How To Service Your Swingarm and Suspension Linkage | MC GARAGE

Motorcycle maintenance tips to help you tend to those tedious unscheduled maintenance and lubrication tasks.

Snow on the road means it’s a good time to tend to those unscheduled and oft-neglected maintenance items—like lubing your swingarm and suspension-linkage pivots. Constant motion, heavy loads, and direct exposure to water and dirt flung off the rear tire mean those bearings have a rough life, and undue friction in these parts will inhibit suspension action and accelerate wear. Servicing this stuff is a tedious job, but it’s not especially difficult, and it is important. Read on to learn what’s involved.

1. Secure the bike on a lift or with a front-wheel chock and raise the back wheel off the ground to unload the suspension. A scissor jack under the engine works well, as do jack stands under the footpegs. Make sure the bike is stable—you’ll apply a lot of torque when you reassemble everything.
2. Remove the rear wheel, rear caliper, chain guard, and any other parts that need to come off in order to grant access to the linkage and allow removal of the swingarm.
3. Remove the pivot bolts, noting different length bolts and any spacers that go in a particular place. Remove the linkage components then crack the swingarm nut loose so you can remove the pivot bolt.
4. Wash the linkage and swingarm with a commercial rubber-safe degreaser. Use a soft brush to remove grease and grime from the exterior of the parts as well as the bearings themselves. Give the bearings a final rinse with an aerosol parts cleaner. Allow to air dry.
5. Inspect the needle bearings, seals, and inner bushings for wear and damage. Missing needles, torn seals, or pitted bushings are cause for concern. Minor scuffing on the bushings is normal and acceptable. Replace any worn parts, but bear in mind that renewing the needle bearings is a tricky procedure; you might want to let a shop handle that.
6. Lubricate the bearings using a quality waterproof grease. Use your finger to pack grease into the needle bearings. Slide the bushings into position then carefully wipe off any excess grease, which could attract grime and accelerate seal wear.
7. Reassemble the parts, ensuring that they’re properly torqued. (Check your owner’s manual for specs.) Now bask in the pleasure that comes from performing an important bit of oft-overlooked maintenance.