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Fork seals


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I have a right fork seal that is weeping oil. I've tried cleaning it using various methods I've read here on thumpertalk, but I can't seem to get it to stop weeping. So I guess it's time to replace the seals.

I've always worked on my bike, but replacing the seals isn't something I want to do so I called a couple of local shops and they want between $250-$280 for labor and parts to replace the seals....that's with me taking the forks off the bike. Doesn't that seem like a lot of money? I know everything in the SF Bay Area is a bit more expensive, but DAAAAAANG.

Anyway, I'm probably going to end up trying to do it myself. I've seen a couple of videos online about changing the seals, but how hard is it really? By time I buy any special tools and parts could it be worth paying the $250 to have it done?

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Yes that's A LOT OF MONEY !!

It's really not that hard once you get past the intimidation factor. I still use a seal driver made from some PVC pipe and a hose clamp and it knocks it in on the first shot. Many say that it doesn't work but mine does. A piece of aluminum machined with a long notch as it shows in the manual makes things a bit easier too instead of using a wrench. A vise is advised but not mandatory...I don't have a vice but find myself rounding the corners off of the lower nuts because I don't have a vise or a helper.

So far, my bike has never been to a mechanic and I hope to keep it that way.

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Thanks for the input Codeman00....can always count on good advice from you.

I also don't have a vice in my garage, but I know my father in-law does so maybe I can take my forks to his house.

Did you purchase the fork oil level tool? If not how did you measure the oil?

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Haha thanks!

No I haven't purchased the tool. I use a graduated oil fill cup that you can get at Cycle Gear or at some dealers. It's not super precise but it's not bad either...I think it was $5 or less. I use it to add motor oil in addition to the fork oil. With the viscosity of the oil i cant see how anyone can be precise down to the mL....if you measure out 350mL for instance, you'd have to wait 6 months for all of it to drain from the measurement cup and no one does that anyway.

I'll post some pics of the special tools later tonight.

Edited by Codeman00
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This is some random stuff that you might need if you don't have a full shop like the guys on the videos. I'll keep it generic. If you need more specifics, let me know.

1) Make sure you have a wrench to open the top of the shock...its a speciality wrench.

2) A real fork driver is nice but mine works fine. I made if from 2 different sizes of PVC and a hose clamp. Please don't tell me it doesn't work well because it does...every time.

DRIVER.jpg

3) The notched piece of aluminum is nice (you can see this in the Honda Manual). I had my machine shop guy make me one at work but you can use an open ended wrench..it will get you through the job.

4) I vise is not a requirement but it makes everything so much easier. Trying to hold the bottom of the fork with a giant crescent wrench while turning a nut the other way is not only difficult but it nicks up the bottom of your fork too. I'm not sayin you have to have a vise but I'm finding out more and more that its important.

5) I've seen the method of the plastic bag and grease to place over the sharp edges of the fork tube when sliding on the dust seal and fork seal. That method works, but I find it easier just to put tape over the sharp edge instead...something that doesn't leave residue...like the blue painters tape. I prefer that method now that someone showed it to me.

6) To work on the shock and to drain the shock, I rigged up a board with a hole in it so I can drop the outer fork in upside down and have it catch on the larger outer diameter. It makes it so I can hang it in mid air to drain or work on it. If you cut the hole the size of the small outer diameter of the fork tube it works pretty well.

This job is not a big deal but for some reason a lot of people make a big deal out of it. I remember thinking that it must be the most complicated job on a bike. Once I did it a couple of times, its not a big deal at all...now it almost takes longer to take off the shocks and put them back on than it does to replace the fork seals. Good luck.

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Another bit of info.... use the OEM Honda seals and dust wipers. I tried good aftermarket seals once and got one ride out of them before they were leaking again. The OEM seals have almost a year on them now with no problems. Had other X riders telling me that these bikes are really picky on having the OEM seals.

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Another bit of info.... use the OEM Honda seals and dust wipers. I tried good aftermarket seals once and got one ride out of them before they were leaking again. The OEM seals have almost a year on them now with no problems. Had other X riders telling me that these bikes are really picky on having the OEM seals.

I think I'll take your advice on that. Thank you:ride::banana:

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X2 on using the oem seals! I tried a pair of name brand seals and they leaked right away! Since you are in there you might go ahead and purchase the bushing for the legs and sliders. These can get damaged while removing, plus they don't cost much. I purchased a top cap wrench, and the seal driver from a place on ebay called pit boss I think? Anyway, decent tools, and they make the job easier. I have a vice, but didn't use it for the work.

Get a set of push button bleeders to replace the screws on top if you don't already have them, I belive they help and are quick and easy to use. never have to worry about building up to much pressure and hurting the seals...

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+1 on the push button bleeders! They are a great purchase...the threaded air releases are basically worthless. I've read the same about the OEM seals being better. Since they cost basically the same, its a no brainer to go with OEM.

You are talking about pitposse.com, right? They have a lot of good stuff there.

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