1997-1999 Honda CR250 – Rear Shock Rebuild Part 1: Disassembly & Inspection

Step-by-Step Showa Rear Shock Rebuild

This is PART 1 of the Step-by-Step rear shock rebuild for a Showa KZ3P SA-1 found on your 1997 – 1999 Honda CR250.  The steps in this rebuild will also work for a 2000 -2001 Honda CR250, but keep in mind that for the 2000 – 2001 model years, Honda switched to a larger diameter shock, so parts are not interchangeable.

You can find Part 2: Shaft Assembly here, and Part 3: Body Assembly here.

Shock Rebuild Parts List

  • Shock Oil

I have found several rebuild kits for the ‘00 – ‘01 rear shock, but I have not been able to find a complete rebuild for the ‘97-’99 shock.  However, you can still get all the OEM parts individually through Our Partner Retailers.  I prefer buying the individual parts anyway so I can save money, so It all works out! (For me).

I don’t recommend buying any parts until you know exactly what you need.

That being said, the seals, O-rings, and valve bushing were in surprisingly good shape considering the condition of the shock oil.  I ended up taking a chance and reused everything (except the oil), so I may get 10 minutes of ride time off this rebuild, and I might get 100 hours.

*This was the best option for me at the time, so if you do reuse your parts, just know that there is a risk of premature failure.

Specialty Tool List

  • Racetech Rear Shock Seal Head Setting Tool
  • Tusk Seal Bullet
  • Tusk Reservoir Cap Removal Tool

*You may be able to get this rebuild done without these tools, but you run the risk of damaging a lot of parts.  I usually try to find ways to do things without special tools, but damaging anything on this shock would cost more than the tools.

Basic Tools

  • Mallet
  • Small flat-head screwdriver
  • Medium Philips head screwdriver
  • Valve stem removal tool
  • Hammer
  • Punch
  • File
  • Grinder (if the shaft nut has mushroomed)
  • Bench vise or assistant
  • Towels
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Parts cleaner
  • Safety Glasses
  • Low-pressure air pump

Torque Specifications

  • Shaft Nut – 35-60 ft-lbs

After you complete the rebuild on your shock, you will need to take it to a shop to get the reservoir filled with 150 – 200 PSI of NITROGEN. Why nitrogen and not regular compressor air? The simple answer is that air expands when heated, nitrogen does not.

Pre-Service Notes

  • Remember to inspect everything as you clean it, and replace any damaged or worn parts.
  • 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!

Related: While you’re at it, here’s how to rebuild the rear shock linkage on you CR250.

97-01 Honda CR250 Rear Shock Disassembly & Inspection

  • Remove the spring:
    • Back out the preload adjustment nut to release spring pressure
    • The spring plate is held on by a circlip attached to the collar.
    • To separate the collar and spring plate, place a screwdriver between the collar and the spring,
    • Then hit the plate with a hammer to expose the circlip.
    • Remove the circlip, the backing plate, and the spring.
  • Step 1: Clean the reservoir cap and release the air from the bladder.
  • Step 2: Remove the valve stem from the reservoir cap.
  • Step 3: Remove the shock body cap using a punch and hammer. Go back and Forth between the punch holes, so the cap does not bind.
    • Clean and inspect the seal head.  Before we can remove the shaft, we need to remove the reservoir to release pressure in the shock body.
  • Step 4: Install the reservoir cap puller and beat the cap into the reservoir to expose the circlip.
    • Remove the circlip, install the cap puller again, and pull the reservoir cap and bladder.
  • Step 5: Shaft Removal.
    • To remove the shock shaft, begin by pushing the seal head down to expose the circlip.
    • Remove the circlip and carefully work the shaft out of the body. Set the shock body aside and let it drain in a warm place for about 10 minutes.
    • Clean and inspect the rear shock body, shaft, and valve stack.
  • Step 6: Remove the shaft nut.
    • *The shaft nut will be mushroomed from the factory. If it is, you will need to grind down the nut until you can see a distinct separation between the nut and the shaft. But, if your shock was previously rebuilt, like this one, you shouldn’t have to. Clean and inspect the threads.
  • Step 7: Transfer the valve stack to a screwdriver to
    keep everything organized.

