Fork Seal Tech Talk

What's up Gang,

I know some of you guy's do all your own work and are meticulous about it and don't take any short cuts, Koo dos to you my friend :thumbsup:

Now I like to pick your brains and have you chime in here and tell us how you replace those leaky fork seals. what special tools do you use, or do make your own out of PVC Pipe, what manuals to use, part #'s

what oil and so forth.

This is the second time in 6 months that one of mine have failed and I'm not in the mood to spend $100 to replace this again.:thumbsup:

Any help,thoughts,comments...


I have an 04' and I use my OEM shop manual, OEM seals, fabricated PVC Seal driver, Spectro 5wt. I measure the fork oil level based on the manual's instruction and I fill it to the top of the accepted range.

I have heard that Honda CR seals may fit and that they are of better quality, maybe someone can verify?

Follow the manual, it's pretty straight forward :thumbsup: Keep everything as clean as possible.

Verify proper spring rate using Race Tech's calculator, if your too light with the spring rate it could attribute to blown seals :thumbsup: Fork springs can be purchased for $100 and they are easy as heck to replace. Seals aren't that hard, after youve done them once you'll realize this.

Have you tried cleaning the leaky seal(s)? There are couple ways of doing that.

I've heard guys rave about the seal savers, I personally don't rum them but I hear good things.

Good luck :bonk:

When you get the lower leg off you may need to inspect it very carefully for nicks that could be causing damage to your new seal. the suspension shops put the slider tube in a lathe and polish the nicks out of the tube. all it takes is one rock ding in the tube and it will never keep a seal for long. :thumbsup:

I Have found 10mm over stock oil level works great but, the big thing.......get a set of neoprene Seal Savers. Don't get the ones that velcro on. Get the ones you stretch and slide on (insert condom joke here).

Put them on my on 426 and didn't have another seal problem. Have them on my 05 wr450 and again haven't had a single problem. Clean under them fairly regularly.

I was doing seals (cleaning or replacing) on a regular basis.


Don't get the ones that velcro on. Get the ones you stretch and slide on (insert condom joke here).

I have the Velcro ones and they seem to work great and they are a lot easier to removed for inspection

I was wondering if they worked as well. I have one buddy who is using the velcro ones. They just didn't seem to snug up as well and looked like they would move around that's why I said that. Have you had them for long and do they hold up as well?

Hey, if they work it certainly is a little easier than trying to roll those suckers up.


Another question on the seal savers. Do you guys use the short ones or the ones that cover the entire length of shock?

And this may sound stupid, but how do you tell if you have a leak? Does the oil run down the shocks and drip on the floor? (Just bought a used 04 so am learning the ropes).


Bill :thumbsup:


the oil will run down the shock. You will know when they are leaking.


One of mine was leaking a few months back after a really muddy ride. I just pulled the dust cover down and used a plastic business card to get the debris out from under the seal and they haven't leaked since. Last weekend when I was out with my riding buddy one of his started leaking soon after we started out so we went back to the truck and did this trick and his didn't leak again the rest of the day. Try this and possibly save yourself 100 bones.

Eddie, Loosen the fork cap while the forks are on still in the clamps, once they're loose take the forks off the bike. With the forks standing straight up unscrew the fork cap all the way, the outer fork tube will drop all the way down, now you see the spring, you need to compress the spring so that you can fit a thin 17mm open ended wrench on top of the spring and take the cap off that's attached to the inside rod. Once that is apart you can remove the spring and plastic guide inside the fork. Turn the fork upside down and drain the oil into a drain pan on the floor, exercising the fork tubes to get all the oil out of all the valves and passages.. The insides need to be cleaned out, once all the oil is cleaned out remove the dust seal with a small screwdriver, they come out real easy....After you remove the dust seal you'll see the actual seal inside the end of the fork tube, it's being held in by a clip, remove the clip... Once the clip is removed you then pull the fork tubes apart, this might take some persuasion but they will pull apart with some effort with your arms. Once the tubes are separated you can now remove the fork seal and dust seal, you have to remove the aluminum collar and that's attached to the fork tube as well.

Once the tube is bare you need to wrap the area where the aluminum collar was with electrical tape as the edges can cut the seal and wiper when installing. Lube the seal and wiper so that they slide on easily. Once the seal,wiper and other parts are back on it's time to drive the seal into place, some use PVC piping, I bought a Motion Pro driver, it's real nice... Carefully drive the seal into the outer fork tube and re-install the clip, then slide the dust seal (wiper) into place, it's always a good idea to lube the fork tube when doing this. Place the fork back up on end and now it's time to fill her up with fluid.. The manual states you want to have the fluid go up to about 5" from the top of the fork tube fully compressed, spring out. I have mine at exactly 5" from the top and I'm really happy with them. The manual gives you the amounts you can go to.. Once you're happy with your fork fluid level install the spring and plastic guide and compress the spring so that the slim 17mm can hold down the nut so that the fork cap can be tightened down. Screw the outer tube to the fork cap and you're done....

This is a fun project that most guys can do... My instructions are rough to say the least, I'm no suspension expert and don't claim to be.. I hope this helps you out.

Dan :thumbsup:

pages 5-26 to 5-38 in my '05 manual.

Do you have a manual? I don't think they could have put it any easier to follow!

I use the short seal savers. They work awesome, I haven't had a seal leak since I put them on.

I tried the camera film trick that looks like it stop the bleeding for now. I'll have to unscrew the cap and see how much oil its lost. No nicks on the tube just some scratches that are more than likely causing the problem.

SJMC Don can you post up a picture of your PVC tool?

And Dan thanks for the detail report I'm going to pray a Hail Mary

and take this bad boy apart.

My old Suspension guy told me that seal savers are good and bad.

they keep dirt and other debris out...but when a little rock gets in there

hell brakes loose. Never thought of investing some cash on that, but

from the reports you guy's have giving they sound like a good solution.

My first tip (what i done so far)

find old 35mm camera film, cut it at about 5" or so.

clean your seal as best as possible (super duper clean)

work it into the seal at a 45 degree angle

dig out and way from the seal and work around it

try to go in as deep as you can (repeat this 2 or 3 times)

cleaning the film every time it comes out and the oil on the

tube as well

buff out and nicks or deep scratches with fine steel wool.

All right lets keep this going who's next :thumbsup:

The other cleaning trick that I have heard of but not tried yet........

-Pull off wiper and slide it down the tube.

-Wrap a line of electrical tape around the fork tube about 1" below your seal.

-Wrap another line of electrical tape around the lower fork tube about 1" below the first line.

- Grab the front brake and compress the forks by pushing down on the bars.

- I guess the strategy hear is that anything up[ in there will get caught between the two bands of electrical tape.......

If anyone tries it, let me know how it works.

I will try and remeber to post some pics of the seal driver.

"tape the area where the aluminum collar was"...the manual suggested a "vinyl fork seal protector" or some similar such wording. I took an old plastic grocery bag, cut to length, put it over the top of the fork like a condom, and spread some fork oil (lubricant) on it. Worked great.

Took instructions:

i made my own 'medium' size seal savers with velcro, seals are as clean as a ..clean thing

I was wondering if they worked as well. I have one buddy who is using the velcro ones. They just didn't seem to snug up as well and looked like they would move around that's why I said that. Have you had them for long and do they hold up as well?

Hey, if they work it certainly is a little easier than trying to roll those suckers up.


They don't move at all because the upper clamp for the fork guards holds them in place. It's kind of a pain to get the Velcro closed properly but once on they fit like a glove. I've only had them on for 4 or 5 rides so time will tell if they last.

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