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Installing grease fittings to the Prolink.

The Prolink on the Honda CX/GL V-twins are prone to seizing if they are not stripped and cleaned regularly; factor in twenty-plus years, multiple owners and the neglected Prolink can end up in a [[1]] state! If you hear that dreaded squeek as you sit on the bike you know some spannering time is overdue... The removal procedure of the various parts can be time-consuming and can test your mechanical skills to the extreme if they have been allowed to deteriorate.. Expect seized bolts, inacessible fixings, rust, previous bodges, seized bearings/bushes, seized other stuff and some other bits that have alsoseized to previous seizures.... Get the picture? This is how i have fitted grease nipples to my linkages to help with the problem, but i still advise a thorough strip-down every so often.It`s a pleasure to remove a Prolink and take it apart after it`s been properly serviced and everything comes apart as it should! The pics/text here may give you an idea of what to expect if you decide to do it yourself... The bolt that goes through the pivot that is nearest the centre stand mounting lugs is the one most likely to give problems, and it`s removal is hindered by the exhaust preventing the extraction of the through-bolt. A CX with an original collecor box means half the exhaust system has to come off, and it`s the same with some other aftermarket pipes,too. The nut end of the bolt (nearside) is inaccesible because of the sidestand bracket, which prevents easy access for tackling a seized bolt with a drift and hammer. If this bolt is seriously stuck the best way to see what you are doing with this one is with the chassis upside down, with everything stripped off the frame. Of course, this might be a bit drastic if all you are planning to do is service the linkages, but in my example pic near the bottom of the page where the bolt was stuck fast, it was lucky that i was in the middle of a frame-up rebuild (i had to strip it right down to fix some tin-worm in the hollow sections of the frame) , which made it all lot easier. . It`a bit extreme to go this far just to remove one bolt, but if you are doing a frame-up resto job its a good place to start. I had to cut the bolt out on the one in the pic.. If the bolts come out easily and the linkage can be removed from the bike thats the biggest hurdle over - getting the thing on the workbench where you can see what`s what makes things a LOT easier. Honda supply a high-content moly paste especially for lubricating the Prolink. This isn`t suitable for applying with a grease gun so a conventional strip-down is the best way to apply it. I reckon giving the linkage a squirt of `ordinary`grease every few thousand miles via the grease fittings should keep the Prolink in a servicable condition. It`s done OK on my bikes. Applying grease to the collars and bushings before installing them into the linkage pivots always seems to wipe off the vast majority of the grease leaving very little on thebearing surfaces - the oil seals don`t help with this. The grease fittings at least ensure that some lube is placed where it`s needed. Having just done three grease-nipple installations in the past few months on various project bikes i thought i`d take some pics this time to show the procedure. It`s a straightforward job,but you have to place the fittings in a position on the linkage that will not be obscured by various parts of theframe/swingarm and so that a grease-gun can eaily be used. You may find that the linkage bolts have seized,did i mention that...? The joints consist of the bearing `tube` (Honda call them `collars`), a phosphur-bronze bush interference-fitted into the linkage arms,a dust-seal either side of the joint and the nut/bolt. I have noticed that Honda seem to have used various designs during production in the swingarm-to-linkage-arm pivots,with one-piece bronze bushes(the ones with the grease-holding diamond-shaped voids) and two-piece bushes that appear to be made from plastic/nylon (i`ve seen this in a GL linkage,so it may be for that model only or a Honda design improvement) and another version similar to the plastic type but made from a sintered material.The two long pivots usually have the bronze type,but two in each joint for the extra width. The linkages live in a harsh environment underneath the swingarm in the full force of the weather and road grime - out of sight, out of mind, until a problem comes up (usually at MOT time when excessive movement at the rear wheel is discovered!). Do yourself a favour - service that sucker while you`re in the mood, not after MOT dissapointment! Here`s a new bush and bearing, and my GL having a squirt of grease; View of a typical Prolink pivot showing the nut & bolt, dust caps, bearing, and bush; 800x604px

Here`s a pic of two different types of bushing, plastic/nylon on the left. The third version i have seen is similar to the left one but made from a sintered metallic material;

P1250038.JPG The Prolink has rising rate/progressive suspension set-up which means a lot of movement at the wheel equals a moderate compression of the shock absorber (i think the total shock travel is only about 45mm or so). This is great system for improving a bikes handling and comfort but when wear takes place it works the other way - a little bit of wear in the pivots means a lot of unwanted suspension `slop` at the other end. This seems especially true of the top shock mount, which is another hidden/difficult to access pivot that is often forgotten about. To check overall play in the linkage try standing at the rear of the bike leaning over the tail/seat (bike on centrestand), reach down either side and grab the wheel rim with both hands. If there`s any freeplay you`ll feel it move up and down before the resistance of the shock is felt. To see where the wear is coming from will mean getting on the floor and feeling/watching the linkage while moving the wheel up and down with some kind of suitable lever (tyre iron/breaker bar/jemmy/crowbar) placed under the tyre, or get your wife/girlfried to do the wheel-lifting thing while you look for the movement in the linkages!! To check the condition of the top shock bush jam a finger between the shocks body and the frame bracket while operating the lever. Having noticed exessive freeplay in the rear suspension of the CX-P (the lengthened swingarm will exagerate any wear) i traced the play to be in the top shock mount. After stripping it out the collar showed wear of about 2.5 `thou compared to the new one and the bush looked fine, but there was freepaly at the wheel of about 20mm. A new bush`n`collar completely eliminated all play, which was good!; File:BushingFile:ProLink File:ProLink

