How To Service The Shock Linkage On Your 97-01 Honda CR250
The Tools You Will Need Are
- 17mm Socket
- 17mm Wrench
- 19mm Socket
- 19mm Wrench
- 12mm Socket
- 14mm Wrench
- Parts Cleaner
- Soft Bristle Brush
- Shop Towels
- Propane Torch
- Socket To Match Bearing
- Socket Extension
- Safety Glasses
- Rubber Gloves
The Parts You Will Need Are
- New ’97-’01 Honda CR250 Shock Link Bearings Set
- Moly Grease
- Start with your bike on a stand with the subframe and shock absorber removed. I removed the rear wheel for video purposes, but you do not need to.
- I recommend opening the Service & Torque Specs in a new tab for easy reference.
- If you need parts and tools, make sure to buy them here!
- Pictures with captions are after the steps below.
- If you need any help don’t hesitate to ask!
Shock Linkage Removal
- Remove the lower chain roller to make room for the frame side connecting bolt.
- Remove the bolts and washers from the frame and swingarm.
- Reassemble your shock linkage and check that all bolts, washers, and pivot collars are accounted for.
- Remove the side collars and seals, followed by the inner bearing races. The inner races should slide out, but they won’t, so find a socket that fits over the inner race only and drive it out.
- Remove the old needles.
- Removing the outer bearing race from the shock linkage requires a blind bearing puller. If you don’t have one, don’t bother buying one because they won’t budge anyway if they are contaminated.
- That’s why I went straight to the heat and beat method to remove them.
- The outer bearing race consists of two separate races mounted on each side of the bore, with a gap in the middle. This means you need to heat and drive one side in slightly to break it free, then drive the other side into the bore, to drive both bearings out the same direction.
- You may need to get creative with your sockets and clamps.
- On the 1997 model year, the link bearings are mounted in the frame, and the 1998-2001 models have bearings mounted in the link, which makes more sense.
Clean & Inspect
- Clean your linkage parts as thoroughly as you can and inspect for damage.
- If the link is damaged, it will need to be replaced. If the bearing bores are damaged, do what you can to smooth the surface. Due to the bearings used in the linkage, you should be fine unless the bores are cracked or broken.
New Shock Linkage Parts
- For this service, I am using an All Balls complete bearing kit.
- This kit includes all bearings, pivot collars, seals, and washers you need for a full service.
- However, when installing the swing arm end of the linkage, I ran into a fitment problem.
- The new pivot and side collars were just a little too long to fit between the mounts on the swingarm, so I ended up cleaning and re-using the old side collars.
- These bearings are designed with a very thin outer race, so if you try to drive them with a hammer and socket, the chance of damage is very high.
- These bearings need to be pressed in using a hydraulic press or a bolt and nut press. You can buy a proper bearing press kit for $150, or you can make one for $20 out of grade 8 bolts and washers.
- Again, you will need to get creative with your sockets and washers.
- Before you install the outer bearing race, remove the bearing needles, and set them aside.
- I like to insert a small socket inside the bearing race to help with alignment, but some aggressive adjustment is usually necessary. The thin outer race is very forgiving so that hammer adjustments won’t hurt it, just don’t go crazy.
- The bearings in the swingarm bore, in the frame on 97s, and the shock link on 98 to 02s need to be driven into the bore 4 to 7 mm.
- Press the shock link bearing into the bore 6 to 7 mm.
- The shock absorber mount is the one small bearing and needs to be centered in the bore.
- Press the outer race into the shock linkage like the others, then carefully drive or press the race to the center, measuring as you go.
- Carefully install the needles in the bearing race. They should be coated in a light layer of grease from the factory, so they stick together in the bore. If your needles aren’t sticky enough, some white lithium grease will do the trick.
- Your needles should sit evenly with no gaps.
- With one side done, install the inner pivot collar to keep them in place as you do the opposite side.
- With both sides assembled and the pivot collar in place, secure the assembly with a zip tie.
- Apply a thick layer of moly based grease to the bearings.
- Remember, the shock absorber mount is the only one-piece bearing. There is a gap between the bearings inside swingarm and frame bores of the shock link body, so get as much grease as you can between them.
- Work the grease around the bearing into the needles, but be very careful. If you pull away from the bearing like this, the needles will stick to the grease and come out. So work your finger around the needles, then slowly slide your finger out of the bore while keeping the pressure on the needles.
- Grease each side, then install the seals with another coating of grease, followed by the pivot collar.
- On the widest bore, install the two large washers, followed by the seal and pivot collar.
- Secure the bearings with a zip tie again when you are done with each set.
Related: 97-01 Honda CR250 Swingarm Service
- When installing the linkage assembly, make sure the shock arm is oriented correctly, with the small end facing forward.
- With the link attached to the frame and the arm attached to the link, swing them around to make sure everything is rotating smoothly.
- If everything feels smooth, attach the shock arm to the swingarm.
- Torque all three bolts to 59 ft-lbs.
- Install the lower chain roller, and torque to 106 in-lbs.
If you have any questions about this shock link service, please let me know in the comments or on social!