How To Make Your Own XR650R Fork Tools

Here’s another tool page to help you save a few bucks. This ones a bit simpler than the preload tool. If you’ve spent any time on the bike, you will find it’s time to change the oil in your forks. The stock Honda stuff congeals in a slippery, slimy, lumpy, whale snot, along with getting contaminated with the byproducts of break in. Warning signs are a harsh, sluggish action that no amount of clicker adjustment will cure. The stuff has to come out.

You could probably get by just pulling the fork caps off and dumping out the whale snot, ( actually, spooning it out may be a better term!) flushing them a couple times, and then refilling with some good stuff. It’ll work, but really isn’t the right way. Another common problem with the stock oil is a chance of water contamination. Several guys have torn into their forks and found rust. Striking iron oxide may be good if you’re digging in your back yard, but finding it in your forks is not good. I suggest checking for this rust immediately after getting the bike so you can get it warranted.

The proper way to attack this is to break down the forks and clean everything, plus inspect to make sure all the internals have been playing nicely with each other. “Yikes!”, “It is too complicated?”, and “you need special tools!” you say? Not! In the aspects of the job at hand, the BRP forks are pretty simple. It’s not like you are messing with the valving or anything. You are simply doing routine maintainence. A shop manual and the “special” tools are all you really need.

At right is the fitting that requires a funky tool. It’s the hex shaped recess at the end of the piston rod. You normally will not see this, I had to cut away the fork tube with a grinder after doing this. What you need is a 27mm allen head, with a 1/2″ hole in it, that is 18 or so inches long. Piece of cake!

The components you need can be found at almost any hardware store. You need a 3/4″ to 1/2″ NPT female steel nipple. Take a picture and a tape measure with you. You want something that ends up being 1-1/16″ across, like a bolt head, but with a 1/2″ or so hole in the center. I couldn’t find anything with a large enough hole, but the stuff is pretty soft to drill.

A picture of the fitting is at right, welded onto the 18″ section of 3/4″ pipe you also need to pick up. An 8″ or so piece of pipe welded across the top makes for a good handle. You can simplify things by just drilling a hole in the top of the pipe to stick a screwdriver into, but hey, you already have the welder fired up.

Once you have everything welded, duct taped, glued, or whatever, together, your first of the two tools is done. Be sure to clean everything up, removing an burrs or other things that could contaminate your freshly cleaned forks.

The next tool you need is for holding the bottom half of the leg. You may have noticed that the brass fitting in the bottom of each fork leg, where the compression adjuster is, has a hex shape to it. You need a 14mm allen head for that and you’re ready to get covered in whale snot.

Hopefully you are luckier than I am, and you already have the allen you need. I didn’t have one, and not one parts store in Cow Tipping U.S.A. had one as large as 14mm. 9/16″ is 14.3mm. I used a 9/16″ bolt welded into an old socket, and filed off the .3mm.




That’s it, you’re done making the tools. They’re so simple, I had a hard time coming up with enough wasted words to fill the space needed to line up the pictures. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or contact me at the group. I’ll help as much as I can.

My only other suggestions, as with any of the projects I list in these pages, are to buy a manual and keep your work space clean enough to eat from. The forks contain some pretty pricey parts that can be easily damaged from wrongful assembly, dirt, and haybales. Many thanks to Morgan of the 650R group for getting me going on this.

05/07/03 Paul Gortmaker has another twist on making the tool. He used a scrap of 1″ or 1-1/8″ .1″ thin wall tubing to begin with, and then beat it into submission around the head of a 5/8″UNC bolt, which has a head of 15/16″. Your finished product would look like the spark plug wrench that came with the brp. Just drill a hole in the other end to stick a screwdriver in for a handle.

I have not done this yet. He claims (and I believe) that this looks much more trick than the welded version when finished. I hope to soon have a picture of it.