Did I put my fork seals on backwards?

Last summer I rebuilt my fork. I put the seals on with the silver spring-looking seal retainer thing (not sure on exact terminology) facing down if the fork were to be installed on the bike, toward the dust wiper.


I rode in the fall and the fork is definitely leaking oil out of the seals. Was this from incorrect seal installation? I used a proper seal driver, so they were definitely seated properly, but if I installed them backwards I'd assume that would be my problem.

Edited by trozei

The spring on the seal should be facing the oil

Most seals have 2 springs. One on every side.

So your question cant be answered due to your description.

This is correct, I had brain fart:(

Were the seals red?

Edited by E-TECH

Some dont have a spring on the outer side

if they leaked right away and you were careful with the install then most likely you put them in backwards.  quit wondering if that's what you did and just go flip them over.


this is something i do every now and then. i know better but just get in a rush sometimes. 


best of luck.

There was only a spring on the one side. Guess I did it wrong! Thanks, guys. I'm rebuilding them soon and just wanted to make sure that that was my problem.


While on the topic, the correct procedure is to lube around the oil seal and put grease between the seal and dust wiper, right?

get a good seal. SKF are the best. 2nd would be OEM seals. Anything less is a waste of money and excessive stiction.

I'd say this means they were red...know they suck!!!

I Agree those all balls seals are junk. I had them leak too many times. And if they don't leak then the forks don't move! The fit is poor too, some seals go right in, some you have to really push in.

They were OEM.

so spring seal tensioner side goes on the oil side of the fork? I was installing mine wrong the whole time!

I'm looking at section 13-23 of the CRF250R service manual and my theory is confirmed. The oil seal's spring goes up, toward the oil side. 

Edited by trozei

Correct the side with the spring always goes up facing the oil.

Welp, that's my problem! The seals have no more than a few hours of riding on them so I'll reuse them, assuming they aren't damaged of course.

the groove for the bushing is rather edged, use a duct tape when you remove the seals from the fork leg..

It was electrical tape that I used last time to install them. Forgot about that as it was a year or so ago.

I have Yamahas with KYB forks.  There are spring tensioners on both sides of the seal, but the inner spring, or the spring on the oil side of the seal is hard to see because it's in the cup of the seal.  At quick glance you would be correct (sort of) to say the spring side of the seal goes out or down, not toward the oil.  I just think it's a bit confusing to suggest that the spring side always goes toward the oil when someone might look at the obvious outer spring of a KYB seal and not realize there is also a spring on the inside.  Maybe it's better stated in the (Yamaha) manual; "install the oil seal with the manufacturers marks or numbers facing the axle holder side".

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