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DBKitsuma Air Complete 100 & 200 Hour Service Instructions

Mar 2022 orig., Jul 2023 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 Kitsuma Air and Coil share many service steps. Additionally, the Standard and Trunnion variants of both models have identical service procedures other than where to clamp the cylinder head. Some images in these instructions may not be identical to the valve body or outer damper tube on the Kitsuma Air, but process is the same for the shock in the image and the shock on your bench.

 100 vs. 200 hour service

The only difference between the 100 hour service and the 200 hour service is whether to service or replace the Air Oil Seal Head and the Main Oil Piston. At 100 hours, those can be cleaned, serviced and reinstalled. At 200 hours, they should be replaced. If uncertain on hours, check for wear on the dual bushings inside the Air Oil Seal Head and on the piston band on the Main Oil Piston. When in doubt, replace both. 

Service Kits


BCD0337 – Kitsuma Air Complete 100 Hour Rebuilt Kit (w/ Bladder)
BCD0339-01 – Kitsuma Air Complete 200 Hour Rebuild Kit (w/ Bladder) – includes new Air Oil Seal Head & Main Oil Piston

BCD0169 – Bladder Res End Cap (if replacing older IFP system)

Required Cane Creek Tools


ACD0354 – Bladder Res End Fill Tool
AAD1361-01 – DBCoil/ DBAir – Oil Fill Needle Adapter
DBT016 – DB Gas Fill Needle
AAD0555 – 8mm & 9.5mm Shaft Clamp
AAD2465 – Kitsuma Valve Seat Tool
ACD0322 – Kitsuma Low Speed Detent Funnel
BAD1298 – DB 9.5mm Shaft Bullet
ACD0334 – Kitsuma Air Oil Seal Head Tool
BCD0344 – Kitsuma/DBair/DBair IL Air Seal Head Tool
DBT012 – DB IFP Setting Tool

Additional Tools & Supplies


Allen wrenches – 3 & 4mm
Torx wrenches – T10 & T20
Sockets – 4, 8 & 13mm
Crowfoot wrenches – 1/2″ & 32mm
9.5mm Shaft Bullet
Torque wrenches
Knipex pliers

Strap wrench
Suspension Grease
PolyLube Grease
Motorex 4wt Racing Fork Oil
Royal Purple 10w-30
Vacuum Oil Fill Machine
Nitrogen Fill System

Torque, Loctite, Oil & Nitrogen Specs

Torque & Loctite Chart

PartTorque SpecLoctite Spec
Shaft Bolt5 Nm243 (Blue)
Outer Damper TubeTight263 (Red)
Valve Seat4.8 NmNone
High Speed Adjuster7 NmNone
Climb Switch Screw1.2 Nm243 (Blue)
Oil Seal Head22 Nm None
End Eye4.8 Nm243 (Blue)
Inner Air Can/Air Seal Head22.6 NmNone (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.

  • TSB038 – Kitsuma HSR Revalve
  • TSB039 – Kitsuma High Speed Cap (ACD0275) Loctite Removal from Installation
  • TSB045 – Kitsuma IFP Changed to Bladder
  • TSB048 – Kitsuma Oil Seal Head Torque Valve

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 Can Disassembly

Step 1 – Outer Air Can Removal

Pinch & remove air can retaining o-ring. Clamp shock in soft jaw vise. Using strap wrench, turn air can and pull down away from air seal head. Unclamp shock. Remove air can. Note and remove any air volume reduction.

Step 2 – Freeing Inner Air Can & Air Seal Head

Reclamp shock. Align teeth on Air Seal Head Tool (BCD0344) with grooves on air seal head. Unthread air seal head and inner air can from end eye. Splash oil may be present. Gently clamp inner air can and use air seal head tool to loosen air seal head from inner air can. Take care to not crush inner air can.

Step 3 – End Eye Removal

Option 1 (pictured):
Clamping valve body, use 4mm Allen insert into end eye and 1/2″ crowsfoot, loosen end eye from shaft.

Options 2 (not pictured):
Using shaft vise, clamp shaft between end eye and air can. Use 1/2″ crowsfoot to loosen end eye from shaft.

Remove and discard air can and shaft o-rings from end eye. Remove any stroke/volume reduction 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 – Inner Air Can Removal

Slide off inner air can. Remove inner air can o-rings and discard. Inspect inner air can for wear. Replace if necessary. Note that anodization rack marks are normal and do not impact shock performance.

