Fork Tubes

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Time to replace them. I'm curious about others experiences with different manufacturers.
Genuine Andover-Norton $178.70 pair
Emgo $86.04 pair
Forking by Frank $189.00 pair

Seals - Standard or Leakproof?
 
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I've heard mixed reports about Emgo. Some good some bad. OEM is always my first choice but I managed to get dud set that had one tube with a slightly larger O.D. than the other. Sent em' back for an exchange and no worries.

Not sure about Frank's tubes but I'm sure they are good quality since Forking by Frank has been in biz since the 60's.

As far as seals, I've only used OEM but if they ever leak, I won't mind changing them. I have ripped my forks apart so many times over the last 2 months due to other new parts being reproduced incorrectly that I actually enjoy rebuilding forks now.
 

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Andover Norton OEM parts are made by some job shop to OEM specs (hopefully), but are not really OEM. OEM would be the same as new old stock in my view. I used a set of fork tubes in '98 from Fair Spares America (Andover parts) that required some "fettling" to get the lower bushes to go on. Now 12 years later these are wearing within expectation. I would rate them as a good product. My comment about OEM is only to point out all suppliers are equal on that basis for newly manufactured parts. Quality is the only differentiator. From the prices you quoted, I might try Franks's tubes as he has a good reputation, although I have no experience.

I have used leak proof seals in the past (15+ years ago). They work fine, but I didn't really notice reduction in stiction. Since then I use the original type, not sure I like the seal floating as the leak proof do.
 
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I've had good results from Forking by Frank for my C11 and Commando. I've had one case of a really bad set from Andover. The tubes weren't ground at all! You could still see the turning marks which were chromed over. They were the world's biggest files. Outsourced.
 
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I'd advise against EMGO tubes. I put a set on my 750 and they required lathe work to allow the steel bush and circlip to fit. OD was slightly large also so the tophat bushings had to be reamed as well. At least the finish was smooth though. They've been working ok for me after that.

I'd try Forking By Frank. They've been in business forever and I've heard good things about them although I've never used them. Andover must be getting their parts made in India. The quality seems to get worse all the time, as their prices keep increasing. :?

Debby
 
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bpatton said:
I've had good results from Forking by Frank for my C11 and Commando. I've had one case of a really bad set from Andover. The tubes weren't ground at all! You could still see the turning marks which were chromed over. They were the world's biggest files. Outsourced.

Do you think Andover is a manufacturer? Everything they have is outsourced. It's their job to make sure it's manufactured to spec though.
 
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swooshdave said:
bpatton said:
I've had good results from Forking by Frank for my C11 and Commando. I've had one case of a really bad set from Andover. The tubes weren't ground at all! You could still see the turning marks which were chromed over. They were the world's biggest files. Outsourced.

It's their job to make sure it's manufactured to spec though.

The QC guy must have been sick or on holidays when my first set of replacement tubes were sent onto a parts distributor.
 
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Coco said:
swooshdave said:
bpatton said:
I've had good results from Forking by Frank for my C11 and Commando. I've had one case of a really bad set from Andover. The tubes weren't ground at all! You could still see the turning marks which were chromed over. They were the world's biggest files. Outsourced.

It's their job to make sure it's manufactured to spec though.

The QC guy must have been sick or on holidays when my first set of replacement tubes were sent onto a parts distributor.

Andover doesn't QC production parts probably just the first sample. They may not act at all unless they get too many returns.
 
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Tried to replace my front iso's last night, but one of the ends was not threaded properly. Makes me wonder if AN should be doing QC after all. Gonna try and rethread it, but yeah new parts should be manufactured to spec. My last job I worked for a company that made cv joints for honda, toyota, gm, ford, saturn, etc.... Our tolerances were down to 5 microns on some parts. Strict QC inspections after each machining operation.
 
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pelican said:
Tried to replace my front iso's last night, but one of the ends was not threaded properly. Makes me wonder if AN should be doing QC after all. Gonna try and rethread it, but yeah new parts should be manufactured to spec. My last job I worked for a company that made cv joints for honda, toyota, gm, ford, saturn, etc.... Our tolerances were down to 5 microns on some parts. Strict QC inspections after each machining operation.

All of those manufacturers probably produce more in a day than AN in ten years. You'd be horrified if you saw the state of most of the small workshops that support this cottage industry in the UK (we were the first with the industrial revolution and we'll be the first to go back to one man and a big hammer !)

Do you know for sure that your supplier is selling you genuine (and recent) spares ? Lots of Green blob tape and plastic bags have gone through clearance sales over the years as have 'refused' seconds. The problem with contracting out and then refusing to accept parts is that they often find their way onto the autojumble or mail order circuit. I've never seen anything other than properly threaded iso tubes but I've always been able to buy over the counter.
 

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I've bought two sets of fork tubes from "Forking by Frank" and they have both been superb. If you are looking for top quality, I'd go with them. The quality of others that I've bought has been really spotty.
 
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yeah, I got the iso from old britts... everything has been good so far except that. One side is threaded fine. One side has a burr or something because I checked the end cap against the older iso tube and it went fine.
 
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pelican said:
yeah, I got the iso from old britts... everything has been good so far except that. One side is threaded fine. One side has a burr or something because I checked the end cap against the older iso tube and it went fine.

I can guarantee you that they will make it right.
 
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I bought a cheap set from ebay, emgo, I think, and one stantion was 0.004" undersize. Sent it back and demanded a replacement and got a good one no problem.
I would not go for a 'grind, chrome, and regrind' again. I did a set and the crome ptted, rusted and peeled within 18 months, and it was an expensive option. The only time I would do this is if my project had rare stantions.
 
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I agree, Ludwig.
We do this repair to machine tool spindles at work and have not had any trouble.
It was done by a 'professional' company. I wondered if they did not grind down far enough, and some of the pitting was left on the tube prior to rechroming. The rechrome would have then been less effective and maybe too thin as well.
But why effect such a repair to a stantion that is cheaper to buy new? Surely only to a stantion that would be very expensive to replace?
 
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My experience with Forking by Frank went like this. I told Mary, who answered the phone, that I needed some tubes for a set of Roadholder forks. She asked me if I need the long ones or the short ones. She told me that they were made there in Evanston. She spent about 15min chatting about boots and road salt, sea air and the then new seals. I can't remember if she was Frank's wife or daughter. I can't even say if she's still there. Call them up and see. I think quality control for Andover goes some thing like this: parts are listed as "genuine" or "pattern". Genuine means they have a vague idea what's in the bag. Pattern means you're on your own.
 
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Thanks for all the comments. I'm leaning towards Frank's for now. I'm going to call and confirm that they are actually made there. Hopefully the fork rebuild kits are good. It seems like another area where sizes could be off.
 
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