Coincidence, bad luck or notoriously cheap chrome?!

I haven't rode my WR a whole lot since I bought it just a few months ago, but during the last ride I blew a fork seal.... And I don't mean a little bit of oil collected on the tube, I mean completely blown as in a steady stream draining from the seal creating a big puddle under it in just a few minutes :lol:

As I went to install new seals I noticed the chrome on the tubes were in terrible shape and in a few spots it was burnt right though :) Well $150 later I received another set from Ebay that supposedly came from a low hour 01.. Well they have better chrome, but it looks like the bushing have been scratching the tubes as well.

What I'm wondering is I have owned bikes that have been neglected beyond comprehension and I have NEVER seen anything like this before. Is the bushing setup or chrome poor from the get go or do I just simply have two pairs of neglected forks? What do you think :)

I replaced one of my lower fork tubes due to what looked like pitting just above the lug. It was only on one side and the suspension co. I had replace the seals (RG3) said they hadn't seen it before.

I've heard that all of the stock OEM stuff is fairly thin to begin with. If you have one of yours repaired by a reputable suspension company, you shouldn't ever have to worry about it again, 'cept for crash damage!!! Maniac

Thanks for the reply's everyone :)

Any idea on where to send out my old tubes? The only place I found that would touch them wanted a lot of money something like $750 for both...

Can you polish the ones with the least damage?

Here is an article on how to do it:'s the deal.

The one thing that I have learned about polishing everything from bike plastics to plain and coated metal, is that in order to achieve perfect results, you have to follow a precise process with the right materials. In other words, there is a precise science to this and often one step away will not yield the results you can or should get. With that, we have tried a host of methods to bring lower tubes to their best, and often this means dealing with tubes that have been improperly worked by previous tuners or owners. Things like Emery Paper, certain Scotch Brite pads, steel wools and such can do some serious damage to the chrome.

Here's what we are currently doing.

All dings and dents are filed down using a very small and fine jeweler's file. We never file into the nick or dent, but only the area around it that is mushroomed up. A dent or nick will always be a dent and nick. And we never file around the area of the nick or dent as there is no need to.

After this, the tube is mounted to a lathe and hit with 320. However, this is one of the most important steps and I can tell you from experience that not all 320s are created equal. Some cut really deep, others cut much smoother and more towards the surface. You could start at 220, but in many cases we found that in order to "reset" the surface, 320 works best. At the moment the only 320 that we are happy with is Norton Aluminum Oxide 320 Fine. Part number 02613.

For the 320, run the lathe slow at around 400 to 500RPMs.

We pass this over the tube until all the original lines are gone and we can see nothing other than the cuts made by our 320. Some areas may need a little more attention than others, but try to keep things consistent. After this, we add a soapy water mix with the 320 and do a few more passes. Don’t upgrade the pad, just use the same one. You don’t want to start with a new 320 pad at the end of the 320 cycle.

Then we move to a product called 3M 413Q 600. Dry, followed by wet. Anytime there is any build-up on the pad, it's replaced. Build-up on 600 can create scratches worse than the 320. So keep things clean. You may have to go through 2 to 3 pads per leg.

After this, you're most likely going to have something that looks nearly flawless so anything beyond this is just to get things as friction free as possible. Icing on the cake…so to speak.

After the 600, and after the tube is completely clean, we use GatorGrit 1500-B (comes from Finland). Dry, then wet. Always clean.

Last step is 3M 2000 Imperial Paper. Dry then wet.

On the 1500 and 2000, you can bump your speeds up to about 1000RPMs.

That said, there are some concerns with chrome finishes, and those within the chrome polishing business, that you can "burn-through" the chrome. This is true, but I have yet to see this with fork tubes which I suspect means that the chrome coating on these tubes is much thicker than most chrome work. I use 320 on all tubes that come in? Definitely not. Only on those tubes that need to be reset mainly because someone hit them with something that they were not supposed to. It's probably only safe to hit a tube with 320 once in its life.

In most cases, I'll start off with 600 unless you see that the 600 is not removing something that needs to be removed.

Lastly, when spinning the leg at 600-1000RPMs, you have to stay away from the lug tabs on the left fork leg. Get a finger or wrist under there and you'll no longer have a finger. For this area, we have a round clamp (looks like a seal driver) that wraps about the pad and then clamps on the tube so that we can reach in there without having to reach in there.

That said, there are guys that use a buffing wheel with a polishing compound in the final steps - common within the chrome polishing business. This too should be fine, but the results that you'll get from the above, are just as good and certainly a lot more consistent over the surface of the tube. Not to mention that once you get this down, it’s a speedy process.

Lastly, I've been told that grits in the U.S. are different than they are elsewhere. Don't know if this is true or not, but it's certainly worth understanding before you take my advice if you're outside of the country.

Two more things. We don’t polish tubes (and shock shafts) that don’t need to be polished, (but to get the dirt out, we do hot flush them). If there is nothing wrong with them, leave them alone…as you may need that nice thick coating later in life. And I think it goes without saying that DLC and TiN coatings are not to be disturbed.


Thanks for the reply's everyone :)

Any idea on where to send out my old tubes? The only place I found that would touch them wanted a lot of money something like $750 for both...

Talk to Dave. I replaced both of mine for $350. I had a ding in one and the "bad chrome" on the other so I replaced both. He sources them from the same place OEM does:thumbsup:

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