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  1. #1
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    32 Vanilla RLC -- Not getting full travel

    I've got a new 2009 Fox Vanilla 32 RLC fork and I'm not able to get anywhere near the full travel or correct sag. With the purple spring, it's super-harsh, and with the lightest (black) spring, it's not a whole lot better.

    With the compression backed all the way out, I'm getting maybe 105mm of travel, and it tops out badly (3 clicks out from full clockwise on the rebound). The fork only has a couple of hours of ride time on it, but even with the softest spring, it feels nowhere near as plush as my dual-air Revelation.

    Do the Vanillas just take longer to break in? I made sure the seals/foam rings are lubed, and that the spring itself is lubed, but the fork just feels like a low-end OEM fork (it's also noisier than I expected it to be).
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by MileHighMark
    I've got a new 2009 Fox Vanilla 32 RLC fork and I'm not able to get anywhere near the full travel or correct sag. With the purple spring, it's super-harsh, and with the lightest (black) spring, it's not a whole lot better.

    With the compression backed all the way out, I'm getting maybe 105mm of travel, and it tops out badly (3 clicks out from full clockwise on the rebound). The fork only has a couple of hours of ride time on it, but even with the softest spring, it feels nowhere near as plush as my dual-air Revelation.

    Do the Vanillas just take longer to break in? I made sure the seals/foam rings are lubed, and that the spring itself is lubed, but the fork just feels like a low-end OEM fork (it's also noisier than I expected it to be).
    Welcome go the world of Fox...

    Give it time to break in, it may get better. Personally, I have not been impressed with Fox forks. Way overrated if you ask me.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus
    Welcome go the world of Fox...

    Give it time to break in, it may get better. Personally, I have not been impressed with Fox forks. Way overrated if you ask me.
    What totally baffles me is that I'm using a spring that's rated for approx half my weight (I'm 210#). You'd think that, breaking-in aside, it'd be able to get full travel by putting all my weight on the bars.

    I have a hunch that it's going to end up on eBay or in the MTBR classifieds.
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  4. #4
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    Sounds like the oil dampener is over filled. I had a 2002 Vanilla RLC that was factory serviced by Fox and came back like this. It was in the 125mm setting yet I wasn't even getting 100mm travel. I drained all the oil out of the dampener and found there was way too much. I refilled with the correct amount (in the Fox manual) and it worked fine after that.

  5. #5
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    Odd, I replaced my '07 van32 rlc with a van36 rc2 because I'd bottom it out constantly with the stiff spring and an extra stiff one isn't available. I weigh ~230. Have you talked to the shop you bought it from or given fox a call? Sounds like something they aught to be able to take care of pretty easily...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wreckedrex
    Odd, I replaced my '07 van32 rlc with a van36 rc2 because I'd bottom it out constantly with the stiff spring and an extra stiff one isn't available. I weigh ~230. Have you talked to the shop you bought it from or given fox a call? Sounds like something they aught to be able to take care of pretty easily...
    I just got off the phone with Fox, and they want me to send the fork to them. When I told them I could get full travel with no spring in the fork, but not with the black or purple spring, they were stumped. I'll pull it off the bike this weekend and send it out on Tuesday.
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  7. #7
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    for sure post up with results....I'm pretty curious on this one...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    Sounds like the oil dampener is over filled. I had a 2002 Vanilla RLC that was factory serviced by Fox and came back like this. It was in the 125mm setting yet I wasn't even getting 100mm travel. I drained all the oil out of the dampener and found there was way too much. I refilled with the correct amount (in the Fox manual) and it worked fine after that.
    Well thats your problem right there, you were putting oil in the dampener when it belongs in the damper . Dampeners are for getting things wet and if they exist I've never seen one on a suspension fork.

    OP - I think sending it to Fox is the right thing to do. I've had problems that sounded similar on my Maggie Wotan and it turned out to be a semi-bath hydrolock problem because I wasn't allowing the oil to get far enough down the lowers to actually trickle into the semi bath chambers. If you aren't comfortable with removing lowers to check this out than it should go to the factory. That and there is the possibility there is no oil in the fork as well... it's a Fox thing .
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  9. #9
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    gotcha...thanks for the correction...wouldn't want to say and spell words wrong...you know like Nucular

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer
    for sure post up with results....I'm pretty curious on this one...
    Before I took the fork off, I put the purple spring back in, and tried to bottom it out. No go. Got about 110mm of travel, and that was if I was really pushing on the bars. For grins, I took out the purple spring, and installed the black spring. Slightly better, but noisy as hell, and it topped out like mad (unless i cranked the rebound damping almost all the way in).

