Prepping for Race Tech Gold Valve Emulators

I’ve heard great things about these Race Tech Gold Valve Fork Emulators. What I have had trouble with, is getting the proper instal instructions and modifications needed for a 70’s BMW motorcycle.
Hopefully this will help others who plan to do the modification.
For information on how the emulators work, please read through this link.
Dampening Rod Forks and Emulators
For instructions and diagrams of a BMW /5 fork leg, check out an old Beemers and Bits link:
http://beemersandbits.com/2011/12/lower-fork-leg-anatomy-of-a-5-bmw-motorcycle/

Unfortunately, I’m not going to test the results anytime soon. The bike is undergoing an entire rebuild and I’m at the point where i am trying to make a rolling chassis. So as i wait for some fork seals from BMW, I am starting to prep all the parts for reassembly.

With the dampening rods removed from the forks, they need to be disassembled and modified.

Here is the dampening rod with the bottom nut removed and the 1/4″ drill bit to be used later.
Note that the spring and check ball get discarded when doing this modification.

Here is the upper piston removal:

It really helps if you have a drill press for something like this.
All the holes at the bottom of the rod need to be widened to 1/4″ inch.

Here are both dampener rods and an old rod. You can see the difference in hole size to allow for more oil flow. Also note my gun cleaner and airbrush nozzle cleaners in the top of the photo. The inside of the rods and holes needs to be cleaned thoroughly after you drill them. Any small sharp bits of metal will chew up your fork seals, the inner fork tube walls, and all the other moving parts.

With the piston removed, a hole needs to be added to the top of the piston to allow more oil flow to the emulator. A lathe would probably be the best tool for the job but i had to improvise with my drill press. I found it easiest to drill from the inside. And i held the piston in place with a 13mm wrench. (My method may not be the safest or smartest but it worked for me. Be Safe!).
A Before and After of the piston top.
I have read some suggestions that say to cut the top of the piston off entirely, or to cut it where the holes are. I want to be able to tighten the piston on the dampener so I drilled a hole into it. This isn’t my photo but it give you an idea of another option:

In the end, i wound up shaving down the hex head of the piston a bit. i want to make sure that the part of the emulator that sticks down in the PVC spacer does not hit the piston. I also widened the piston holes to allow for more oil flow.

Then it was off to the local hardware store to buy some 3/4″ PVC to use as a spacer between the piston and the emulator. $.64 got me a foot of pipe. More then i’ll need.
It is suggested that you cut a length between 35-40mm. Since I didn’t cut the piston, i figured 40mm would be a safe size to keep distance between the piston and the emulator. After i squared up the ends, it was more like 39mm.

If you are using Race Tech springs as well, it is suggested that you add 15mm PVC spacers at the top of the springs. The Race Tech springs are slightly shorter then stock springs.
Here is a 15mm aluminum spacer next to my PVC spacers. The aluminum spacer was on one of the bikes when I disassembled it.

It is also recommended that you use use 15wt Fork Oil set to 130mm Oil Level (from top of fork tube to oil with the fork tube at bottom of stroke & the fork spring removed.)

I’ll be sure to post back once I feel the difference between my stock /5 forks and the forks on the rebuild bike.

Lower fork leg anatomy of a /5 BMW motorcycle

A photo diary of the internal components of a /5 BMW motorcycle fork leg.
I plan on rebuilding these forks entirely.  Good thing too.  The rubber is completely rotted in some spots and it has over 10 years of fork oil sitting in these legs. NASTY stuff.

I snapped these photos partly for the blog, but also for my own memory when it comes time to replace many of these parts and reassemble everything.  Please excuse the beat up linoleum floors in my garage.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions. I didn’t plan on this being a ‘How To’ post but more of a photo of the pieces and parts involved in the forks. But the post ends up being a bit of both…

Please note, i removed the entire fork assembly from the frame.  The fork rebuild can be done while still attached to the bike. When i go through the reassembly, and mount them to the triple tree, i will have to perform a strict alignment procedure to make sure the forks are installed properly.  A misaligned set of forks can cause some harmful results to the rider.  I will be sure to post my realignment procedure when the time comes.  In the meantime, for reassembly, please refer to Duane Ausherman’s site on fork alignment:
http://w6rec.com/duane/bmw/forktool/index.htm

Also, please note that i drained all the fork oil prior to starting this procedure.

I removed the upper chrome fork cap with the BMW tool

BMW fork cap pin wrench.

I then removed the upper fork bolt that secures the fork leg to the top triple tree and maintains pressure on the internal fork spring.  I believe it is a 36mm nut and it can often be secured very tightly. I recommend getting a 38mm socket and a breaker bar for the removal process.  The BMW fork wrench is often too small and you can not get the leverage needed to get that nut loose. Before i had a 36mm socket, i remember removing these nuts extremely difficult.
I snapped the following photo so i can remember that the nut had a washer, and the size of the spring spacer.  Some models do not have a washer between the nut and the triple tree. And some spring manufactures like Progressive supply a PVC piece of pipe to cut down to size for spring tension. A longer size will equal more tension. I will probably stick with the spacer that the bike has on it.  It’s a nice aluminum spacer vs PVC.

Upper fork cap removed and upper fork bolt removed.

 

The pinch nut for the lower triple tree needs to be removed and then the fork tubes should slide out from the triple tree.

Lower triple tree pinch nut and cable hook on right side fork leg.

 

 

The springs were taken out and the fork legs removed.

Fork Legs removed.

 

 

You need to grind a flat edge on either side of a 13mm socket.  Then install a hex (Allen) wrench in the hole of the socket.  Hold the Allen wrench in place and loosen the nut.  This will separate the chrome fork tube from the lower fork leg (lower fork slider).

Special filed down socket in which an hex tool can fit through and a wrench can keep the socket secure. Also in the photo is the 30mm socket for removing the bottom cap from lower fork leg.

 

 

I really need to invest in a good circlip tool.  I have bought a few and they never seem to have the correct tension for the precision needed in removing and installing circlips.
The circlip needs to be removed from the bottom of the chrome fork tube.(FigureA)
Then you need to unscrew the lower threaded ring from the base of the fork tube. I used needle nose pliers to fit into the small holes of the threaded ring. (Figure B – though the /5 ring looks different)

Image taken from Clymer Manual. BUY ONE!

 

Here is a shot of the first stage of my fork disassembled.

First photo of fork anatomy.

 

 

I already unscrewed  the threaded plug from bottom of the dampener rod.
This photo shows how to remove the upper dampener piston.

Internal fork actuator disassembly.

 

Photo of entire fork components… in order of their removal.

Entire fork disassembly.

 

Close up of the lower dampener rod’s threaded plug, spring and ball.

Close up of lower nut, spring and ball.

 

Close up photo of the orientation and order of the upper dampener rod and the upper piston for the dampener rod.

Close up of upper fork piston.