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DBair IL (Standard Mount) Complete 100 Hour Service Instructions

Mar 2022 orig., Jun 2024 rev.

Table of Contents

Recommendations and Warnings

Cane Creek recommends only trained suspension technicians perform service on all suspension, using all required tools and following all proper procedures. Anyone without access to the proper equipment or with any concerns on the procedures should defer to an authorized Cane Creek service center for service. Improper service can result in loss of performance or suspension failure.
All Cane Creek shocks have pressurized nitrogen and oil, even coil shocks. Follow the service procedures exactly as written to avoid possible injury or harm to the suspension. Always wear eye protection while performing suspension service.

Please dispose of all waste products and materials through proper channels to avoid contamination of the environment.

Any damage or issues resulting from improper service will not be covered by warranty. If you have a shock still in its original warranty period and do not wish to void your warranty, please contact an authorized Cane Creek service center.

These service instructions cover the basic service procedures using standard service kits. If your suspension requires parts beyond standard replacement parts – shaft, damper tubes, end eyes – please consult your authorized Cane Creek service center or contact us at our Cane Creek Support Center.

Service Notes

The Air IL and Coil IL as well as the Standard and Trunnion variants of both share many service steps. Some images in these instructions may not be identical to the the valve body or outer damper tube on the Air IL Standard, but that is only when the process is the same for the shock in the image and the shock on your bench.

Service Kits



BAD1214 – DBInline/DBair IL Damper Rebuild Kit (Standard)
BAD2279 – DBair IL Air Spring Rebuild Kit

Required Cane Creek Tools



AAD1101-01 – Keith Cradle (for standard valve body)
BCD0344 – Kitsuma/DBair/DBair IL Air Seal Head Tool
AAD1193 – Air Seal Head Bullet – Red (or original AAD1182 – Air Seal Head Bullet – Green)
BAD1459 – Air Piston Funnel
BAD1032 – Gland Nut Wrench
BAD1174 – Oil Seal Head Pin Spanner Wrench
BAD1268 – Inline – Oil Fill Needle Adaptor
DBT016 – DB Gas Fill Needle
AAD0555 – 8mm & 9.5mm Shaft Clamp
BAD1273 – Inner Damper Tube Install Tool (if replacing inner damper tube)

Additional Tools & Supplies



Allen wrenches – 1.5, 3 & 4mm
Torx wrenches – T10, T15 & T25
1/2″ crowfoot wrench
Torque wrenches
Suspension Grease
Royal Purple 10w-30 Oil
Motorex 4wt Racing Fork Oil
Vacuum Oil Fill Machine
Nitrogen Fill System

Torque, Loctite, Oil & Nitrogen Specs

Torque & Loctite Chart

Part Torque Spec Loctite Spec
Shaft Bolt 5 Nm 243 (Blue)
TSN 0.6 Nm 668 (Green)
Spool Valve 0.16 Nm 243 (Blue)
Inner Damper Tube 17 Nm 263 (Red)
Oil Seal Head 15 Nm None
Gland Nut 52 Nm 243 (Blue)
Climb Switch Screw 0.16 Nm 243 (Blue)
Air Piston Screws 3.2 Nm 243 (Blue)
End Eye 4.8 Nm 243 (Blue)
Inner Air Can/Air Seal Head 22.6 Nm None (PolyLube)

Oil Chart

Oil LocationOil TypeOil Amount
Air CanRoyal Purple 10w-305 mL
Damper FillMotorex 4wt Racing Fork OilFill to 3 Bars

Nitrogen Chart

Nitrogen Location Nitrogen Pressure
Valve Body 11-12 Bars

Related Technical Service Bulletins

Review all related TSBs before performing any service.

No Air IL specific TSBs at this time.

General Prep

Clean shock. Record tune if desired. Remove hardware. Remove bushings if replacing. Remove valve cap. Bleed air from shock using shock pump. Be sure to depressurize shock slowly to avoid trapping air in the negative chamber.

Air Spring Disassembly

Step 1 – Outer Air Can Removal

Clamp shock in soft jaw vise. Remove air can circlip using a pick. Flip the shock and clamp end eye. Using strap wrench, twist and apply downward force to free outer air can. Work outer air can past end eye to remove completely. Note any air volume reduction.

