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Fork Leaking

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I walked out in my garage this morning and noticed a little puddle by my front tire and sure enough, my right front fork is leaking.

I'm new so I am needing some advice. Does this mean it just needs a new seal or do I need to have the supsension re-valved? If it just needs a seal, is that something I can do or should I take it to a shop? Last, do you usually have both sides done even if it just one side of the fork that's leaking? Any idea how much $$ I might be looking to spend here?

Thx

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its your seal if u take it too the shop it will cost anywhere between 120 $ 200 thats what they charge around that includes the oil .. u can do it your self if u have a manual and follow each step in it ..

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Do I need a special tool to keep the fork compressed so I can changed the seal? I take it that most of you guys change the seals yourselves?

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Before you spend the money and change it, take a 35mm negative strip and slide it under the fork seal and go all around the fork leg to see if there is dirt jammed under it or something else causing it to have a little gap and leak oil. Worth a shot! :naughty:

Josh #00

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Good idea. However if I do that, I still have a loss of oil from that fork and not sure how much oil I should put back in it so it will be equal with the other side.

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Good idea. However if I do that, I still have a loss of oil from that fork and not sure how much oil I should put back in it so it will be equal with the other side.

Unless you were Stewart or RC when you woke up this morning, you wont miss 10'ccs of fork oil.

But with that said, now is the perfect time to change the oil and swap the seal and teach yourself something to boot. Doing that work is easy. If you can change a door knob in the house, you can do a fork seal.

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Unless you were Stewart or RC when you woke up this morning, you wont miss 10'ccs of fork oil.

But with that said, now is the perfect time to change the oil and swap the seal and teach yourself something to boot. Doing that work is easy. If you can change a door knob in the house, you can do a fork seal.

You have inspired me to do my next fluid/seal change.. That was just the push I needed seriously.. Thanks Shawn :naughty:

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I once found the same thing when I went out into the garage, I took it to a local suspension guy with Pro-Action Suspension and he found a very slight scratch in the lower fork tube that was just deep enough that when the seal passed over it fluid would bearly leak by. He buffed the scratch out with very fine sandpaper and a scotch pad and polished it right out. Then he replaced the seal just incase the scratch put a knick in the existing seal. So if I were you I would carefully inspect the lower tube for any scratches etc. before you just go and replace the seal. I wouldn't want to see you waste your time and money. :naughty:

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Thx for that onebad, I'll be sure to check my slider a little closer.

Shawn, I think I probably should take it apart and replace oil & seals anyhow, not just because the bike needs it, but I need the experience of doing it and no better time than the present. But since the manual says nothing changing the seals, can I get an idea of how I remove the seal? I read about the pvc trick to get the new seal in, i just need to find out how to take out the old.

I was reading in the manual and it mentioned a "special tool" to remove the fork damper. Am I loosening the big brass nut on top of the outer tube or am I loosening the fork cap that my 1 1/4" socket fits over?

BTW, if I want to go on a ride before I do all this, can I replace a little of oil in my right fork by simply removing the handlebars, screwing out the fork damper, and dumping in a little fork oil?

Sorry for all the stupid questions here, it's just the first time and I want to do it right.

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You need the cap wrench, a 14 or 15 mm open end wrench (stop tool) and a seal driver. I made one out of pvc. I am far from the worlds best mechanic and It really wasn't bad at all. Just follow the steps in the manual. I will now change my fork oil on a regular basis.... the stuff that came out looked like 30 wt. Do a search on fork seal.

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Thx for that onebad, I'll be sure to check my slider a little closer.

Shawn, I think I probably should take it apart and replace oil & seals anyhow, not just because the bike needs it, but I need the experience of doing it and no better time than the present. But since the manual says nothing changing the seals, can I get an idea of how I remove the seal? I read about the pvc trick to get the new seal in, i just need to find out how to take out the old.

I was reading in the manual and it mentioned a "special tool" to remove the fork damper. Am I loosening the big brass nut on top of the outer tube or am I loosening the fork cap that my 1 1/4" socket fits over?

BTW, if I want to go on a ride before I do all this, can I replace a little of oil in my right fork by simply removing the handlebars, screwing out the fork damper, and dumping in a little fork oil?

Sorry for all the stupid questions here, it's just the first time and I want to do it right.

You can add the amount of oil you lost through the bleeder screw hole.

