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  1. #1
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    vanilla fork oil change question

    Hi there-
    I just did my first vanilla oil change and am a bit paranoid that I didn't get all of the old oil out of the damper. What are the symptoms of too much oil in the damper side of a Vanilla R?
    I am assuming that 1) oil could come out from under the seals upon compression and 2) the fork would feel overdamped. Is that correct?
    Is there any damage to the fork that could be caused by this? I am hoping that I can just ride it and quickly feel if it seems off and then remove some oil.

    It's an 04 fork set at 80mm if that matters.

    thanks!
    -rob in NY
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  2. #2
    MK_
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    Too much oil is nothing catastrophic. It won't blow the seals and it won't feel overdamped. Too much oil will simply limit the travel of the fork. the easiest way to check it would be to unscrew the left cap, where the spring sits and try compressing the fork, if you can hear the metal on metal clunk, then you should be good to go.

    On a side note, with a Vanilla, you have a small amount of progressivity control with oil amount in the damper. It isn't quite as broad a range of adjustment as Marzocchi, but you still have a little room to play with. It is good to know your exact oil amount as it allows you to play with it later, if the fork bottoms out too easily for you, especially since you're running it at 80mm. But that's a bit more on the advanced side of tuning as it requires a very close attention to be paid to the oil. For now just see if you get full travel.

    _MK

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpet
    Hi there-
    I just did my first vanilla oil change and am a bit paranoid that I didn't get all of the old oil out of the damper. What are the symptoms of too much oil in the damper side of a Vanilla R?
    If you put way too much oil in, you might see oil leaking out of the seal when you compress it. I think it's more likely though that you'll have a harder time getting full travel. Depending upon the oil level, your fork might also feel more progressive at the end of its stroke. (Which could be a good thing.) I don't think that having too much oil would affect damping.

    When I change the oil in my fork, I follow all of the recommended steps including unclamping the compression shims. Prior to this though, I open the base valve ports using a 1.5mm allen wrench. I've found that most of the oil drains out when I do this step and that a much smaller amount of oil drains out when I unclamp the compression shims and then again open one of the base valve ports. So, if you omit the step of unclamping the compression shims, you're still probably okay just so long as you drain out as much oil as possible by opening one of the base valve ports.

  4. #4
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    Cheers MK_ - I just did as you suggested and heard a clunk. I guess I am good then. Never has metal on metal contact in a fork sounded so good to me. This travel/spring and Enduro seal change took a lot longer than expected.
    This fork is set really stiff for urban use, so a little bottom out prevention would be nice.

    thanks !!

    -rob in NY
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  5. #5
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    KevinB : thanks for the info. Could you give me a ballpark cc amount for the base valve ports? Like... 20cc comes out of the ports, or 80cc...

    thx
    -r
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpet
    Could you give me a ballpark cc amount for the base valve ports? Like... 20cc comes out of the ports, or 80cc...
    I really don't know since I've never measured it. I wouldn't think it'd be as much as 80cc since most of the oil is drained when you disengage the damping assembly from the lowers. It might be as much as 20-30cc though.

  7. #7
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    Got it; thanks!

    -r
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