Fork lower legs service with Avalanche Cartridge- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fork lower legs service with Avalanche Cartridge

    For those who have the Avalanche cartridge in their fork, how do you do a lower legs service?

    I.e. How do you get the lowers off so you can change oil in the air spring side, clean/lube the wiper seals etc, without losing some of the oil out of the open bath damper cartridge.

    I could see that you might be able to catch what leaks out using a container and put it back into the damper side fork leg (through the hole in the bottom once fork is upside down), but wouldn't you inadvertently introduce air into the system and you wouldn't get the oil level exactly correct again?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    If you have an open-bath damper, you pop the top-caps, put measuring cups under the fork legs while it's upside down, figure out how much oil came out, turn bike back right-side up, fill it back up with how much oil came out, put top-caps back on. Done. There's usually no need to take off the lowers, it accomplishes nothing.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  3. #3
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    Thanks Jayem,

    I want to remove the lowers to clean out the wiper seals and foam rings since we have just come out of Winter. Also I have the new Fox Gold oil which I want to use on the air spring side which was previously filled with Fox Green.

  4. #4
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    If you need to access the spring-side leg but are not going to replace the oil in the damper cartridge, you can remove the damper top cap from the cartridge without loosening the foot nut. After you remove the air spring side foot nut and push the rod in, you can slide the lowers carefully without losing any oil on the damper side. You can clean the seals, put fresh lubrication fluid on the spring side and close everything back up.

    That being said, if you are going through the trouble of opening the fork up and pulling the lowers, why not also clean the Avalanche cartridge (there is often a bit of metallic debris in the first couple oil changes) and put fresh damping oil in the fork?

  5. #5
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    I always just drain the damper side down with the spring side.

    The damper oil goes into a glass jug, if the oil is clean it goes back in the damper on re-assembly and possibly topped up if needs be. If it's dirty then it needed changing and I wouldn't have known without draining it.

    The spring side is serviced as normal, oil gets disposed of and fresh put in.

    I suppose bleeding the damper every time is a bit of a pain, but it's worth the effort.

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone some good suggestions here.

    Did the service today I decided to do a full drain of the damper since it's the first service and it makes sense to get rid of any metal particles just like when you buy a new car and you change the engine oil soon after running in.

    Just as well as soon as I removed the lower legs most of the oil gushed out of the damper and it only took a few pumps to eject the rest.

    The oil looked really clean after 45 hours of riding so Avalanche's recommendation that the oil could last 1-2 years wouldn't be implausible. I'll try and retain it next time I do lowers service.

  7. #7
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    Old thread, but I'm just getting around to doing this on my 2012 Lyrik with Avy cartridge. Do you still put in the 15 ml of 15 weight oil in the lower legs before seating the rods as with a standard Lyrik rebuild on reassembly? I read through the AVY cartridge installation PDF on the Avalanche site and it didn't say anything about this. Thinking about it now, I assume not as this is open bath and the lower leg already has oil in it when you fill the cartridge, right?

    I need to pull the lowers so I can clean and relube the dust wipers and foam ring as well as replace the oil in the damper unit. It's past time.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Old thread, but I'm just getting around to doing this on my 2012 Lyrik with Avy cartridge. Do you still put in the 15 ml of 15 weight oil in the lower legs before seating the rods as with a standard Lyrik rebuild on reassembly? I read through the AVY cartridge installation PDF on the Avalanche site and it didn't say anything about this. Thinking about it now, I assume not as this is open bath and the lower leg already has oil in it when you fill the cartridge, right?

    I need to pull the lowers so I can clean and relube the dust wipers and foam ring as well as replace the oil in the damper unit. It's past time.
    No you don't put the 15ml in the lowers anymore (except on the spring side) as it is now an open bath setup. Install the lower leg dry (on the damper side) keep fork fully compressed then fill the damper from the top and set to correct oil level.

  9. #9
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    Got it. Thanks!
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  10. #10
    v0n
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    Old thread revival. I was wondering if anyone can recommend a place that has experience in servicing forks with Avalanche cartridges? I reside in Southern California.

    Thank you!

  11. #11
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    To do what? Pop the top cap, empty the oil, and add new oil?
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  12. #12
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    Maybe talking about replacing seals too. But yeah, other than that you don't have to do much to service your fork.

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  13. #13
    v0n
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    My bad should've been clearer. I wanted to replace the seals.

    Funny that's what Craig said but I needed some revalving so he replaced the oil.

  14. #14
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    Well, tell the bike shop it's an "open bath" Lyrik/pike and they should be able to figure out the rest.

    It's not really so much about whether they'll touch an avy-ed fork, it's whether they will touch suspension (and are decent at it). Many shops don't service suspension and they shouldn't, while others are quite good at it. Any shop that can change the seals of the pike/lyrik will do.

