Welcome to the tale of triumph in the face of adversity, during my installation of an Andreani fork kit on my Ducati scrambler.
I entered into the endeavour with my eyes wide open, being of sound mind and body, and with fairly good all round mechanical skills. I've re built forks before and felt that I had done enough research in that I knew what I was letting myself in for having read Dereks post on his installation.
The right leg was as I expected and went pretty much to plan, but for two minor issues, unscrewing the allen key out of the bottom of the fork leg was tricky. I'd already cracked the bolt of while the fork was still in the bike but struggled once it was dis assembled as everything just span inside the fork rather than unscrewing, the trick was to disassemble everything then apply pressure to the end of the damper rod while un doing the allen bolt. The second snag concerned andreani's dumb ass move in deciding to use an allen bolt in the replacement cartridge that had a f##king 7mm which is a far from standard size, i do have one but it was a for a 3/8 driver and wouldn't fit through the bottom of the fork leg. Thankfully a t45 torx is a great fit and I used that instead to tighten the bolt. Awesome, one leg done.
This is where all my problems a started, namely with the medlesome grub screw that secures the bottom of the forks to the stantion. Andreani's own woe ful instructions tell you to machine out the peened out head of the grub screw before undoing it and then use a blow torch to heat up the axle clamp and a special tool to unscrew the fork leg. Its at this point I should have just given up and having done the vast majority of the dis assembly labour just taken what remained to a very local Ohlins approved suspension specialist.
But no, I'm pretty handy on the tools I think, and i press on, and resort to drilling out the grub screw, and this ladies and gentlemen is where I really dropped a bollock, inspite of trying to be very careful and wrapping the drill bit in tape to set a depth and taking it very steady, to cut a long story short I went way too deep and right though the fork tube. But I didnt find this out until my vist to said local suspension specialist, which was required , as there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to unscrew that fork tube out of the lower section without making a huge mess of one or both pieces.
So enter the smug technician in said specialist who seemed to take a small amount of pleasure in telling me I'd made a right royal mess of everything and he had no idea how I was going to be able to fix it, and he would unscrew the lower leg for me but all the threads might pick up inside it and screw everything further. I got him to crack on any way and left the shop 25 quid lighter for the 2 minutes it took them to unscrew the bottom of the tube, and with a very sick feeling in my stomach and the knowledge that had been imparted on me that I wouldn't be able to complete the job myself due to the forces needed to screw the leg back in and that a replacement tube would be about 350 quid. Well as far as I'm concerned the whole front end isn't worth that as it currently sits so that wasn't an option.
I mulled the problem over while I drove home, while I bathed my little boy, while I put him to bed, while I had my tea and eventually arrived at the decision that "they" could all get f##ked and I was going to fix it all myself.
I went out to my garage, had a good look at everything, fired up my welder and my dremmel and after 2 or more hours of welding and grinding I had successfully managed to weld up the hole from the inside of the tube and using what i imagine to be the worlds smallest needle file clean up the external threads on the outside of the tube where the hole had been plugged.
Ok, biggest problem solved, let battle with re assembly commence. I had already taken a load of accurate measurements of all the parts so I would be able to make sure that I would be certain when the tube was fully screwed back into the lower piece. It screwed in with bare hands ok to start with, followed by using sticky rubber coated gloves when the bare hands started to slip, and that last part where your getting it past the o ring in the fork lowers required something substantially more forceful (anyone is welcome to dm me for details on what I did but I'm not posting them on an open forum as its far from best practice and i cant be arsed with loads of key board warriors shooting me down) so with the tube eventually fully seated with its threads loctited and a new grub screw doing feck knows what in the lower, the rest of re assembly went without a hickup.
I think with the benefit of hindsight, I would have paid to have the lower leg removed and re fitted by the professionals with all the right tools, and I'd say don't bother attempting it unless your a fucking pro. If you're ok on the spanners the do the right leg and all the dis assembly on the left but stop there.
Its far from an easy job but I'm hoping it will be well worth all the effort.
I've just had Bridgestone Bt023 sport touring tyres fitted to the wheels too while they were off so I'm hoping for a massive (positive)difference when I get back on the bike.
And there ends my tale. I'm just glad I can weld and am stubborn enough to have faith in my own skills and not be but put off by people who fix a problem by throwing money at it.