Here`s an overall pic of the finished grease job; p1.jpg

And new bearing with clean grease; p2.jpg The part of the Prolink that goes from the frame to the linkage `fork` only requires one grease nipple installed. The wall thickness here where the nipple is installed is relatively thin, so either place a washer under your grease nipple fitting or do not screw it fully in otherwise it may foul the bearing - they are made with a tapered screw-thread anyway so a good,firm fit will still be made. The nipple needs to be angled rearward to clear the frame and enable your grease-gun to locate easily.

The red line in the pic indicates the angle at which the fitting is to be placed. p3.jpg p2.jpg

The L/H fork-to-swingarm pivot is slightly obscured by the extra-long swingarm bracket, so the grease fitting needs to be angled back - the red line in the pic indicates the postion. On this side the nipple has to be located on the radius of the casting, so to facillitate the installation i ground a small flat on the linkage fork - you can see this clearly on the first pic above. p5.jpg

The R/H side has better access - the fitting can go in at 90 degrees; p6.jpg The bottom pivot is easy to get to,fit the grease nipple at approx 45 degrees. Note:the shock absorber mount (at the top in this pic) is the resiliant-bonded rubber type and does not need any modification. p7.jpg

These pics show the bronze type bushes which were seized to the bearing and came out with it during dissasembly, they usually stay in place.. The other pic shows worn versus new bearing `tubes`. p8.jpg p9.jpg

Fit some caps to the grease nipples to protect from road dirt and corrosion.(or improvise some from 10mm or so of suitable plastic tube the end of which is plugged with glue. Replace the dust seals if necessary. Grease the bolts when assembling to prevent them seizing- the grease from the nipples will not get to this area. When drilling into the linkage parts remove the burrs from inside of the pivot bushes with a small needle file. Don`t forget to service the top shock absorber mount - this one is often forgotten about but a small amount of play here = a lot of play at the wheel. This is what you`re trying to avoid!; p10.jpg p11.jpg [email protected]://¤t=P7160385-1.jpg

Another project,another Prolink problem...

I have removed the linkage from the [[2]] (all the bolts came out easily....) but the bearings were in a bit of a state and one was seized in place.No surpises there then. The method i used to remove this seized bearing was to get the arc welder out. I welded up the [[3]] of the bearing tube - this did two things; it put some heat right at the point of the problem (applying heat is always one of the first things to try when removing stuborn fixings or parts) and provided a good solid point onto which i could use a parrellel[punch] to knock the bearing out. If force is applied to the end of the bearing directly it can deform/bend over making it even tighter in the linkage arm/bush and more likely to bind when driven outand damage the bushes. Of course this renders the bearing scrap but if it has seized to this degree it is unlikely to be[usuable] anyway.

After the linkage had been cleaned up i pressed the[bushes] back into the arm in the vice - a Euro grab-rail bobbin made an ideal tool for this job; P1250037.JPG

Here's a link to YouTube of Ofapar's modified GL

Sidecar Bob adds:

When I installed zerks in my GL500's Pro-Link in 2001 it was a revolutionary idea. Now it is SOP but everyone still makes the same mistake I did the first time.

When I tried taking the 500's suspension apart again a few years later the bolts were immovable because they were rusted into the collars. When I built my CX650E based winter sidecar machine I disassembled & greased everything but when I tried taking the suspension apart again a couple of years later I found the same thing.

It seems that periodically pumping grease into the zerks is not enough and unless you completely disassemble the Pro-Link every year or so to clean & re-lube it the bearings dry out enough to make the collars turn with them and rub on the bolts. This will eventually work harden the bolts and the collars. If any moisture gets on between the bolts and the collars and causes rust you will never get it apart. A drill won't even mark it and to drive it is almost impossible to support the bike solidly enough so that you can hit it with a very big hammer. Many times. I ended up cutting one of the links on my 650 apart to get it out.

I did not want to go through that again so this time I made provision for some of the grease to make its way between the bolts and the collars this time.

- Where the shock link and the shock arm meet there is a space between the bushings so I drilled through the arm and into this space for the zerk and cross drilled the collar so that the grease can get to the bolt.

- Where the shock link attaches to the frame there is no space between the bushings so I installed them and drilled right through them when I drilled for the zerk. I cross drilled the collar in line with the zerk hole and then made a groove in the collar where the hole is so that the grease can travel around to the hole if it isn't in line with the zerk.

- Where the shock arm attaches to the swingarm, I installed the newer style plastic bushings and they have a space so the collars only needed holes.

BTW: I used the "vertical lathe" to turn the groove - I put the collar in the chuck of the drill press and held a small round file against it while it turned until the groove was deep enough. If you don't have a drill press you can clamp a 1/2" chuck hand drill in a vise and if you don't have a big drill you could filed it by hand.

Since I did that in 2011 I have loosened the bolts and pumped grease in until it came out at the head and the nut each fall. As of 2013, with about 30.000 Km of mostly winter use, the bolts all still turned easily.

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