    This is a pretty easy service too, you need the appropriate sized hex wrenches for the foot nuts, a crush washer for the air side(no longer needed for the oil side, but I think Craig grew in an extra o-ring in the box), something to set the seals like pvc pipe that fits over the lips. A long screwdriver to pry out the old seals (usually just be careful and this is fine) and the new oil.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  15. #15
    v0n
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    Okie dok. I will ring up some local shops. I really don't wanna do it myself until I can see someone do it or can walk me through it.

    Thanks for the info fellas!

  16. #16
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    You could just drain the fork and bring the lowers in to have new seals pressed. The instructions on the Avalanche website are pretty clear and come with pictures.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by v0n View Post
    Old thread revival. I was wondering if anyone can recommend a place that has experience in servicing forks with Avalanche cartridges? I reside in Southern California.

    Thank you!
    The Path Bike Shop over In Tustin has extensive experience with suspension service and their techs are top-notch. Drop it off with them if you're uncomfortable with the process and they'll take care of you. Just tell them it's an Avalanche cartridge when you check your bike in.

  18. #18
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    I made these instructions many years ago on how to change the oil in a marzocchi bomber, but this would apply to the Avy Lyrik just as well.

    Fork lower legs service with Avalanche Cartridge-oilchange.jpg
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  19. #19
    v0n
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    Ha! I feel like a first grader in bike maintenance. Evil that's what I intend to do.


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  20. #20
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    Are there any tricks to getting the lowers off with the Avalanche damper? Both foot nuts removed. Doesn't want to pull off, even with quite a bit of force. So I open up the top caps and totally remove the Avy cartridge and Air spring top cap. Still no go.

    Am I missing something or am I just not pulling hard enough? I don't want to break anything.


    (Yes, I'm finally getting around to doing this service. I bought the PUSH Ultra Low Friction Fork Seal Kit and want to install it.)
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Are there any tricks to getting the lowers off with the Avalanche damper? Both foot nuts removed. Doesn't want to pull off, even with quite a bit of force. So I open up the top caps and totally remove the Avy cartridge and Air spring top cap. Still no go.

    Am I missing something or am I just not pulling hard enough? I don't want to break anything.


    (Yes, I'm finally getting around to doing this service. I bought the PUSH Ultra Low Friction Fork Seal Kit and want to install it.)
    don't unscrew the bottom screws all the way, just enough, so they dtay attached to the cartridge and air shaft. Tap them lightly with a rubber hammer until they push the cartridge and aor shaft inside. Now you can remove the bolts and you should be able to pull the lowers freely.
    download the service manual from avy website

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  22. #22
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    Yep, did that, but that gives me an idea. Maybe I need to thread the bolt (or maybe a longer bolt?) back in a few turns on the air side and tap it again. I thought I had unseated it, but maybe it didn't fully unseat.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Are there any tricks to getting the lowers off with the Avalanche damper? Both foot nuts removed. Doesn't want to pull off, even with quite a bit of force. So I open up the top caps and totally remove the Avy cartridge and Air spring top cap. Still no go.

    Am I missing something or am I just not pulling hard enough? I don't want to break anything.


    (Yes, I'm finally getting around to doing this service. I bought the PUSH Ultra Low Friction Fork Seal Kit and want to install it.)
    It's a rockshock fork, their standard way of fitting the legs to the damper/air-piston rods is to use a press-fit. If you remove the foot-nut bolts, you can not remove the lowers. If you are familiar with marzocchi, this is not the same and it works differently. The bolts hold the rods to the lowers, but you have to use a rubber mallet to knock the rods loose with the bolts loosened. If the rods don't come out, loosen the bolts further and give it a few good knocks again, repeat until the rods come out. That is all RS, nothing to do with Avalanche. When re-installing, RS suggests in their service instructions to grease the threads of the bolts. IMO, this makes getting them on much easier, otherwise the rods can just turn and you never get any bite.

    I've never had to do it, but your idea of longer bolts or bolts specifically for punching the rods out seems legit.

    I wouldn't recommend replacing the seals unless they are puking oil.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  24. #24
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    I have a different question.
    Before I installed my Avy open bath cartridge in my pike I had changed the 150mm air shaft for a 160mm.
    I have reinstalled and serviced the shock (both air and cartridge side) few times but cant get the fork to stay fully extended.
    It stays around 5-10% mark. when measured I am at 150mm instead of 160mm.
    When I try to equalize the air (by pulling on the fork) it helps just a bit, but never stays fully extended at 160mm. I can get it there while I am pulling on the fork, when I am not it just dips back in 1cm...
    Is this more likely to be the air side, or should I add just a bit more oil to the cartridge side?

    Also does it matter how the air shaft is installed? All seals should go in at once or can I place the end one forst, than the rod with the other seal at the end?

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post

    I wouldn't recommend replacing the seals unless they are puking oil.
    Is that because it's really hard to do? Or just because they don't usually need to be replaced?

