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  1. #1
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    Tool for suspension fork top caps

    The top caps on my DVO and Pike are 24mm, 30mm, and 32mm. My options:

    1: regular sockets - get the job done but chamfered inside means possible slipping.

    2: ground down sockets - same as above but sold with the chamfered edge ground off so they are flat. Bike Tools Etc. - 1000's of bicycle tools and parts for the home mechanic!

    3: lunar tools wrenches Lunar Bike Tools nice tools and the price is right. However you can't measure torque which is important.

    4: Unior flat sockets https://uniorusa.com/product-categor...-for-bicycles/

    5: Abbey USA (if I win the lottery) - https://www.abbeybiketools.com/produ...op-cap-sockets

    6: Fox (if you prefer orange) - https://www.pinkbike.com/news/fox-of...l-drivers.html


    right now leaning towards Unior option. Any other suggestions or cautions?
    Last edited by Doug; 06-26-2017 at 08:37 AM.

  2. #2
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    There is a lot more to our (Abbey) sockets than just removing the lead in. They are a fair bit smaller across the flats and fit a lot more snugly than a standard steel socket. I'm not sure if the people that have followed in our footsteps with purpose built sockets have adopted this feature but it's worth thinking about. Keeping them short is also nice to further prevent cam out, this is especially helpful on the 32 size as even a standard depth socket is pretty tall in that size.
    Last edited by customfab; 06-28-2017 at 08:03 PM.

  3. #3
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    I've considered buying the luna wrenches a couple of times as the price is right and I'm sure they work just fine. However, I've never had an issue using a nice crescent wrench...no marred anodizing etc. If I were a professional bike mechanic I'd consider the abbey sockets.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    There is a lot more to our (Abbey) sockets than just removing the lead in. They are a fair bit smaller across the flats than a fit a lot more snugly than a standard steel socket. I'm not sure if the people that have followed in our footsteps with purpose built sockets have adopted this feature but it's worth thinking about. Keeping them short is also nice to further prevent cam out, this is especially helpful on the 32 size as even a standard depth socket is pretty tall in that size.
    No question these are the best option. However I've not heard of any issues with other cheaper options so long as care is given. The only time anyone reported an issue with damage to a top cap was one that was cross threaded at the factory. So these seem like a solution looking for a problem. I'm also looking to use them for non bike purposes and that means steel construction.

    If they cost less, say $20, I could give it more serious thought. But for something I'll use 2-3 times a year I will probably go with a cheaper option that in the end will work the same for me.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    I've considered buying the luna wrenches a couple of times as the price is right and I'm sure they work just fine. However, I've never had an issue using a nice crescent wrench...no marred anodizing etc. If I were a professional bike mechanic I'd consider the abbey sockets.
    I don't have crescent wrench in this size so I have to buy something. My adjustable is too sloppy to trust for this job.

    What brands do you work on? RS seems like they have taller caps. I also noticed they use craftsman 12 point chamfered sockets in their product manual. If it's good enough for them...

  6. #6
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    I have wrenches similar to the Luna version but if you want one tool that will work with most of the hex top caps on forks the Knipex pliers wrench work effectively. Not as good as a dedicated tool and you can not attach it to a torque wrench but they are good for top caps and many other applications.


    https://www.amazon.com/Knipex-860325...+pliers+wrench


    Amazon is not necessarily the best price in the USA. I bought mine from Zoro tools on sale for less.

  7. #7
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    I took my Craftsmen sockets to a machine shop and had them grind them flat and take some material off. I swapped services, and they did a real professional job.
    So my two bits is you may want to look into finding a good machinist to take your sockets to and have them done just the way you want. Or if you have the tooling do them yourself.

  8. #8
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    Having nice, specific tools is nice, a socket with the bevel ground off properly works just fine. Got one of the guys at my brothers hydraulic hose place to lath them down for me, so no charge. Don't think even if I had the $$ I'd be spending $25 US per socket, even though they are nice.
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  9. #9
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    Cheap sockets plus a belt-sander to take the chamfer off. Why pay more?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    I don't have crescent wrench in this size so I have to buy something. My adjustable is too sloppy to trust for this job.

    What brands do you work on? RS seems like they have taller caps. I also noticed they use craftsman 12 point chamfered sockets in their product manual. If it's good enough for them...
    The first fork I really worked on was a first run 36 talas that I converted to spring. I considered grinding down a socket on my bench grinder as I had already ground down wrenches to service my hadley hubs. First I thought I'd try an adjustable and the top cap spun out no problem. I've owned/worked on just about every fork under the sun including my current favorite forks since, MRP.