Step 2 – Freeing Inner Air Can

Reclamp shock. Align teeth on Air Seal Head Tool (BCD0344) with grooves on air seal head. Unthread air seal head/inner air can from end eye. Splash oil may be present. Slide inner air cap up shock body to expose shaft.

Step 3 – End Eye Removal

Slide inner air can up shock body to expose shaft. Clamp shaft in 8mm shaft clamp with end eye up. Remove end eye using 1/2″ crows foot. Pinch & remove then discard inner can o-ring and stop shim from end eye. Remove any stroke reduction spacer, shim and bottom out bumper.

Always use extreme caution when using a pick in this step or others to avoid scratching metal parts. Failure to do this can create scratches in the o-ring glands which cause leak paths for oil or gas. When possible, pinch and remove o-rings rather than using a pick.

Step 4 – Air Piston Removal

Using T10 loosen and slowly remove all 3 air piston screws. Use caution as this will release any air trapped in negative chamber. Pull up on inner air can to remove inner air can and piston. Press piston out of inner air can. Remove 2 L-back up rings, quad ring and interior o-ring from piston.

Step 5 – Inner Air Can Disassembly

Remove both o-rings and blue wiper seal from inner air can. Remove 2 L-back up rings and quad ring from interior of inner air can. Remove sag o-ring. Discard all rings, seals and wiper. Inspect inner air can for wear. Replace as necessary.

Damper Disassembly

Step 1 –  Climb Switch Removal 

Loosen 1.5mm set screw. Remove Climb Switch. Pry off oil fill screw cover.

Step 2 – Nitrogen Bleed

***Use caution as nitrogen is pressurized.***

Loosen gas fill cover half a turn with 4mm Allen. Bleed gas with gas fill needle. Remove gas fill cover completely. Use pick to pry out gas fill plug. 

Always use extreme caution when using a pick in this step or others to avoid scratching metal parts. Failure to do this can create scratches in the o-ring glands which cause leak paths for oil or gas.

Step 3 – Oil Removal

Remove oil fill screw with T15.

***Use caution as there may be aerated oil behind fill screw.***

Empty oil through fill screw by cycling the damper.

Step 4 – Oil Seal Head & Shaft Assembly Removal

Clamp shock valve body in vise. Use Oil Seal Head Pin Spanner (BAD1174) to free oil seal head. Remove shaft assembly from damper body. Pour out any remaining oil from damper body. Remove outer damper tube.

Step 5a – Inner Damper Tube Inspection

Inspect inner damper tube for piston band wear. Remove outer damper tube o-ring with pick and discard.

Step 5b – Inner Damper Tube Removal (if needed)

Using Inner Damper Tool Wrench (BAD1273), remove inner damper from valve body. Inspect damper tube threads and remove any remaining Loctite with pick. Clean thoroughly if not replacing. Remove valve body o-ring and discard.

Step 6 – High Speed Adjusters Removal

Unthread spool valve capture screw with 1.5mm Allen. Using 3mm Allen, dial High Speed adjusters in to gain access to High Speed circlips. Remove circlips. Back High Speed adjusters all the way out. Remove and discard o-rings on adjusters.

Note that the Compression spring is 20wt (silver), rebound is 30wt (black).

Step 7 – Low Speed Compression Adjuster Removal

Unthread Low Speed Compression needle on spool valve with 3mm Allen and remove. Remove and discard o-rings on needle. Depress spool valve detent with razor blade to free spool valve. Remove detent and unthread spool valve. Remove and discard spool valve o-ring.

Step 8 – Low Speed Rebound Adjuster Removal

Gently bottom out Low Speed Rebound needle with 3mm Allen. Using pick, work circlip below retaining shelf all the way to needle. Back needle out 5-7 clicks and then rebottom needle to gain access to circlip. Using pick centered on circlip, pry up diagonally to pull circlip past shelf and remove. Unthread and remove needle. Remove and discard o-ring.

Step 9 – End Eye Removal

Clamp valve body using Keith Cradle (AAD1101-01). Use Gland Nut Wrench (BAD1032) to free gland nut. Remove end eye. Carefully remove and discard bladder.