    Mine were leaking a bit (oozing) and there seemed to be a lot more stiction than when they were new. Maybe just the cleaning and relubing would've done the trick, but I already had the Push seals and the fork all apart so I figured I'd do it.

    Problem is I haven't been able to pry the old ones out yet (yes, I've used a long flat blade screw driver and a metal tire iron). And I've worked at it aggressively enough now that I'm sure they're ruined. I'm going to try cutting them. Does that sound like a reasonable way to proceed.


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  26. #26
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    Um, usually if you are careful a long wide (large) screwdriver will do it, as long as you are careful and go slow(slow and hard). There can be a good amount of force necessary to pry them out, it it's usually possible and I've never ran into any that were too hard/jammed. Otherwise I guess my blind puller would do the job too, but I've never had to do that for fork seals. There is usually a metal ring in the seal that adds the rigidity to it.

    But yeah, unless they are oozing/puking, I don't change em. Better to change the oil bath more frequently for the reliability of the entire fork. Seals are (supposed to be) pretty easy to change, so it's not something where I do it once a year only when I tear down.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  27. #27
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    Seems like every single step in this process is requiring help.

    Dust wipers and foam rings installed. Lowers back on. Red nut on bottom of AVY cartridge won't tighten.... even with the high speed (low torque) pneumatic driver I used to get it off.

    Craig mentioned using an old fork spring to help get it off. Can anyone describe the technique?

    I'm assuming you remove the top cap and jam the fork spring down on top of the cartridge to help hold it?


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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Red nut on bottom of AVY cartridge won't tighten.... even with the high speed (low torque) pneumatic driver I used to get it off.
    Did you grease it as recommended by RS? (it's their lower-attachment design).

    I assume you are referring to tightening the foot-bolt? Mine is not red, it's just a hollow bolt, similar to what RS already had on there.

    It's difficult to know what you are talking about, you are describing both taking something off and something tightening in the same post.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  29. #29
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    Yes, I'm reassembling the fork now and I'm talking about the foot nut on the bottom of the AVY damper cartridge. Didn't grease it but there was fork oil all over it. Does that count?

    Probably should clean/chase the threads a bit so it spins on without resistance.


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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Yes, I'm reassembling the fork now and I'm talking about the foot nut on the bottom of the AVY damper cartridge. Didn't grease it but there was fork oil all over it. Does that count?

    Probably should clean/chase the threads a bit so it spins on without resistance.


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    Your 2012 Lyric is a different chassis than my 2015 obviously, so what may apply with mine may not apply with yours, but as I said above, I watched a RS service video where they suggested greasing the threads of the foot-nut bolt. I just watched an older lyrik service video and it appears to use a very similar bolt, although yep, it's red. One reason this sounded odd to me originally is because the Avalanche kit came with a new bolt for this location. I would guess your Lyrik doesn't need this, since it didn't come with it. Make sure the bolt threads into the cartridge though, this seems like a potential failure point (that the bolt is the wrong size). Barring that, yes, grease the threads. The system is exactly the same in this respect and until I did this, I had a hell of a time trying to get the footnut to tighten, on both my Lyrik and my Pike, when just doing a normal service without the Avy cart.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  31. #31
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    Yeah this is an old Lyrik. The bottom of the AVY cartridge has a threaded shaft that pokes through the (drilled out) lowers to which you fasten a 15mm aluminum nut.

    I'll try cleaning and greasing the threads so it spins on easily without getting the damper shaft turning too. Thanks for your help.


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  32. #32
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    That did the trick. Spent about 30 minutes cleaning up the threads on the bolt and the nut both (looks like someone had used some thread locking compound on it last time), then greased it and made sure it screwed on easily without any resistance clear down to when it touched the fork lowers. It did start to spin the shaft if I just put a wrench on it, but a quick spin with the pneumatic wrench (set at high speed but low torque) got it to cinch down. Finished tightening to spec with a 15mm end wrench.

    Got the bike back together last night and took it for a ride this morning.

    Thanks for the help guys.
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  33. #33
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    Thread resurrection . Just found this, great bit of info. So am I right all I need to do to change the oil in my avy 2015 fox 36 is pop the cap off the damper side pour out the contents, add the same amount of oil again, put the top cap back on and go ride my bike? It canít be that simple! Really or am I missing something.

  34. #34
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    Refer to post #18

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1 View Post
    Refer to post #18
    I know I just couldnít believe it was that easy.

  36. #36
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    Download the manual off the Avalanche website for the Fox 36. You'll have to cycle the damper to push the oil out and when you refill, cycle the damper to get any trapped air out. So add an extra 5min of time to the instructions in post #18.
    Intense 951 Evo and Santa Cruz Megatower

  37. #37
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    And you'll want to change the semi-bath oil in the other leg, usually requires popping the foot-nut from that side and refilling via that bottom of the lowers.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  38. #38
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    PSA

    Fork oil, like all industrial oils, should go to the recycle center, not the storm drain or sewer.

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