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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone tell me the best tool to remove and torque the front tube caps when you replace the front fork oil? I don't want to damage the chrome on the caps. If you recommend a socket, what size is it for a '04 FXST?
Thanks
 

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Lazy 98
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I used a giant crescent wrench- the $60 black rubber-coated one from NAPA that I bought to tune a moped clutch. This was for my 2000 Sportster, though, but i think the bolt cap is the same size (it is on my 06 softail). The wrench goes to 50 mm (approx 1 1/2") and has a 375 mm handle.
 

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I just did It mine yesterday. I have a very large adjustable wrench I used and it didn't leave any marks or chips on the chrome. Just make sure it's adjusted right and all the way on.
 

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I place a rubber glove over the nut and tighten and loosen it that, no marks on the bolt. If i remmeber right its a 1 3/8" but don't shoot me if i am wrong~!
 

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Lazy 98
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Sweet!

TXCHOP said:
I use one ofTHESEand it works great.
I'm puttin' this on my birthday list!
 

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TXCHOP said:
I use one ofTHESEand it works great.
Given the price of $21, I'd say this tool is a bargain! I took a socket, and after cutting it down, and welding, made a part that FUNCTIONS like this one.

LOL at myself, I should have looked in a catalog. Anyway it was fun fabricating the tool.
 

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DHARMA Initiative
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Premium Member
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TXCHOP said:
I use one ofTHESEand it works great.

Yep, thats what I use also! I wrap one layer of electrical tape on the nut before removing, to prevent scratching, but I have done it many times without tape with equally good results!
 

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I have a 2000 FLSTC and it's time to change the fork oil. Helped a friend do his on an early model gold wing and there was a lot of spring pressure on those fork caps. The manual says death or injury may result from removing the fork caps, this was written by an attorney I'm sure but how much pressure is there. I'm thinking about draining the fluid without removing the caps and using a mightyvac on reverse to fill the tubes from the bottom.
 

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The Anti-RUB
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1,901 Posts
I use some good painters tape on the edges and a good wrench or socket. The depth of the socket doesn't really matter, just make sure that it is on all the way so it doesn't slip off. You don't need to apply a ton of force, so take it easy, take your time and it won't slip off.

I don't like using adjustable wrenches on things like this because if they aren't set exactly right you can easily round a corner or the wrench can slip off etc. Like my dad always said, use the right tools for the job.
 

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GottaRideS'more
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278 Posts
There is no spring pressure on the fork tube caps.

The Ultras come with a tool roll that includes a flat, thin, chromed, double-ended wrench that can be used on the front and rear axle nuts, and on the fork tube caps.

On the E-Glides, the flatness of this wrench allows the caps to be removed without removing the fairing / fairing cap. Harley sells this tool for a few bucks.

To torque the caps properly, the tool must be at a 45 degree angle to the torque wrench. This is true with any extension that provides leverage.
 

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GottaRideS'more
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A least on the later models: If you have the Harley tool (very flat wrench), you can finagle it onto the fork tube caps with removing the front fairing or fairing cap.

If you don't have the flat wrench and need to use a standard wrench, you will probably have to at least loosen the faring cap to pull it up just a little.
Taking the fairing cap off is really no big deal - you have to remove the ignition switch "handle". You do this by turing the wheel all of the way to the left like you were going to lock the forks, and putting your finger or a flat screwdriver underneath the handle and push up on the little spring-loaded button underneath while turning the handle all of the way to the left as if you were going to lock the forks, and turing the key to the left back past the unlock position. This locks the button in the "up" position, releasing it from the catch and allowing the entire mechanism to be pulled up and out. The spring is going to want to fall out, so just be aware of that.
Note the position of the special nut and bushings that are left on the fork, and take it and then the bushings off. These only go on one way, so you can't screw it up.
You can then remove the fairing cap.

Installation is just the reverse except putting the mechanism back in can be a little tricky. You will have had to insert it back to unlock the forks so you can center the wheel to do your work. The trick is that you must put the mechanism back in while the fork position is close to where it was when you took it out. You will be tempted to let the mechanism "bottom out", but you will have gone too far down and it will not catch all of the internal tumblers correctly. The trick is to imagine that there is a bottom tumbler that is NOT to be engaged. Raise the mechanism up just above this bottom tumbler and you will have it positioned correctly. You'll feel it if you play gently. Turn the forks back to the left, turn the lock mechanism back to the left with the key turned and the little button locked in the raised position. Release the key so the button falls, and you're done.

It really is easy - and you can do it.

Good luck.
 
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