How to Rebuild Motorcycle Shocks

Written by tom lutzenberger
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How to Rebuild Motorcycle Shocks
Motorcycle front fork shock dampners typically don't involve a spring. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Repairing motorcycle shocks typically involves removing the entire assembly from the motorcycle and then disassembling it. Owners usually do this to preserve a custom-chromed or powdercoated spring since the dampner itself is a sealed unit and should just be replaced. Most of this type of repair generally applies to the rear shock since the front shocks are typically just dampners.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Socket wrench and sockets
  • Crescent wrench
  • Vice clamp on a work bench
  • Shop rag
  • New dampner
  • Screwdriver
  • Shock dampner oil (optional)
  • Shock dampner seals and rebuild kit (optional)
  • Cleaner spray
  • New shock stud washers

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  1. 1

    Go to the rear of the motorcycle and locate the rear shock (it may be on a side or underneath the seat frame). Use a socket wrench or crescent wrench to loosen the top shock nut holding it to the motorcycle frame. Remove the nut. Leave the shock on its hook stud for the moment and do not remove it.

  2. 2

    Use the socket wrench or crescent wrench to remove the bottom connection as well. Remove the nut. Prepare for the rear wheel and wheel frame to sink when the shock gets removed by bracing it with some kind of wood or crate. Pull the shock off its securing pegs on the frame and wheel frame.

  3. 3

    Place the shock assembly in a vice clamp after wrapping the bottom end to be held with a shop rag (avoids more clamp scratching than necessary). Use a crescent wrench to remove the top hat of the shock assembly after twisting the securing nut off the top. Remove the spring.

  4. 4

    Loosen the vice clamp and remove the old dampner. Decide if you want to just replace the dampner with a new one or perform the full rebuild.

  5. 5

    Remove the top nut of the dampner with a crescent wrench. Drain out the shock dampner oil into a container with measurements (i.e. a cooking cup or similar). Use the screwdriver to remove the screw on the side to release the dampner inside tube. Pull the inside tube and shaft assembly out.

  6. 6

    Clean all the parts thoroughly with a rag and cleaner. Replace the dampner seals with new ones from a rebuild kit. Reassemble the inner tube and shaft assembly together and reinsert into the outer dampner shell. Pour the equivalent of new shock oil into the dampner that was originally removed (refer to the amount of liquid in the measured cup). Tighten the top nut to seal the rebuilt dampner.

  7. 7

    Place the rebuilt dampner (or new one if you decided to swap out) back onto the vice clamp and tighten. Place the spring back on after cleaning it, inserting the dampner in the middle of the spring. Attach the top spring hat and securing nut. Tighten the hat and securing nut down with a crescent wrench. Release the vice clamp.

  8. 8

    Reinstall the rebuilt shock back into your motorcycle frame. Place new washers on both shock pegs after the shock is installed. Reinstall the securing nuts and tighten down with a socket wrench or crescent wrench.

Tips and warnings

  • Most motorcycle shops for your brand of vehicle will have replacement shocks and dampners on hand, so if you don't want to mess with a rebuild and cleaning, you can buy a new unit outright and have it installed quickly.
  • Try not to get the dampner oil on your skin. Wear gloves when pouring or handling the liquid and clean up any overspill quickly with a rag.

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