Copper washers for front forks from electrical terminals

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zavikan
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Copper washers for front forks from electrical terminals

Post #1 by zavikan » Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:03 pm

Alright, well I always wanted to be immortalized in a how to....I also wanted to give back to a community that makes me capable of doing my own work. Time after time I come on here because I need help.

Here is a simple solution to an aggravating problem. The crush washers on the front forks need to be replaced. Some replace them every time but I think thats excessive. Mine had some serious high miles on them though and were dead and useless.

so after a week of waiting for honda to send me silly little copper crush washers and then being told to wait ANOTHER week (and shipping was $8...really?), and scouring every bike shop I could find...

I got desperate and followed the suggestion of a forum member here 'backwoodz'. He suggested using the small (and he called aluminum) terminal rings used in electronics. I originally thought of it as a hack solution and I didnt want that. Mostly because I didnt want to change materials... Then I did some research and found that aluminum would make a perfectly fine alternative and I got to work. What I didnt know was under the gucky silver coating, the terminals were copper anyways! So thanks to backwoodz for throwing this one out there.

So this is what we are starting with, what we end with, and what we are replacing...in that order. Note the new one is slightly smaller then the old one. This leads to a cleaner appearance as can be seen in the last pic. It does not appear undersized once under the bolt.
DSCF9785.JPG


The hole size doesnt quite line up with the bolt. I used a 13/64 drill bit and rounded out the hole carefully. Don't go to large or you will bend the copper entirely instead of shaving out the hole.
DSCF9788.JPG


We need to sand off most of the silver coating. I used 320 wetdry sandpaper. My terminals had their wire rating stamped in the back. make sure to sand that close to smooth. Leaving the tab on the ring makes it easier to hold (figured that out after making the first one...)
DSCF9791_2.JPG


Puuuurdy. Dont need to be perfect yet.
DSCF9797.JPG


Carefully trim off the tab. I used a pair of straight line sheet metal shears. No issue.
DSCF9798.JPG


Clean the edge up with sand paper or a small file till you've got it respectably round. (no pic sorry)
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Last edited by zavikan on Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: How to make copper crush washers for front forks

Post #2 by zavikan » Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:04 pm

Copper can be hard or soft depending on application. Hard washers don't crush. I had no idea what type of copper this was, So I decided to soften it just in case. This is a scientifically proven method to soften copper involving big words and technical terminology that I pretend to understand when talking to other people.

Heat with propane until cherry red hot. You may need to shield the washer to heat it. I used a left over aluminum oil seal. Allow the copper to air cool.
DSCF9800_2.JPG


The copper will discolor badly. Finish sanding (remember how we didnt bother cleaning the silver off perfectly? Do it now...)
Here is the new one on the replacement stainless bolt, next to the first one I made, and the original I am replacing.
I missed an edge of silver when I took the pic..(always use never seize when using SS hardware on aluminum)
DSCF9801.JPG


And here it is on the Fork.
DSCF9802.JPG


You can see its a beautiful and clean fit. My problem is over. There are terminal rings that work for the crush washer under the allen bolt as well. In that case, my old ones were able to be cleaned up and reused. To reuse old copper, simply heat it cherry red and sand it clean again like we did for the new ones.
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Roady
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Re: Copper washers for front forks from electrical terminals

Post #3 by Roady » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:33 am

That's an excellent tutorial, Zavikan. And handy general instrux for other applications too.
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Re: Copper washers for front forks from electrical terminals

Post #4 by CYBORG » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:38 am

excellent job of showing the detail. a lot of work for a simple washer, but it looks good, and will work. i will remember it in an emergency. thanks
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Re: Copper washers for front forks from electrical terminals

Post #5 by zavikan » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:44 am

I live in a rural area. I drove 30 minutes out and went to 3 hardware stores, then advance, autozone and carquest. Spent between 10-20 minutes in each. they had nothing close to useable. I called 4 different motorcycle dealers and a few repair shops and came up with non thing.

Finally ordered them from western Honda as it was easy at least. Cost more then $13 but what ever. That was on Saturday. Called them up and I was told they would ship out on tuesday. Called on Wednesday and was told they were supposed to be shipped from the mothership to them first, but Honda hadn't sent them yet. I was told it 'might take a few days to get in'...and then wait for shipping from the dealer to me? I don't think so. Yup, this is for simple copper crush washers. Super rare unusual awesome crush washers apparently.
Last edited by zavikan on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Copper washers for front forks from electrical terminals

Post #6 by CYBORG » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:48 am

Don't get me wrong, i would have done the same thing. i have lived more then 30 minutes from civilization myself, and have done some very strange things to avoid a trip to town. i applaud your "thinking out of the box" action1 action1
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Re: Copper washers for front forks from electrical terminals

Post #7 by Whiskerfish » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:38 am

Excellent stuff!!! Well done and very well presented action1 action1 action1 action1
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Re: Copper washers for front forks from electrical terminals

Post #8 by robin1731 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:50 am

This is a good way to go.
Also, if you look around most auto parts stores do carry an assortment pack of copper crush washers.
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Re: Copper washers for front forks from electrical terminals

Post #9 by zavikan » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:12 am

The smallest in the assortment pack is 1/4. It was close but ultimately inappropriate for the forks.
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