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Fox float shocks in cold weather

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by big-ted, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. big-ted

    big-ted Danced with A, attacked by C, fired by D.

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    I have an old and basic Fox Float R that, by and large, does what I ask of it with minimal complaints. However, once a year, like clockwork, when I choose to go riding in cold (~ freezing) temperatures, an internal seal perishes and I end up with air mixed in with the damping oil. I'm not exactly sure which seal is the culprit, as I've never been so inclined to take it apart beyond a basic air sleeve service. I take it in to my friendly service guy who fixes it and jokingly grumbles at me for riding too hard on basic/old equipment.

    I struggle to believe I'm the only one that's had this problem. Anyone care to offer any advice? I know o-rings come in different durometer seals for different conditions. Is this something worth looking at? I guess if it's a specific seal design my chances of finding something suitable or slim to none. Am I doomed to repeat the mistakes of Nasa (ref: Challenger disaster) for ever more?
     

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  2. Da Peach

    Da Peach Outwitted by a rodent

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    Try it now!
     
  3. ALEXIS_DH

    ALEXIS_DH Tirelessly Awesome

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    anyway to warm up the shock before use???
     
  4. blindboxx2334

    blindboxx2334 Turbo Monkey

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    thats what i was going to say.. although im sure it would be a PITA to do before every (cold) ride
     
  5. staike

    staike Monkey

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    Letting your bike stay in room temperature is a pain in the ass? I hope you weren't thinking about heating it in the microwave or something stupid like that. :D
     
  6. big-ted

    big-ted Danced with A, attacked by C, fired by D.

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    Wrap it in pipe lagging before throwing it in the back of the truck and driving ~15 minutes? Seems optimistic at best...
     
  7. Steve M

    Steve M Turbo Monkey

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    Floats use a particularly hard o-ring in the seal head. This is necessary with these shocks because the DU bush in the seal head is very short (required to maintain low overall length of the shock), which means that if the o-ring is not hard enough, it can be flexed sideways to the point of leakage quite easily. However, in the cold, it's simply too hard and prone to leaking oil out (or air in!) when the shaft flexes slightly sideways. Short of completely rebuilding your shock with a softer o-ring for cold weather rides, there is not a lot you can do about it.
     
  8. blindboxx2334

    blindboxx2334 Turbo Monkey

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    warming up shock with something like a hairdryer =/= keeping your bike @ room temp.
     
  9. Lelandjt

    Lelandjt Turbo Monkey

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    I've ridden Float shocks since '02 ('02, '05, '09, & '10 models) and living in New England and a Colorado ski town I've used them down to about 10*F. They've always performed fine except the two traits you'd expect:
    The oil gets thicker so compression damping is firmer/harsher and rebound is slower. I sometimes speed the rebound a click to compensate.
    If you set your air pressure inside the spring gets soft once it gets cold. I leave the bike outside while I get dressed and then check the air pressure in the cold to get an accurate setting. Even in the spring/fall with only 20-30* temp differences inside/outside I use this technique to assure the air pressure I'm riding with is what I want.

    Warming up the shock won't help unless your ride consists only of hard and fast enough bumps to keep the oil temp up. For an XC ride it's gonna stay pretty close to ambient temp.

    Blowing a damper seal in the cold is not a common thing and if I were you I'd contact Fox.
     
    #9 -   Mar 20, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013