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Jan 9, 2008

I haven't done that job with those, Sharon, but with fork caps generally, you're trying to screw them in against at least some, any maybe plenty of, spring preload pressure. So if you're trying to do it yourself, maybe you're simply not juggling the press-down and screw-in functions as well as you need to. This sounds like a job that requires more than two hands. (As so many do!)

Dunno if that's the problem, but maybe part of it?
It's easy to get those bolts cross threaded, and alloy bolts would be pretty easy to strip. I prefer steel here. I have stainless ones on my 750 and standard chrome plated steel top bolts on my 850.

I hope you can salvage yours, but if you have to buy new I'd go with steel.

I have installed several sets without problems. It can be intimidating with the spring pre-load taking away your feel for the thread. There is a technique that can help, remove the springs and get the thread repaired with a thread file. Without the spring in the way make sure they work. The dampener rods need to get out of the way to be retrieved later. Both the female and male thread have starts. These starts can be found and marked. You find the start by very slowly turning the bolt anticlockwise while keeping the bolt straight with the tube. You will feel an ever so slight drop as the starts align stop and mark this point to a reference point.
I have to assume that you still have the old steel ones. And that you have used them as a service tool along with a spedo case to fully seat the legs in the upper yoke tapers.
Now reinstall the springs and rods don't forget the fork oil. Using the reference point and with (the bike supported so as to keep the front wheel off the ground) put the down force on the bolt while just an 1/8 or less anticlockwise of the reference point. You have keep it straight and try to feel the thread but knowing the right spot makes it possible.
This is an area that I have never considered aluminum. Not only does the top bolt threads have to contend with full spring pressure on compression, but when the damper rod tops out on extension, the inner threads must absorb the shock.

If you want shiny and durable, go with stainless. Stock chrome can look good for a long time if you are careful with a wrench when tightening or removing.
I've had alloy fork tops in my cafe racer for years with no problem, I used a smear of copper grease upon assembly to prevent seizing and was particularly careful to centre the bolt before turning.
O.K. since many of you are using them, I have to ask the question... Why?

Weight savings? (skip the doughnut, it's cheaper and more effective).
Appearance? Polished aluminum needs to be maintained. Chrome or stainless should be good for life.
Enlighten me, please.
The alloy ones came on the market before S.S. ones. After seeing popped chrome on the old ones it wasn't much of a stretch to get the dural ones. So for me it was a question of timing.
I needed short ones for using non-standard instrument mounts for my cafe racer, which has lots of polished alloy. On the weight saving front, I have found that it is the accumulation of many small savings that add up to a substantial saving in total. I reckon my bike is about 40 pounds lighter than a standard Commando.
Ron L said:
O.K. since many of you are using them, I have to ask the question... Why?

'cos they're racey mate ! They are absolutely the canine testicular appendage when the clocks are mounted on a fairing bracket. They should have a milled / turned surface and certainly not be polished !

Bearing in mind the fine thread and the amount of engagement, I cannot imagine a dural thread in good condition causing any problems.

The important thing to bear in mind when tightening the nuts is that they do need downward pressure. If the socket is a standard / fairly deep one then it won't apply any unless a spacer is placed upove the nut.
dave M said:
On the weight saving front, I have found that it is the accumulation of many small savings that add up to a substantial saving in total.

I agree completely, and to that end I went cold turkey on snacking at work. It was hard at first, but after a while I adjusted. Those granola bars and little bags of chippies don't seem to have many calories, but at the end of the week the accumulated calories really add up.

I'm hoping for a substantial weight savings as well! :p

Debby, They say "art mirrors life". Given that our Nortons are works of art as well as fine vehicles there you have it.
Me too Debbie, if I could loose the same amount of weight physiologically as I've removed from my Commando, I'd be a happy chappy.
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