Service Tip for all Cane Creek rear shock owners- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Idea! Service Tip for all Cane Creek rear shock owners

    ** The following applies to all Cane Creek AD-5, AD-8, AD-10, AD-12, & Cloud Nine shocks.

    Cane Creek rear shocks are among the lightest, most tuneable, and most reliable rear MTB shocks available. Like anything mechanical however, they are subject to wear and tear and will fail (leak) at some point. Fortunately, unlike the majority of rear shocks on the market, all ‘Creek shocks are easily rebuilt it the home workshop by someone with average mechanical ability and just a couple common, everyday hand tools.

    The internals of ‘Creek shocks contain a variety of O-ring seals, but 99.999% of all ‘Creek failures can be pinpointed to one of 2 seals; the main and secondary O-rings. Here are three of the most common problems (which are rather rare to occur with proper care of the shock):

    1. You inflate shock to your preferred operating pressure, but the pressure gradually drops. Duh! You’ve got a leak. 99% of the time, this is caused by a worn main seal. (put the inflated shock under water to see where the leaks are coming from just to make sure).

    2. Shock holds it’s pressure just fine when not riding, but gradually loses pressure when riding. This is also caused by a worn main seal, however it may not be worn enough to leak all the time. In this case, each time the shock extends after compression, a small amount of air is lost. The best way to check for this condition is to inflate the shock (removed from the bike) with just enough pressure to enable compressing it by hand (usually under 10 psi). Place the shock under water and check for leaks (there usually won’t be any in this condition). Compress the shock by hand under water and release. Look carefully for escaping air as the shock extends.

    3. Shock holds pressure just fine in all conditions, but tops out harshly and excessively, and may also seem to stick or “catch” at the beginning of its travel, sacrificing plushness (may need a bigger bump or hit than normal to get suspension working). In this case, you’ve got a worn SECONDARY seal. The purpose of this O-ring is to separate and seal off the positive air chamber (this is what supports the bike & rider, & provides the “spring”) from the negative air chamber (counteracts the positive chamber at the beginning of the stroke for more plushness, and also effectively creates a “top out bumber” or cushion). When this seal is worn, it can’t do its job essentially eliminating the negative chamber. Those of you who have used RockShox or Marzocchi products with a “Dual Air” or Negative Air” feature will understand what the purpose of a negative air chamber is. Nearly every air shock design uses this, but only a few of them are advertised with this feature, and only a few are designed so that the negative & positive pressures are independently adjustable. Cane Creek shocks (also Fox Float) are designed so that a predetermined ratio of air pressure (about 30% neg./70% pos.) is automatically distributed within the shock upon inflation.

    In either of these three cases, the obvious fix is to replace the affected (worn) O-rings, which is very simple.

    1. Remove the shock from the bike, and please be sure to deflate it! Otherwise you might have a miniature Scud Missile in your hands.

    2. Remove the damping adjustment screws, knobs (where applicable), and other hardware from the small end of the shock body.

    3. Unscrew the knurled ring that connects the small end to the big end of the shock (should be only hand tight). Slide this off the small end.

    4. Grasp both ends of the shock and pull it apart.

    5. Slide the white nylon bushing sleeve off the small end. This is where the O-rings in question reside. There are 2 thin (1.5mm) O-rings on one end of this sleeve, 1 internal and one external. They are the same thickness and diameter, although the inner one is usually a higher durometer (harder material). This is the secondary seal. Although important, the external O-ring isn’t usually a cause for leakage so therefore isn’t as critical. On the other inside end of the bushing is a thick “Quad-Ring” (O-ring with a ribbed or square profile). This is the main seal.

    Cane Creek will rebuild the shock in house if you send it back to them (often at no charge at their discretion….they are really good about this). But who wants to experience down time from riding for 1 or 2 weeks or possibly longer due to a simple little O-ring? They also sell a seal replacement kit for Do it Yourselfer’s. All their shocks (AD-5 right up through the Cloud Nine) use exactly the same main and secondary O-rings. Their seal kit includes a replacement for every O-ring that goes in the shock. Thing is, these seals are never needed except for the main & secondary rings. I’ve rebuilt many of their shocks when working in a shop and not once have I ever had a need for these other seals. I used to pay about $10 for their seal kit, but have heard of other people paying as high as $30 for the very same thing.

