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Default Shortening fork tubes 33.4mm

Long time no see...
Ive found myself in possession of a 72 xlch. Currently has some old +8" or +10" fork tubes...not my style. The bike came with some brand new +6" over tubes. Is it possible to cut these down to factory length? I know there is a groove for a clip or something in the bottom of the tube, and looks like a couple of small steps as well. Friend of mine has a lathe, and he has the skills to do such a job. Are those steps in the tubes necessary? Just asking to get an idea of what would be needed. If i can save $160+, id rather go that route.
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Hello Heff, for sure it can be done, I had a pair of 4” overs shortened about 15 years ago, but I can’t remember if there had to be any other modifications done at the bottom like a relief or taper. I have the early style internals in mine. You will need a big lathe for this job.
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Is it possible to chop the tops of tubes and re-tap for the caps?

I don't know how they differ from stock, maybe they just extend the bottom without changing the inner size? If that's so, then cutting the tops will not work.

New from Frank's may not be too expensive either.
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I dont think cutting the top will work, since there is a taper at top to fit the trees. Talking with another friend, he didnt think there would be any issue cutting the end down. I'll know a bit more about this when I remove the other tubes and dampner rods, see how it all fits inside the tube
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I would say that it would probably cost more to modify them then to just buy the correct length tubes
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Here is the end of a 6” ext. 33.4mm fork tube.
Part is bored concentric with the OD 2-3/4 inches deep.
In that bore are 2 snap ring grooves.
There is a drilled area that extends another 4 inches to that next shoulder and is not really concentric. You can actually see that at 10 and 4 o’clock. The rest is the original tube ID up to the top threads.

So to shorten them they would need to be accurately chucked, bored and grooved.

That would not be cheap if you had to pay a machine shop to do it.

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I think what you have to do is cut the tops off on a lathe, turn the tapers so they fit in the top tree, and turn the threads for the spring retainers. Use anti seize on the tapers. There are steps turned in the lower portion of the tubes that probably have something to do with the dampers, but the top section is smooth.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gold Member View Post
I think what you have to do is cut the tops off on a lathe, turn the tapers so they fit in the top tree, and turn the threads for the spring retainers. Use anti seize on the tapers. There are steps turned in the lower portion of the tubes that probably have something to do with the dampers, but the top section is smooth.
How does spring length play into this? Did they use spacers to lengthen the forks to begin with? If so it's easier. Machine out the top tree or get new top tree?

I would still make a call to Frank's to check on new tubes. They are not expensive and it may save a lot of trouble. Any pitting in the old tubes could spell failure anyway, so maybe it's time.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wedge View Post
How does spring length play into this? Did they use spacers to lengthen the forks to begin with? If so it's easier. Machine out the top tree or get new top tree?

I would still make a call to Frank's to check on new tubes. They are not expensive and it may save a lot of trouble. Any pitting in the old tubes could spell failure anyway, so maybe it's time.
I just put new stock springs in mine, and the springs are proud of the top of the tube by say 1/4" You just push it in and screw in the retainer.

You don't want to/need to machine out the top tree. You want that taper. If it's not tapered that tube can slide right through the tree. I think I've seen some people do that but I sure wouldn't. Neglect to pre-ride check the tightness of those bolts one time...

Probably there are stock length springs in the tubes and a spacer on top of the tube. We've all heard of using pvc pipe. I've never heard of longer than stock length springs. I think there are shorter ones though for the low look.

I've seen heavy chrome stock tubes for $204/ea and regular chrome for ~$100/ea.

Or get a machinist to lathe both tubes for $100 if possible. You do need good equipment like a way to hold the bottom end of the tube and a steady rest to support the length. I'd say one hour's worth of work would do both tubes, but I'm just guessing.
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These 6" tubes are brand new, heavy duty..still wrapped up etc etc. Springs are stock length. I'll see what can be done with turning the tops down, that would be easier. I did get another 33.4 front end yesterday, with stock tubes. Haven't looked at it very closely, they might be usable
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