Damper Disassembly

Step 1 –  Nitrogen Bleed & Oil Removal 

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

Remove reservoir end cap screw using T20. Remove and discard o-ring. Use gas fill needle to bleed nitrogen from reservoir tube. Temporarily reinstall end eye on shaft. Remove oil fill screw with T20. Cycle the shaft to remove as much oil as possible from the damper. Dispose of oil properly. Remove end eye.

Step 2 – Oil Seal Head & Air Piston Removal

Clamp valve body into vise. Using Air Oil Seal Head tool (ACD0334) with 32mm crowsfoot, loosen and remove oil seal head/air piston.

Step 3 – Inner Damper Tube Removal

Inner damper tube should come out with air piston. If not, reinstall piston and use rotational movement to free damper tube. Inspect inner damper tube for piston wear. Replace if necessary.

Step 4 – Air Seal Head Disassembly

Remove negative volume reducers if present (225 Trunnion and 250 standard do not have these). Remove air seal head. Remove and discard sag o-ring. Pour out any remaining damper oil. From air seal head, remove wiper seal, L-rings, quad ring and outer o-ring.

Step 5 – Air Oil Seal Head Removal

Remove air oil seal head and inspect.  For 100 hour service, remove external o-ring & internal quad-ring and discard. For 200 hour service or if wear is present on dual bushings, discard the complete air oil seal head. Remove shaft spacer and top out bumper.

Step 6a – IFP Removal

Using IFP tool (DBT012), press cap into the reservoir tube exposing circlip. Press on circlip to remove from channel. Pick should not be required but could be used if needed. Thread IFP tool back into end cap, remove and discard. Thread IFP tool into metal IFP and remove from reservoir tube. Use adaptor for plastic IFP. Discard IFP.

TSB045 – Kitsuma IFP Changed to Bladder


Step 6b – Bladder Removal

Using bladder setting tool (ACD0354), press res end cap into reservoir, exposing circlip. Press on circlip to remove from channel. Pick should not be required but could be used if needed. Use IFP setting tool (DBT012) to pull end cap out of reservoir tube. If bladder does not come out with end cap, remove with pick.

TSB045 – Kitsuma IFP Changed to Bladder

Step 7 – Climb Switch & Spool Valve Removal

Using T10, remove Climb Switch mounting screw.
Remove Climb Switch. Remove and discard Climb Switch o-ring. Remove CS detent. Turn CS valve so that the tab on the spool valve is no longer engaged with the valve body and remove assembly. Pinch & remove and discard spool valve o-ring.

Step 8 – Adjuster Dials Removal

Using Kinipex, gently grab outside edges of High and Low Speed adjuster tabs and remove. Place rag over adjusters to protect them (not shown in photo). Pinch & remove and discard adjuster o-rings.

Step 9 – High Speed Adjuster Housing Removal

Using 8mm socket, remove high speed adjuster housing. Apply heat to aid removal.

***Note high speed adjuster housing may also be silver.***

TSB039 – Kitsuma High Speed Cap (ACD0275) Loctite Removal from Installation

Step 10 – High Speed Adjuster Housing Disassembly

Disassemble high speed adjustors by removing poppet and spring. Remove circlip from housing and press adjustor out of housing. Pinch & remove and discard housing o-ring. 

Step 11 – Shuttle Disassembly

Press out detent spring and balls. Unthread shuttle, remove gold shim and remove both o-rings. Discard o-rings. Note the differences between the poppets and springs from the compression and rebound sides.

TSB038 – Kitsuma HSR Revalve

Step 12 – Low Speed Needles Removal

Using 4mm socket, unthread and remove the low speed needles. Press out detent spring and balls. Remove o-rings and back up rings and discard.

Optional Damper Disassembly

Step 1 – High Speed Valve Seat Removal

To address knocking coming from high speed valve seats.

Using Valve Seat tool (AAD2465), remove the high speed valve seats. Take care to seat the tool properly and use even pressure to avoid damaging seats and tool. Clean valve seats. Valve seats can be disassembled by removing circlip. If valve seat housing, washers or shims are damaged, the entire assembly (BCD0238) can be replaced.

***Do not attempt to remove the low speed needle seats. If damaged, then complete shock must be replaced.***

Step 2 – Outer Damper Tube Removal

If outer damper tube is damaged or leaking at valve body.

Apply heat to outer damper tube and remove with strap wrench. Remove and discard two o-rings from valve body.

