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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So anyone remember that trashy GL I got? She is actually doing quite fine now. Still a turd, but a polished turd (pictures below).
Issue is I've grown quite tired of that connector hose between my forks. After I hit a speed bump at probably not the right speed (130kmph) and blew completely one of my fork seals (it was bad already...had to pump it up every week or so) I saw how good a companion one fork is to the other when both just went flacid and left my handlebar surprisingly close to what was left of my poor front fender (R.I.P.).
Anyway! I've been seeing a few threads on swapping the fork caps on cx500's, some of them even with fancy preloads! I was hoping to replace mines but I can't find anything that would guarantee it would fit and less importantly, my safety.
Is there a direct replacement that would allow me to fill each fork individually? As in each cap with it's on valve. Or can I just fit a pre load without having to swap my springs? Or on the most basic case scenario (because I kinda like the chunkiness and mess of a busy dashboard) can I just put normal plain caps? The idea (and yeah,stupid idea) is to limit expenses...the bike is after costing me several K's by now, I'm deep in negative numbers in my bank, I cant keep on expending 400 every week.
Thank you guys!
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Hows the solid wheel hold up at 130km/hr in the backroads of blowy Eire/Ireland?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Like a f**king sail boat on a stormy night. Between that and the floppy forks coming back home was an adventure...had to lure two friends to scort me with their cars out of fear of something else breaking apart on the way back
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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When I hit a pothole and popped a fork seal on my GL500 I was only 30 Km from home but I remember the ride home (with the passenger in the sidecar leaning as far away from the bike as possible) vividly.

IIRC the threads where the hose screws into the caps are the same as where the valve stem screws in and they are a standard thread (M8 fine thread?) so it should be possible to plug the hole for the existing valve with a bolt and put valve stems in the holes from the hose.

I wanted to eliminate having to check the air pressure in the forks and fuss around adding air when needed so I went through the calculation at the link below and came up with preload spacers that eliminated the need for any air pressure other than what is produced by the air volume inside the forks decreasing when they are compressed. It will be harder to get the caps back on with the spacers but you don't have to do that nearly as often as you have to mess with the air pressure ;-)

BTW: Is it just me or is the fork touching the tank in the first pic above?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So adding the spacers I can then go with regular caps, even sexy preloads just for aesthetics?
The fork tank situation was a serious hassle when I replaced my tank (not for fun, but because I blew up the stock one popping out a dent with the air compressor... could've kill someone 😂) it is actually 0.8mm away from the tank on one side and 0.4 on the other side where the paint on the fork stoppers has worn off...took a while to get the tank mounts so close to the stem without damaging anything...
 

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I'm not sure what you mean by "sexy preloads just for aesthetics" but if I'm interpreting you correctly I would advise you not to do anything to your bike's suspension just for style because that can produce results that rang from simply wasting money to outright disaster.
The information on the page I linked to will allow you to calculate the optimum length of preload spacer to set the ride height for best suspension performance with your weight on your bike.
BTW: It involves taking the forks apart to measure the springs but you will have to take them apart to replace the seals anyway.

The tank is rubber mounted and depending on the pressure you exert with your knees it could easily move a couple of mm from side to side. I think if I had to use a CX tank on a GL I would have either moved it back a bit, altered the shape a bit to allow more clearance or modified the stops by drilling & tapping them to accept small screws (you would lose a couple of degrees of rotation but you probably wouldn't miss it).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The stops has said tapping and screws yes, besides that I had to mod the upper stop for the steering parking lock to be able to function after limiting the steering angles and that was that. Those measurements were taken pressing the tank as far as it'd go in all directions...huge learning curve, as I said, serious hassle...it took many many many different attempts to get it right and then I realised the headlamp brackets obviously added diameter to the forks so all over again...once done now I realise I should have also lowered the front of the tank so it'd be more straight with the rest of the bike so whenever I can be bothered there is another few hours of head scratching waiting for me.
Anyways back to the suspension; yeah rather than having normal caps, having the preload caps kinda sounds like I'd have the pros of being able to adjust the suspension if needed without the bother of the air leaks...
Like these, but for 35mm forks 31x1.5 thread
Thoughts?
 

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What about these? I have not tried them.

