06 wr450 fork seal maintenance

I bought my 06 wr450 practically new one year ago - original tires in good shape, known history, etc - and have wiped down the lower fork sliders and seals after every wash and before every ride.

After 9 riding days, I went to an MX track, and the left leg blew its seal - oil everywhere.

I took the forks to Aftershocks here in the bay area, and Phil serviced, revalved, and resprung the forks for my weight [210 lb.s].

4 riding days after that, with me still wiping down the sliders and seals after every wash and before every ride, the seals on both fork legs began leaking again. Aftershocks replaced the seals and charged me for the parts, but not the labor.

Now, 5 riding days after the second set of seals - I'm still wiping and cleaning the sliders and seals like a fork cleaning fiend - they weep when stored; just a few drops trickling down from the seals. When I'm out riding, they don't leak at all.

I've gone through my owner's service manual and it doesn't explain how to clean the seals before or after normal operation.

[1] Am I damaging the forks by riding when they weep during storage?

[2] Will simply installing the sealsavers I just bought fix this?

[3] What is the best way to address this?

Thanks any help you can offer.

I suppose I neglected to mention that I've run the search function on this forum; everyone seems to have their own way of protecting or replacing what seem to be delicate seals on their WR's, but no one actually describes how to clean them. Sealsavers are reputed to be the best prophylactic measure, but I don't want to install the Sealsavers that are sitting here on my desk until I know I have effectively cleaned the seals to start with.

I found a reference to 'cleaning seals with a business card' on this forum [it referenced 'fork seal maintenance suggested by Neal'


but the link to Neal's wisdom didn't take me anywhere. It seems searches for 'how to clean seals' only takes you to one of several different marine mammal preservation sites.

I am more than happy to accept any help/direction/chastising/criticism that will get me on my way to better riding, less fork oil leaking.

Thanks - clearly I am still a newbie.

First and foremost, a full inspection of the fork sliders is in order. Do they have a gouge or scrape in them? Dings?

Seals should last quite some time unless in REALLY bad conditions. SOmething is tearing them up prematurely.

It seems there is a procedure that cleans a WR's seals and keeps them happy if you maintain them in the proper manner.

One TT dude said Neal knew the way, but I can't frickin' find that way!

When you say "wiped down the sliders after a wash" do you just mean with a rag i.e. drying the water off, I'm just thinking that if you washed really well and/or used brakleen on your sliders then the next time you depress the forks it may be a bit dry for the seals and they may be tearing from not enough lubrication, seems a bit strange though that they would be stuffed in that short a timeframe.

Did the guys at Aftershocks not have anything to say about the seals they pulled out? are they using OEM seals?

The "business card method" is that you use a business card, piece of 35mm film negative or a feeler gauge and just run it around under the edge of the fork seal, just in the section underneath the spring - 5-10mm in, nothing fancy, you should get a little bit of gunk off of the card etc, this is normally used by us rough bastards that ride in dunes and don't look after our bikes, I do have a set of sealsavers on order after my current re-build is finished though :excuseme:

Thanks - I will do the card-cleaning, check the oil level, and install the sealsavers.

So far the sliders look immaculate. I have a friend with an 06 and another buddy has an 08; they've both done their fork seals after 8-12 riding days, but theirs seem to be holding.

I'll stay on top of it.


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