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  1. #1
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    Switching from grease to oil on a Raidon due to stiction

    I recently upgraded my rockhopper suntour xcr fork to a raidon with air spring. The fork impressed me from the start and was really smooth with great small bump sensitivity. Some couple of months later I started getting some stiction on the fork which killed small bump sentivity. I tried using finsh line dry on the seals and stanchions and I also tried some silicone spray but these measures only seemed to work for a short time, and by the middle of the ride stiction was back. I decided to open it up to see what was up and re oil the foam rings but to my surprise there were no foam ring and no oil. The whole thing was splattered in some type of grease. I decided to clean the grease out and use 15wt oil like the rockshox forks use. I put in some oil soaked foam rings as it had the space where the rings go and added 10 ml of oil to each leg and put it back together.

    The fork now works incredibly smooth, even better than when it was new. I took it for a ride today and it felt great. There appear to be no leaks. So my question to you guys is: Will this fork be ok with oil instead of grease or will I kill it prematurely? If there will be no problem, then why does suntour use grease instead of oil?

    Thanks four your help!

    Cheers,
    Abel

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by abelfonseca View Post
    I recently upgraded my rockhopper suntour xcr fork to a raidon with air spring. The fork impressed me from the start and was really smooth with great small bump sensitivity. Some couple of months later I started getting some stiction on the fork which killed small bump sentivity. I tried using finsh line dry on the seals and stanchions and I also tried some silicone spray but these measures only seemed to work for a short time, and by the middle of the ride stiction was back. I decided to open it up to see what was up and re oil the foam rings but to my surprise there were no foam ring and no oil. The whole thing was splattered in some type of grease. I decided to clean the grease out and use 15wt oil like the rockshox forks use. I put in some oil soaked foam rings as it had the space where the rings go and added 10 ml of oil to each leg and put it back together.

    The fork now works incredibly smooth, even better than when it was new. I took it for a ride today and it felt great. There appear to be no leaks. So my question to you guys is: Will this fork be ok with oil instead of grease or will I kill it prematurely? If there will be no problem, then why does suntour use grease instead of oil?

    Thanks four your help!

    Cheers,
    Abel
    The lower semibath oil lubes the seals. Are you referring to greasing the dust wipers? I might use synthetic grease on the wipers for assembly only. Was 10ml the spec for the lowers as I have always used 15-16ml?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by keen View Post
    The lower semibath oil lubes the seals. Are you referring to greasing the dust wipers? I might use synthetic grease on the wipers for assembly only. Was 10ml the spec for the lowers as I have always used 15-16ml?
    Thanks for your reply keen. There was no oil in the lowers, only splattered grease, so I went ahead and cleaned out the grease and replaced it with 15wt oil. Im now intrigued if this switch from grease to oil can cause some damage long term and why was it using grease instead of oil in the first place.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by abelfonseca View Post
    Thanks for your reply keen. There was no oil in the lowers, only splattered grease, so I went ahead and cleaned out the grease and replaced it with 15wt oil. Im now intrigued if this switch from grease to oil can cause some damage long term and why was it using grease instead of oil in the first place.
    sorry to revive an old thread, but how has the raidon been since switching to the oil from the grease? my raidon is starting to get slow, i'm thinking it's time for service and wondering if this is the right move.

    also, what foam rings did you put in? do you know that type/size (beyond 32mm internal)?

  5. #5
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    Hello Xeren, the fork has been great. I havent touched it since then and it has been ridden plenty. All of the excessive stiction was gone when I switched to oil and it seems to be performing just as good today, very plush. I have noticed some minor leaking in one of the lower bolts, but it is very minor. It just show up as a little bit of humidity on the dirt and dust around that bolt. At least it lets me know that there is still oil in the fork! An thin oil ring forms around my stanchions after some days of riding when I forget to wipe them clean, but its not an inconvenience. Ill get worried when I stop seeing it, Ill know then its time to clean the lowers and add a couple of CCs of oil again.

    I had no spare foam rings lying around at that time so I made some from a piece of foam I found in the house that seemed very similar to the fork foam ring on my other shocks (rock shox), Im sure you could use the same ones RS uses for their 32mm forks, something like this:
    Amazon.com : RockShox Foam oil ring, Pike, Reba*, SID (32mm) : Bike Oils : Sports & Outdoors

    Cheers!

  6. #6
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    Thanks so much abelfonseca! Last night I added ~15cc of 20wt gold Fox fork oil (b/c it was the only oil I had on hand) in each leg and it feels like a new fork again! I didn't even bother cleaning out the lower legs, as I figure i will do a proper job once i have those foam rings to add. For now, i'm scared to store the bike upside down without the foam rings, but that's not a big deal.

    Thanks again for all your help! i'll report back after a little while with how it's working out.


    One thing i will add for others looking for answers here, b/c i couldn't find it anywhere else, was, when I unscrewed the bottom bolts, I think it loosened the lockout bolt at the top of the fork, as the lockout suddenly stopped working.

