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250 Fork Fluid Leak w/Picture

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Has anybody else ran into this problem? The bike has about 20 hours on it. Any ideas? I have a ride planned for this Saturday. Both forks are leaking. Thanks.

250ForkLeak002.jpg

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Are you jumping SX jumps?

Overfilled oil? Too much oil will do this because it reduces or eliminates the air cushion in the top of the fork and the fluid's got to go somewhere in a big compression stroke.

Fork cap vents are a good idea too, because they keep air pressure from building up which could contribute to this problem. You could also carefully clean the seal interface with an old photo negative to get any particles out.

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Not too many people have photo negatives lying around, so a business card works good too.

I see the fork boot on the other side so that means you ARE running them to keep filth out of there. Hard to believe the leaking is caused by dirt with no more time on the bike than it has.

I'm inclined to go with Snapper.

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I'm not jumping any MX jumps. Just a few small jumps here and there. Does the bike come stock with to much oil in the forks? BTW, the picture was taken about 45 minutes after I had cleaned around the seal so it's leaking non-stop. I guess it's the seals but with only 20 hours on the bike that's hard to believe. Does anyone know the average life of fork seals? Thanks.

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Not too many people have photo negatives lying around, so a business card works good too.

TR42, Someone of your advancing years has LOTS of photo negs floating around, lol. Actually, negs are very good for this purpose because the tractor feed holes provide a space for the foreign objects to possibly get trapped, allowing for removal.

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I'm not jumping any MX jumps. Just a few small jumps here and there. Does the bike come stock with to much oil in the forks? BTW, the picture was taken about 45 minutes after I had cleaned around the seal so it's leaking non-stop. I guess it's the seals but with only 20 hours on the bike that's hard to believe. Does anyone know the average life of fork seals? Thanks.

Honda does not overfill the forks. The dealer almost definitely wouldn't do that. A previous owner might though. Did you buy new? Seals should last years.

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I didn't buy new. Bought it from a guy that only put 5 hours on it but didn't do any mods to it. I put a new front tire on last week. Would this have anything to do with it?

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I think in the past I would change out my fork seals to often.....but since using the film negative to clean them out - I'm hoping to get years out of mine too.

Keep working the film in a motion to lift out dirt that collect in the holes in the film and wipe it off each time you remove it from the fork before you stick it back in. Wipe the fork clean , and compress them and look for oil leakage.It's amazing that you can stop them from leaking if the dirt is really the problem.

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Since both forks are leaking and they didn't start leaking until after I replaced my front tire I'm not convinced it's dirt but I will clean them anyways. But I'm not sure the front wheel assembly will have anything to do with the forks???

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The wheel install shouldn't affect the fork seals. There's not much you could do pulling the axle and replacing it to affect a fork seal, short of somehow denting the slider. Try cleaning them again, but if you've already tried and it didn't work it probably won't work this time.

Fork seals aren't expensive, and they're relatively easy to change. Make a seal driver out of split PVC, and make sure to slip a plastic bag over the end of the slider before putting the seals on, to make sure you don't nick them. Coat everything in clean fork oil before you put it all together.

When you get it apart, check the sliders and bushings for nicks and dents. Defects like this will almost definitely cause leaking oil as the fork strokes. If you've got access to a dial guage, measure the sliders for out-of-round. Put them on v-blocks, set up the dial guage, and spin them around. The spec is in the manual - for the XR400 it's .008" (.02mm), I don't know if it's the same for the XR250.

It's entirely possible that in the 5 hours the original owner rode the bike, he didn't like the goofy accordion boots and decided to have a run without them, then put them back on to sell. It's also entirely possible that he managed to put a dent in the sliders.

Replace the seals, and invest in a set of sealsavers. Then you're golden :applause:

Let us know how it goes,

Isaac

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I forgot to add that depending on how long they've been leaking, even if the negative trick works, you've already lost some oil which will affect the damping in the fork. My buddy had a leaking seal that he didn't bother fixing for quite a while, and when I did the seals the leaking fork was way lower in oil than the other. We didn't expect it'd be that low but the seal was so bad it was dripping even when he wasn't riding (these are USD forks).

You probably won't even notice the difference in damping (I sure can't) but just so you know :applause:

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This bike has likely been sitting around a lot and the seals may have just dryed out and gotten hard. Pull the forks and take them to the suspension shop and get new seals and fluid. You can do them yourself do a search for instructions.

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Thanks for the info. I'll clean them again later today. I may add a little fork oil as well. I think I'll still go riding Saturday :applause:

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I see a lot of grit on the fork tube and in the recess where the retaining clip is. This indicates that dirt/grit could be the culprit. Try the film trick to remove the crap from the seal lip and thoroughly clean the area of the clip. If that doesn't work, new seals are in order, as already stated, it is a fairly easy job if you have the service manual to go by. You will need a holding tool to hold the damper rod assembly from turning when you remove the retaining bolt it's pretty easy to make one from a piece of pipe. The stock fork boots trap a lot of crud which can shorten seal life. Seal Savers or SRC Mudskins are pretty good at keeping the crud out. Do you have a Honda service manual?

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Thanks Creeky. I have a service manual in .pdf format on my computer. I'm going to clean it good today. Does anyone know a good site to get the oil and dust seal together in a kit. Does the retaining clip need to be replaced after it's removed one time? Thanks.

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Thanks Creeky. I have a service manual in .pdf format on my computer. I'm going to clean it good today. Does anyone know a good site to get the oil and dust seal together in a kit. Does the retaining clip need to be replaced after it's removed one time? Thanks.

I have tried various brands of seals and find that the Honda OEM is the best, the seals and dust caps come as a set, Service Honda has good prices. The retaining clip can be reused if it is not corroded to the point where it has lost its' tension. Follow the instructions in the service manual to adjust the oil level.

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Thanks for all the help fellas!! I cleaned both forks really well and used the neg photo trick and it looks as if the leaks has stopped or at least slowed down for now. I also took off the pressure screws, screwed them back in but I don't know if that helped or not. Anyway, thanks again.

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Since both forks are leaking and they didn't start leaking until after I replaced my front tire I'm not convinced it's dirt but I will clean them anyways. But I'm not sure the front wheel assembly will have anything to do with the forks???

It is possible to put the wheel on wrong! You can assemble the axle wrong and create a trapaziod effect,meaning the forks a not parellel with each other.Try loosing the axle and pinch bolts,then apply front brake while pumping up and down. Also look a service manual to be sure the axle spacers are installed correctly,good luck.

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I think moose is on to something...didn't leak before you disassembled it? try his advise about front wheel set up or go to mxtech.com and they have a procedure on how to properly tighten up your front wheel. As far as wheel spacers try going on motosport outlets website and get a exploded view of your wheel assembly and make sure you have it right ! :applause:

Buy a service manual from Honda.....it will help out often !

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TR42, Someone of your advancing years has LOTS of photo negs floating around, lol. QUOTE]

DID HE JUST CALL ME OLD? I think he called me OLD!!!!!!!!!

I may be of advanced years, but I'm Hip! I use a computer, a digital camera and everything! lol

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