Shaft Disassembly

Step 1 – Piston Assembly Removal

Clamp shaft in shaft vise. Using 3mm Allen, loosen and remove shaft bolt. Remove piston assembly from shaft and inspect. For 100 hour service, simply clean piston. For 200 hour service or if any piston band wear is present, discard entire piston assembly. Note orientation of the shims. Flip check face on reinstall if showing signs of wear. Inspect shaft for any wear or damage.

Shaft Reassembly

Step 1 – Oil Seal Head Assembly (100 hour only)

Thoroughly grease quad ring (AAD1806) and install between bushings in oil seal head. Thoroughly grease external o-ring (.DB11108) and install it past the threads on oil seal head.

Step 2 – Oil Seal Head and Piston Install

Clamp shaft in vise. Thoroughly grease bushings and quad ring on serviced (100 hour) or new (200 hour) oil seal head (ACD0120). Using 9.5mm shaft bullet, install oil seal head. Reinstall stop washer, shim stack and piston – either original (100 hour) or new (200 hour – ACD0327). Apply blue Loctite (243) to threads in shaft, taking care to not over fill. Install shaft bolt. Torque to 5 Nm with 3mm Allen.

Optional Damper Reassmebly

Step 1 – Outer Damper Tube Install

Lightly grease and install valve body o-rings (.DB11109 & .DB11110) into valve body. Clamp valve body in vise. Apply 3-5 cms of red Loctite (263) to threads of outer damper tube. Hand thread damper tube into valve body. Thoroughly clean any grease or oil from damper tube. Use strap wrench to tighten damper tube.

Step 2 – Valve Seat Install

Reassemble valve seat with shim, wave washer and shim. Note the orientation of the wave washer. Using valve seat tool, reinstall valve seats into valve body. Torque to 4.8 Nm.

Damper Reassembly

Step 1 – Low Speed Needles Install

Install new back up ring (ACD0272) and lightly greased o-ring (ACD0252) on low speed needles. Using grease, reinstall spring and detent balls into low speed needles. Install low speed needles into valve body. Needle detent funnel (ACD0322) maybe used to ease install. Thread until bottomed then back out to ensure detents engagement. Then lightly bottom out the needle again.

Step 2 – High Adjuster Shuttle Assembly

Thoroughly clean high speed adjustor threads and shuttle. Install shuttle onto adjustor. Note the orientation of the shuttle. Lightly grease and install high speed adjustor o-ring (ACD0265) and poppet o-ring (ACD0219).

TSB038 – Kitsuma HSR Revalve

Step 3 – High Speed Adjuster Housing Assembly

Insert gold shim into bottom of high speed adjustor housing. Using grease, reinstall spring and detent balls into high speed adjuster. Insert assembled high speed adjustors into high speed adjutor housing. Install circlip. Lightly grease and install high speed adjustor housing o-ring (ACD0212).

Step 4 – High Speed Adjuster Housing Install

Install poppet assembly with shims towards valve body followed by poppet spring. Note rebound gets the stronger (40w) poppet spring and has 3 shims on poppet; compression has lighter (20w) spring and 1 shim. Using an 8mm socket, torque to 7 Nm. 

TSB039 – Kitsuma High Speed Cap (ACD0275) Loctite Removal from Installation

Step 5 – Climb Switch Spool Valve Install

Light grease and install Climb Switch valve o-ring (ACD0266). IL CS bullet (AAD1454) can be used here. Apply grease to Climb Switch valve on valve body and to Climb Switch valve. Insert valve into valve body with tab at 3:00. Once engaged, rotate CS valve tab underneath valve body tab.

Step 6 – Climb Switch Lever Install

Light grease and install Climb Switch o-ring (AAD0800) on back side of lever. Place lever onto Climb Switch valve with lever at 9:00. Note that proper orientation of lever and valve required for proper interface. Apply blue Loctite (243) to Climb Switch mounting bolt. Secure CS lever with bolt. Torque to 1.2 Nm with T10.

Step 7 – High Speed Dials Install

Lightly grease and install high speed adjustor dial o-rings (ACD0276) on back of dial. Fully open (counterclockwise) high speed controls and install dial with indicator in the 1:00 to 3:00 range as allowed by the interface.

Step 8 – Low Speed Dials Install

Lightly grease and install low speed adjustor dial o-rings (ACD0254) on back of dial. Apply thin layer of grease to the valve/dial interface on the valve body. Check that low speed controls are fully closed (clockwise). Line up dial at 6:00. Rotate dial and valve counterclockwise while applying gentle pressure until the dial seats onto the valve.

