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  1. #1
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    Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?

    I was cleaning my Element 970 last night and decided to pull the ABC bushings for an inspection. This is what I found:

    Upper link:


    Lower link:


    Indide of the ABC bushings:


    Wear on the link itself:


    (The rest is still ok).

    Does this look like a years worth of wear? I think I should replace one or 2 ABC bushings, or should I replace everything? How about the alu washers? Some of them look very worn, or is that normal?

  2. #2
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    That's a fair bit of wear, the bushings and washers come as a kit so you might as well replace the batch.

    This is what the bushings looked like on my Element 70 MSL after 2 seasons of riding when I tore it down last October
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?-2012_1012new0005.jpg  

    Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?-2012_1012new0010.jpg  

    Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?-2012_1012new0014.jpg  

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  3. #3
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    Those look brand new. You didn't see much mud then? Where would you get a kit? I asked the local dealer and he said the washers are 29 euro a piece and the bushings are 11 euro a piece. So that's 300 euro's for a complete kit! And that doesn't include the upper bolt, which is also a bit worn (first picture).

  4. #4
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    I did clean the dirt off for those shots, this is what they looked like freshly disassembled, some grime had made it inside. Mud's pretty common on my rides, but it's mostly vegetable matter and not so much grit in it - rain forest and all. I estimated that there was around 3800-4000km on the bike in two riding seasons.

    Some of the local racers who do a lot more miles than I do, go through bushings frequently.

    How uniform is the thickness of the Igus bushings? The washers with the anodizing worn off are likely going to be too abrasive to use with new bushings.

    What was causing the wear on the outer edge of the beveled hole in the swing link?

    Is the wear on the shoulder of the bolt very deep or rough, or is it just the finish? It looks like it would need some grease on the metal to metal contact points.

    My LBS said the complete bushing/washer kit was $400 and the carbon swing link for the MSL/RSLwas $250.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?-2012_1012new0003.jpg  

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  5. #5
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    All wear on metal parts is just the anodizing that worn away, except for the washers. Those are seriously worn. I guess the damage on the swinglink is due to the play in the upper pivot. If this thing is going to cost me $400 a year in bushings then it's byebye to the bike real soon. That is ridiculous! For my Titus Racer, a rebuild kit with every bearing/bushing was $80. And I'm still riding the original bearings from 2007.

    It's not like I use a powerwasher to clean my bike, I clean the bike after 4-5 rides or when it got exceptionally dirty. These pivots are not even in the path of most of the mud, so they stay relatively clean.

  6. #6
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    Well, this is pretty much what I'm going through on a regular basis. As few others have this problem, I suspect it's something to do with the really fine silt we have here. That cr*p gets into everything, right through the seals on your fork.

    I'm wondering wether it's worth the trouble to 'upgrade' to stainless hardware. If so, pretty please RMB, can you send me the drawings for the washers and custom hardware?

  7. #7
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    So what's the deal on grease on the bushings. I read different things. I thought that you weren't supposed to grease the bushings, but some say it is better to grease the surface between the bushing and the washers (not between th ebushing and link). Maybe grease is better for our conditions?

  8. #8
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    No grease on the Igus bushings, the only places that should be greased are the metal to metal contact points. Grease on the Igus bushings collects dirt even faster and hold it in place to act as grinding paste.
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  9. #9
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    I experimented with RSP UltraSlick (basically a newer version of Judy Butter) and my some hardware was worn to the point of replacement in about 150 hours of riding. I seem to recall the previous set lasted longer, so I'm back to dry Igus bushings. I've now replace the sag indicator + conical washer with one with a lip, and added to o-ring seals to the top of the linkage.

    @All: one possibility I considered is maybe we're not torquing our hardware down enough. I suspect the alloy axles and ends should bottom to get the right tolerance (and pushing preload). Any lower torque and you may have more radial and axial play than intended, causing premature wear.

    @Zonoskar: I'm going to send Peerke an e-mail for a new hardware kit this week - if you're going to order lets co-ordinate, or at least time so he orders ASAP. Drop me an e-mail...