    Here's the part I discovered after an hour of trial and error though. Once you remove the blue top cap, and then remove the black knob (seen at 50 sec in of this video: https://vimeo.com/79379878 ) with pliers, there is a place to put a 5mm hex key, and you need to tighten that to 10nm, BUT, then, you can stick a 4mm hex key even deeper down into that hole, and that had come really loose- it took like 5 turns to re-tighten it (don't tighten that to 10nm as well, just to where it stops turning).

    THEN, when i reinstalled the little black plastic knob that has the 4mm hex attached to it, i realized that it wasn't working, because the little 4mm hex piece had gotten pushed up into the knob, so when i reinstalled it, it didn't reach down far enough to turn the internals like the 4mm hex key did. I had to use a pair of pliers to pull the hex out of the knob and push it back in to the knob less far, so that when i reinstalled the knob+hex, it sat deeper and actually could turn the internals to lock and unlock.

    I was up way too late last night figuring that last bit out, but it was worth it!

  7. #7
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    Glad it worked! The foam ring will not work as a seal, what will stop oil from leaking out when laying your bike upside down are the dust wipers, assuming they are in good shape. The job of the foam ring is to collect oil to lubricate the stanchions as they cycle up and down through the foam rings, they also trap any dust that gets past the dust wiper. This will insure that there is always a small coating of oil on them. 15 CC might be on the high side, but if the fork is going through all of its travel and is not hydro locking, I guess your good.

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by abelfonseca View Post
    Glad it worked! The foam ring will not work as a seal, what will stop oil from leaking out when laying your bike upside down are the dust wipers, assuming they are in good shape. The job of the foam ring is to collect oil to lubricate the stanchions as they cycle up and down through the foam rings, they also trap any dust that gets past the dust wiper. This will insure that there is always a small coating of oil on them. 15 CC might be on the high side, but if the fork is going through all of its travel and is not hydro locking, I guess your good.

    Cheers
    Ah, that makes sense - i guess i won't worry about how i store it!

    Fox says to use 30cc in each leg for their 2014 forks with the new closed dampers, but I think they have much more volume inside the leg, so i thought 15cc was being conservative! I'll keep an eye on it to make sure it's not doing anything funky though.

  9. #9
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    Hello Abel and Xeren. Im experiencing the same thing on my 2013 29er Raidon and would like to do the same procedure. Did you follow any video or manual in the disassembly? I found a digram of how similar forks are designed. SR has some how to videos but im not sure which steps to follow.

    BikeRadar.com ? View topic - Suntour Raidon air suspension adjustment
    Tech Videos*- SR SUNTOUR Cycling

    I'm assuming this model has no oil baths, and uses sealed cartridges on both sides. One with lockout/dampener and the other with the air cartridge and springs. I'm a bit lost where it is you would be putting oil. Are you creating an oil bath in the lowers? or are you opening the dampening cartridge cleaning the grease and filling with oil from the top, and then filling both lowers with oil to keep the spring/piston lubricated?
    Thank You

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokaankit View Post
    Hello Abel and Xeren. Im experiencing the same thing on my 2013 29er Raidon and would like to do the same procedure. Did you follow any video or manual in the disassembly? I found a digram of how similar forks are designed. SR has some how to videos but im not sure which steps to follow.

    BikeRadar.com ? View topic - Suntour Raidon air suspension adjustment
    Tech Videos*- SR SUNTOUR Cycling

    I'm assuming this model has no oil baths, and uses sealed cartridges on both sides. One with lockout/dampener and the other with the air cartridge and springs. I'm a bit lost where it is you would be putting oil. Are you creating an oil bath in the lowers? or are you opening the dampening cartridge cleaning the grease and filling with oil from the top, and then filling both lowers with oil to keep the spring/piston lubricated?
    Thank You
    this video is very helpful

    https://vimeo.com/79378792

    (you can ignore minutes 1:51 - 4:52 since that involves replacing the cartridge)

    essentially, you're going to let the air out of the fork, pull the fork lowers (0:45 - 1:51), clean them out with a dust free rag, then put them back on (4:52 - 5:10), but before you replace the lower leg bolts, turn the whole fork upside down and use a small oral syringe (you can get them for free/cheap at most pharmacies) to feed the oil into the fork lowers via the lower leg bolt holes. I used 15cc in each leg, but that might not be necessary, or even possibly too much, i would use maybe 10cc.

    then, thread the bolts back into the lower leg at 10NM torque on each side. pumping air back into the air valve will probably help push the upper part of the fork into the lower so you can properly bolt the lowers back on. you may also need to stick a hex wrench in the lower leg bolt holes to properly guide the upper portion into alignment with the lower leg bolt holes

  11. #11
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    Thanks xeren the fork works like new if not better. I went a head and installed a foam ring from a fox 32mm low resistance set. I failed to remove the original dust wipes, and simply inserted the oiled foam ring. The results are impressive, yet very dusty. I personally don't see a need for the oiled foam ring as the original dust wipes had plenty of lube. The top of the stanchions were covered in mud and debris after my ride today, even though it hasn't rained in a few days. I think its the oil attracting the dust, hopefully this will subside as the foam ring dries. So if you haven't installed o-rings don't, simply flip the bike over for a few seconds before a ride.

    Tip: I used a small amount of sealant on the bottom bolts to prevent any oil leaks. No drips/ signs of oil moisture yet..

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