    Now here’s the interesting part, and my main reason for writing this. You can get the O-Rings you need to rebuild a ‘Creek shock to like new for less than seventy –five cents from your local hardware store or any place that carries a wide selection of O-rings. And since they are rubber (neoprene actually) (which stretches and conforms), the replacements don’t need to be EXACT original replacements. For the secondary seal, look for a 1.5mm O-ring that’s 1.5” ID or slightly smaller. (Don’t go larger than 1.5” ID or it will not fit into the groove in the nylon sleeve properly). For the main seal, you can use a more standard round O-ring instead of a Quad-ring (these are hard to find). Just make sure it’s 1/8” thick, and again, 1.5” ID (or slightly smaller). I’ve been running a round 1/8”th x 1.25” ID main seal in my own ‘Creek shock for some time now with NO leakage or anything weird going on. I even did a 12 hour solo race last weekend on it and it worked beautifully.

    Install the new O-rings and be sure to use plenty of grease on all surfaces. Silicone grease is best because it is the most neoprene friendly. Re-assemble the shock in the reverse order of disassembly.

    Hope this info is helpful and saves you some time & money!
    Last edited by TeamTwentyFour; 03-03-2004 at 02:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    I thought you weren't suppose to remove those adjuster knobs??

    That if you did you risked damaging the internals...At least that's what is says on the AD-12 shock...

    Rich
    "The meek shall inherit the earth"

  3. #3

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    Idea! Not so...

    Quote Originally Posted by rbart4506
    I thought you weren't suppose to remove those adjuster knobs??

    That if you did you risked damaging the internals...At least that's what is says on the AD-12 shock...

    Rich
    I've read the Cane Creek manuals.(which in my opinion aren't entirely accurate). The AD-10 manual says the same thing.

    There isn't anything to get damaged by removal of the compression or rebound screws. I've done it a bunch of times with no problems.

    Of course you could leave those screws in place and remove the seal carrier from the other end, but you would have to remove the piston, which in my opinion is more of a hassle.

  4. #4
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    I did my fiance's AD12 a few nights ago and didn't have the instructions in front of me. I had done my AD5 a number of times so I just went ahead and pulled it apart. I couldn't get the seal carrier off the top to remove the piston, it was tight as a drum. Instead I removed the adjuster screws and attacked it from the other side. I got everything apart and replaced the seals and got it all back together. Then yesterday I checked the CaneCreek site and read the instructions and saw the note about not removing the screws. Let's just say I had a moment of panic, not fun thinking you pooched someone's shock. At any rate I got home installed the shock on the bike and everything is good to go.

    Either way these shocks are pretty easy to work on if I can pull them apart and do a rebuild.

    Regards,
    Rich
    "The meek shall inherit the earth"

  5. #5
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    Yep, that simplicity...

    ...and the fact that they work well is what drove me to install a Cane Creek shock in place of a Sid on my NRS, and in place of the Float AVA and Float on my Hollowpoint and my wife's Mt. Vision. And there was no comparison between the AD-10 and the Rock Shox Deluxe coil shock on my Joshuas.

    It's sort of refressing in these times of multi-chamber SPV shocks to rely on something so simple and so easily rebuildable.

  6. #6
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    Would you say they are field servicable?

    If you had the extra seals with you, could you perform this service out on the trail if the shock was leaking? I'd really like to try a Cloud Nine ($225 w/ trade in through June 30th), but have this phobia about air shocks leaking and leaving me stranded.

  7. #7
    The Ancient One
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    I actually practiced it

    Quote Originally Posted by miles e
    If you had the extra seals with you, could you perform this service out on the trail if the shock was leaking? I'd really like to try a Cloud Nine ($225 w/ trade in through June 30th), but have this phobia about air shocks leaking and leaving me stranded.
    When I used to ride a bike with an AD-8 I practiced changing the main seal and secondary seal out in my yard as though I was on the trail. I carried everything I needed in my Camelback. I carried a pin spanner tool for removing the piston. Otherwise all that is needed is some O-rings and some Slick Honey and a clean rag. It worked fine and took about ten minutes. Of course you have to carry a shock pump too.

    I've stopped using Cane Creeks because, even though the self service feature is wonderful, they are just not very sophisticated dampers. They can't begin to equal the performance of a good hydraulic shock.

  8. #8
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    Actually, silly as it sounds, yes...

    Quote Originally Posted by miles e
    If you had the extra seals with you, could you perform this service out on the trail if the shock was leaking? I'd really like to try a Cloud Nine ($225 w/ trade in through June 30th), but have this phobia about air shocks leaking and leaving me stranded.
    ...a field rebuild is possible. The rebuild kit is very compact and it even includes a 2oz lip balm container of Slick Honey. There is a small adapter/assembly ring that is included to ease assembly of the AD-10 and AD-12, but I seem to recall that this ring is not necessary for the Cloud Nine (can someone confirm?).

