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Adjusting Rear Shocks on Indian Vintage and Model Year 2020 and Older Chief

For the most comfortable ride and proper ground clearance, the rear shock preload may need to be adjusted on your Indian Vintage or model year 2020 and older Chief. To do so, follow these procedures.

1. Verify your tire pressure is at specification. For Chief and Indian Vintage models, the tire pressure should be 36 psi (248 kPa) on the front tire and 40 psi (276 kPa) on the rear tire. For Chief Dark Horse or Indian Vintage Dark Horse models, the tire pressure should be 36 psi (248 kPa) on the front tire and 41 psi (283 kPa) on the rear tire.

2. Secure the motorcycle in an upright position by clamping the front wheel in a wheel vise.

3. Remove the saddlebag if your motorcycle is equipped with one.

4. Apply a strip of tape (1) to the rear fender directly over the center of the rear axle.

Shock measurements

5. Using a suitable lift, raise the motorcycle until the rear shock is completely extended.

6. Measure the distance (2), in millimeters, from the center of the rear axle to the bottom of the tape. Record the results as measurement M1.

7. Lower the motorcycle and remove the lift.

8. Load the motorcycle with all intended cargo. Wearing your riding gear, bring the motorcycle to the upright position and sit on the operator's seat. If you plan to carry a passenger, have the passenger — in riding gear — sit on the passenger seat.

9. Have an assistant measure in the same location. Record the results as measurement M2.

10. Subtract measurement M2 from M1 to determine the measured rider sag (M1 - M2 = Sag). Adjust your preload as needed.

For Chief models, the recommended suspension sag is 35mm (1.375 inches).

1. Park the motorcycle with the side stand down on a firm, level surface. Remove all riders and cargo.

2. Remove the seat.

  • Remove the left side cover to access the tool kit.
  • Locate the seat mount brackets under the edge of the driver's seat. Remove the seat mount bolt (1) from each side of the seat with a 6mm socket.

    Seat diagram
  • Using a 6mm Allen socket, remove the rear bracket bolt (2), washer and nylon grommet from the passenger portion of the seat (if equipped).
  • Lift the rear of the seat and pull rearward to disengage the front mounting tab of the seat from the frame mount. Do not allow the seat mount brackets to contact the rear fender.

3. The upper spanner nut on the shock is the lock nut (1). The lower spanner nut is the adjuster nut (2). Loosen the lock nut by turning it counter-clockwise (as viewed from the top of the shock) with a spanner wrench or shock adjustment tool. See your Indian Motorcycle Dealer with questions.

Chief shock

4. Spray a light lubricant on the adjuster nut where it contacts the spring.

5. Adjust shock preload by rotating the adjuster clockwise (as viewed from the top of the shock) to increase preload (firm) or counter-clockwise to decrease preload (softer).

6. Recheck the preload measurement after adjusting.

7. Tighten the lock nut securely against the adjuster nut.

8. Reinstall the seat.

  • Position the seat by inserting the seat mounting tab from rear to front into the mount on the top of the frame.
  • Rotate the rear of the seat downward and position the side mount seat brackets onto the frame. Do not allow the seat mount brackets to contact the rear fender.
  • On each side, thread the seat mount bolt through the seat mount bracket and into the frame. Torque the seat bolts to 18 ft-lbs (24 Nm).
  • Secure the passenger seat (if equipped). Gently raise the rear bracket and reinstall the nylon grommet. Thread the rear bracket bolt and washer through the bracket and nylon grommet. Torque the bolt to 96 in-lbs (10.8 Nm).

For more maintenance tips, procedures and specifications, consult your Owner's Manual.
To find an Indian Motorcycle Dealer near you, use the Dealer Locator.
To find a replacement part, view the online parts catalog

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