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Garage Basics

Garage Basics

Welcome to the mysterious world of wrenching. So you weren't born with a silver wrench in your mouth? No idea, how to tell a metric nut from an SAE bolt? No clue about torque settings, drain plugs or hex keys? Don't despair, here's a few basic mini tutorials to keep your sled rolling.

Fork Oil Change
If you have to shrug, when the term fork oil pops up, and turn back to the work on your bench, you are probably the guy who has a springer, girder or leaf spring fork in his chop, and generally keeps to Harleys before the 1949 vintage.
1949 is the year when Harley-Davidson introduced the red-hot Panhead "Hydra Glide" motorcycle, which came with a "hydra-ulic" front end. Steel tubes sliding on steel tubes, and deep down inside long springs swimming in oil raised the riding comfort to unheard of levels, reducing back-breaking potholes, back then a daily menace to riders, to minor bumps in the road.
With all this sliding action going on, it’s no wonder the oil gets tired and saturated with microscopic metal particles due to abrasion, which makes regular change a necessity. The viscosity of fork oil can be used to adjust the damping characterisics (and levels of comfort) of hydraulic forks. SAE 30 W was standard on HDs up to 1978 (and up to ’84 on FL models). 30 weight is rather stiffish by today’s standards. It was replaced by 20 W later. If you appreciate a soft ride, go down to 15 W, or concoct your own "viscocktail" by mixing different viscosities. Make sure that you remember the mix ratio for next time.
Model specific quantities, the maintenance intervals and where to find the drain plugs are best looked up in the maintenance handbook that came with your bike, or in the relevant edition of Clymer’s handbooks. A quick read-through may help to order gaskets, if needed, and possibly replacement plugs, if the old ones look like they’ve had it. It’s not uncommon for drain plugs to be uncooperative, or strip, and generally can be a pain in the youknowwhere.
Always consider calling our phone operators, who can take the strain out of the preparations at +499312506116 or send them an e-mail at service@wwag.com   
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