    The key is to orient the crescent in the proper direction, get it as tight as possible, & as parallel as possible. While socket & wrench tolerances are all over the mab it's possible to tighten the crescent in such a way that it's engaging the entirety of the full 2 sides of the top cap nut where box wrenches and sockets are more or less only engaging very little of the nut at it's points. That's not to say abbey's sockets aren't very tight, they may be, I've never handled one.
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  11. #11
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    If I worked on alot of suspension I would get the abbey, they look very nice!

  12. #12
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    Park Tool also makes the SKT-6. It's a six piece set of flat faced sockets. Check those out here: SKT-6 Flat-Faced Socket Set | Park Tool

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by aluminiumsucks View Post
    Park Tool also makes the SKT-6. It's a six piece set of flat faced sockets. Check those out here: SKT-6 Flat-Faced Socket Set | Park Tool
    Those look nice. Price seems right too, about $50 or so for the set. Calling my local shop now....they are new so may not be in stock or available just yet.

  14. #14
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    Ebay & a file. About as cheap as you can get and every bit as reliable as those hilariously over priced options. Then again, I guess if nice tools make you feel all warm & fuzzy go for it.

    And you are saving money doing the work yourself...but still...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by eshew View Post
    Ebay & a file. About as cheap as you can get and every bit as reliable as those hilariously over priced options. Then again, I guess if nice tools make you feel all warm & fuzzy go for it.

    And you are saving money doing the work yourself...but still...
    I'm concerned with the tolerances on some of the cheapies. I have enough Harbor Freight and other cheap tools to know that they measure in "ish" when making cheap tools. Their 20mm socket is 20mm-ish. My higher priced tools fit better and don't mar or round the stuff they are tightening/loosening.

    Plus time. I don't have the time to grind them down and am not sure I could get it both flat and level.

    Not to mention a 32mm socket isn't exactly cheap even with the chamfers.

    It will be the Park tools for me. The price is quite good for a set with this many. I'm not sure I could get decent chamfered sockets for much less.

  16. #16
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    While I have some DIY methods when it comes to bikes, I've invested in some nice tools over the years. It's as much as a hobby to me as the riding. A finely made tool is not only nice to gaze at and admire, it has a feel to it in your hand. I know this tool is going to last a long time and will be a pleasure to use every time.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post

    The key is to orient the crescent in the proper direction, get it as tight as possible, & as parallel as possible. While socket & wrench tolerances are all over the mab it's possible to tighten the crescent in such a way that it's engaging the entirety of the full 2 sides of the top cap nut where box wrenches and sockets are more or less only engaging very little of the nut at it's points. That's not to say abbey's sockets aren't very tight, they may be, I've never handled one.
    Even with your method you're still transferring the torque at the two corners at either end of your adjustable wrench. The tighter the fit the more of the flat you can use but you are ultimately still transferring the torque at the corner. This is the problem with loose fitting tools in general, they only grab at the very corner and that's how things get damaged.

  18. #18
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    No argument here, and not recommended for everybody. Part of me thinks the old marzocchi with the cassette tool is a way better system and part of me thinks if you need high end sockets to remove a top cap without marring it you have no business digging into your fork. Mechanical availability is lost on those without the head for it.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eshew View Post
    About as cheap as you can get and every bit as reliable as those hilariously over priced options.
    What do you do for a living? Would you be willing to accept a steady job for $1.75 an hour?
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    What do you do for a living? Would you be willing to accept a steady job for $1.75 an hour?
    I don't understand where your going with this. We're talking about a sockets. Sockets that are either very nice and $50 ea. Sockets that are pretty nice and $20 ea, or sockets that are made in China and could be ground down to work reliably for anywhere from $5-$10 ea. Even cheaper if you're lucky enough to have a pawn shop or second hand store that sells em.

    Worked on bikes and cars for 20 years, if you're doing an axle nut that needs to be torqued to 300 ft/lbs you need a good socket. If you're torquing an aluminum top cap to 16 ft lbs you need to be careful.

    My Chinese or 2nd hand Craftsman sockets that I ground down don't slip and do the job just fine.

    My job pays me well enough, I wouldn't take a job for $1.75 and hour. But my money is for my family and everything they need now and moving forward. It's not my job to support a business that makes something I don't need. My money is saved or invested and spent on day to day needs and occasionally spent on recreation. When it's spent I get the most out of it, sometimes expensive tools are needed to save money in the long run, that's fine. I don't have the need for hand made boutique tools so I don't buy them. No one needs hand made boutique tools.

    But as I said in my previous post, if it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy to have a sweet set of sockets, then that adds value as well. It's your money. And if I was in your shop working on my fork I'd use your sockets rather than mine. Just don't want to pay for them.

  21. #21
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    Your point is well taken.
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  22. #22
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    This is why i don't have kids, shiny tools!

  23. #23
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    And I wasn't sure I'd get any replies!

    The Park sockets are looking more and more like a great deal. Now if only anyone had them for sale.
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  24. #24
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    I bought cheap sockets on ebay, a few seconds on my neighbours bench-sander and they work perfectly.