    • Remove the seal head, shock body cover, bumper,
      and collar. Clean and inspect.
  • Step 8: Check the shaft threads, you may need to
    re-pitch the threads using a small file.
  • Step 9: Check the seal head body and seals, these
    rear shock seals are still good so I’m going to reuse them.
Back out the preload adjustment nut to release spring pressure
Back out the preload adjustment nut to release spring pressure
Spin the lock ring all the way down.
Spin the lock ring all the way down.
The spring plate is held on by a circlip attached to the collar.
The spring plate is held on by a circlip attached to the collar.

Shock Spring 4Shock Spring 5

To separate the collar and spring plate, place a screwdriver between the collar and the spring,
To separate the collar and spring plate, place a screwdriver between the collar and the spring,

Shock Spring 7Shock Spring 8

Remove the circlip, the backing plate, and the spring.
Remove the circlip, the backing plate, and the spring.

Shock Spring 10

Step 1: Clean the reservoir cap and release the air from the bladder.
Step 1: Clean the reservoir cap and release the air from the bladder.
Release the air from the bladder.
Release the air from the bladder.
Step 2: Remove the valve stem from the reservoir cap.
Step 2: Remove the valve stem from the reservoir cap.
KEEP TRACK OF THE VALVE!
KEEP TRACK OF THE VALVE!
Step 3: Remove the shock body cap using a punch and hammer. Go back and Forth between the punch holes, so the cap does not bind.
Step 3: Remove the shock body cap using a punch and hammer. Go back and Forth between the punch holes, so the cap does not bind.

Step 3.1Step 3.2

Clean and inspect the seal head. 
Clean and inspect the seal head.
Before we can remove the shaft, we need to remove the reservoir to release pressure in the shock body.
Before we can remove the shaft, we need to remove the reservoir to release pressure in the shock body.
Step 4: Install the reservoir cap puller and beat the cap into the reservoir to expose the circlip.
Step 4: Install the reservoir cap puller and beat the cap into the reservoir to expose the circlip.
Make sure to hit straight down!
Make sure to hit straight down!
Make sure you can access to the snap ring before you take it out.
Make sure you can access to the snap ring before you take it out.
Remove the circlip, install the cap puller again, and pull the reservoir cap and bladder.
Remove the circlip, install the cap puller again, and pull the reservoir cap and bladder.
Install the cap puller again.
Install the cap puller again.
Pull your reservoir.
Pull your reservoir.
Push the seal head into the shock body.
Push the seal head into the shock body.
Step 5: Shaft Removal. To remove the shock shaft, begin by pushing the seal head down to expose the circlip.
Step 5: Shaft Removal. To remove the shock shaft, begin by pushing the seal head down to expose the circlip.
Remove the circlip and carefully work the shaft out of the body. Set the shock body aside and let it drain in a warm place for about 10 minutes.
Remove the circlip and carefully work the shaft out of the body. Set the shock body aside and let it drain in a warm place for about 10 minutes.
Here's your seal head.
Here’s your seal head.
Pull your the shock shaft from the body.
Pull your the shock shaft from the body.
Clean and inspect the rear shock body, shaft, and valve stack.
Clean and inspect the rear shock body, shaft, and valve stack.
Clean it up real nice.
Clean it up real nice.
Step 6: Remove the shaft nut.
Step 6: Remove the shaft nut.
The thread lock did its job!
The thread lock did its job!
Clean and inspect the threads.
Clean and inspect the threads.
Step 7: Transfer the valve stack to a screwdriver to keep everything organized.
Step 7: Transfer the valve stack to a screwdriver to keep everything organized.
Remove the seal head, shock body cover, bumper, and collar. Clean and inspect.
Remove the seal head, shock body cover, bumper, and collar. Clean and inspect.
Remove The Cap
Remove The Cap
Remove The Bumper
Remove The Bumper
Remove The Collar
Remove The Collar
Clean And Inspect Everything
Clean And Inspect Everything
Step 8: Check the shaft threads.
Step 8: Check the shaft threads.
You may need to re-pitch the threads using a small file.
You may need to re-pitch the threads using a small file.
Step 9: Check the seal head body and seals.
Step 9: Check the seal head body and seals.
These rear shock seals are still good so I'm going to reuse them.
These rear shock seals are still good so I’m going to reuse them.

If you have any questions or anything to add, please leave them in the comments or on our FaceBook page!

97-01 Honda Cr250 Shock Rebuild Part 2: Shaft Assembly →

Keep Your ’97-’01 CR250 Running Right!

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