propane in fork ???? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-09-2010, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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propane in fork ????

Hey guys just picked up a used klr previous owner told me you could put gas in fork .Being a little excited to get bike home i just ignored comment.So thought i would check air pressure in forks because i was reading about different pressures. When i put gauge on some leaked out it smelled like propane on one side. And seal seems to be a little damp on side with propane smell .Was wondering if this was some kind of trick to slow leak ? Or is guy just a complete moron ?also can you take all air out of fork ? THANKS IN ADVANCE.
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-09-2010, 09:04 PM
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I presume that your forks have Schrader valves on them.

Let all the pressure out.

I'm not gonna say the guy is a moron. No need.

Tom

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post #3 of 15 Old 08-09-2010, 09:15 PM
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I jokingly mentioned on a BMW forum that I'd like to fill air tanks with air from the inside of the BMW Motorcycle plant, so that people could top off their tires with official BWM air..

I had several people PM me and tell me that if I did, they'd like to buy some..

I still swear I could fill small cans of air in Germany and sell it for big money here in the states.. Audi/BMW/VW and BMW bike owners would line up for it.

Let the air/gas out of the forks.. The valve on top is to release air pressure that builds up from heat while riding..

I have special Kawasaki fork oil for those that feel 10w is too heavy and 5w is too light.. PM me for info..
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post #4 of 15 Old 08-10-2010, 08:22 AM
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Whoa boy.....this will make the tire and oil threads look tame.

There are many, many riders, including yours truly, that run positive air pressure in the forks of their Gen I KLR 650's. I have been running about 8 lbs of air in my forks for over 35,000 miles. One KLR 650 that I am more than a little familiar with runs 20 lbs of air in the forks continuously. My experience with air in Kawasaki forks predates my involvement with the KLR 650. I put about 90,000 miles on a Kawasaki Concours that had the same design fork system. The front suspension was "tuned" with, you guessed it, air. About the same amount I use in the KLR 650. One of the most noticeable advantages was the reduced amount of fork dive one experiences when braking. About 60% of the fork dive went away.

Now while some of the loyal run and get a rope to hang me with [Heresy], take a moment to read the spec sheet on a pre-08 [read, GEN I] KLR 650:

SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: Four-stroke, DOHC, four-valve single
Displacement: 651cc
Bore x stroke: 100.0 x 83.0mm
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Cooling: Liquid
Carburetion: Keihin CVK40
Ignition: Electronic CDI
Transmission: Five-speed
Final drive: Chain
Frame: Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
Rake / trail: 28 degrees / 4.4 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 38mm leading axle, air-adjustable preload / 9.1 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: UNI-TRAK single-shock system with 5-way preload and 4-way rebound damping / 9.1 in.
Front tire: 90/90x21
Rear tire: 130/80x17
Front brake / rear brake: Hydraulic disc / Disc
Overall length: 86.8 in.
Overall width: 37.0 in.
Overall height: 53.0 in.
Ground clearance: 9.4 in.
Seat height: 35.0 in.
Dry weight: 337 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 6.1 gal.
Wheelbase: 58.9 in.

Air. Adjustable. Preload. I know it doesn't specifically mention the forks, but in this application, the front suspension / wheel travel all takes place within the front fork system.

This not a new topic or a topic limited to KLR 650's. I have been to motorcycle rally's in the 1980's where the only reported disturbances were knife fights among the Gold Wing crowd about air pressure amounts in their front fork system. Kawasaki Venture forums consulted Dr. Jack Kevorkian to form methods of dealing with the naysayers regarding high air pressures in Kawasaki forks.

If you don't want to air them up and you like running them with zero preload with the excessive dive and bottoming out thats fine, but don't spread disinformation about it ruining the seals which it will not do. The seals get ruined from dirt, dry rot, and mechanical damage. Take them apart, tell me how the pressure is going to ruin your seals. I beg anyone to show me a set of OEM seals blown from applying air to the forks, that would not of blown anyway. Matter of fact, I'm not sure that I have ever laid eyes on a set of factory fork seals blown on a KLR 650. Leak, yes. From dirt, not air pressure. A little air pressure, I think, will resist dirt from working into the seals. So there.