  10. #10
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    I torque down my pivots util I don't dare put anymore torque on it (i.e. very high torque). I don't see any way of adjusting the play on my frame in that way, since bolting down the axles doesn't provide any pre-load on the washers. It just prevents them from falling out. If it should be able to adjust the preload on the bushings using the axle hardware, there is something really wrong with my bike. The top pivot had huge amount of play and I think the bolts are going to snap if I put anymore torque on it.

  11. #11
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    As long as you're torquing to the spec and the beveled washers are not worn there should be no axial or lateral play in a 45deg bushing. But if there is any significant wear in the alloy washers or bushings then the wear will show as both axial and lateral play.

    The torque specs are:

    All custom hardware (alloy thru-bolts, screws, and nuts) requires the use of LOCTITE 262 (a high strength threadlock). The torque specification unless otherwise stated is 100 to 110 in*lbs or 11.3 to 12.4 N*m.

    Non custom hardware (steel bolts) requires the use of LOCTITE 242 (blue), a medium strength threadlock. The torque specification unless otherwise stated is 60 to 80 in*lbs or 6.7 to 9.0 N*m.

    One important aspect of the Igus bushing material that may be sneaking by is contained in this note in the tech manual

    Caution: prolonged exposure to water can cause the bushings to swell.

    and that may mean that bushings that stay wet may swell and wear faster until they dry out.
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  12. #12
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    Regarding torque: eventually the hardware should bottom out, so overloading the bushings isn't really possible. Unless they indeed swell.

    I'm going through $400-600 worth of suspension parts a season, so unless RMB starts selling me 100-pc bags if Igus bushings I'm probably going to have a look at machining something myself. I wonder if a different polymer-polymer bearing would be more wear resistant than the Igus to ano alloy setup.

  13. #13
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    The taper on the alloy washers is also the lateral/axial alignment device, so anything that is used there has to be sturdy enough to support those loads. Maybe Teflon coated steel or alloy cone washers would help.
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    I've read this entire thread and I just want to ask one question to make sure I'm actually hearing what I think I'm hearing. Is it really $400 to replace all bushings and two bearings on my Element 950? Am I reading that correctly? If so, holy cow! I thought I remembered asking about replacement parts for the frame and thought the cost for the kit was around $100...or less. Please clarify...

  15. #15
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    I think the 2 lower bearings and the bushings at the dropout are extra

    BTW: this is what the hardware at the dropouts looks like. De most worn parts (in the center) are from the drive side.



    It is really worrying that these also look really worn, these pivots only rotate a few degree.
    Last edited by zonoskar; 03-27-2013 at 02:07 PM.

  16. #16
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    My 2004 ETSX would develop serious flat spots in the bearings because they had such a small amount of rotation, they became notchy. It might be worthwhile to swap them side for side.
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  17. #17
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    Yeah, I this is what I planned to do, but never got down to it. I think the message is yet again: INSPECT and replace if necessary. My old(er) Elements had regular Igus bushings with alloy axles and they wore quite a bit as well, had even less sealing, but the cost was relatively low. I think I paid about €150 for a bushing-and-axles kit at the time.

    Again, I suspect what Zonoskar and I have are relatively isolated incidents, but it would be nice if somebody from RMB would chime in and advise how to continue. Especially as whatever is going to be added to the quiver is going to be another ABC-bushing bike ;-)

  18. #18
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    I've been looking at Rocky Mountain bikes lately. But I didn't know about it's use of bushings. I had a bike with bushings once - a Psycle Werks - and the bushings eventually ate away the aluminum at the links. I was told to use boat grease as an effective way to fight the problem; but it didn't seem to work. Eventually the bike developed perma-slop in the back end. No matter how much I tightened down brand new bushings, it still had play.

  19. #19
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    More info on the ABC bushings

    ABC Pivots | Technology
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  20. #20
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    So no word on the correctness of the price and/or deals on suspension bit-kits?

