem. When removing the retaining ring with the snap ring pliers there was a large pop so obviously air had gotten into the oil. The one step I skipped in the procedure was Step 11. I did not push the schrader valve down though the post to removed the shaft with the IFP around it. Consequently I did not reset the IFP height although I can't understand why it would have moved. When reinserting the center piston I had little control and it push back in all of a sudden and splashed oil. Perhaps it went in to far? So what's the recommendation? Reopen, fully pull out the shafts, reset the IFP, and reassemble? Also getting the actuator assembly off was a nightmare but I do not believe I damaged the shaft. One other thing to note is that I loosened up the collar to make sure I did not have it too tight and that does not appear to be the issue. Thanks in advance.

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    Since you had the sag issue, it's very likely that air mixed with oil and the IFP may not be in the right place. It initially took me several tries to find the method that gave the most consistent results which I posted here. I would go back and try the procedure again with all of the steps and see what happens. You don't have to remove the IFP from the middle tube but you should remove the internals and reposition the IFP as described. This results in the proper amount of oil being added in the later step. As you reinsert the inner rod, depress the Schraeder valve to make it a little easier to reinsert. That being said, it's still very easy to insert a little too far and takes some very fine use of motor skills.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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    Re: KS LEV - DIY Cartridge Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by cobym2 View Post
    Very useful resource. Unfortunately, I too have a 27.2 Lev. The return speed is kinda slow and inconsistent - sometimes it doesnt go up all the way. I'd have to slam the post down and up again to get it to go up. I'm thinking this is because of low pressure.

    Monocle: any luck with pressurizing through that tiny hole?
    Put some light grease on it and cycle it a few times. Same thing happens to me after I wash it. The grease smooths everything out.

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    So what I learned the hard way is not pulling out the shaft with the Schrader valve on one end and resetting the IFP, you can end up with way too much oil in the cartridge so that when you reassemble and try to compress the post, it doesn't go down very far. Now I know. Thanks for the help.

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