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  • Title Page- Race Tech's Gold Valve
  • Original Author- Chuck B

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Race Tech's Gold Valve 

This "How toÖ" will walk you through the installation of RaceTechís Gold Valve and springs. This is intended to supplement the service manual, not to replace it. Honda service manual makes no mention on how to service the cartridge so I hope this will help. For those who only wish to change oil or change springs and not dive into disassembly of the fork cartridge this will also serve as an aid.

 

Previously, I found you can change fork fluid and springs without removing the forks but it is necessary to remove them to perform this installation. My reason for going to the Gold Valve was I had tried several different wt. oils trying to eliminate the harshness without losing any performance but was unsuccessful. Progressive makes new springís for the Valkyrie which, several riders have reported a significant improvement in ride quality. I have not tried them myself. They recommend upping the oil weight to help compensate for the stock valving in the cartridge. In my experience, the valving must be changed to match the spring rate. Here is where RaceTech comes in. They address both with their kit (FMGV S2042 @ $239) or you can get them at the VRCC store for $187.00

While performing this installation, I found a few discrepancies with their instructions. RaceTech has acknowledged these errors and state they will be updating their instructions. Iíll go over each just in case.

  1. Oil should be measured WITHOUT the springs installed. Instructions state both ways.
  2. The picture of the rebound valve stack is incorrect. Honda does not have a cupped washer and spacer. Listed as #2 and #3 on the picture.
  3. RaceTech wants you to use the factory valve stack on the rebound circuit. However, mine did not have (2) .20mmX17mm. They were .15mmX17mm. This is probably attributed to production changes Honda did during assembly. Mine was a very early í97.
  4. I was unable to use the base plate that RaceTech supplied for the rebound circuit. (Of the base washers supplied; the thicker one is for the Compression stack and the thinner is for the rebound) It did not allow the nut to compress the valve stack. I used Hondaís. RaceTech says they will look into this. Again this might be due to production changes Honda initiated during assembly.

I decided to replace Seals and all bushings since I was going to pull it apart. You can do this install without tearing your forks all the way down but itís only a couple more steps. With over 35K miles on my Valkyrie, its better safe than sorry, bushings do wear out. If your not going to replace seals and bushings, thoroughly clean the lower slider. To replace seals and bushings, use the service manual for instructions. Some pointers:

  1. Use 600 grit sandpaper to remove nicks or stubborn dirt on the lower slider tube.
  2. When installing new seals, use electrical tape or plastic on the end of the tube. This will prevent damaging the new seal.
  3. I used PVC pipe that I adapted to seat the seals.

If you are just replacing oil and/or springs, you will need to purchase Hondaís tool listed below. To remove oil, I used a hand held pump (Mity Vac brake pump) with a long hose attached. If this is the first time your opening up your forks, you may find the right fork full of metal. Thoroughly clean it out!! Iíve done two Valkyries and both were this way. This is the fork that does all the work. Before you get started. View RaceTechís video that is supplied in the video and then separate all the shims that they supply by size and thickness. See the Fork Gold Valve Chart-Street for reference to what is supplied. You will have lots of extras. If you donít have Calipers or Micrometer you can use a ruler that measures in mm. You can feel the thickness just by bending them in your fingers. Thereís only two thicknesses to separate. A .10mm thickness to a .15mm thickness is about 3X stiffer.