 

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I'm cheap and $100 will buy a lot of suitable steel tubing (not to mention that a lot of people have used plastic pipe with good results) plus a few other things I'd find more useful to have.

And I can't see how those caps with preload adjusters would do any better job than calculating optimum length spacers (assuming they are capable of adjusting to the length you actually need).
In theory it might be nice to be able to adjust them whenever the load on the suspension changes but in the real world how often do you think you would bother?
When I got my first bike I thought it was great to be able to adjust the preload of the rear shocks to suit the load on the bike at the time but I soon learned that if I was dropping off or picking up a passenger it was almost never convenient to put the bike on the stand and dig out the wrench to make the adjustment so I set them somewhere in between and left them alone.
By the time I had adjustable front suspension I just did the same.

Its not like we are at the track with a suspension tech to adjust them for today's conditions for us....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What about these? I have not tried them.

Those are exactly the ones I was on about but then...those are 28mm thread and I'm supposed to be wearing 31...out of forced experience I've learnt everything on this bike is there for a reason, mess with it and it will mess with you. Those 3mm difference would affect the suspension how? Would spacers help it? Is it worth it as good Bob here says to pay 100 bucks for that...?Knowing (or at least thinking, from my deep ignorance on the matter) they're not exactly appropriate for these forks in particular am I not feeding pearls to the pigs here? I mean I've been making it rain with this bike an awful lot considering the state of my finances but again as Bob is saying...my pricey YSS rear shock can be adjusted on all senses, preload, rebounce, lenght, you name it, and quite easily too. How many times do I actually go at it? So far only once after my ass hit against the seat quite painfully twice on that accident I mentioned and I realised the rebounce was a bit all over the place...I guess, knowing myself, if the lenght difference could be sorted out somehow or it didn't make a difference at all I'd probably end up going for it, but otherwise if it is going to be one of those things that makes me overthink about my safety and stop paying attention to the road I'd be better off keeping it simple...
 

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One other consideration is the pitch of the threads. I don't know about the smaller sizes but when I was putting my GoldWing's forks together (long story including parts from 3 models and the spacer calculation) I learned that Honda used at least 2 different pitches for the caps of 39mm forks (fortunately the caps and stanchions I wanted to use were the same).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
35mm forks, 31 lenght of thread and 1.5 pitch...one would think finding a cap that fits the last two and doesn't exceed the first should do the job but unless I'm just too battered from work to figure out the right code words to search for it...I'm finding nothing that doesn't come from the very reputable AliExpress... Allegedly aftermarket caps for some cb750's and in particular cb650 custom 80's should fit too but again, no luck...
 

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You know, there's cheque book customizing and real customizing and buying something like that is the former.

If I felt inclined to do more than install spacers I think I'd look for some caps that fit but don't have the bumps for the air fittings and make my own adjusters.
 

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Maybe link to your build thread (if it exists)...helps us remember the bikes.....I now gotta feeling I saw the bike before....no didnt remember it the other day.....
The other thread.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You know Bob you might be onto something there...120 for the pre load caps plus shipping plus import tax plus the necessary spacers...I thought of buying another left side cap and fitting valves to each side...then they charge 60 for that cap plus shipping and add the cost of the valves (not thaaat bad, 5 per unit) and they'd look kinda ok though perhaps a bit awkward...? Why wouldn't I buy a much cheaper yet good quality 35mm fork caps, bit of drilling and tapping, fit a pretty set of valves with matching caps, and have a nice discreet set of air assisted caps made by my own self instead? Besides the grief of finding after market parts for this bike is killing me. The idea is to enjoy building it and riding it not to make it all flashy so some kid might want to try learning hot wiring and old piece of junk and when he fails miseraby takes off all the pretty bits and puts on fire the rest, which in Limerick Ireland happens pretty much any other day
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well to close this thread, confirmed the valves would fit the thread on the left side (probably has a better name but let's call it slave cap as the other one would be the master having it's own valve) so I can have two slaves with their own valve fitted in them each, thus letting go of the hose and hopefully not losing suspension fully next time I we take off, though gods of speed willing there shouldn't be a next time. I'll update pictures when I have the set up ready and looks pretty enough to do so.
Thank you all for the ideas and support.
 
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