Taking the fork apart is really easy. First you loosen the big cap and dump the outer fluid out. Put it back, then, loosen the rebound adjuster. It screws into the bottom of the fork leg. When its loose, you collaps the fork about 2 inches or so, this will poke the damper rod out the bottom of the fork, now is when you need your holder tool. The book says to make one. Ive always used a 14mm wrench. at that point. take the rebound adjuster off the damper rod. make sure you bottom the rebound clicker so when you back this thing off everything moves easy. Theres a little D shaped rod inside the damper rod you dont want to damage. Once youve removed the rebound adjuster clicker, unscrew the big nut on the top of the fork and the inner chamber comes out! whala...too easy. Turn the fork upside down and let it drain (in a drain pan :naughty: ) while you start on the inner chamber. I clamp the inner chamber in my bench vice on the square part on the bottom of the larger section. Using a big cresent wrench or your fork cap tool or even a socket you can simply unscrew the compression damper from teh inner chamber. It comes out as a single unit. Once its unscrewed, it'll take some gently constant lifting pressure to get it out. It pulls a vaccum. Once its out, dump the old oil on your buddy. Then tell him to go buy some more beer. Some guys use solvent to flush the damper and fork. Mineral spirits is ok, regular petroleum based solvent is best. Gas works but if you can find something less flamable work on going that way.

If you need to change a seal its easy too. pry up the dust seal. remove the clip ring in side and slide hammer the fork tube off the slider. It'll take some force. The fork bushings will be there to inspect too. They should be gray. If youve got copper showing replace them too. If youve got a digital camera snap some pics of the order in which things are on the fork leg when it comes out of the slider so you can put it back correctly if its not obvious to you.

when you refill the inner chamber, just pour 200cc's in it and make sure you stroke the damper rod enough and throughly slowly (it'll spit oil out the top!) to get all the air out of the chamber. Once you are confident you got all the air out reinstall the compression damper. I like to dribble a small amount of clean fork oil on it before I install...dont know why...I just like things oily...

After installing the damper, stroke the damper rod some more and any excess oil in the damper will burp off. This is why you drain the excess out of the holes in the damper. The book says to blow it out with compressed air. You can do this, but its messy as hell. Put a rag over the exit hole.

Also, they used green loctite on the rebound adjuster so use a six point socket on it when you attempt to loosen it the first time. (Personally I think its mega over kill to put loctite on that, but whatever :naughty: )

Anything else :D

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shawn that is the best advice you can give someone nice post especially the six point socket on bottom .If you do it exactly like shawn described you wont have a problem one point though put a baggy over end of fork tube with oil or grease on it when you slide your fork seal over the tube as to not rip it.

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You can add the amount of oil you lost through the bleeder screw hole.

Doesn't that add oil to my inner chamber and not to the outer chamber where I lost the oil? Correct me if I am wrong here.

First you loosen the big cap and dump the outer fluid out.

Do I need a cap wrench or can I just clamp it in my vice and twist the outer tube? Or, is there a certain size socket to use on it (I have 1/2" ratchet)?

Put it back, then, loosen the rebound adjuster. It screws into the bottom of the fork leg.

I think you are referring to the "center bolt" described in the manual that holds the axle holder together.

When its loose, you collaps the fork about 2 inches or so, this will poke the damper rod out the bottom of the fork, now is when you need your holder tool. The book says to make one. Ive always used a 14mm wrench. at that point.

Nice to know.

take the rebound adjuster off the damper rod.

Basically, I'm just removing the "center bolt" all the way off like the manual says, right?

make sure you bottom the rebound clicker so when you back this thing off everything moves easy.

All the way clockwise, or counter-clockwise? I assume I should do this before I start loosening the center bolt.

Theres a little D shaped rod inside the damper rod you dont want to damage.

OK, it's what the manual calls the "push rod."

Once youve removed the rebound adjuster clicker,

ARe you referring to the "compression damping adjuster" at the top of the fork since we already removed the center bolt from the bottom of the fork that held the "rebound dampening adjuster." And, to take this out l just keep clicking the adjuster counter-clockwise and it will come out? I figured it would just eventually stop but not come out.

unscrew the big nut on the top of the fork and the inner chamber comes out! whala...too easy.

So now I use my cap wrench (or vice) to hold the fork damper in place and then I use my 1 1/4" socket on the "fork cap" and remove the fork cap assembly from the fork damper?

Turn the fork upside down and let it drain (in a drain pan :naughty: ) while you start on the inner chamber. I clamp the inner chamber in my bench vice on the square part on the bottom of the larger section.