    This is not a demanding application here. Unless you work on a shop and service forks all the do da day expensive sockets are not remotely justified.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I bought cheap sockets on ebay, a few seconds on my neighbours bench-sander and they work perfectly.

    This is not a demanding application here. Unless you work on a shop and service forks all the do da day expensive sockets are not remotely justified.



    Yep, 5" angle grinder and a 80 grit flap wheel do a beautiful job, just use a decent fitting socket. If you have access to a lathe, turn em down.

  26. #26
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    to those that are grinding down sockets. consider getting impact grade or uncrhomed(snap on industrial is black oxide) sockets. the chrome can chip and cut you

  27. #27
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    ^^^^ Good point!
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  28. #28
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    Sweet...

    Tool for suspension fork top caps-20171013_171359.jpg
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  29. #29
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    The abbey sockets have been amazing and very reliable for us since we sprung for them. I would highly recommend them for heavy shop use. I had used ground down sockets before with mixed results. This is by far a better route for home use than using a crescent wrench (don't use a crescent wrench!), but don't get the cheapest ebay socket you can find. Your suspension is likely the most valuable piece on your bike, it's not worth screwing it up with cheap tools.

  30. #30
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    I went the cheapo way with all those sized. Over the years as I got new fork I bought 6pt sockets (cheap ones since I am going to hack them up) and removed the chamfer. I had one machined down by friend, I did one myself on a bench grinder, and one with an angle grinder. They all came out flat and work great. A cheap 32mm was a bit harder to find but a Saturn fuel filter socket is that size and only $5-7 online or at Pep boys.

  31. #31
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    The thing with sockets is you're not applying force in the plane of the faces so there is a propensity for the socket to lever off the hex head, especially shallow heads like a fork cap. The shorter the socket, the better. A wrench with a jointed head can help mitigate this. Applying a counter force at the head of the wrench, of course, is also good, and, maybe counterintuitively, an extension can help with this.

    I haven't tried it, and am not recommending it, but a Knipex Pliers Wrench might do it. They only work on two faces but they grip them tightly and they work in the plane of the head.
    Do the math.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    I haven't tried it, and am not recommending it, but a Knipex Pliers Wrench might do it. They only work on two faces but they grip them tightly and they work in the plane of the head.
    I ran into a few forks where the clearance between the crown and top-cap was so minimal that my socket wouldn't fit. I don't remember which ones they were. The Knipex Pliers Wrench saved the day, but that is the exception, not the rule. I always use a socket where I can.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Re View Post
    I ran into a few forks where the clearance between the crown and top-cap was so minimal that my socket wouldn't fit. I don't remember which ones they were. The Knipex Pliers Wrench saved the day, but that is the exception, not the rule. I always use a socket where I can.
    That is what this thread is about. The chamfer on the bottom of your standard socket makes it unsuitable for use in fork service. You either need to remove the chamfer or buy that abby set.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    The thing with sockets is you're not applying force in the plane of the faces so there is a propensity for the socket to lever off the hex head,....
    I totally get this. When using a headset press I always remind my friends to grab both handles of the tool and not try to turn it with one hand. Goes in much straighter that way.

    I haven't had any problems with turning fork caps with a ratchet but if I did I would get a T-handle driver. I use these to turn taps all the time.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratt View Post
    That is what this thread is about. The chamfer on the bottom of your standard socket makes it unsuitable for use in fork service. You either need to remove the chamfer or buy that abby set.

    I totally get this. When using a headset press I always remind my friends to grab both handles of the tool and not try to turn it with one hand. Goes in much straighter that way.

    I haven't had any problems with turning fork caps with a ratchet but if I did I would get a T-handle driver. I use these to turn taps all the time.
    Good suggestion about the T Handle. I will check those out.

    I have been very happy with the Park set. The only issue has been DVO needs a thin wall socket for the Diamond damper. For that I used a dremel to make a standard socket thin enough and ground some of the chamfer down just to make sure it had about 5mm on the fitting.
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  35. #35
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    A bit OT, but Rockshox going to a cassette tool to remove the air spring cap is an interesting development.
    Do the math.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratt View Post
    That is what this thread is about. The chamfer on the bottom of your standard socket makes it unsuitable for use in fork service. You either need to remove the chamfer or buy that abby set.
    For the record, my sockets are hand ground, then filed/sanded/deburred. I like nice tools and don't mind spending the money, when I have it, for them. With exceptions, nice/expensive tools make the job go more smoothly.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    The thing with sockets is you're not applying force in the plane of the faces so there is a propensity for the socket to lever off the hex head, especially shallow heads like a fork cap. The shorter the socket, the better. A wrench with a jointed head can help mitigate this. Applying a counter force at the head of the wrench, of course, is also good, and, maybe counterintuitively, an extension can help with this.