TSN Disassembly (if desired)

TSN service is not required as part of a standard IL service. However, if the shock exhibits any audible sounds, usually a “chirp”, during use, this could be related to a bent TSN spring. No additional parts are required to do the TSN service.

Step 1 – TSN Removal

Remove TSN stem from valve body using T15 from both High Speed valves. Clean valve body TSN threads with tap if green Loctite has built up on threads

Step 2 – TSN Disassembly

Disassemble TSN assembly by unthreading spring from the TSN stem. Remove TSN shim, piston and poppet.

Step 3 – TSN Inspection

Inspect spring for possible bent end of spring tail which can cause valve chirp. (Correcting bent spring covered in TSN Reassembly.)

Shaft Disassembly

Step 1 – Shaft Assembly Disassembly

Clamp shaft in vise with oil seal head end up. Remove shaft bolt with T25. Remove piston, shims and stop washer, noting orientation.

Step 2 – Shim & Piston Inspection

Check face shim for port wear and flip on reinstall if necessary. Check ports on piston for excessive wear. If present, resurfacing or replacement of piston may be necessary. Carefully cut piston band off piston. Pinch & remove piston o-ring.

Step 3 – Final Disassembly

Remove and discard oil seal head and top out bumper.

Shaft Reassembly

Step 1 – Piston Reassembly

Install new piston o-ring (AAD0800) and piston band (AAD0469) on piston. 

Step 2 – Piston and Shim Stack Install

Reassemble shim stack, flipping face shim if necessary, and reinstall stop washer, shim stack and piston on shaft. Add one drop of blue Loctite (243) on the shaft threads. Install shaft bolt with T25. Torque to 5 Nm.

When installing the piston bolt, keep downward pressure on the piston with your other hand to prevent any Loctite from getting between the piston and face shim.

Step 3 – Top Out Bumper & Oil Seal Head Install

Grease the bushing and quad ring of oil seal head. If available, slide shaft cover (.DBT010 – discontinued) on shaft to cover threads only. Trim shaft cover to length if necessary. If cover not available, you can use tape to cover threads or simply take care installing seal head. Install new (AAD1090) top out bumper and new oil seal head (AAD1804). Remove any shaft thread covering.

TSN Reassembly (if required)

Step 1 – Prepping TSN Springs, Pistons & Poppets

If TSN spring tail is bent, trim the spring to remove damaged end. Surface piston and poppet if necessary using a surfacing block or high grit sandpaper.

Step 2 – Rebound TSN Reassembly

Rebound TSN stem has a small bleed port. Reinstall poppet, piston, and shim, noting the correct orientation for rebound: On piston, small ports face poppet; large ports face shim. Thread spring onto stem.

Step 3 – Compression TSN Reassembly

Compression TSN stem has no bleed port. Reinstall poppet, piston, and shim, noting the correct orientation for compression: On piston, large ports face poppet; small ports face shim. Thread spring onto stem.

Step 4 – TSNs into Valve Body Install

With a straight pick apply a small amount of green Loctite (668) to TSN threads in valve body. Install TSNs ensuring the correct TSN is installed on the correct side of valve body. Torque to 0.6 Nm with T15.

Damper Reassembly

Step 1 – Prepping High Speed Adjusters

Install lightly greased o-rings (AAD0478) onto adjusters.

Step 2 – Installing High Speed Rebound Adjuster

Thread High Speed adjuster with 30wt (black) spring into Rebound valve. Be sure to thread past circlip shelf. Install circlip (AAD0947). Back adjuster out gently to ensure proper seatment of circlip.

Step 3 – Installing High Speed Compression Adjuster

Thread High Speed adjuster with 20wt (silver) spring into Compression valve. Be sure to thread past circlip shelf. Install circlip (AAD0947). Back adjuster out gently to ensure proper seatment of circlip.

Step 4 – Prepping Low Speed Needles and Spool Valve

Lightly grease and install o-ring (.DB11102) on Low Speed needles. Compression needle has laser etching on face. Lightly grease and install o-ring (AAD1180) on spool valve.