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    Zonoskar, where do you live exactly that it is apparently so hard on the bushings? I was considering a 970 but here in Oregon I'm now afraid having to spend all this money every year buying new bushings.

  22. #22
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    In Holland, Europe. Not sure where the wear comes from. The soil here is very sandy and sometimes very muddy.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonoskar View Post
    So no word on the correctness of the price and/or deals on suspension bit-kits?
    Those were the list price numbers that the LBS mentioned.
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  24. #24
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    I have to agree with the comments that $400 for bushing replacement is excessive. Nice that Rocky came up with this proprietary technology to make for a stiffer frame, but that's one heck of a maintenance cost compared to typical cartridge bearings. If these bushing were lasting say 5 years it would not be so bad but having to plunk down that kind of money on an annual basis is just plain unacceptable. This pretty much kills any thoughts I had of a Element 29er being added to my quiver.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    Those were the list price numbers that the LBS mentioned.
    Yeah, that is the list price for each individual part times 8 (since there are 8 bushings/washers). But how about a kit that includes everything? I understand that separate parts will be more expensive.

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    I have to agree, that is way to much money. I live in a desert climate and hope to not see this.

  27. #27
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    That price definitely makes me question my choice of an Altitude for this year (if it ever actually shows up). I have worked in manufacturing and I couldn't justify that kind of markup even if these were titanium nitride coated.

    Heck, when I was choosing which Altitude I was going to go with, I also couldn't figure out where the $1,100 difference in price came from between the 750 and 750 MSL. Yes you get a carbon front triangle, a slightly improved fork, a hiddeous remote for the rear shock, components that should cost Rocky less (since SRAM has been aggressive about their OEM agreements), and a dropper post. But in my head that doesn't quite ring up to what they are charging. Granted it's no where near as stupidly priced as the new Norco's though.

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    I wonder how powdered graphite would work as a lubricant. Think I'll try it when I get mine

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    The price of a full service kit is $270. Plus in the 2013 updated tech manual they suggest spraying WD-40 on the pivots to displace the water from the bushings. I think with some routine maintenance these bushings and washers should last a pretty long time.
    RIDE MF RIDE,
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  30. #30
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    That's more like it. Where to get such a full service kit is the next question Mind you, I'm in the Netherlands without any official distributer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zonoskar View Post
    That's more like it. Where to get such a full service kit is the next question Mind you, I'm in the Netherlands without any official distributer.
    Cyclepaths.com. Or email Greg@cyclepaths.com for the replacement parts. He can send it in the mail for you, the shop is a long time rocky dealer.

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    Where did you find a copy of the updated manual?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotto View Post
    The price of a full service kit is $270. Plus in the 2013 updated tech manual they suggest spraying WD-40 on the pivots to displace the water from the bushings. I think with some routine maintenance these bushings and washers should last a pretty long time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    Thanks rockyuphill. Just finished inspecting and cleaning all the ABC pivots on my Element 930 for the first time and I'm relieved to see they're not worn badly at all. I was a bit dismayed to find that whoever built the bike at the shop loaded all the bushings up with copious amounts of grease, which by now had become a thick and gritty black paste. Glad I checked when I did.

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    Just wanted to provide some helpful information on the hardware costs for Altitudes, Instincts, and Elements.

    A bushing kit includes the following parts at a msrp (US and CAD) of $149:
    - All o-rings (9pcs)
    - All angular washers (13pcs)
    - All igus bushings (sleeved and angular)(14pcs)

    Bolts kits are also available as kits or individually. Dealers can order these as we stock all the items, and we provide parts numbers and exploded parts diagrams for easy referencing.

    If you can't go through a dealer, please send us a request at info@bikes.com we can certainly do our best to get you back on your Rocky!

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMB-PM2 View Post
    Just wanted to provide some helpful information on the hardware costs for Altitudes, Instincts, and Elements.
    Thanks for setting the story straight on the pricing of these bushings. . Definitely a much reasonable maintenance cost if only the bushings or washers need replacing. Am I right in assuming bolts would typically only be required if the bushing were allowed to wear through to such an extreme degree as to also damage the bolts?

