Renewing worn parts of the Guzzi V7 forks is not such a big deal, once the fork is off the bike. The construction is very simple, especially taking todays´ standards (adjustment options, big pistons etc.) into account. The V7 fork has no cartridge, the oil itself acts as damping fluid – which makes disassembly quite an easy job.
But keep in mind that one or (better) even two special tools (!) are needed for disassembly (see below). In this regard, a big THANKS! goes out to my blog follower Kevin from the UK who was very supportive by sending one of his tools over to me. This is what I call true camaraderie of motor junkies…
The fork might already lay on your work bench after having followed the first steps of fork removal. What you should do next is giving it a very proper clean. Especially take care of the fork tubes. Debris and grease might be stuck to the surface and this might damage tube or sliders – you will soon take them off. So take your time getting rid of all the dirt.
Now the first special tool comes into play: I would call it the “fork collar tool”. You can slide it over the fork tube while the bottom end of the fork is fixed in a vice. The four lobes of the tool shall align with their counterparts inside the chromed fork collar. You might need to force it into place with just a bit of pressure from above. Now, just use it as a lever to unscrew the chromed collar anti-clockwise.
(I did a quick drawing, published as PDF, in case you might want to build one on your own.)
You will discover a rubber seal at the bottom of the thread after the collar is gone. Take it away. A retaining spring inside the forks´ bottom end holds the tube in place. Remove it by sticking a thin pick into the hole in the thread (turn the end of the retaining spring into position in case it does not align well with the hole). This will push the retaining spring out of place. Use an additional screwdriver to pull the spring out while still pushing through the hole. And remember – the spring is under tension and might get loose suddenly. So you better wear safety glasses and gloves!
Mission accomplished? Well, then you can pull the fork tube out of the bottom end. The upper slider can be taken off the tube. Just move it to the top of the tube. This is why the cleaning action before should be taken serious – otherwise the slider might get damaged… Attention: The upper slider has a ring and one or a few shims on top it. Each slider/fork assembly is fine-tuned and these parts must not be interchanged.
The lower slider is mounted to the tube and can only be removed with another special tool – the “lower slider remover”. This, in contrast to the first tool, can quite easily be made by yourself with some metal parts and a quick weld job – it´s not that gracefully built. Find a metal ring with ~36 mm inner diameter, thick sheet metal (~3 mm) and some kind of lever (> 20 cm long). My design sketch shows you exactly what it should look like.
I built a first version with a tiny and very thin lever (1,5 mm thickness) that broke immediately. So I had to improve this part, using a 22 mm handlebar scrap piece. This worked pretty well and removing the lower slider was no problem with it. Therefore, fix the fork tube in a vice and take care not to scratch it! And: Don´t be tempted using a pick instead of the slider removal tool. It is very likely you will ruin the slider nut.
The last step is to remove the sealing ring of the fork tube. Its pressed into the chromed collar and can be hammered off position using a 2×47 mm metal part, simply hammering from above.
The result of my fork disassembly: It´s scrap! Both sliders and tubes are worn, visible where the chrome is extra shiny and the sliders are scratched (might still be the first, original set!). So I will not only improve the look of my fork with a bit of new paint, but also renew all moving parts internally. Luckily, parts are available on demand at the moment. Escher, a German Guzzi and veteran specialist shop, is offering tubes from Italy and sliders made in Germany. A complete fork set (2 tubes, 2 upper and 2 lower sliders) is about 225 € plus shipping.
The rebuild with new spares, oil, freshly painted parts etc. will follow soon.