    Anyway, the fork is boxed, and ready to go back to Fox. My dual-air Revelation is back on, and the difference is like night and day. I'll post more when I get the fork back from Fox.
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  11. #11
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    Fox received the fork late last week, and called me today. They couldn't reproduce the problem. They said they were able to get full travel with the black spring (but didn't test it with the purple spring). They're sending it back to me, I might see it by the end of this week. I will be very curious to see how it rides when I get it back.
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  12. #12
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    Sounds like a typical Fox answer...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    Sounds like a typical Fox answer...
    They asked me if there was anything else I wanted them to check (out). I told them no, as the fork was basically brand new (literally two short rides totaling less than two hours). Kind of hard for me to form an opinion, especially when the fork was riding as harsh as the one on my daughter's $250 Giant.
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  14. #14
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    Well, I will go back to my original suggestion of checking the oil damper to see if they overfilled it. Those Hosers did it to me in 2002 and denied anything was wrong so I wouldn't put it past them.

  15. #15
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    I waited to post this until you got your fork back from Fox to see if there was any defect problem. Since there is no defect, the missing travel that was common to the previous two years Fox 32 forks has not been fixed for '09.

    I'm 200 lbs plus ride gear, and like to use full travel. I went to the black spring (the softest available) on my PUSH factory maximum quality fine tuned '08 Vanilla RLC and only once saw the travel o-ring near the bottom of travel after landing a smaller jump front wheel first nearly crashing. It's a Fox design flaw, Fox springs are all over rated for rider weight for such a light weight fork.

    After I experienced missing travel I researched MTBR and found that many riders have complained on MTBR of the same missing deep travel in '07 and '08 Vanilla and Float forks. It's apparent that the same over firm springs are still used in '09. They must be rated for the most extreme dirt jump crash landing use, not for much more more common AM or Enduro trail riding use.

    Some lighter riders than me have gone to using softer rated 130mm travel springs with a 10mm spacer/shim to gain softer rate than the softest 140mm black spring.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby
    I waited to post this until you got your fork back from Fox to see if there was any defect problem. Since there is no defect, the missing travel that was common to the previous two years Fox 32 forks has not been fixed for '09.

    I'm 200 lbs plus ride gear, and like to use full travel. I went to the black spring (the softest available) on my PUSH factory maximum quality fine tuned '08 Vanilla RLC and only once saw the travel o-ring near the bottom of travel after landing a smaller jump front wheel first nearly crashing. It's a Fox design flaw, Fox springs are all over rated for rider weight for such a light weight fork.

    After I experienced missing travel I researched MTBR and found that many riders have complained on MTBR of the same missing deep travel in '07 and '08 Vanilla and Float forks. It's apparent that the same over firm springs are still used in '09. They must be rated for the most extreme dirt jump crash landing use, not for much more more common AM or Enduro trail riding use.

    Some lighter riders than me have gone to using softer rated 130mm travel springs with a 10mm spacer/shim to gain softer rate than the softest 140mm black spring.
    Depending on the cost of one of those springs (anyone know the part # for the softer 130mm spring?), I may give it a try. But to be honest, I'm kind of fed up with the fork, and will probably eBay it unless it miraculously starts working as I'd hoped it would.
    Last edited by GRAVELBIKE; 02-10-2009 at 08:23 PM.
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  17. #17
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    I am no suspension expert, but according to your post you are checking full travel by just trying to push down on the bars? I personally don't see how this replicates real world riding like the fork was designed for. If you could easily bottom a fork by just pushing down on the bars, I think it would ride like total crap on the trail. I bet your fork is fine, test it while actually riding it on a trail with significant enough drops\jumps, whatever to actually test its travel.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTV8
    I am no suspension expert, but according to your post you are checking full travel by just trying to push down on the bars? I personally don't see how this replicates real world riding like the fork was designed for. If you could easily bottom a fork by just pushing down on the bars, I think it would ride like total crap on the trail. I bet your fork is fine, test it while actually riding it on a trail with significant enough drops\jumps, whatever to actually test its travel.
    I've ridden the Fox fork on trails where I could get 95% of my Revelation's travel. With the black spring installed (softest one that Fox offers), I'm lucky to get 70% of the fork's claimed travel.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby
    I waited to post this until you got your fork back from Fox to see if there was any defect problem. Since there is no defect, the missing travel that was common to the previous two years Fox 32 forks has not been fixed for '09.

    I'm 200 lbs plus ride gear, and like to use full travel. I went to the black spring (the softest available) on my PUSH factory maximum quality fine tuned '08 Vanilla RLC and only once saw the travel o-ring near the bottom of travel after landing a smaller jump front wheel first nearly crashing. It's a Fox design flaw, Fox springs are all over rated for rider weight for such a light weight fork.
    Really? Jeez, I ran the stiffest spring with full preload and the dust ring on the stanchion would be clear up at the crown every time I road any of my favorite trails, but I couldn't bottom it messing around in front of the house or pushing on the bars either. I weigh ~225 sans gear and ran the fork ('07 van rlc) on my '05 heckler. I wonder if your terain and/or riding style just don't quite mesh with the forks design intent...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MileHighMark
    I've ridden the Fox fork on trails where I could get 95% of my Revelation's travel. With the black spring installed (softest one that Fox offers), I'm lucky to get 70% of the fork's claimed travel.

    I would also say to give it more time. If you have only been using it for 2 hours, you need closer to 20 to get it nice and broken in. I say give it a bit more time and see how it turns out.

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