    I've been riding their AD-10 and AD-12 since '99 at weights as high as 240 pounds, and have never had a failure with one excpetion: I disassembled, cleaned and reassembeled (at home) the AD-10 without using their reassembly ring. Because of this I apparently nicked an O-ring on the main chamber threads. Part way through my next ride, the ring split in half, causing air to bleed between the main chamber and negative chamber. The net effect was that the shock held pressure, but the damping was shot, and I was basically riding an undamped pogo stick back out.

    But the rebuild process is so quick (literally 30 minutes to tear down, clean, reassemble and pressurize) that it could be done in the field. A pin spanner is the only special tool needed (you could make do with an allen wrench), and I have seen some adjustable pin spanners that fold up very compactly.

    Cane Creek has their rebuild instructions & diagrams online if you want to review the process:

    http://www.canecreek.com/site/produc...info/mans.html

  9. #9
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    Good job! Thanks for the post, TeamTwentyFour

    I will save it for the future. Right now my AD-12 is on the way to Cane Creek for a $75 rebuild. It is two years old. Bought it for my NRS so I would have a shock when the SID was gone to RockShox (for weeks) for repair.

    The trouble I've had is the shock loses all rebound damping and compresses too easily, even with 220 psi in it. Then, when I let the air out, the shock retracts with some force. Seems like air gets on the wrong side of a piston.

    It was doing this about a year ago and Cane Creek sent me a seal kit no charge but the shock was less than a year old. I replaced the seals but the problem returned after a while. I hope Cane Creek can effect a more permanent repair.

    Anyway, thanks again for your post.

    Terry

  10. #10

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    Glad the iinfo was useful

    Quote Originally Posted by elder_mtber
    I will save it for the future. Right now my AD-12 is on the way to Cane Creek for a $75 rebuild. It is two years old. Bought it for my NRS so I would have a shock when the SID was gone to RockShox (for weeks) for repair.

    The trouble I've had is the shock loses all rebound damping and compresses too easily, even with 220 psi in it. Then, when I let the air out, the shock retracts with some force. Seems like air gets on the wrong side of a piston.

    It was doing this about a year ago and Cane Creek sent me a seal kit no charge but the shock was less than a year old. I replaced the seals but the problem returned after a while. I hope Cane Creek can effect a more permanent repair.

    Anyway, thanks again for your post.

    Terry
    If a 'Creek shock compresses way to easily despite air adequate pressure will most likely have a dislodged volume adjustment plate. This is a vey race occurence, but it has been known to happen on occasion. Complete teardown is required to gain access to this part. The volume plate has three possible settings (hi, med, low) which alter the effective overall air volume that you can put in the shock. Changing the volume will essentially alter the spring rate & curve. If the plate is partially dislodged or not sealing, then the shock will essentially have a much larger volume than it was designed to operate at, which would "flatten" out the air spring's progressiveness. This would explain why your shock seemed too easy to compress despite having over 200 psi.

    If you lost all rebound damping, most likely the secondary seal in the nylon seal carrier is worn and/or not working. There is a small and very remote chance that the rebound valving isn't working but the likelyhood of this happening is slim to none.
    Last edited by TeamTwentyFour; 03-04-2004 at 03:37 PM.

  11. #11

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    Not to worry...these shocks are very reliable

    Quote Originally Posted by miles e
    If you had the extra seals with you, could you perform this service out on the trail if the shock was leaking? I'd really like to try a Cloud Nine ($225 w/ trade in through June 30th), but have this phobia about air shocks leaking and leaving me stranded.
    But in case you ever DID have a need to repair one out on the trail, it's quick and easy. All you need for a Cloud Nine are the tools to remove the shock from the bike (usually a 5mm allen & 10mm box or open end); and a 1.5 mm allen to remove the comp/ rebound knobs. Forget about the pin spanner...you don't need that.

    You will also need grease and of course a shock pump.

  12. #12

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  13. #13
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    Hi,

    when youy took off the knobs on the shock to replace the seals. they get hard to turn near the end. I guess that is the point were they are ment to stop for adjustment ('adjustment stop') purposes on the shock. BUT you can keep turning them past that point? Are there any small pieces that might fall off I need to worry about? I guess they go back in fine and work the same? I mean will they retain the adjustment stop after being put back in?