So right now, all my oil is out of my outer and inner chamber :D.

Using a big cresent wrench or your fork cap tool or even a socket you can simply unscrew the compression damper from teh inner chamber. It comes out as a single unit. Once its unscrewed, it'll take some gently constant lifting pressure to get it out. It pulls a vaccum. Once its out, dump the old oil on your buddy. Then tell him to go buy some more beer. Some guys use solvent to flush the damper and fork. Mineral spirits is ok, regular petroleum based solvent is best. Gas works but if you can find something less flamable work on going that way.

I'm not sure why you want to take apart the fork cap assembly except to remove some of the oil in it that won't drain out otherwise? I assume you don't put oil back in the fork cap assembly that you just poured out, but simply put oil back in the inner chamber and then put the fork cap assembly back, right?

If you need to change a seal its easy too. pry up the dust seal. remove the clip ring in side and slide hammer the fork tube off the slider. It'll take some force.

OK, so after removing the center bolt from the bottom, and after removing the push rod (shaped like a "d"), and after pulling the fork damper assembly out from the top of the outer tube, I remove the dust seal (I assume I can pry it down with a screwdriver), and then I remove the clip (again I assume a little flat screwdriver can pry this out) and then yank the outer tube off the slider. Do you put the axle holder at the bottom of the slider into the vice and then try to yank the outer tube off?

The fork bushings will be there to inspect too. They should be gray. If youve got copper showing replace them too. If youve got a digital camera snap some pics of the order in which things are on the fork leg when it comes out of the slider so you can put it back correctly if its not obvious to you.

Everything will remain in tact when the outer tube comes off so I don't have to worry about catching parts as soon as the outer tube comes flying off? I inspect bushings, and then simply put the new seal in place, place the outer tube over the slider and use my PVC jig to pound it in. Am I good so far?

when you refill the inner chamber, just pour 200cc's in it and make sure you stroke the damper rod enough and throughly slowly (it'll spit oil out the top!) to get all the air out of the chamber. Once you are confident you got all the air out reinstall the compression damper. I like to dribble a small amount of clean fork oil on it before I install...dont know why...I just like things oily...

After installing the damper, stroke the damper rod some more and any excess oil in the damper will burp off.

OK, so after I put the fork cap assembly back in place in the inner chamber of the fork damper, I compress the damper rod several times and I should expect oil to come out the oil hole at the top. Do I need to be concerned if too much is burping out, or if I stroke the piston too many times causing too much oil to burp out?

This is why you drain the excess out of the holes in the damper. The book says to blow it out with compressed air. You can do this, but its messy as hell. Put a rag over the exit hole.

I don't have compressed air. I see the manual says to undo the pressure release screw and turn it upside down and let it drain for 10 min. I'm confused as to why we are now draining all the oil out of the inner chamber that I just put in. I must not be getting something here.

Also, they used green loctite on the rebound adjuster so use a six point socket on it when you attempt to loosen it the first time. (Personally I think its mega over kill to put loctite on that, but whatever :naughty: )

When you say "rebound adjuster" I assume you are talking about the fork cap that fits my 1 1/4" socket.

Anything else :D

Sorry for so many questions. I guess I need the "Dummies Guide To Changing Out A Seal" I really appreciate the help. This forum rocks.

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Oh my. Sounds like you need a service manual with photos, its better than the owner's manual. I don't even know where to begin....Shawn MC? One thing, though, when Shawn MC was talking about the rebound adjuster, its the one on the bottom. And, yes, the whole thing comes out with a socket. You are not just removing the screw. I know I'm not much help here, this is just something a bit complicated to walk someone through, without being there.

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Well, I have the fork off and haven't changed oil or seal yet since I haven't gone into town yet for those things. However, I did do the 35mm trick and it doesn't seem to be leaking. However, when I compress the shock several times, it leaves a ring of oil on the slider heavy enough for the oil to be running down the slider. Is that normal?

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no, when you compress the shock there should be no oil left behind.. i just did the film trick on my forks (both were leaking) and it took several tries to finally get them to stop leaving that ever so little bit of oil when i'd compress them a few times.

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Unless you were Stewart or RC when you woke up this morning, you wont miss 10'ccs of fork oil.

But with that said, now is the perfect time to change the oil and swap the seal and teach yourself something to boot. Doing that work is easy. If you can change a door knob in the house, you can do a fork seal.

I can change a seal pretty :naughty: easy, How do you change a doorknob?

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