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DIY Fork Seals

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I'm pleased to say that I successfully changed the fork seals on my SX. I'm a just a hobbyist level mechanic and it took me about 3 hours to do it for this first time. I expect that next time I'll be able to get it done in half the time.

For reference I had the shop manual for my bike and watched the Rocky Mountain howto video.

The instructions were all very accurate. In my case I skipped servicing the cartridge since it's pressurized and had no reason to mess with it...

One thing I did improve upon though is how to compress the leg in order to unbolt and remove the cartridge. The vise way they prescribe is quite inefficient, instead I put the leg upside down on the floor and pushed it down so I could clearly see the rod come through and clip it properly. You get much better leverage this way and I think it's a must when comes time to put back the cartridge, the tip will catch around the hole so you gotta align it yourself, much easier when you actually see what your doing.

I gotta admit though I did one mistake. I mixed up the cartridges and outer tubes. It shouldn't be a big deal but I have these neat WP stickers on the tubes, so if I mount the tubes with the stickers facing out, the air bleed screws are down on the cap and it spews oil out when I unscrew them. Not sure what's up with that (could there be too much oil in the cartridges?) but just for good measure I'll reorient the tubes and move the stickers around.

Anyways, I found this was a very fun job! Much easier than I anticipated. With the proper tools it really is a breeze to do. The only problem is that it's quite messy. You're almost sure to spill oil everywhere, it just keeps coming out until you have everything dismantled.

I definitely recommend anyone with a bit of skill to do it instead of sending it to a dealer, contrary to a pro, you can take the time to do the job right with no pressure, being careful to torque, measure, clean and lube everything properly....

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Feels very good! I didn't save much since I had to buy the tools but it's equivalent to labor, so next time yeah it'll be more money for gas!

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I gotta admit though I did one mistake. I mixed up the cartridges and outer tubes. It shouldn't be a big deal but I have these neat WP stickers on the tubes, so if I mount the tubes with the stickers facing out, the air bleed screws are down on the cap and it spews oil out when I unscrew them.

And, of course you realize that you're the only person ever to make that mistake. :smirk:

No one ever brings that up, but it's a point to bear in mind if you have any kind of stickers, including the ORV stickers on California bikes, on your forks. Anything that threads into the upper tube, or into anything else that threads into the upper tube, should be marked as to which side it goes on. The reason is that the parts are threaded from a random starting point, so that the cap or cartridge from one side will more than likely end up pointing in a different direction if moved to the other fork tube, and the rangers get annoyed with you when your ORV sticker is facing in behind your number plate.

After I "learned" that, I always mark the components on one side. :smirk:

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