    Thanks!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by CU-Murph
    Hi,

    when youy took off the knobs on the shock to replace the seals. they get hard to turn near the end. I guess that is the point were they are ment to stop for adjustment ('adjustment stop') purposes on the shock. BUT you can keep turning them past that point? Are there any small pieces that might fall off I need to worry about? I guess they go back in fine and work the same? I mean will they retain the adjustment stop after being put back in?

    Thanks!
    Hi,
    Cane Creek's instructions tell you not to remove the adjustment screws on AD-8&10 models, but there's really no problem in removing them if you are careful. The ends of both screws are "bullet shaped" and each have a small groove where a tiny O-ring sits (this is to seal this area of the shock from the elements and more importantly to hold the screw's adjustment by putting the pressure of a partially squished O-ring against it.) There is a small lip machined into the shock body where these screws go and when the screws are backed fully out the tiny O-ring catches against this lip. This is there to let you know that you have reached the outer limit of the screw's adjustment range and so you don't competely remove the screw or leave it hanging by half a thread during your next ride where it can fall out and get lost.

    The bullet shaped end of the screws press against a 2 piece ramp or wedge shaped mechanism in the center of the shock shaft that controls the position and setting of the compression disc and rebound needle valve, depending on screw adjustment. If you do remove the screws, becareful not to jiggle or bump the shock too much, as it is possible that the ramp mechanism could become dislodged from it's seat; which at this point you'll need to completely tear down the shock to put these parts back into place.

    There isn't anything that will break or get damaged by removing the screws. It is possible, however, that the tiny O-rings on the screws could get deformed or even cut during removal. This isn't really a problem, but means that the screws may be easier to turn when installed in the shock (due to less pressure from the O-rings), and you may lose some of that "positive stop" effect when backing the screws fully out. As long as you are aware of this, it really isn't a problem.

    Check here for high quality/ low cost seal kits for all Cane Creek air shocks!
    http://cgi.ebay.com/PREMIUM-SEAL-KIT...QQcmdZViewItem

    Hope this info helps!

  15. #15
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    I noticed the kit on ebay has one extra o-ring than the two you suggested in your first post. Any idea what size that o-ring is? I need to service my shock today, so I can ride at my club's picnic saturday....

    Thanks!

    -Rob

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by CU-Murph
    I noticed the kit on ebay has one extra o-ring than the two you suggested in your first post. Any idea what size that o-ring is? I need to service my shock today, so I can ride at my club's picnic saturday....

    Thanks!

    -Rob
    The kit includes 1 thick ring which is the main seal and two identical thin rings. One of these thin rings goes on the piston head and the other goes inside the small end of the white nylon bushing/ seal carrier on AD-5,10,12,& Cloud Nine models; or inside the small end of the black threaded alloy ring on AD-4 & 8 models.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeamTwentyFour
    ** The following applies to all Cane Creek AD-5, AD-8, AD-10, AD-12, & Cloud Nine shocks.

    Cane Creek rear shocks are among the lightest, most tuneable, and most reliable rear MTB shocks available. Like anything mechanical however, they are subject to wear and tear and will fail (leak) at some point. Fortunately, unlike the majority of rear shocks on the market, all ‘Creek shocks are easily rebuilt it the home workshop by someone with average mechanical ability and just a couple common, everyday hand tools.

    The internals of ‘Creek shocks contain a variety of O-ring seals, but 99.999% of all ‘Creek failures can be pinpointed to one of 2 seals; the main and secondary O-rings. Here are three of the most common problems (which are rather rare to occur with proper care of the shock):

    1. You inflate shock to your preferred operating pressure, but the pressure gradually drops. Duh! You’ve got a leak. 99% of the time, this is caused by a worn main seal. (put the inflated shock under water to see where the leaks are coming from just to make sure).

    2. Shock holds it’s pressure just fine when not riding, but gradually loses pressure when riding. This is also caused by a worn main seal, however it may not be worn enough to leak all the time. In this case, each time the shock extends after compression, a small amount of air is lost. The best way to check for this condition is to inflate the shock (removed from the bike) with just enough pressure to enable compressing it by hand (usually under 10 psi). Place the shock under water and check for leaks (there usually won’t be any in this condition). Compress the shock by hand under water and release. Look carefully for escaping air as the shock extends.

