The Fork Tube Blues, part II

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Apr 15, 2004
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With the help of my local NOC I finally found a machinist to make the fork bushings fit. Cost me $45, making those bushings expensive indeed, but now they fit.

Unfortunately I didn't think to check the circlips that hold the lower bushings in place. Those don't fit - the grooves on the tubes are too narrow. I tried sanding the clips down with some #400 paper but after half an hour all I accomplished was removing some skin off my fingertips. No change on the circlip fit.

Would it work to maybe do some careful grinding on the circlips with a dremel tool or do I have to go back to the machinist and pay more money to have the grooves cut wider? (assuming he has a lathe big enough). Or is there some other simple solution? And how do you install that type of circlip anyway? Is there some special type of circlip pliers for them? What a PITA.

frustrated again like usual

Chances are that the snap ring doesn't fit the groove on the fork tube by the thickness of the hard chrome plating. I think what happened is that the fork tube manufacturer "reverse engineered" the tube by measuring an original tube. And when measuring the snap ring groove, they did not take into account the thickness of the plating.

Perhaps a coarse sharpening stone or even say some 180 grit sand paper could be used to thin down the snap rings. You shouldn't have to take off too much material to make them fit.

No, I don't know of any special snap ring pliers for these eye-less snap rings.

Best of luck,


check out your local sears they should have the right snap ring pliers. they are used mostly for automotive standerd transmissions and yes I have 6 pair of just that one type. I have been in the transmission rebuild busness for 30 +years so I am used to buying tools :lol:

You inspired me to open those sealed green-globe baggies and check.

methinks I too have the same problem... :shock: the bushes are too tight to fit onto the fork.

I have a desktop lathe that will fit the bushes but not the fork! So a few thou will have to go.

Did you have the bush thinned or the fork?


I had the bushings honed. Nothing was done to the sliders or stanchions.


You can probably use a home-made hone to size your bushes. I made such a hone by slitting one end of a 1/4" diameter brass rod with a hack saw for a distance of 1-1/2". Then I inserted some sand paper into the slit end of the rod and chucked up the other end into a hand drill.

Then inset the sand paper into the bush and turn on the drill. Take a little material off at a time and check the fit. You're done when the bush just slips over the tube.

And there you have it, a cheap but effective hone for sizing your bushes.

fork tubes

Hi Deb:
I bought 2 sets of fork tubes a couple of years ago for the two projects I am putting together now finally for resale.A 70 roadster and 72 combat fastback.I got the tubes out of the protective rapper and one tube was pitted before chroming. Junk. Oh well one down and 3 to go. I wonder what continent that genuine set of tubes were made.The problem of the clip groove never changes.Burrs from milling and no allowance for chroming. Onto the lathe and set up a part off tool and take .005" off one side of all three tubes.To install the clip I held it up snug to the bottom of the leg and use a set of snap ring pliers. Carefully spread the clip until it
fits over.
Good luck
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