rockshox judy restoration


Dirt Disciple
Within The past year I have completely rebuilt a 96 Rock Shox Judy SL fork for my y33. Now with my newfound knowledge of the fork I would like to help anyone stuck, or who doesn't know what's wrong with their 96 xc, or sl fork. If anyone needs help I am here, and I will try to help you to the best of my ability! :idea:

Keep on riding!


Retro Newbie
How lucky! I've just bought a Judy SL for my Merlin XLM rebuild project. My first fork rebuild (apart from motorcycle forks). Before I start stripping it down, are there any special tools I'll need? Is there a single re-furb kit available or do I need to source all the parts separately?


Dirt Disciple

when you take you fork apart all you need is a 5mm Allen wrench when taking of the bolts that hold the lowers on. And you need a snap wring removal tool to remove the cartridge, and the internals in the other stanchion. The only issue is about these restorations is that if anything but elastomers are bad, It can make your restoration much more difficult because of the rarity of some of the internals. I haven't been able to find a refurb kit for any Judy older than 2002, so if you need any internals you would have to source them separately. In my case the elastomers were trash, but all the other internals were perfectly fine. These old forks were built to last, and in most cases don't need too much work. The most common thing that goes wrong it them is their elastomers. If your fork is collapsed that is probably caused by the elastomers being bad. That is alright though because replacement elastomers a very easy to come by. Hope you got something from this!

Happy riding! :xmas-wink:


Retrobike Rider
MCU die first, 95/96 damper dies also (watch for the plastic ones in 1995 and some 1996 legs) if it's metal then service it.
First thing to check is if there is damage on the lower right(?) stanchion, it may have blown the bushing and be pitted and white.

dead easy and there is a topic on here (or two) on strip downs (and many more with bits of information on)
there will even be a hydrocoil conversion somewhere)


Retro Newbie
Great, thanks 96trekuser and Fluffychicken. Guess I better start taking them apart and seeing what work I need to do.


Retro Guru
yea, they are fun to work is a shame that Risse Racing quit making the jet damper cartridges

these are all i have pics of, there is one more original champagne Judy with kronos springs and a Risse Racing damper

the yellow Judy has white brothers springs and damper

the blue/white Judy has oem long travel springs and dampers, bought from a fb user

the red DH Judy is all original elastomers/dual dampers

the FSX Judys both have englund air cartridges, with one having the elusive shock bone brace, while the other is a standard Judy canti brace that i bought broken and cut off the broken canti stop and smoothed it out into a vbrake brace,


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Gold Trader
GT Fan

I've rebuilt many a Judy, as mentioned it is pretty rare to find a rebuild kit that contains everything you need. Aside from allen keys to undo bolts and circlip too for damper removal,you need a hammer or rubber mallet. You need to break the taper of the damper shaft from the lower leg. Simply pop back in on of the lower leg bolts you have removed, screw it in enough that the threads will be strong enough to take a hit, pop your allen key back in and give it a firm tap. You should feel the damper move. If not, repeat until you do, then do the other side. You upper legs should now separate from the lower.

If you are pulling the damper apart for a service, the end seals have part numbers on so you should be able to find someone that sells them. I can't remember what is on the inside of a damper but I think just o-rings.

Wiper seals are often tricky to find,I think there are 2 types and one won't fit the older legs (older ones were black as standard iirc, later ones grey). I did get some nice blue ones from enduro seals once.

If your stanchions are not scored and there is no play between them and the bushings, give everything a good clean and dry. I lube the bushings and void below the wiper seal with Judy butter along with the damper shaft and dummy leg deforestation reditting,then pop it all back together.

If your bushings need replacing, no idea where you can get them I'm afraid aside from an ask on here and watching ebay.

Replace mcu stack with springs of you can, ones mcus. I was lucky enough to find some englund air conversion kits when I was rebuilding my fsx. White bros also did dampers as did risse.

Good luck with your rebuild.


Retro Newbie
This is great info - thanks ishaw and stingray. I now feel confident to pull a set of Judy's apart and rebuild. I agree, I'll replace the MCU's with springs, but air conversions would be optimal.

But like an idiot rookie I bought a set of 1 1/8th Judy's and should have known my old Merlin XLM takes 1" - duh! Now hunting to acquire a set of Judy 1" forks. I've found an XC and an XL with short steerers, but holding out for one in better condition (externally). I've also sourced a 300m 1' steerer from Holland and RSF in Plymouth said they can insert the new steerer. Just need to find a 1" fork or 1" crown.

This retro rebuild has taught me one thing - patience is a virtue!