Oil change or full rebuild?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Oil change or full rebuild?

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    • #78821

      Just wanted to get some other people’s thoughts on my situation…

      I’ve got a 2006 Manitou Swinger 3-Way shock that I haven’t shown a lot of love to over the past few years and I was wanting to open her up and clean her out. [i:3l40hjim]Ideally[/i:3l40hjim], I would like to replace the seals inside but I am having trouble finding anyone who sells them. I was thinking about just changing the oil and praying that when I took it apart I would not see any major issues with the existing seals.

      Do any of you other mechanics out there, that have gone through this process on a shock, have any suggestions? Better yet, does anyone know where I can get a set of new seals without having to sell my bike to pay for them? Any advice would be appreciated.

    • #78822

      I’m pretty sure most mechanics would tell you to replace the seals if you take the shock apart. Surely someone has some seals.

    • #78823

      Yeah that’s my big hold up. My LBS doesn’t have any and I haven’t had any luck finding them online. The mechanic there is going to try to contact Manitou for me to see if they still make the seals or if it’s just an aftermarket thing. Actually, Manitou claims you don’t have to do a full rebuild (with seals) each time you change the oil but I’m worried that the shock is old enough that it would still be very wise to have it done.

    • #78824
      "Mongoose" wrote

      Hey JG,

      You should not have to replace the seals with new ones if the existing ones are still in good shape and did not leak prior to changing the oil, but would be better if you did, especially with all those miles on that shock. Ideally they are still good if not leaking prior to rebuilding, but still not reccomended in doing so. In general it is better to replace them when changing the oil or rebuilding a shock, but hey, if they work, re-use them. Manitou or either Plush would have or know who would still supply these seals if not either one of them. Hope this helps!

      Sweet. I was kinda hoping to hear that. It’s not leaking or even acting funny; actually, its holding up really well. I just know I haven’t replaced the oil in it since I got it and I’d rather take care of it and have it last than have to buy a new shock. Most people I have talked to say that shocks will lose their original feel VERY slowly as the oil gets dirty so I’m kind of interested in seeeing if I notice much of a change.

    • #78825

      My stumpjumper is 2007,I bought it probably midway through that summer and have heard that servicing your shocks,front and back,once a year is a good idea.What is everyone actually doing to keep there state of the art fork and shocks working like a well oiled machine?
      I’m going to have my Fox Talas and Fox Triad rebuilt in the next week to make sure everything is in good working order because I seen some fork stantions that had the stantion coating worn off and was told that once the coating wears off from not being serviced the fork or shock wont hold fluid anymore and at that point the whloe shock is trash.
      My stumpjumper is my first full suspension bike and want to take of it rather than replace an $800 fork.

    • #78826


      Personally, I would have the seals on hand rather I planned to use them or not. I haven’t had a problem with bikes, but with cars, I have had several times where pulling something a part tore up a previously functioning seal.

      I couldn’t find it online, at first, but I did find it in the BTI catalog. Any bike shop should be able to order from BTI. You will have to tell most of them exactly what to order when you want something obscure like this.


      Then I googled the manufacturer number and found it at ride-this.

      http://www.ride-this.com/index.php/mani … hocks.html

    • #78827

      Awesome, CJM!!! I was going nuts searching for those things. Even if I don’t end up replacing the existing seals I would like to have a set on hand in case it starts leaking one day. Thanks again!!!

      Steve, just changing the oil, checking for leaks, dings, scratches, and keeping the stanchions wiped down will be your best bet for keeping the fork and shock in good shape. Most forks and shocks will leave a thin layer of oil on the stanchion each time they are compressed and released. It keeps them moving smoothly and also knocks off dust and dirt. The seals are SUPPOSED to keep that stuff out of your oil but you will inevitably still get some down in there and that’s why you need to have it changed every once in a while. Once the coating on the stanchions wears off the seals don’t do their job as well because the surface has been changed so drasticly.

      If you are going to have the shock serviced at a shop they will take care of all this for you. If you want to do it yourself, try Fox’s website. I rebuilt a Fox Float using their online manual. Not very hard at all, actually. It was even kind of cool seeing the guts of my fork and knowing how they all work together to get the job done.

    • #78828



      If you are really worried about it, check the manufacture’s web page. Most suggest a full rebuild roughly once a year. More frequently if you ride more aggressive terrain. They break it down by either miles or hours. Generally, I get a full rebuild on the fork and shock on my AM bike every year. The fork on my DH bike get new oil every season and the rebuild every two years. The shock just gets a full rebuild every two years. I don’t ride my DH rig nearly as much as I would like.

      Blueing, or what ever you call it, coming off the stanchions is normal wear and tear on a fork. My beloved 04 Super T started with black stanchions, now they are black and gold. Still holds oil just fine and with proper maintenance works just as good as new.

    • #78829
      If you want to do it yourself, try Fox’s website. I rebuilt a Fox Float using their online manual. Not very hard at all, actually. It was even kind of cool seeing the guts of my fork and knowing how they all work together to get the job done

      Did you have to buy any specific tools to work on your fork??

    • #78830

      with Fox forks this is what you need:

      Hex Key Set (1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 mm) miscellaneous metric screws
      26 mm 6-point socket32 mm fork topcaps
      32 mm 6-point socket 36 & 40 topcaps
      10 mm deep socket base stud nuts
      8 mm open-end wrench brake posts (if equipped)
      7/16" socket TALAS air valve assembly nut
      Torque wrench (in-lb/N-m) Torque fasteners to specification
      13 mm and 14 mm Thin Crows foot torque cartridge seal heads
      Valve core wrench tank valve core
      10 mm thru 18 mm thin wrench set for upper inserts,cartridge seal heads and other uses
      7 mm open end wrench multi-purpose
      12 mm open end wrench base valve
      15 mm open end socket 36 & 40 RC2/R damper bottom nut
      16 mm open end wrench
      Small flat-tipped screwdriver for fork seals & dust wipers
      Long thin-bladed screwdriver air, plunger & TALAS lower shafts
      Dental pick to pick out o-rings, scrape away dried Loctite
      Plastic faced hammer to tap loose base valve, plunger & air shaft
      Graduated liquid container for measuring and dispensing liquid
      16" long, 1/2"-diameter PVC pipe various uses
      803-00-127 – FOX TALAS IFP Tool
      TALAS IFP air charging
      398-00-282 – TALAS II Adjuster Centering Tool, used for centering the adjuster of the TALAS II
      Measurement conversion software utility


      FOX Part Number
      FOX Float Fluid Pillow Pack 5cc 025-03-002-A
      FOX Float Fluid 8 oz. Bottle 025-03-003-A
      FOX High Pressure Pump 027-00-006
      FOX Racing Shox Suspension Fluid (7 wt.) 025-03-004-A
      FOX Racing Shox Suspension Fluid (10 wt.) 025-02-003

      Multi-purpose lithium-based grease
      Isopropyl alcohol or other degreaser
      Shop towels
      320-grit sandpaper
      Oil drain pan
      Blue Loctite #242

      This list covers all FOX forks

    • #78831

      I already had all the tools necessary to do the job other than the seal kit and the proper oil. Check their website and it will link you to your specific shock and the instructions. Actually, the Talas even has a video showing step by step instructions AND what you need up front. It looks like a lot of stuff but it’s all pretty common tools. Nothing that you probably don’t already have if you have a basic set of sockets and allen wrenches.

      Check out the site…


    • #516528

      Sweet. I was kinda hoping to hear that. It’s not leaking or even acting funny; actually, its holding up really well. I just know I haven’t replaced the oil in it since I got it

      Me neither and I really need it. Gonna search for decent oils now

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