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Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders Discuss Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders problems, advice, and/or how tos.

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  #1  
Old 23rd May 2006
Lone Wolf in Canada's Avatar
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Default Instructions for removal and install new Progressive 412 shocks.

Hope this helps others who want to install their own shocks. The following is a step by step guide and you'll save yourself a half hour labour at a dealer.
Maybe we should thumb tack it or whatever we do on this site.

I have a 2005 1200 Custom . I installed Progressive 412 11.5" Shocks.
TOOLS NEEDED:
Torx T50 good quality socket.
3/4" combination wrench.
Blue Loc-Tite
Towel to drape over the bike frame and muffler.
A friend to lift rear of frame momentarily at times.

To remove the stock shocks:
1. Drape a thick towel or pad over the area of the swing arm or muffler under the area you are working on so you don't drop a tool and scratch the bike.
2. Just leave the bike on it's kickstand, let's work on the right side first. Always loosen and remove the lower bolt of shocks first, that way when the t bolt comes out it doesn't kick up and scratch the beauty. Have your friend hold the bottom nut at rear of the shock bolt with the 3/4" wrench. This can be difficult, if you have a thin walled wrench you may be able to get the box end around it, mine needed the open end, I used a short 6" wrench to get in under the belt guard if you can't get on it with the wrench from the rear. You just have to hold the nut, don't need to turn it with the wrench. Once they have the wrench on it, you loosen the lower bolt with the T50 socket on your ratchet handle. It will be tight but it isn't a problem once it starts to turn.
3. You can loosen the lower bolt a bit, then loosen the top bolt slightly also with the T50 socket. This allows for a little shock movement when you remove the lower bolt.
4. Remove the lower bolt all the way, once the nut is off keep turning the bolt and it will unscrew itself from the swing arm hole it is through. Near the end have your friend slightly lift up on the two chrome fender struts to help ease weight while you pull the lower bolt completly out.
5. Remove the upper bolt with the T50 socket. The nut is attached to the inside of the chrome strut and will not fall off. Hold the shock as you remove the upper bolt so it doesn't scratch the bike.
Save the hardware from the old shocks because you use them on the new shocks. Note the order how they are on the old shock.
The left shock remaining will hold the weight of the bike no problem.
6. Lay your new Progressive 412 shock on the table. You will notice the bottom eyelet is off centre. It doesn't matter which new shock goes on what side, but that off- set eyelet must be facing on the inside (closest) to the wheel.
Assemble the hardware to your new shock...
Here's the washer / spacer combination I used and my shocks are straight down on each side of the bike...(both shocks)
From the outside of shock going in toward the bike frame ...
Top bolt order...Original bolt then Original washer then original chrome cap then new shock then new black shoulder spacer washer slid into shock eyelet then new zinc washer then new thick black spacer then all into the chrome strut hole in fender.

Lower bolt order....(from outside of shock going toward the frame)
Original bolt then original washer then new black shoulder spacer going through the new shock then new shock (remember the lower eyelet faces in toward bike) then new thick black spacer then through the swing arm frame & belt guard then original nut.
7. Still working on the right side of bike, screw this upper bolt and shock combo into the fender near tight.
8. Get your friend to put down his beer and lift the two chrome struts on fender up slightly while you push the lower bolt and shock combo through the swing arm hole on bike. Screw the lower nut on fairly tight.
Stand back and check shock for straightness. It should be vertical. If not, you still have two zinc washers in your new shock box that you can put on bottom bolt to bring the shock out, but I didn't need it.
9. Remove the lower nut and have your friend slightly lift the struts again then slide the lower bolt out completly. Then remove the upper bolt and remove shock/bolt assembly from bike. Careful you don't scratch the bike.
10. Apply Loc-Tite to the upper bolt threads and re-install the shock / bolt combo in upper fender hole. Have friend again lift struts slightly while you again slide the lower bolt / washer combo through the swing arm hole.
Apply Loc-Tite to the lower bolt threads and tighten the nut on the lower bolt using the T50 socket while your friends holding the nut with the 3/4" wrench. 50 foot/lbs is suggested but I just tighten it solid. Tighten the upper bolt with the T50 socket into the fender strut solid tight.
9. Do the same for the left side shock.

You should have 2 zinc washers remaining along with the 4 black spacers that are for smaller bike supports.

10. Stand back and admire while your friend pours you a Crown Royal over ice.
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  #2  
Old 23rd May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Wolf in Canada
… tighten the nut on the lower bolt … 50 foot/lbs is suggested but I just tighten it solid. Tighten the upper bolt … into the fender strut solid tight.
I don't recommend this. The ends of the shocks have to swivel. If you tighten the bolts solid tight, that's what your ride will be like: solid.

That was how the dealer installed my first set (!) of Progressive shocks: the ride was bone hard, and before I'd worked out why, the jolting had destroyed one of the shocks.

