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  1. #1
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    New Lower Leg Assembly - Is it worth it?

    I have a GF Sugar 2+ with a 2002 Rock Shox Psylo SL with Pure dampening (original fork). I love the ride! (please stop snickering )

    The problem: The fork works great after I did an overhaul of it last year except that the bushings appear to be worn so there is some play in the lower leg assembly. The play was in the fork before the overhaul as well. It is very noticeable when braking as the front end stutters. I was told by a reputable online shock repair tech that replacing the bushings would cost several hundred dollars as the bushings are a bear to replace and an equivalent fork would cost even more.

    I'm on a budget so if this would extend the life of the fork and subsequently the bike, I'd like to go with it. I ride cross country in Summit County, CO and might put in 500 miles in a summer.

    The question: I have found a brand new lower leg assembly on ebay for $120, delivered. I am wondering whether replacing the lower assembly would fix the play in the system or is it likely that the stanchions are also worn so that the new assembly would not eliminate the play.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    ping. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks

  3. #3
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    You're gambling in either scenario with a 12+ year old fork.
    Do the stanchions show significant wear?
    If so, new bushings may not be the fix you need.
    If the fork is in very good condition, and the stanchions are fine, then the lower leg assembly gets you new bushings at a price lower than the service quote.
    You could get lucky, but I'd wager that there is some wear and tear throughout your 12 year old fork.
    If the fork is beat, then you're going to be spending a bunch more cash if you're not doing the work yourself.
    I'd get a few more quotes on bushing replacement if I were you.
    That may make the new lowers seem like a safer bet or it may sway you towards a full rebuild.
    3rd option-used fork. You should be able to find a similar level of performance in a newer used fork for $200 +/-.

  4. #4
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    Thanks. That was my thinking as well. The stanchions appear to be in good condition. No scratches at least. As far as wear, I guess they are probably worn a bit but you can't eyeball that. According to the rebuild shop the bushings are a bear to service as they need a tool specific to the fork. That's why a rebuild is so costly.

    I'll do the service myself so the cost is nothing more than the lowers. I serviced it myself last year so all the o-rings are pretty fresh. The lowers come with new dust seals. Everything works great except for the play.

    I'm going to take a gamble on the lower leg assembly, I think. I don't need to get another 12 years out of the bike, but I do want to get a bit more time in on it. And the play is a bit disconcerting when you are ripping down a road and need to brake.

    What is the failure mode of a fork like this? If it has play I suspect it could bind and lock up unexpectedly. Is that a fair guess?

  5. #5
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    Binding/locking up is unlikely to happen even in a severely sloppy fork.
    Bushing slop + knock accelerates wear throughout the fork-seals, bushings, stanchions, internals.
    Some forks can go a very long time with bad slop.
    Just make sure the slidey bits stay properly lubricated.
    Also, doublecheck your headset to make sure that the slop and knock you are feeling is isolated to the fork bushings.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the follow up. Now for my feedback.

    I got a Psylo fork on eBay for $110 delivered. It was not nearly as smooth as the fork I had but it didn't have the slop, so I moved the guts of my fork to the new (used) fork and now things are running smoothly. For the price, and the time I put in, I have my bike back in a condition I'm happy with.

    One thing I am curious about is that there was no reference anywhere to lubricating the bushings during assembly. The right has oil added to the lower section, presumably as part of the Pure dampening, but the left side is 'dry'. Did I miss something?

    Also, the old fork's colored coating has worn off the stanchion especially at the top bushing of the left tube. I presume this is a visual indicator that there has been significant wear in the system.

    Now I can start saving for a new bike.

  7. #7
    MarkyMark
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdbriggs View Post
    It was not nearly as smooth as the fork I had but it didn't have the slop, so I moved the guts of my fork to the new (used) fork and now things are running smoothly.
    An alternative would be swapping the "new" lowers onto the "old" uppers.

    Quote Originally Posted by rdbriggs View Post
    One thing I am curious about is that there was no reference anywhere to lubricating the bushings during assembly. The right has oil added to the lower section, presumably as part of the Pure dampening, but the left side is 'dry'. Did I miss something?
    Stop riding your fork!

    I haven't worked on the Psylo and Pure Damper, but both sides should have some fork oil (~10mm, I used Mobil 1) for a splash bath. You'll inject the same amount into the bottom of both legs.

    Quote Originally Posted by rdbriggs View Post
    Also, the old fork's colored coating has worn off the stanchion especially at the top bushing of the left tube. I presume this is a visual indicator that there has been significant wear in the system.
    Yes, that indicates wear. It's not good, but probably okay if you don't intend for it to last a long time.

  8. #8
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    Swapping the guts worked well and keeping the the matched upper and lower worked well. I'd have had to rebuild the Pure dampener in the 'new' anyway, it was leaking like crazy so using the 'old' worked better. The uppers on the old had visible wear plus I figured that mating the upper and lower that had worked together was a safer bet.

    Thanks for the info on the oil. I'll add some to the right leg before my next ride. That's easy.

    One more surprise was that the original fork came with springs for 140 - 160 lbs. The new fork had 180+ lb springs. I like the softer ones much better. Curiously when I bought the bike, the type of springs installed was not considered or mentioned by the dealer. I am clearly not a 160 lb'er. I weighed 200 when I got the bike. The rear suspension was air so that didn't matter and I do set that up for 50% sag per the instructions which does match my weight.

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