Tilt lock squishy
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MP3 400 "Merlin"
Joined: 01 Jul 2012
Posts: 858
Location: Northwest Ohio
Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:44 pm quote
The tilt lock on my 400 is getting "squishy". There is no sign of a leak of hydraulic fluid on the garage floor. Do I need to take it to a dealer to fix it?
Veni, Vidi, Posti
MP3 500, GTS 250 (both 2008 MY), 2012 Honda NC700 DCT
Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 5453
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:06 pm quote
Sort of depends on what you mean by squishy.
First think I'd check is front wheel tire pressure.
Barring that, have one person rock it right to left, and the other person see if the pistons are moving in their hydraulic tilt-lock locks. Alternately you could lock the system, and get on and off and see if the front end dives.
If those pistons are moving perhaps you have air in the system.
I suppose it's possible the brake quadrant could be moving too, if the cable has slack.


Beyond all that it depends on how worried you are about it. If you lock the tilt lock with no load, so there isn't a chance one side leaks causing the scooter to topple, it may not be worth getting fixed. But if you lock the tilt lock while sitting on it, it could topple if one side leaks up somehow.
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2020 MP3 Sport 500 HPE ABS ASR
Joined: 25 Aug 2007
Posts: 3982
Location: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles sobre el Río Porciúncula
Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:35 am quote
This happened to my 400. It slowly sank down to one side or the other.

It was the tilt lock pressure sensor, which needed to be replaced.
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2009 MP3 400
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 77
Location: Sayre, PA
Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:44 am quote
At the risk of "man-splaining"...The tilt lock has two separate systems. The mechanical part that pulls a cable and locks the suspension arms from moving. And the hydraulic part that locks the shock absorbers from compressing.

Just have to rock the machine and see what is moving.
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MP3 500, GTS 250 (both 2008 MY), 2012 Honda NC700 DCT
Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 5453
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:51 am quote
pmatulew wrote:
At the risk of "man-splaining"...The tilt lock has two separate systems. The mechanical part that pulls a cable and locks the suspension arms from moving. And the hydraulic part that locks the shock absorbers from compressing.

Just have to rock the machine and see what is moving.
There are some dealers you would have to explain it to, as I hear it.
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MP3 400 "Merlin"
Joined: 01 Jul 2012
Posts: 858
Location: Northwest Ohio
Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:31 pm quote
Thank you for your thoughts and ideas everyone!

When I engage the tilt lock, I always stand up so there's no load on the system. Now when I lock it, there's a lot more "play" in the front end - I can rock it side to side if I push gently on it. It seems worse on one side than the other. It still stops before it falls over. I do have a bad habit of engaging the tilt lock and letting it sit several days. I know I should be putting it on the center stand.
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2020 MP3 Sport 500 HPE ABS ASR
Joined: 25 Aug 2007
Posts: 3982
Location: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles sobre el Río Porciúncula
Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:51 pm quote
I have had MP3s for 12 years. I never use the stand, always leave it up with the tilt lock engaged.

Other than the one time the pressure sensor wore out and needed replacement, I have never had a problem. In this case, failure mode was a slow leaning of the scooter. There was never a danger of it falling over.

The fact that the wheels lock in a turned to the side position tells me that this is how you are supposed to do it.

Just parenthetically, I also always turn off the kill switch. That has never failed me either.
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MP3 400 "Merlin"
Joined: 01 Jul 2012
Posts: 858
Location: Northwest Ohio
Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:14 pm quote
Yep, that's my sequence - kill switch, key, parking brake, turn wheels and lock.
mpfrank wrote:
I have had MP3s for 12 years. I never use the stand, always leave it up with the tilt lock engaged.

Other than the one time the pressure sensor wore out and needed replacement, I have never had a problem. In this case, failure mode was a slow leaning of the scooter. There was never a danger of it falling over.

The fact that the wheels lock in a turned to the side position tells me that this is how you are supposed to do it.

Just parenthetically, I also always turn off the kill switch. That has never failed me either.
Enthusiast
2009 MP3 400
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 77
Location: Sayre, PA
Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:53 am quote
Okay, so sounds like it's one or the other of the shocks compressing. That would be the hydraulic part of the system.

There is a master cylinder in the tilt lock motor that works the same as the brake lever on the handlebar to push a little bit of fluid. If there is a leak, even a small seep as mpfrank suggested, then it will get squishy. If it has been leaking for a while it may be low on fluid, same result. Easy 10 minute job to "pop the hood" and check the fluid level and look for leaks. Might also be a situation where the system needs to have the air bubbles bled out or the fluid replaced or both. Bleeding the system is a pain in the butt, That process may require professional assistance if you're not familiar with doing it.

The grabbers on the shocks are like a cigar cutter. The shiny rod passes through 3 rings. 2 rings are bolted to the strut, The middle ring gets pushed sideways by the fluid to lock the shiny rod. I think there a little pushy button thing in the rubber cover so that you can tell if the middle ring is moving or not. Stuck? Dirty? Leaking?
Addicted
MP3 400 "Merlin"
Joined: 01 Jul 2012
Posts: 858
Location: Northwest Ohio
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:30 am quote
Thanks! That’s very helpful!
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