Step 5 – Installing Low Speed Compression Needle

Apply a small amount of grease on the Compression (laser etched dot) needle hole and reinstall spring and detent balls (ball-spring-ball). Press then thread Compression needle into spool valve until flush. Confirm presence of detent clicks at this point.

Step 6 – Installing Spool Valve

Thread spool valve into Low Speed Compression on valve body. Thread until full bottom out. Install detent plunger and spring. Depress detent plunger and back out spool valve half to one and a half turns to capture detent in track. Ensure spool valve can fully reach both open and closed positions. Reinstall capture screw on spool valve with blue Loctite (243). Torque to .16 Nm with 1.5mm Allen.

Step 7 – Installing Low Speed Rebound Needle

Apply a small amount of grease on the Rebound  (no laser etching) needle hole and reinstall spring and detent balls (ball-spring-ball). Press then thread Rebound needle into Low Speed Rebound on valve body. Thread past circlip shelf. Confirm presence of detent clicks at this point. Install circlip into groove. Back needle out gently to ensure proper seatment of circlip.

Step 8a – Inner Damper Tube Install (if needed)

Lightly grease and install o-ring (AAD0955) on valve body. Ensure o-ring is fully seated in groove. Clamp valve body end eye in vise. Ensure all old Loctite is removed from inner damper tube. Apply fresh red Loctite (263) to threads. Thread inner damper tube into valve body. Using inner damper tube wrench, torque to 17 Nm.

Step 8b – Outer Damper Tube Install

If not already installed, lightly grease and install o-ring (AAD0955) on valve body. Ensure o-ring is fully seated in groove. Set valve body in Keith Cradle or clamp end eye. Apply thin layer of shock oil to outer damper tube on the external chamfer end. Press and rotate outer damper tube into valve body until seated on o-ring.

Step 9 – Shaft Assembly Install

Apply thin layer of shock oil to piston band on shaft assembly. Use piston to apply layer of shock oil to inner surface of outer damper tube. Insert shaft assembly into inner damper tube, threading oil seal head into outer damper tube. Using Oil Seal Head Wrench, tighten oil seal head to 15 Nm.

Use non-threaded holes and ensure all three pins are properly seated and even pressure is applied to tool to prevent damaging tool pins.

Step 10 – Installing Bladder

Gently work dry new bladder (AAD1333) onto valve body grove. Ensure it is seated all the way around. Apply grease to the edge where bladder and valve body meet.

Step 11 – End Eye and Gland Nut Install

Place upper end eye on bladder. Do not push end eye onto valve body as it can unseat the bladder. Install gland nut using an inch feed of blue Loctite (243). Set correct end eye orientation and allow gland nut to self seat the end eye. Using Gland Nut Wrench and Keith Cradle torque gland nut to 52 Nm.

Damper Fill

Step 1 – Prepping Shock for Fill

Install new o-ring (AAD0532) on fill plug screw. Temporarily install end eye on shaft. Secure shock in horizontal position with fill port facing up. Back all adjusters to fully open and open Climb Switch. Thread Inline oil fill adaptor (BAD1268) into fill port. Fully compress damper. Attach oil fill machine per your manufacturer’s instructions. 

Step 2 – Vacuum and Oil Fill Process

Vacuum system to (4) mbar. Pressure with Oil to (3) bar. Slowly cycle shaft finishing with shaft fully out. Cut fill and equalize pressure. Vacuum system to (4) mbar, leaving shaft out. Pressure again with Oil to (3) bar. Slowly cycle shaft finishing with shaft fully out. Cut fill.

Step 3 – Closing Up Valve Body

Leaving horizontal, disconnect fill machine. Unthread fill needle. Drip some oil on to top of fill. Install oil fill screw with T15. Insert new gas fill plug (.DB11115) leading with beveled edge. Thread gas fill plug screw in, leaving 2 threads exposed outside of the end eye.

Step 4 – Nitrogen Fill

Insert gas fill needle (DBT016) and pressurize to 11-12 bars of nitrogen. Gently seat gas fill plug screw until plug starts to squeeze through access hole. Compress shaft and ensure proper gas by observing shaft return to full extension.

