The Fox 36 TALAS forks use cartridges known as the “closed” type. This means the air and damper cartridges are closed and sealed, as this classification would imply. They have their own internal lubrication and are separared from the “bath” lube that is in the fork legs. The bath lube serves a purpose in lubricating the stanchions and bushings, as well as the seals. In contrast, “open bath” type forks, even of the cartridge type, share a common oil supplies in the leg and cartridges (or open damper placed in the leg).
In each leg, there is a small amount of oil in the bath that serves lubricating purposes. Recommended is 15cc (ml) in the TALAS side, and 25cc in the damper side. These small quantities of oil are adequate, but they also mean that innaccurate fills or low levels from usage over time can possibly lead to inadequate lubrication for sliding parts, such as bushings and stanchions.
The Fox 36’s sealing system is a combination dust/oil seal, with a foam ring below. The bushings have longitudinal slots cut in their sliding surfaces. Upon compression, the stanchion is dipped in the bath oil that is also splashed around during operation. During rebound, the oil is drawn to the top of the lowers on the surface of the stanchions, with some being returned to the bath, and some allowed upward through the slots in the bushings. There are two bushings in each leg. The remaining oil that makes it to the top saturates the foam seal, which controls how much oil reaches the combinationg oil/dust seal, only allowing a controlled amount to weep past the seal for the purposes of low stiction. The remainder stays in the foam, or excess drains back down. Over time, there is the potential for enough of the bath oil to be lost through stanchion lubrication, necessitating a refill. Fortunately, this is an easy procedure, and does not require opening the cartridges. One can accomplish this in 30 minutes or less, depending the extent of the procedure.
In my case, I replaced my OEM Fox seals with Enduro seals, which provides a dedicated oil seal, and dedicated dust seal in the kit. They also provide new foam rings and new crush washers with the kit.
Disclaimer: This is only a guide, your results may vary, exercise due care for safety, common sense, and respect for the components.
Service Disclaimer: Always clean the exterior of all parts to be serviced thoroughly. This will save you time and headaches later.
Note about oil volume: 1cc=1ml, 5cc=1 teaspoon, 15cc=1 tablespoon. I use cough medicine cups for good approximations.
The first round of pictures below are my own, with credited pictures to follow from the Fox Service site at a later time.
- Wash the exterior thoroughly, remove air.
- Turn fork upside down, align compression knobs, use 2mm hex key to remove (fig1).
- Use appropriate sockets to remove the black locknut (15mm) on the damper side, and the locknut (10mm) on the air side.
- The important hang-up step: put the locknut back on the damper side and make sure it’s down two turns, as per the directions. Hold the underside from turning with a fingernail or similar. Screw the adjuster’s protective cap onto it. Use a rubber or plastic hammer to whack the damper out. It took a lot to get mine out, but it budged, finally.
- With the lower free, you can now turn right side up and drain the oil from the stud holes in the lower.
- Separate and clean.
- Remove seal and foam ring from lower. Damper and TALAS cart are still in place as part of the crown/stanchion/steerer assembly.
- Soak new foam ring in oil, put in place in the lower. Install oil seal above foam ring, letters up. Grease lightly. Note: the foam rings must be oiled because they will absorb a large amount of oil from the bath.
- Grease outer seals, put 1/4-1/2 up the stanchion, grease stanchion lightly or oil. Out a film of oil on the bushings.
- Pull on damper assembly and the TALAS cart to extend them. This will allow the studs to protrude through the holes in the lowers easier.
- Turn upside down and push lower onto the stanchion. About 1/4 of the stanchion is what I had exposed when I pushed the outer seals on. They go by hand.
- Pour in 15cc of shock oil in the TALAS side, and 25cc in the damper side. Fox recommends 7wt Fox branded oil. I blended and used high quality damper oil from my local moto shop to 7wt.
- Compress slighly to get the studs of the cartridges to protrude through the holes in the lower. Put locknuts on, using new crush washers in the Enduro kit or the OEM Fox kit. Disclaimer: I reused my crush washers, but will not recommend you do the same.
- The fork is now done. The procedure for standard Fox seals is identical to the Enduro procedure, except it does not use a dedicated oil seal.