Steering Damper Oil Change - SV1000 Portal
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 14th September 2012, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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Steering Damper Oil Change

So I have been reading about oil change threads for the steering damper. I bought and added a factory SV damper to my 76 Kawasaki KZ900 project. The one I bought felt really light as well. I have big arms and felt the steering was too light. So I tried it. Took me like 20 mins and I will take it out for a ride to see how it feels. I went to the extremes for the weight that alot of the Busa guys go for. I am running a synthetic 75w90 gear oil. Significantly stiffer. If it is too stiff for my liking, going to go to 30w fork oil. Will let you know how it turns out.

Cory
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 14th September 2012, 07:48 PM
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Anybody have an idea what sort of rating the standard damper oil is? I changed mine for 10w fork oil. It feels to me to give a nice level of resistance without being too extreme and rides fine, although the SV doesn't seem particularly renowned for tank-slappers.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 14th September 2012, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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I have read that they use about a 5w fork oil in the dampers from the factory. I know that guys have used Mobil 1 ATF, 80w90 gear oil, 20 & 30w fork oil, etc.... Personally the steering felt too light for my taste which is why I went heavy. I will ride it and see...

Cory
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 17th September 2012, 04:14 AM
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 17th September 2012, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NakedFun View Post
I have read that they use about a 5w fork oil in the dampers from the factory. I know that guys have used Mobil 1 ATF, 80w90 gear oil, 20 & 30w fork oil, etc.... Personally the steering felt too light for my taste which is why I went heavy. I will ride it and see...

Cory
I think you might be pushing your luck with the oil seal.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 18th September 2012, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Why do you say that? All of them are petroleum products which should be compatible with the majority of seals used in motorcycle drive train and suspension systems. As for the increased viscosity creating too much pressure on the seals during use, as long as the orifice allows the pressure to remain below the rupture point, should be fine. As far as quick movements, I don't think I will move it fast enough to spike the internal pressures.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 18th September 2012, 07:40 AM
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It's not uncommon to burst an oil seal on a fork when using too heavy weight oil. The damper being that much smaller wouldn't take much over pressure. You might find out that on your next tank slapper at high speed.
Personally I would go down the adjustable damper route rather them risking sudden failure.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 18th September 2012, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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A fork takes a considerable higher load then a steering damper even during normal riding, compared to a slapper event. In addition, the seal surface area that the fluid is acting on is much greater in a fork then the steering damper. This is a much lower dollar mod then an aftermarket damper. I know a number of GSXR riders who race that keep 3-4 dampers on hand that have different weight oils in them for tuning purposes and just swap them during testing/tuning laps. In addition, the stock units are nicely constructed and with the addition of the various weight oils perform admirably over stock.

P.S. I changed it to 20w fork oil.

Cory
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 20th September 2012, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Update: So I switched to 20w fork oil. I agree with the filling process I have found where you use a short, clear piece of PVC tubing that slides tight over the fill port, and connect the other end to a funnel. After you pump the oil fluid out, connect the tube and fill the funnel with your choice of fork oil. Then slowly slide the rod in and out slowly. You will see the air purging. Let the air travel up and out of the fluid in the funnel before changing direction with the movement of the damper shaft. Keep doing this until no more air is expelled. Remove the tube assmebly and thread the allen plug back in.

I also decided to see about if it can be disassembled and change the seals if it starts to leak down the road. You do have to make your own open ended wrench that drops into the grooves cut into each cap on either end. They simply unscrew from the body of the damper. I haven't made it yet, but will post pics once I do. The seals are under the following numbers:

Chicago Rawhide: CR3939
SKF: 563511
Transcom: 10x20x7TC

I found the seals at a local industrial supply house under the transcom number and they were $3.44 each. Cheap to rebuild and tweak. Just thought I would post it up.

All in all, it take a ride or two to get used to, but sure feels good when riding. Straightline stability is great, as long as slow speed balance. Parking lot turns have more resistance, but good feel. Just one man's opinion.

Cory
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 20th September 2012, 09:57 PM
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I used 10W Maxima fork oil in mine, and it works much better than the partially filled whale piss it had in it. Adds some resistance to parking lot work, but makes for a very stable machine out on the road.

What brand of 20W fork oil did you use? Seems that there is a LOT of variation in oil viscosity and one brand of 20 could be much the same as another 10...or vise versa. And thanks for the seal #'s! Adding them to my SV folder for future needs.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 21st September 2012, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Rob,

I used Maxima. Same stuff I use in the bikes forks. I don't know how much variance there is in modern, name brand fork oils. Kinda like the standards for motor oils. Still like the steering feel. Looking for buying another damper as I have an idea to make it adjustable, and if I destroy it, don't want to be left damper less.... lol

Cory
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 21st May 2014, 08:26 PM
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A good 5wt SHOCK oil, not fork oil, is a good choice. I use Bel-Ray HVI, but any high viscosity index oil will work. However, I find all the talk of heavy oils and tank slappers interesting.

The stock SV1000 damper is far too stiff. A steering damper should have almost no resistance at slow, "steering" speeds, yet should stiffen when impacted, "fast speed". I found the stock damper made the bike feel "nervous" in corners, due to the fact that the steering was too stiff to react to my usual small steering inputs as on the other bikes I have. It was like the steering head bearings had been cranked down tight. The bike handles perfect without the damper - no headshakes or anything, and that's with the rear raised ~3/4".

I machined about 0.005" off the OD of the brass "orifice" in the damper, significantly reducing the slow speed resistance while still providing fast impact resistance.

If a bike "requires" a steering damper to stop a weave or headshake, then the bike or rider has an issue, and the damper is being used as a crutch. A steering damper is an emergency device, there for when something out of the ordinary happens - hitting something in the road, grounding out in a corner causing the rear tire to lift and step out, etc.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 4th July 2014, 02:08 PM
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So I took my steering damper off to see how the ol girl felt and have to say I didn't like it atall ..just seemed very unstable at all speeds.. altho my damper feels a bit notchy and I probably need a new one, I'll not be ever taking it off again..As really Suzuki didn't put one on there for fun...
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 4th July 2014, 03:47 PM
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So I took my steering damper off to see how the ol girl felt and have to say I didn't like it atall ..just seemed very unstable at all speeds.. altho my damper feels a bit notchy and I probably need a new one, I'll not be ever taking it off again..As really Suzuki didn't put one on there for fun...
That notchy feeling is usually caused by air in the system. Refill and bleed and that notchy feeling should go away.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 4th July 2014, 07:20 PM
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That notchy feeling is usually caused by air in the system. Refill and bleed and that notchy feeling should go away.
Cheers bro I'll have a go with that...
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