Step 9 – Reservoir Bladder & End Cap Install

If updating from older IFP system, a new reservoir end cap (BCD0169) is required.

Grease all three sides of the quad ring portion of bladder.
Work bladder onto reservoir cap. Insert end cap/bladder assembly into reservoir. Apply pressure to fully seat and expose circlip channel. Install circlip. Back end cap out against circlip using bladder fill tool or IFP setting tool.

TSB045 – Kitsuma IFP Changed to Bladder

Step 10 – Air Seal Head Reassembly

Thoroughly grease new air seal head quad ring (ACD0149) and quad ring channel on air seal head. Install new L-ring (ACD0150), quad ring and second L-ring with flat sides of L-rings towards quad ring. Install new dry wiper seal (ACD0162) into air seal head. Lightly grease and install new air seal head o-ring (ACD0318) on outside of air seal head.

Step 11 – Air Seal Head Install

Apply grease to inside of completed air seal head assembly. Install new sag indicator o-ring (AAD0837) onto outer damper tube. Place air seal head on flat surface. With even pressure, insert damper tube into air seal head. Take care to not rock damper tube while installing to avoid rolling or cutting air seal head quad ring. Reinstall negative volume reduction bands if present.

Step 12 – Air Oil Seal Head/Shaft Assembly Install

Coat piston band with shock oil. Work piston into inner damper tube. Insert inner damper tube/air oil seal head assembly into outer damper tube. Thread air oil seal head onto outer damper tube. Torque to 22 Nm with air oil seal head tool and 1/2″ crowsfoot.

  • TSB048 – Kitsuma Oil Seal Head Torque Valve

Damper Fill

Step 1 – Prepping Shock for Fill

Lightly grease and install new fill port o-ring (AAD0012). Temporarily reinstall end eye. Thread fill nozzle onto valve body. Back all adjusters to fully open and open Climb Switch. Fully compress damper. Attach bladder fill tool with spacer. Attach oil fill machine to fill port 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 – Valve Body Closure

Holding horizontal, disconnect fill machine. Drip some oil on to top of fill. Install oil fill screw with T20. Remove bladder fill tool.

Step 4 – Nitrogen Fill

Insert gas fill needle in gas fill port on reservoir end cap. Pressurize to 11-12 bars of nitrogen. Compress shaft and ensure proper gas by observing shaft return to full extension. Submerge valve body in water to check for gas leaks. Install new res end cap o-ring (.DB11102) and fill screw.

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

Air Can Reassembly

Step 1 – Air Piston Reassembly

Remove end eye from shaft. Clamp shock in vise. Thoroughly grease all four sides of air piston quad ring (AAD2184). Grease the quad ring channel on the air piston. Install first air piston L-ring (ACD0132), quad ring and second L-ring with flat side of L-rings towards quad ring.

Step 2 – Inner Air Can Install

Lightly grease interior of inner air can between shelf and port hole. Lightly grease and install can retainer o-ring (AAD1102) on the topmost o-ring channel. Apply 2-4 cms of bicycle grease to the inner threads on the inner air can. Install inner air can past the air piston until it contacts air seal head.

Step 3 – End Eye Install

Lightly grease and install end eye can retaining o-ring (AAD1102) in topmost outer groove on end eye. Lightly grease and install shaft sealing o-ring (ACD0302) by gently working pass shaft threads until flush. Reinstall bottom out bumper and any stroke reduction needed. Apply blue Loctite (243) to threads on end eye and shaft. Thread end eye onto shaft. Insert 4mm Allen through end eye and torque end eye to 4.8 Nm using 1/2″ crowsfoot.

Step 4 – Air Seal Head/Inner Air Can/End Eye Install

Apply 2-4 cms of bicycle grease to the outer threads on the inner air can. Flip shock in vise. Add 5 ml of Royal Purple to end eye. Hand thread inner air can onto end eye. Hand thread air seal head onto inner air can. Once both are hand tight, use Air Seal Head tool to tighten. Torque to 22.6 Nm.

Step 5 – Outer Air Can Install

Lightly grease the interior ridges on the outer air can. Flip shock in vise. Install any volume reduction bands. Install air can with air valve towards cylinder head. Seating air can may require a strap wrench. Set desired air valve placement. Ensure air valve will not contact the reservoir tube at compression. Install dry air can retaining o-ring (AAD0012)

Final Testing and Set Up

Step 1 – Leak Test

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. Using hand dyno, test shock for function. Ensure Climb Switch engages and operates properly. Turn individual adjusters to test each one.

Install any bushings and hardware.

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