  37. #37
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    That's substantially lower than the LBS prices.

    What's the price on the carbon RSL/MSL swing link in case it is worn by a worn bushing?
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotto View Post
    The price of a full service kit is $270. Plus in the 2013 updated tech manual they suggest spraying WD-40 on the pivots to displace the water from the bushings. I think with some routine maintenance these bushings and washers should last a pretty long time.
    does the tech manual realLy say use WD40?

    was told by lbs mechanic that aircraft mechanics do not use WD40 because of unknown purity/formulation and many contaminants - you get something different each can, and some contaminants can eat or swell bushings

  39. #39
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    RMB, thanks for providing that info. I have a 2012 element team rsl and really enjoy it after being on 29ers so long. I have been so impressed that I was going to buy another Rocky Mtn but haven't due the rumor that replacement bushings cost more than the bushings in my car.

    Hopefully you have changed the o rings. Here's mine after the first ride.

    Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?-orings.jpg

    Replaced them with Viton ones from Amazon and have been GTG since. Without the o rings, I can see the bushings getting eaten up pretty quickly. That's the only problem I see with the design.

    I too would like to know the price of carbon swing link and the RSL to MSL kit.

  40. #40
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    $150 is very reasonable. I'll ask the LBS if they can obtain such a kit. Thanks RMB!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    That's a fair bit of wear, the bushings and washers come as a kit so you might as well replace the batch.

    This is what the bushings looked like on my Element 70 MSL after 2 seasons of riding when I tore it down last October
    We ride the same trails and clearly you are not riding enough.

    My bushings, washers and carbon link were screwed after a season of moderate use. There is no way to keep grime out and the bushings will rotate in the links if the grime builds up enough which will wear the link and require you to potentially buy a new one.

    Keep your eyes on your bushings or you will spend money replacing links.

    Also check the bushings on your seat stays.

  42. #42
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    That is true enough, I don't ride as much as I like to. This bike likely had 3500-4000km over two seasons, I had worn the oil seals in the Fox fork to the point where the rubber was sticking to the stanchions and the rear shock seals were baked too.

    Quote Originally Posted by leggatt View Post
    We ride the same trails and clearly you are not riding enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    That is true enough, I don't ride as much as I like to. This bike likely had 3500-4000km over two seasons, I had worn the oil seals in the Fox fork to the point where the rubber was sticking to the stanchions and the rear shock seals were baked too.
    Then you have gotten lucky. I have met more than a few people who have had bad luck with bushing wear on their Rocky Elements.

    They are great bikes, but those things have to be checked regularly.
    Last edited by leggatt; 04-07-2013 at 07:35 AM.

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    I was pleased that they were in such good shape. But I was really surprised that all my long time standards for knowing when Fox forks and shocks need service like the clunks and wheezy noises seem to have been tidied up, so I will need to be more diligent about getting the squishy parts of the suspension serviced too.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMB-PM2 View Post
    If you can't go through a dealer, please send us a request at info@bikes.com we can certainly do our best to get you back on your Rocky!
    I sent an email to this address on april 8th, but didn't get a response so far. Is it always taking so long?

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    That is true enough, I don't ride as much as I like to. This bike likely had 3500-4000km over two seasons, I had worn the oil seals in the Fox fork to the point where the rubber was sticking to the stanchions and the rear shock seals were baked too.
    I'm suprised you rode one bike that much, I thought you have a bike for each day of the week, so excepted only 1/7 as much wear per frame

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccm View Post
    I'm suprised you rode one bike that much, I thought you have a bike for each day of the week, so excepted only 1/7 as much wear per frame
    Out of all the stable, the MSL 70 was my absolute favourite.
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    The bushings should arrive today. Thanks to Rocky and RMB-PM2 for the support! I hope to be riding this weekend on new bushings.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip D View Post
    RMB, thanks for providing that info. I have a 2012 element team rsl and really enjoy it after being on 29ers so long. I have been so impressed that I was going to buy another Rocky Mtn but haven't due the rumor that replacement bushings cost more than the bushings in my car.