The Left fork contains only oil and springs. After removing front wheel and fender. Loosen the top clamp completely. Take a 24mm and loosen the fork caps on both forks. Now you can loosen the lower clamp and remove the forks. Take the fork cap off the left fork by holding the lock nut under the cap. Remove the lock nut and rubber stopper. You will need Hondaís tool to proceed further, (07VMA-MZ0010A) Cost was $25.00. The tool is used to remove the inner fork bolt. Its torque to 72ftlbs so have a sturdy vise with soft jaws available. Couple of L shaped aluminum works great. Make sure you only clamp onto the Brake mounts otherwise you can damage the tubes. Slide the fork tube back over the tool to aid in holding it while you break it loose. Once removed, pull the rebound spring and rod out. Turn the fork upside down and let it drain. The spring, spring collar and spring seat will fall out. See service manual for seal and bushing replacement. Thoroughly clean everything with contact cleaner. Compress the fork completely and fill with oil. RaceTech recommends 5wt with the fluid level 150mm from the top of the fork tube. Install spring, spring seat and then the collar. Re-assemble the rest in reverse order. Make sure to put oil on the O-ring on the fork cap before screwing it down.The right fork contains the cartridge. No special tools are required for this fork other than I highly recommend using a Air hammer (light duty) to remove the cartridge bolt (6mm Hex) in the bottom of the fork and youíll need a torque wrench to accurately torque at 2.5ftlbs or 30inlbs. Clamp the tube in the vise, and then remove the fork cap from the damper rod. If your wrench wonít fit on the lock nut, grab the collar below it and pull down to compress the spring. After removing the fork cap, loosen the lock nut till a couple of threads are exposed. (Donít let it come off, itís under pressure!) {Note: when re-assembling, tighten this nut till it lightly bottoms then back it off (Loosen) slightly} Grab the collar again and compress the spring. Remove the spring seat stopper under the nut. Itís ok if you let the rod with the lock nut slide into the fork as you pull the collar out. Careful, oil is going to come out with it. At this point, turn the fork upside down and drain. After draining reach in and grab the lock nut and pull it out till it tops out. Pump it back and forth to drain the cartridge. Turn it upside down and pump it again. This will take several pumps. Place the tube back in the vise. Look up into the bottom the fork. Thatís the 6mm hex youíll use the air hammer on but, first, use a socket or metal rod to strike the hex head using a hammer. Smack it pretty hard in order to break loose the Lock Tight that Honda used. With one hand, have your air hammer ready and with the other, you want to pull the lock nut and rod out of the tube and hold it tight (pulling outward). Use the air hammer. Pull the rod out. Inside this lower section is the cartridge. Turn the fork upside down and drain. The spring and a cup will fall out. Thoroughly clean everything.

Now its time to remove the valving from the lower section of the rod. It took me a while to figure this one out. Screw the 6mm hex nut halfway back in. Pull the rod out and while holding onto the lower section, lightly tap the hex bolt with a rubber mallet pushing the inner portion back approx. 5mm or until you can remove the wire clip. Either pull the hex bolt down removing the compression valving or carefully use the rod to push everything out. Slide the rod out. This is the compression valving. The rebound valving is attached to the rod. Thoroughly clean everything.

Compression Valve Stack- Place the valve in the vise using soft jaws. Remove the Allen bolt and lay everything out in order. Please note it is important for some items to keep reference to top and bottom of each piece. Now, selecting what the valve stack is going to be; I have tried (to date) four different stacks that RaceTech outlines in their instructions. They are pretty much spot on so use their criteria. However, do not include passenger weight. Reassemble using the new Gold Valve (Careful! There is a top and bottom, look carefully for the recess that the cupped washer goes into), new valve stack and new base plate (Thicker). Clean everything with contact cleaner then Blue loctite allen bolt and torque to 2.5ftlbs or 30 inlbs. Correct torque is critical to get this right! Donít forget to install supplied O-ring on Gold Valve.

Rebound Valve Stack- Place in Vise. The shaft that the nut is on is beveled (mushroomed) out. Do not try and force the nut off. Youíll need to file it down. Yes, you may even have to file a small portion of the nut away to get the entire bevel removed. Like the Compression valve, lay everything out in order removed. Replace with Gold Valve and Base Plate. Remember that youíre not changing the valving shims here. Like I stated previously, I couldnít use the supplied Base Plate. How to tellÖ the nut can not be allowed to bottom on the shaft. If it can, use Hondaís plate. Clean everything, reassemble, clean again, Blue loctite and torque to 2.5ftlbs or 30inlbs.

Now its time to put everything back together. Use reverse order. Donít forget to install the Teflon ring around the Gold Valve (Rebound) when putting the valve back into the fork damper. When you put oil into the fork, make sure you pump the rod till its smooth throughout the stroke. (Up and down) You need to get all the air out.

Well, congratulations! youíve just rebuilt your own forks. Now, not only do you have the satisfaction of knowing how its done but that it was done right and heck, you even saved a few bucks along the way. I think youíll agree RaceTechís kit is far superior to stock. It removes those sharp spikes but remains firm and compliant. Ride Safe!

Chuck B VRCC #33  cballehr@hotmail.com 

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