Wanna know where the biggest positive effect came for me? The bike lost the front end dive I was getting when upshifting. I had a slight fork dive that was enough to require compensation by the rider [me]. That little bit of improved stability had a tremendous improvement in my performance, especially on gravel and dirt.

Coming up in October, I'll run in the AMA KTM Shenendoah 500 Dual Sport Series. I'll up my fork pressure to 20 lbs to maintain a better ground contact consistency. The trade off will be a bit rougher ride. But with better front tire ground contact, I can maintain higher speeds. It also greatly effects the decision to up or down shift, as the action will have little if no effect on the bike's suspension. In anything rougher than the dual sport rides, air in the forks becomes counter productive, as a suspension that offers less resistance takes up the impacts of rougher ground.

While all this seems antagonistic, [and it may be], I'm also a realist. I know this all would be much more palatable from a reliable source like Myth Busters.



I approached this Myth Buster to deliver ya' all this info. Apparently there was some misunderstanding in what I was asking. Who woulda thunk a few questions about forking would get you a restraining order thing.

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Last edited by vatrader; 08-10-2010 at 08:28 AM. Reason: speling. is hard.
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post #5 of 15 Old 08-10-2010, 08:48 AM
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And I run zero PSI in my front forks, but the stock springs have long since been tossed in the trash and replaced with Larry Roeseller Progressive fork springs, which seriously reduce dive, help in initial small bumps, yet handle the big bumps as well as this ancient system can.. That, and enough 7.5w fork oil (aka-ATF type F) has the front end of my KLR running almost as well as the MOAB shock equiped back end..
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post #6 of 15 Old 08-10-2010, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the info .Would there be any reason to put propane in there because im pretty sure that's whats on the one side only .So i let all pressure out of both sides and will try riding with different pressures . As for the myth buster it probably depends on how u asked her to experiment with the forking .If you asked her about length of the fork and how to lube the inside its possible she may have misconstrued that some how .lol
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-10-2010, 09:13 AM
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If I would have had a Chem teacher like that I think I may have got a better mark. I would have at least gone to all the classes.

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post #8 of 15 Old 08-10-2010, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paper View Post
And I run zero PSI in my front forks, but the stock springs have long since been tossed in the trash and replaced with Larry Roeseller Progressive fork springs, which seriously reduce dive, help in initial small bumps, yet handle the big bumps as well as this ancient system can.. That, and enough 7.5w fork oil (aka-ATF type F) has the front end of my KLR running almost as well as the MOAB shock equiped back end..
....and what did you gain that the rest of us haven't achieved with a few pounds of air?

******
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-10-2010, 09:52 AM
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Air, yes, as vatrader points out.

Propane, no, as I'm sure Ms. Mythbuster would confirm.

How in the hell would one get propane in there, anyway, and why would one think propane is a good gas? This is a new one for me.

If the guy had gone to a tire dealer and charged it with nitrogen, I could see that!

Or even helium to lighten the front end...;^)

Tom

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post #10 of 15 Old 08-10-2010, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vatrader View Post
....and what did you gain that the rest of us haven't achieved with a few pounds of air?
A better ride over light bumps, mostly.. Rather than being more aggressive with the added air pressure at all times, my small bumps are still taken up by the small section of lighter spring.

Also, with air and riding your air pressure is always increasing because of heat. With no pressure, all I have to do is the occasional touch of the schrader valve to release the built up pressure.

It might be picking fly crap out of pepper, but I hated the stock springs. I ride with others who are running stock springs and air pressure, and it's not the same ride.. I like the Progressive spring/7.5w oil setup I'm running, along with the MOAB rear shock. Comfortable for the long haul, yet capable of running through the occasional rock field and logs I find in local Dual Sport rides.
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