The forks are on! – 3 May 2015.

I’m already back to report progress on Rhino, my V7Sport.

Steering head bearings.

I reused the steering head bearings that I knocked out of the frame before powder coating. They hadn’t been fitted to the bike long before it was taken off the road and were in perfect unmarked condition. I had kept each set cable-tied together so that the parts could not become interchanged and marked them as upper and lower so they could go back where they came from. I cleaned and repacked them with grease then laid the parts out.

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From left to right we have

  • Lower fork yoke with steering stem.
  • Rubber/plastic dust seal.
  • Stepped spacer.
  • Lower bearing inner race.
  • Lower bearing fixed, outer race.
  • Upper bearing fixed, outer race.
  • Upper bearing inner race.
  • Chrome cover for head bearings.
  • Retaining nut.
  • Plate for steering lock.
  • Top fork yoke.
  • Sleeve type lock nut.

I carefully cleaned the “lands” for the bearings in the steering head then, using “Agent Orange” (my orange plastic mallet) I started the outer bearing races in the steering head being careful to keep them straight.

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I then used my puller to seat the bearing races. I’ve lost one of the heavy metal disks I originally cut for the purpose so one of those big sockets from the ¾ in drive set was pressed into use again. It worked well enough.

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The rubber cover followed by the stepped spacer were fitted on the steering stem. The narrow part of the spacer goes downward to fit in the rubber cover. Next the lower bearing race was pushed on to the stem. No special tools were needed to do this.

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I offered the parts up to the frame, dropped the other bearing race on and fitted the chrome cover. I then had a problem. The thread on the retaining nut had a ding on one edge so wouldn’t go on. I cable tied the steering stem in place while I worked on the nut.

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It’s a big 36mm nut but it has a fine 1mm pitch thread. I used one of my thread taps with the same pitch as a thread file (must get one of those one day) to repair it. The nut was then tightened enough to take the slack out of the bearings while allowing them to move freely with no drag.

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The steering lock plate locates in a notch in the underside of the top fork yoke like this.

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The two were fitted to the stem and the sleeve nut screwed in. This acts as a locking nut for that big retaining nut I had to repair. I have a thinned down 36mm spanner to fit under the steering lock plate to hold the nut while the sleeve nut is tightened. The top yoke is still loose on the sleeve nut at this stage.

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I removed the wheel clamp from the front of my bench and jacked the bike up until the centre stand could be deployed. It’s very steady like this and gives enough room to get the forks in.

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When I packed up I was pleased with progress but, with me, there is often a step forward followed by a step back. When I returned the following day I realised that the fork tubes would not fit in the yokes because I had forgotten to remove the overspray of wrinkle-finish paint from inside them. So, I took it all apart again to carefully removed the paint as necessary.

The fork legs.

Once it was all reassembled I fitted the right hand fork leg. The assistance of “Agent Orange” was required a little but, all-in-all, it wasn’t difficult and I didn’t need to do anything nasty like drive screwdrivers into the yokes to open them up! On a V7Sport you have to remember to fit the half-handlebar and headlamp bracket to each leg, in the right order and the right way up, as you go. I remembered to clean out the overspray from the inside of the headlamp bracket before attempting to fit it.

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I pushed the fork stanchion into the top yoke then temporarily locked it in place by tightening the lower yoke’s clamping screw. Then I repeated the job on the left fork leg. Once they were both in place I pushed the top yoke down on the central sleeve nut and tightened up the central clamping screw. Next, I slackened off each clamp screw in the lower yoke, one at a time,  so that I could gently tap each fork leg down into its correct position in the top yoke. Once in position the clamp screws in both top and bottom yoke can be done up to lock the leg in place.

I used more cable ties. This time to hold the forks in the straight-ahead position and I fixed the handlebars and headlamp brackets so they can’t flop about.

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Front mudguard.

I was on a roll now so fitted the front mudguard brackets and then the mudguard itself. The front wheel spindle was also put in place.

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