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'08 Rockshox Totem 'topping out' and home servicing

KameramanDan's picture

By KameramanDan - Posted on 10 July 2014

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Hi guys, I bought an 08 Reign recently which came with Totems, when I pull up on the bars they go CRACK when they hit the top of their stroke and send a significant jarring through the bars. I've done a bit of googling and it appears they are not supposed to do this. SRAM do rebuild videos and they talk about top out springs and stuff so it appears there is a mechanism to counteract this, I guess mine isn't working properly.

The mission control floodgate also appears to have no effect, the shocks perform well but when I engage the floodgate for climbing or road use it doesn't really seem to do anything.

I'm considering either sending them away for a full service or doing them myself.. I plan to replace EVERY seal, shim, washer, bumper, etc etc... all the consumable parts to bring them back to pretty much new. Forum posts and youtube vids indicate they are easy to service, I am mechanically minded and don't think I would have any problems following the tutes but I was just wondering if anyone here has done a complete service on them and is there anything that you can add which might help me? Or should I just pay $200+ and send them off?

Also I was wondering if the top-out will cause further damage if I continue to ride them? I'm taking the bike for a rip on the weekend and I'm a bit worried I'll do some serious damage if I keep abusing them...


Isildur's picture

To me, it sounds like for forks have got either no fluid in the damper side of the uppers, which would mean that the rebound damping will be having zero effect (needs oil to flow through the shims), or that the rebound damper is shot.

If they're and air spring, it could also be that the air chamber has leaked a bit into the lowers, causing excessive return speed.

First step would be to check the damper side, as you don't need any special tools other than a 1.5mm allen key and a 24mm socket. You can check whether the damper side leg has any oil in it in a few minutes.

Either way, go with servicing them yourself. Very easy to do, if you're mechanically minded. First time for me it was a "two beer" job, now it's less than a beer until I'm finished!

My Totems are not in service anymore (gone to Boxxers), but I used to strip them and rebuild them every six months, and never had any issues.

Easy as!

P.S. It's worth noting that if the problem is the air spring leaking into the lowers, be very careful when you drop the lowers off, as they may be inclined to eject at a rapid speed! I've still got the mark in my deck timber from when a mate's Totems had that problem!

jackthelad's picture

Try EMR Suspension,
Seal Service was 80 from memory, with new seals,
1 thing i know i cant do, so pay for it
Even if you just buy the seals and get a quote if its bigger than ben hur

ps i always get my forks serviced in perth, have always done, if a shop tells you to send away to eastern states get a new shop unless your getting them pushed or tuned or going on holiday to pick them up

wal's picture

Ive done a full service on these via a youtube video with the forks surviving.

my only tip is to make sure all parts go back where they should.

Also having the correct tools before you start will make it easier.

I have the 2step totem which has a few extra parts thrown in to deal with.

great forks for what they are designed for.

KameramanDan's picture

Thanks guys I found a thread where someone suggested tipping the bike upside down for 15 minutes then opening the bleed valves.. The idea being to bleed air from the lowers which leaked from the air chamber. I did it last night and it made a huge difference today, top out feels more like it should, before it was making a real cracking sound now it just bumps without the same jarring.

The guy I bought the bike from said it was sitting for a year or so, so it makes sense a little air might have leaked in that time..

I'm gonna give them a service but it doesn't feel so urgent now, the forks performed well today so I feel better now Smiling

Isildur's picture

Good to hear! You'll definitely want to get a service kit then, as there is definitely an O-ring in the air spring side that needs to be replaced. You can probably the spring service kit by itself, but if you're gonna have the fork apart, you may as well get the damper kit and do it all at one!

But, at least you've got a more working fork now!

KameramanDan's picture

Thanks man, where is the best place to buy the parts in Aus and what exactly do I need? An ebay search turns up dozens of kits and they are all a bit different from each other... I don't really want to get them apart and discover I don't have the right bits!

Isildur's picture

There's a few different kits available, but your best bet will be to call someone like NS Dynamics (Aaron and crew really know their stuff) and ask them what you'll need.

In theory, for a full rebuild, the following sets of parts:
2007 - 2009 Totem:
11.4015.161.000 - Totem Solo Air Service Kit (07-09)
11.4015.144.000 - Totem Damper Service Kit (07-09)
11.4015.346.000 - Totem Dust/Oil Seal Kit - NEW

11.4015.419.020 - Service Kit, Solo Air - 2010 Totem
11.4015.431.000 - Service Kit, Damper - 2010 Totem
11.4015.346.000 - Totem Dust/Oil Seal Kit - NEW

BUT, that said, they are full kits that contain everything you would need to completely rebuild the spring and damper side, bar the actual spring and damper themselves (including valves, bolts, crush washers, etc). The guys at NS (or your LBS too) should be able to get you just the "Service Kit" that contains all the o-rings, glide rings, crush washers and dust wipers, rather than the full kits.

For tools, off the top of my head you'll need a 1.5mm, 2mm and 5mm allen key, 24mm socket and 10mm deep socket, rubber mallet, nitrile gloves, safety specs, and, modt importantly, frosty beverages to keep you going.

Head to the SRAM website and download the tech manual for your fork, look at the videos from SRAM online, and then just have at it!


Good luck!

KameramanDan's picture

Thanks mate I spoke to my bike shop and they're going to put together a full service kit for me; I've just bought the forks second hand and don't know when they were last serviced or what was replaced, so I'm going to do a complete top to bottom service and replace all the consumable bits.

Might get onto it this weekend I reckon Smiling

Now I need to learn how to service hubs and head tube.. might as well while it's apart lol. But they should be simple, just clean and regrease bearings..

Isildur's picture

Headset and hub service level of difficulty will depend on whether they're sealed bearing or cup & cone (Angular Contact bearings).

If they're sealed, yep, just take them out, clean of the dirty grease, pop the lip and fill with new grease, put lip back on and then reposition with a liberal amount of grease again.

If angular contact/cup and cone, then you may be up for a bit more work, but not too hard either. Google-Fu will be your friend!

fairy1's picture

Pretty sure if they are called an angular contact bearing it will just look like a normal cartridge bearing, loose ball/cup and cone is a different beast.

With your fork being an 08 is it just Solo Air? Prices for RS replacement parts are quite reasonable, the folk at Monza are great in that regard. A Totem coil spring come in at around $50, I was amazed when I was told the price and that my LBS could have it in two days Smiling

Swap to coil, RS air springs suck Eye-wink

Isildur's picture

Haha, the old Air vs Coil debate - forever it will continue! Eye-winkLaughing out loud

I'm a fan of Air springs for many reasons, with the primary being the ease of adjustment for different trails. Can go from places like Oxy to Thredbo with just a quick tweak of the air pressure Smiling And I've never had an issue with my Totems (or, and of my air forks, for that matter), but I do keep them maintained and enjoy doing so.

I was thinking angular contact bearings as in my old FSA Pig headset, which wasn't a sealed bearing arrangement but had the bearings contained in a race, rather than the much more easy to deal with Sealed Bearing type.

And yep, if your hubs are Cup and Cone then have fun! Eye-wink

fairy1's picture

I'm all for air just not on a Rockshox fork, to me they feel crap. I swapped a mate's Lyrik 2Step to a solo and it felt a lot nicer but it still has a harsh feel.

I have somehow managed to twist my Totem so it's getting swapped out for a Vengence which is air sprung. The guys at Avalanche are releasing a kit to allow the fitment of their damper in to the X-Fusion forks so I'll give that a whirl when it comes out.

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