Servicing Your Own Rockshox Reverb

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Service Overdue

O.K. so you own a RockShox Reverb? It’s probably the best selling dropper post and there is absolutely no reason why, with a few tools, that you can’t service it yourself.

Rockshox have produced some very good video guides so there is no point trying to produce another, however if you want to try servicing it yourself please read on before you begin. We may save you some money or at least some frustration.

Some of the Reverbs we receive have just been serviced or repaired by the owners only for them to fail again shortly afterwards. We also get plenty that have been started and for whatever reason couldn’t be completed.

Here are our top tips for making sure things go smoothly:

1.) Make sure you have the right tools (sounds obvious but bear with us on this).

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Squashed main piston shaft assembly caused by a vice.

If you are going to have a go at servicing a Reverb yourself don’t even contemplate starting until you have all of the following in front of you:

  • Soft jaws/shaft clamps (very important) – you will not be able to disassemble the Reverb correctly without these. Trying to find some that are cost effective can be difficult, so we have manufactured our own high quality but cost effective solution for just £15 (international shipping available). Buy a set here. If you try to secure the main piston/inner air shaft with the flats of a vice, even with flat soft jaws you will deform the part and have to spend more than what it costs to buy a pair of shaft clamps.
  • Bench vice
  • Oil Level Tool – Stealth Reverbs only.
  • Reverb bleed tool – only required for non stealth Reverbs. This tool prevents oil loss when setting the IFP height on your seatpost.
  • Reverb oil height tool – only required for non stealth Reverbs. This enables you to remove the correct of excess fluid from the post before you install the poppett.
  • Reverb IFP tool  – you need this to set the IFP at the right depth for your post, without it you will not be able to get this right and your post will not function correctly.
  • Reverb bleed kit and fluid – note that the small bottle you got with your Reverb may only be enough for bleeding, not a complete service.
  • Reverb service kit.
  • Pick.
  • 34mm Spanner.
  • 23mm crowfoot spanner or deep socket (preferably a deep socket).
  • Circlip pliers.
  • Slick honey grease or similar.
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Indentations on main piston shaft where the owner had struggled to secure it.

2.) You really need the shaft clamps/soft jaws.

The big one that people try to manage without is the soft jaws but you will need to secure the main piston shaft assembly without marking it. This component is anodised much like the stanchions on your forks and it does pass through an air seal. Any marks or indentations caused by securing the main piston shaft assembly incorrectly is likely to cause an air leak. We’ve seen various forum threads where people have advised using golf club shaft clamps and we have seen plenty of those Reverbs where things didn’t go to plan.

3.) Use a deep socket with a torque wrench to tighten up the inner seal head rather than the suggested crowfoot spanner.

You’ll note that the Rockshox service video shows the tech using a crowfoot spanner to tighten up the inner seal head. This isn’t wrong of course but if you look closely you will see that there are tooling marks on that part in the video. The inner seal head is quite soft and it’s quite easy to slip and damage it with a crowfoot, a deep socket offers much better purchase.

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A deep socket offers much better purchase than a crowfoot spanner

If you don’t use a torque wrench you will get this wrong, and risk either damaging the part or the sealhead coming loose, causing it to fail during your one and only ride of the week.

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An o ring which had blown as a result of the seal head coming loose

4.) Make sure the Top cap assembly is tight, use a medium strength Loctite and re-check it periodically.

If the top cap comes loose there will be excessive play in the post. If ridden like this you will see accelerated wear to the top cap bushing and lower bushing. You also may see damage to the threads on the top cap assembly, to the point that they won’t hold the correct torque and that is where things can begin to get very expensive.

In our experience even if you tighten the top cap up correctly and even use loctite you will need to check tightness periodically.

Damage can also occur to the threads on the lower tube and seal head assembly, again expensive – if these parts won’t hold the correct torque as a result they will need replacing. The result is that the o ring around the seal head will leak once the seal head assembly begins to work it’s way loose. Imagine the leverage exerted by a rider’s weight as the post rocks backwards and forwards – it’s a lot of stress, it doesn’t take long to cause some serious issues if there is play present. Make sure you tighten the top cap assembly correctly and check it is still tight periodically.

5.) Use the correct fluids

We see a lot of Reverbs that have been filled with unknown fluids, some of which have begun to damage seals. Some of the fluids we have seen have even begun to damage our gloves in the time we are working on them! You just don’t know what additives are in anything else and they may not play nice with your Reverb seals.

If you have a problem with your Reverb and you can’t figure it out please feel free to drop it off or send it to us, we will definitely be able to help.

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Click here for our Reverb servicing price list