The solution (with the second set of shocks) was to torque the bolts to the recommended 45-50 ftlb. The ride's much better now; I can actually feel the shocks moving and working. OK, the new ones are 440s, but I don't think that makes much difference with the 11" length I've got.
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  #3  
Old 23rd May 2006
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Thanks for the details LW. I do have to agree
with Folkie on sticking with the torque specs though.
Also, I picked up a bike jack at Pep Boys that cost
me around 50 dollars I think it was.
It has come in handy several times now, and made
the shock installation a breeze to do by myself.
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  #4  
Old 24th May 2006
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I didn't tighten them stupid tight like original Harley did, just "solid tight" that they won't work loose, but Thanx I see your point how I worded it.
Glad U mentioned it.
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Old 26th May 2006
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Also, Don't forget to re-align your headlight if you change shock sizes.

I bought a torque wrench and removed and reinstalled the shocks to proper torque. Seems with the long clicker style torque wrench, to bring it to 48 ft/lbs, it tightened MORE then what I originally did with the little 3/8 ratchet. Glad I checked.

Not to get into it, but I spoke with a mechanic about what Folkie said and the mechanic agreed on doing the torqueing, that's why there are specs and I know this, but he also stated the shocks better not move or you'll get uneven compression and poor stability and wear at the contact points. He claims that's why they're so tight when you take them off. The torque is just the tightness of that particular bolt/nut. 50 ft/lbs. He also stated the relatively short travel of the shocks in direct relation to the swing arm to the strut angle should not be that much that it would cause the shock body to be changing direction. He made reference to a car, that the shocks are all tight. He claims if shocks were designed to pivot on a frame then they use a system to allow this movement. (like your shifter rod) Also he stated possibly Folkies shocks were just bad and the dealer was making this reason up. Makes sense? I don't want this thread to get into an arguement. Don't respond.
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  #6  
Old 26th May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Wolf in Canada
Also he stated possibly Folkies shocks were just bad and the dealer was making this reason up.
While I wouldn't put it past that dealer to make something like this up, that isn't the case here, because this isn't what the dealer said to me, it's what I've worked out for myself.

It is possible that there was always something wrong with my 412s, but I do think that the tightness of the bolts makes a difference. When I fitted new saddlebags I had to take the shocks off. This is when I found out how tight the dealer had tightened them. When I put them back on I torqued then correctly. The ride was better after this, even with one shock badly leaking. Also, it was the right shock that leaked; and I noticed that the left shock (which was OK) wasn't done up as tight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Wolf in Canada
He also stated the relatively short travel of the shocks in direct relation to the swing arm to the strut angle should not be that much that it would cause the shock body to be changing direction.
Granted, it wouldn't be much. I've just done a bit of calculating. The shock upper stud to swing arm pivot is about 16.5", the lower stud to the pivot is about 17.7", and the shock length, 11". The max shock travel is 1.8". It turns out the angle change of the shock (under max compression) at the upper stud is just under 2 degrees, and at the lower stud it's just over 4 degrees.

Also, some on this forum have found (with 440s) that when the bolts are done up very tight the ride is very hard, but when torqued to spec, the ride is much more comfy.

I think the shocks must swivel a bit (even if only a tiny bit), or else how tight the bolts are wouldn't make the difference it does.
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Old 19th July 2006
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Wink Replacing shocks with 412 Progressives

Followed your guide to the letter and it worked out perfectly. And I did it without any help

Used (2) car jacks and some wood to raise and support the bike. The tips regarding the sequence of washers/spacers was invaluable.

Shocks perfectly veritical and 45 foot lbs torque.

thanks much
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Old 19th July 2006
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Considering my stock shock bolts were on horribly tight, yet the shocks were mush, I'm wondering about this need to swivel.

When I installed my 412s I tried to duplicate the horrible tightness. The new shocks are firm, but not what I'd call stiff. Maybe I should leave them alone to avoid them going to mush.
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Old 19th July 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_in_az
Considering my stock shock bolts were on horribly tight, yet the shocks were mush, I'm wondering about this need to swivel.

When I installed my 412s I tried to duplicate the horrible tightness. The new shocks are firm, but not what I'd call stiff. Maybe I should leave them alone to avoid them going to mush.
I wouldn't worry about it; torque 'em to spec and them leave them alone. The shock eye's have rubber bushes in them, through which there's a metal sleeve, through which goes the bolt. This arrangement easily allows the very slight movement that's needed, provided they aren't
over tightened.

The spacers Progressive provide do seem vulnerable to corroding. May be worth spraying them with a shot of ACF-50. I replaced mine with some nice turned stainless steel spacers.

How do you like the 412s?
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Old 5th August 2006
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Big, fat kudos to Lone Wolf for taking the time to post these instructions. Along with his and AZ Flying Divers details that I printed out, I had no problem installing my Progressive 412's today. I didn't even need a bike jack, but I was exchanging 11.5's for 11's.

The Progressive 'instructions' were a huge joke.

Thanks guys, you made my job easy.

Just another reason the XL Forum rocks, big time!
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