Ask a Mechanic | Suspension Pivot Assembly Tricks

Question: I saw your video last week where you said to put thread locker on suspension pivots. Every time I do that, grease from the pivot gets in the thread locker and makes it not work. Do you have a trick for this? From: Brent

Answer: I do Brent. Sometimes assembling suspension pivots can be a real headache, especially pivots that are concentric with a shock mounting bolt. But the main trick is to prep everything before you start assembling.

Before you dive in, inspect your suspension bearings for damage if you haven’t already. Pop off the seal with a knife, clean out the old grease and dirt with degreaser followed by WD40 before repacking the bearing with thick, waterproof grease.

Oftentimes you can extend the life of a suspension bearing by running a closed pair of needlenose pliers into the bearing and turning it a few turns. Suspension bearings tend to get stuck in one position because they almost never turn more than an eighth of a turn at a time. Once it is freed up, the bearings are usually ready for another round of abuse.

But let’s get back to your assembly question. Let’s start by looking at the kind of grease you should be using. You want to use sticky, thick grease for these components. My favorite for this application is Pro Gold EPX grease.

Suspension Pivot Assembly 1Grease the pivot spindle where it contacts the bearings and frame journals. Make sure that the pivot threads are completely clean and grease free. The frame’s pivot bore also needs to be clean and grease free.

Take your thread locker and apply it to the nut that your pivot bolt will interface with. Applying the thread locker here instead of on the bolt keeps everything contaminant free.

Now apply grease to the pivot spacers. You don’t have to go crazy with the grease. This is what most people get wrong. With the right grease, it just takes a little. Put some on both sides of the spacer and then stick it to the bearing. Try not to get any grease on the inside of the spacer. Do the same with the bearing spacer on the other side of the swingarm. Slide the assembly in place and then line everything up.

Now use your prepped spindle to skewer the whole assembly and then torque the pivot down to the manufacturer’s specifications. Let the thread locker cure overnight, and you are good to go.

Welcome to our Ask a Mechanic column where our expert mechanics Daniel Slusser and Greg O’Keeffe answer your bike maintenance questions. If you have a question for us, please post it on the Art’s Cyclery Facebook Wall or e-mail Daniel directly at To see more great how to videos click on the highlighted link to subscribe to our YouTube channel and stay up to date on each episode of the Art’s Cyclery/VeloNews Ask a Mechanic Series.