    Hopefully you have changed the o rings. Here's mine after the first ride.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Replaced them with Viton ones from Amazon and have been GTG since. Without the o rings, I can see the bushings getting eaten up pretty quickly. That's the only problem I see with the design.

    I too would like to know the price of carbon swing link and the RSL to MSL kit.
    By any chance you have the part number?? Just thinking ahead as I plan a cleaning of my 2012 70 msl.

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    If anyone needs MSL 70 Carbon links, PM me. I have two new un-used carbon links.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by leggatt View Post
    If anyone needs MSL 70 Carbon links, PM me. I have two new un-used carbon links.
    Won't your buddies with the other Element 70 MSLs notice that they are missing? ;-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    Won't your buddies with the other Element 70 MSLs notice that they are missing? ;-)
    Not really, they have all picked up DH sleds for this year. I figure after a summer of GLC burgers and beer that they may not have the ambition to ride up a hill ever again!

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    Couldn't find a part number for these. I remember I spent the good part of a night trying to find them. If you copy the sentence below and paste onto the search block on the amazon home page it will take you to it.

    M1.5x17 Viton O-Ring, 75A Shore Durometer, Round, Black, 17 mm ID, 20 mm OD, 1.5 mm Width (Pack of 25)

    It says it will take 2-3 weeks to ship but mine came within a week. These are still going strong.

  54. #54
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    SO after 3 rides I decided to look at the state of the new bushings. Not pleased....




  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonoskar View Post
    SO after 3 rides I decided to look at the state of the new bushings. Not pleased....
    Are the just gummed up or actually worn in already?

    I'm going through bushings pretty quickly as well. Wonder why its just us two...

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    Not really worn, but the black stuff won't come off even when using my nail. I expected them to look a bit more pristine then this after only 3 rides. I must admit, the first 2 rides were very wet. I applied some WD40 after the 2nd ride. At least the alu parts are not worn yet.

  57. #57
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    the WD40 is likely the problem
    a very knowledgable local bike mechanic said WD40 is full of lots of impurities and contaminants and can have varying results from can to can
    looks like the WD40 bleached the yellow out of the bushings and worked as paint remover on the conical alloy bushings

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    wd40 is not lube. It actually dries things out. Keep wd40 far far away from everything you don't want degreased.

    [edit] NM, didn't read page 2. I still standby my comment that wd40 shouldn't be anywhere near bikes as a general rule.

  59. #59
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    Reputation: zonoskar's Avatar
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    I don't think the black spots are paint from the alu bushings. WD40 was recommended after wet rides, so that's what I did.

  60. #60
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    Reputation: rockyuphill's Avatar
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    Here's the section from the Rocky tech manual on bushings and WD40

    Lubrication

    All IGUS bushings are a dry fit installation and function. They require NO grease or oil to install or function. Only after washing with water should the bushing area be sprayed lightly with WD-40 to disperse water, and then wiped clean to prevent dirt buildup.
    Caution: prolonged exposure to water can cause the bushings to swell.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  61. #61
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    Reputation: RMB-PM's Avatar
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    Hi, this is totally normal. Those bushings glide over the black inserts. They will pick up some of the surface finish like that. Ride it like ya stole it, they are good to go.
    Product Manager
    RMB
    Main Rides: 14 Proto - 13 Element RSL 29 - 13 Altitude MSL - 13 Prestige RSL

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip D View Post
    M1.5x17 Viton O-Ring, 75A Shore Durometer, Round, Black, 17 mm ID, 20 mm OD, 1.5 mm Width (Pack of 25)
    Are these for the MSL or the RSL? I'm asking as the 2013 tech manual list the o-rings as 20 mm ID:

    "180543 O-RING, ID 20MM, W:1.25 NITRILE RUBBER"

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