Step 5 – Leak Test & CS Install

Submerge valve body in water to check for gas leaks. Rotate spool valve to down position. Reinstall oil fill cover. Apply a drop of blue Loctite (243) to Climb Switch set screw. Install Climb Switch on spool valve and install set screw. Torque to .16 Nm with 1.5mm Allen.

If mechanical dyno equipment is available, run shock on dyno at this point.

Air Spring Reassembly

Step 1 – Air Piston Reassembly

Ensure inner and outer air cans, end eye, and piston are thoroughly cleaned. Grease piston quad ring channel. Thoroughly grease all sides of quad ring (AAD1928). Install quad ring on piston channel. Pre-compress back up L-rings (AAD1098) to improve fit on piston. Install back up L-rings on either side of quad ring, ensuring that flat side contacts quad ring. Lightly grease and install piston o-ring (AAD0955) on bottom side of piston.

Step 2 – Inner Air Can Quad Ring Install

Grease lower channel on interior of inner air can.
Install first L-ring (AAD1134) on lower shelf with flat side toward interior of channel. Thoroughly grease all sides of quad ring (AAD1846). Install quad ring into channel. Install second L-ring (AAD1134) on top of quad ring with flat side against quad ring. 

Step 3 – Inner Air Can Wiper & O-Ring Install

Install dry wiper seal (AAD0415) into top groove of inner air can. Thoroughly grease upper inner assembly of air can. Grease and install inner air can outer o-rings (AAD2142) on exterior of air can in the two grooves. Lightly grease the lower interior inner air can. Excess grease can clog charge port.

Step 4 – End Eye & Outer Air Can Prep

Grease and install o-ring (AAD2142) into top groove on lower end eye. Insert stop shim (AAD1542) into end eye. Press into place below threads. Grease inner ridges of both ends on outer air can.

Step 5 – Inner Air Can Install

Clamp valve body end eye in vise or use Keith Cradle. Place Oil Seal Head Bullet (AAD1193 or AAD1182) onto shaft. Install sag indicator o-ring (.DB11108). Install inner air can. Gently work the can past the bullet tool onto the body with a slight rotation and even pressure.

Step 6 – Air Piston Install

Thoroughly grease the exterior of air piston. Apply blue Loctite (243) to three air piston set screws. Place Air Piston Funnel (BAD1459) on inner air can. Set inner air can halfway on outer damper tube to allow for space to install air piston. Install piston with set screw holes facing out. Gently work piston past funnel into inner air can. Bottom piston onto seal head. Once flush with seal head, rotate inner can and piston to align screw holes with seal head threads.
Install piston set screws. Torque to 3.2 Nm with T10.

Step 7 – End Eye Install

Reinstall bottom out bumper, shim and stroke reduction (if present). Apply blue Loctite (243) to shaft threads and end eye threads. Thread end eye onto the shaft. Clamp shaft into vise with shaft clamp allowing space for end eye to clear vise when tightened. Using 1/2″ crowsfoot, torque end eye to 4.8 Nm. Clean any extra Loctite from shaft and end eye.

Step 8 – Inner Air Can to End Eye Install

Clamp end eye in vise. Add 5 ml of Royal Purple to end eye. Add PolyLube grease to threads on inner air can. Thread inner air can onto end eye. Torque to 22.6 Nm using Air Seal Head tool.

Step 9 – Outer Air Can Install

Clamp valve body end into vise. Work outer air can gently past o-rings. Note correct orientation of air can and reinstall any volume reduction. Final o-ring will be tight. Strap wrench may be necessary. Engage Climb Switch to aid installation. Ensure valve is oriented away from Climb Switch. Install outer air can retention clip.

Final Testing and Set Up

Step 1 – Leak Check

Air up shock to at least 100 psi. On hand dyno or bike frame, slowly cycle shock and listen for negative volume chamber to pressurize. Using soapy water and dunk tank, test for any possible air leaks. Install valve cap.

Step 2 – Dyno Test

Set adjusters to factory neutral: HSC & HSR 2.5 turns from full bottom (or 2 turns from full open); LSC 11 clicks from full bottom; LSR 13 from full bottom. Using hand dyno, test shock for function. Ensure Climb Switch engages and operates properly. Turn individual adjusters to test each one. Set back to original tune if desired.

Install any bushings and hardware.

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