    I haven't tried it, and am not recommending it, but a Knipex Pliers Wrench might do it. They only work on two faces but they grip them tightly and they work in the plane of the head.
    You can apply force in the plain parallel to the fastener with a socket, it just takes a little care. Putting the palm of your off hand on the back of the ratchet does a lot to prevent cam out. Having a socket that isn't over clearanced helps a lot as well.

    The Knipex Pliers Wrench is a great tool and is probably the best option for top caps if you're not going to buy a specific tool for that job. Turns out they are also great for damn near everything else. We have several pairs in the shop and use them all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    A bit OT, but Rockshox going to a cassette tool to remove the air spring cap is an interesting development.
    Only on the short travel forks at this point where knee clearance is a larger concern. It's a more complicated part to make so I doubt we will see it adopted across all suspension platforms but who knows.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Re View Post
    For the record, my sockets are hand ground, then filed/sanded/deburred. I like nice tools and don't mind spending the money, when I have it, for them. With exceptions, nice/expensive tools make the job go more smoothly.
    I am assuming you are nicking the crown with your socket.
    Tool for suspension fork top caps-fox2-2-.jpg
    Its hard to see in the Fox service guide but they bevel the outer edge of the socket to clearance the fork the crown.
    Attachment 1175440
    Tool for suspension fork top caps-webp.net-resizeimage.jpg
    In their video guide you can see how much bevel they added and that they homebrew tools too.

    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    ... Having a socket that isn't over clearanced helps a lot as well. ....
    Yes, there is that fine line of making it too thin for wobble or cracking. I used to make homemade thin wall sockets for Marzocchi All-mtn footnuts. Cracked so many when I mindlessly use one elsewhere on the bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    ...The Knipex Pliers Wrench is a great tool and is probably the best option for top caps if you're not going to buy a specific tool for that job. Turns out they are also great for damn near everything else. We have several pairs in the shop and use them all the time..
    No experience with those pliers but do you think these would work as well? I love these when working overhead and I have to reach down into my bag for another tool, I can just leave this wrench in place.

    I just saw your avatar and just now made the connection. Very nice tools there.

  39. #39
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    Marzocchi used cassette tool top caps for years.
    We're recommending knipex pliers, but poo pooing crescent wrenches? Lol.
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  40. #40
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    Knipex Pliers Wrench is an amazing device, as are some of their other tools. No comparison with a crescent wrench, though that hybrid crescent/visegrip wrench looks like it might be OK.

    The Knipex Cobra Pliers are amazing too, though not for use on something you don't want to mar. I once used them with a three foot extension on the handles, putting a heck of a lot of force on that extension, and they did the job. I was amazed they didn't break.

    Another one is their Bolt End Cutting Nippers. These things have quickly cut through any cable lock I tried them on. Great for stealing bikes, though that wasn't what I was doing.
    Do the math.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    We're recommending knipex pliers, but poo pooing crescent wrenches? Lol.
    Completely different tools. The Pliers Wrench squeezes as it turns where the adjustable wrench just turns. The difference is pretty significant.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    though not for use on something you don't want to mar.
    That is the gist of my post. The top cap on my mrp is 2mm tall and machined out for the adjuster. The ham fisted home mechanic could easily crush it with a knipex plier. I like them more than most indexing spanners. My bread and butter for years was kitchen and bath remodeling. For finished fittings the knipex are #1 as they were (mostly) fool proof for my guys.
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  43. #43
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    He specifically said the Cobra wasn't for use on things you don't want to mar, which it isn't, 'cause it mars everything you put it on. Best tool of its kind, though, and probably gets mentioned automatically because it'll make an instant Knipex fan out of you. But it's not what he was talking about for topcap use. The pliers wrench isn't something I'd go out and buy to use on a topcap, either, but shouldn't hurt anything.

    I originally ground down a cheap 6pt 24mm, but just enough to get past the bevels. It was a loose fit, though. Ended up buying a shorter one that works better and doesn't mar the caps in spite of being 12pt. Very limited options for 24mm locally, for whatever reason. In hindsight, after spending $25 on a pair of sockets, grinding the original one down, and still having one that's less than optimal, that Abbey for $35 online sounds pretty good. Knowing me, I'll end up buying one now that I know about it

  44. #44
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    I have a 2001 Rock Shox Jett front fork with one top cap measuring 24mm and the other has a preload screw and a 3/4" cap (measured with digital micrometer). The Luna Bikes 24mm Fork Cap Wrench makes sense for the right side but the tines on the preload screw would prevent using a socket or wrench similar to the Luna wrench. I've tried using box wrenches and adjustables. I'm concerned about damaging the soft plastic cap.

    The manuals I can find talk about the preload adjuster but not about it's related cap.

    Would a cone wrench work (assuming I can find a 3/4")?

    Any other suggestions?

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