Not a walk-through but just some general information for anyone doing research on the product, now that I can offer an opinion. It is a nice upgrade to the stock front suspension on the one-legged FJ-09. The kit replaces the two OE valves (compression and rebound) in the active leg. Compression damping remains non-adjustable. If one is considering options.... this mod won’t break the bank and it works very well. One could also just have the kit installed by a suspension shop.
The process is very close what is shown in this YT video describing installation of a similar kit. I also recommend watching Race Tech videos (here). These are oldies but goodies.
The kit (FMGV S2050C) is meant for several different bikes. It contains everything you will need for the FJ, and several things that you won’t. Fork springs/spacers (if needed) and oil need to be purchased separately. I already had the springs that I purchased from Stoltec (re-used OE spacers).
Instructions (here) aren’t the best… so it's helpful to read up on how the stacks are constructed and how they work. Some light bedtime reading is recommended. The promise of the Gold Valve is a more composed ride due to improved oil flow through the re-designed valves with custom-built shim stacks. OE and Race Tech valve bodies compared below.
DIGITAL VALVING SEARCH (DVS)
A Digital Valving Search (DVS) code is contained on the instructions sheet that comes in the kit. This code entitles the owner to a one-time custom setup. This involves going to an online DVS portal and completing a questionnaire, but... the portal wasn’t recognizing my DVS code, so I emailed Race Tech and got a Technician assigned to help me out. The Tech asked a few questions (type of bike, rider weight w/o gear, riding style etc.), and then sent me a setup sheet.
The setup sheet contains shim stack setup, recommended replacement springs and the suspension oil. Initial preload and rebound damping settings are also noted.
Heat is required to access the compression and rebound valves as the threads are treated with red thread-locker. This is where a solid setup of the cartridge in the vise (aluminum or plastic jaws) becomes important. You do not want to be fighting with the cartridge spinning or moving out of position when doing this. Freed OE valve assemblies shown below.
The kit replaces many of the pieces shown skewered on the zip ties below, including shims, valve bodies, the compression valve O-ring and the rebound piston band.
There are several packets of shims in the box, but they’re NOT sorted or labeled with anything meaningful… so you basically have to sift through the pile to find the ones listed on the setup sheet. A digital Vernier caliper will make the task easy enough. Shims sorted in required order...
The Race Tech setup sheet also required drilling a 1.3mm bleed hole in the compression valve body… which wasn’t very difficult. Some kits will come with the hole per-drilled.
The OE rebound stack included a mid-valve, which the new configuration removes, leaving just the check plate in place. The space vacated by the mid-valve shims needed to be taken up with a spacer during re-assembly. The O-ring (compression) and the piston band (rebound) aren’t in the image. They went on just in time for installation into the cartridge.
The DVS sheet specifies oil type and levels for each fork leg. The specified Race Tech oil is super expensive, so I used it only in the re-valved active leg. Filled the dead leg with inexpensive oil as it is only there to create an air spring, and for general lubrication. The setup called for 110mm in one leg, and 130mm in the other, measured from the top of a fully collapsed outer tube.
The inner tubes (stanchions) on our bikes happen to have not one, but two equalizing holes toward the top of the tube, with the lower of the two being at ~130mm. This meant that the leg with the oil level specified at 110mm couldn’t simply be filled to that level as the oil would also fill the space between the tubes, leaving next to no air left in there. Race Tech was unaware... huh? I filled to 130mm and then added the equivalent to the 20mm required (~22cc).
RACE TECH SUPPORT
Getting assistance from Race Tech was an exercise in patience. It took a couple of days to receive response to queries… and there were a few. The work was done in the off-season, so thankfully this didn’t cost me riding time.
The feel is much improved and more precise, with great road feedback. The DVS sheet specified 6 clicks out from full hard, and that was a pretty good place to start… I ended backing it off one more click. Might have to change that back a click when summer rolls around and oil thins out a bit. Haven’t done any aggressive riding yet as the roads are still filthy, but I am very pleased thus far.