    3. Shock holds pressure just fine in all conditions, but tops out harshly and excessively, and may also seem to stick or “catch” at the beginning of its travel, sacrificing plushness (may need a bigger bump or hit than normal to get suspension working). In this case, you’ve got a worn SECONDARY seal. The purpose of this O-ring is to separate and seal off the positive air chamber (this is what supports the bike & rider, & provides the “spring”) from the negative air chamber (counteracts the positive chamber at the beginning of the stroke for more plushness, and also effectively creates a “top out bumber” or cushion). When this seal is worn, it can’t do its job essentially eliminating the negative chamber. Those of you who have used RockShox or Marzocchi products with a “Dual Air” or Negative Air” feature will understand what the purpose of a negative air chamber is. Nearly every air shock design uses this, but only a few of them are advertised with this feature, and only a few are designed so that the negative & positive pressures are independently adjustable. Cane Creek shocks (also Fox Float) are designed so that a predetermined ratio of air pressure (about 30% neg./70% pos.) is automatically distributed within the shock upon inflation.

    In either of these three cases, the obvious fix is to replace the affected (worn) O-rings, which is very simple.

    1. Remove the shock from the bike, and please be sure to deflate it! Otherwise you might have a miniature Scud Missile in your hands.

    2. Remove the damping adjustment screws, knobs (where applicable), and other hardware from the small end of the shock body.

    3. Unscrew the knurled ring that connects the small end to the big end of the shock (should be only hand tight). Slide this off the small end.

    4. Grasp both ends of the shock and pull it apart.

    5. Slide the white nylon bushing sleeve off the small end. This is where the O-rings in question reside. There are 2 thin (1.5mm) O-rings on one end of this sleeve, 1 internal and one external. They are the same thickness and diameter, although the inner one is usually a higher durometer (harder material). This is the secondary seal. Although important, the external O-ring isn’t usually a cause for leakage so therefore isn’t as critical. On the other inside end of the bushing is a thick “Quad-Ring” (O-ring with a ribbed or square profile). This is the main seal.

    Cane Creek will rebuild the shock in house if you send it back to them (often at no charge at their discretion….they are really good about this). But who wants to experience down time from riding for 1 or 2 weeks or possibly longer due to a simple little O-ring? They also sell a seal replacement kit for Do it Yourselfer’s. All their shocks (AD-5 right up through the Cloud Nine) use exactly the same main and secondary O-rings. Their seal kit includes a replacement for every O-ring that goes in the shock. Thing is, these seals are never needed except for the main & secondary rings. I’ve rebuilt many of their shocks when working in a shop and not once have I ever had a need for these other seals. I used to pay about $10 for their seal kit, but have heard of other people paying as high as $30 for the very same thing.

    Now here’s the interesting part, and my main reason for writing this. You can get the O-Rings you need to rebuild a ‘Creek shock to like new for less than seventy –five cents from your local hardware store or any place that carries a wide selection of O-rings. And since they are rubber (neoprene actually) (which stretches and conforms), the replacements don’t need to be EXACT original replacements. For the secondary seal, look for a 1.5mm O-ring that’s 1.5” ID or slightly smaller. (Don’t go larger than 1.5” ID or it will not fit into the groove in the nylon sleeve properly). For the main seal, you can use a more standard round O-ring instead of a Quad-ring (these are hard to find). Just make sure it’s 1/8” thick, and again, 1.5” ID (or slightly smaller). I’ve been running a round 1/8”th x 1.25” ID main seal in my own ‘Creek shock for some time now with NO leakage or anything weird going on. I even did a 12 hour solo race last weekend on it and it worked beautifully.

    Install the new O-rings and be sure to use plenty of grease on all surfaces. Silicone grease is best because it is the most neoprene friendly. Re-assemble the shock in the reverse order of disassembly.

    Hope this info is helpful and saves you some time & money!
    Is there a way you can change an eye-eye dimension? from 190/50 to 165/38?
    Thanks

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudskipper
    Is there a way you can change an eye-eye dimension? from 190/50 to 165/38?
    Thanks
    Techincally speaking, the eye-to-eye length on Cane Creek shocks can be shortened (but not lengthened). This could be accomplished by putting a spacer on the shock-shaft in between the piston head and the seal carrier bushing. A spacer could be made from a section of a second seal carrier that was cut to the dimension that you wanted to shorten the shock by. Note that this would also shorten the shack's stroke as well.

    Keep in mind that such a modification will affect the rate & progressiveness (ie. "feel") of the air spring and it's possible that the shock's damping charactersitics may not be the same either.

    Basically the shock will not give the same ride (ride may not be as good as stock...then again it could be OK!). But if you needed to shorten one for installation on a different design or brand of frame it is definitely a workable possibility.


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