Author Topic: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?  (Read 843 times)

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Offline Tjnoma99

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Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« on: November 05, 2017, 10:35:11 pm »
So I noticed that my fork seals ( both) are leaking. How much of a pain is it to fix those myself? I read the write up in the technical and have no clue what's going on.
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Offline KellyfromVA

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 10:57:48 pm »
1-10 PIA level?  I'd say about a 6.

Offline Tjnoma99

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 11:41:33 pm »
Thats what I've heard. Hopefully I can find a shop here that'll take it!
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Offline connie_rider

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2017, 12:36:54 am »
Tjnoma99, do you have a garage and normal hand tools, maybe also air tools?
If you do, it can be done in a few hours.
No specialty tools needed.

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2017, 12:51:26 am »
What year is your bike ? My 87 was pretty simple . Not sure which year the forks changed but mine did not require complete removal .
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Offline Tjnoma99

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2017, 03:50:22 am »
Conni- I do have a garage and a ton of tools. No air tools though. I ordered all the seals, dust cover, and I ordered the washers and circlips too.

Cra- it's an 03!
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Offline The Wizard

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 04:41:30 am »
Tj, The Wizard has the seal tool if you want to use it. Its a pass around tool and its in my possession now.    The Wizard
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Offline Stasch

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 09:58:39 am »
The one thingout of the ordinary IMO is getting the bolt out of the bottom of the fork leg that holds the damper rod in.

Air wrench is great for that as a normal wrench will likely spin the damper rod along with the bolt without loosening it.

You can get this bolt out without an air wrench by clamping the fork assembly's chrome slider tube in a vice to hold it while using a manual tool (bolt is hex head).

1.  Don't clamp the vice down too hard, not sure how much it would take to put that tube out of round although they are pretty stout.

2.  Protect the tube from the vice jaws between a couple pieces of wood so you don't scratch or nick it up.
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Offline connieklr

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2017, 10:15:37 am »
Loosen the top caps before you remove the tubes from the triple tree. Hard to hold the tubes to keep them from turning if you don't..... even properly clamped in a vise.

But, before you do, loosen the top tree pinch bolts on each side (all three - tree and handlebar) BEFORE trying to remove the plug caps. Hard to believe, but those pinch bolts will constrict the tubes, tightening them around the threaded plug caps making them very difficult to loosen and remove.
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Offline connie_rider

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2017, 01:29:26 pm »
A 1 1/4" PVC Tee or Collar makes a great/cheap seal installation tool.


Tjnoma99, an air impact and proper socket makes this job a lot easier.
Seems like a perfect excuse for a trip to Harbor freight..  :)
    (I'm always looking for an excuse to buy more tools) <evil grin>
If you don't have a air compressor electric impacts are also sold.

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Offline Tjnoma99

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2017, 07:02:04 pm »
I may give this a shot. I really don't want to pay someone else to do something I can do!
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Offline Katsi

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2017, 07:31:34 pm »
I was able to successfully swap out mine and it's really easy.  However, Connie Rider walked my through it explaining the steps - in person.  The personal walk through was priceless.  The main thing was that he fabricated some special tools. One from a hunk of hex stock and socket and the other from some PVC Pipe .  To be honest, I too was weary about doing myself. The hardest part is separating the fork tubes (but that too was easy with the hex stock tool).  You can buy some new \ used ones on ebay for a couple hundred.   :)

« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 07:35:49 pm by Katsi »

Offline Sparkie

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2017, 07:33:58 pm »
Actually a set of snap ring pliers will be required too. There are a few specialty tools required to do the job properly. You can get creative with making a seal driver tool. Mark
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Offline Tjnoma99

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2017, 09:53:18 pm »
I just looked on eBay and the hex tool ( rod and head) are around $70. I'm still a little weary trying it by myself the first time.
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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2017, 10:02:45 pm »
I just looked on eBay and the hex tool ( rod and head) are around $70. I'm still a little weary trying it by myself the first time.
.
Pick up a piece of 5/8 all thread from home depot, and 4 hex nuts, and two flat washers...
Screw a nut, flat washer, and the other nut, on each end, and tighten them against each other to make the hex parts...
$10 tool, and it fits the internal nut in the forks...

{} | {}---------------{} | {}.  Like that, nut, washer, nut.... on both ends of all thread....

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Offline drumstyx

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2017, 12:18:05 am »
Not a PITA, just messy really.

IMO, even WITH air tools, you *need* that allthread and nut jig. It fits many Japanese forks, so it's actually a valuable tool in my shop.

That top cap can be a pain if you don't loosen the top nuts, and even if you do sometimes -- When I first got my C10, I'd had plenty of experience doing forks, so I knew exactly what to do, but even using a 6 point socket and being careful, the aluminum rounded out; someone had screwed this up *bad*! I managed to get it out after a LOT of heat, vice, and vicegrip work. The cap was of course destroyed, available and inexpensive from Kawi ($30 or so, IIRC?) but of course the fork tube, which was scratched and gouged in the non-swept area, needed some cleaning up.

Anyway, fork seals are a fairly simple job, but one I don't really look forward to, because it's always messy. Not sandblasting messy or anything, just that you get dirty and clean oil everywhere. Probably good for my steel shop bench, but have plenty of rags available.

Offline Tjnoma99

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2017, 12:55:02 am »
So I found a shop down here in San Diego that is a DIY shop. I essentially rent a space with tools. So I can be as messy as I need to be. But what sold me is there is a licensed mechanic on site at all times. If I get into a jam, I have someone there who can help. I don't want to take this task on alone, or at least with out 'supervision'. But I am definitely going to make the all thread tool. I can actually get all of that for free from work!
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Offline Freddy

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2017, 03:09:50 am »
Replace the 4 bushes too.
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Offline connieklr

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2017, 11:10:17 am »
I tack welded mine 'cause I have the capability. Pix shows a KLR fork, but the same deal with the C10; have used the tool on both.




« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 02:01:47 pm by connieklr »
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Offline connie_rider

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2017, 02:55:02 pm »
As Guy mentioned, before you remove the cap, loosen the pinch bolts.
It is also best to use a 6 pointed socket. (As it is less likely to round out the hex)

I wish I were near you. Would be glad to help.
{with tools/knowledge} it can be done in a hour or so..

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Offline Tjnoma99

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2017, 01:39:37 am »
Ok. Let's see if I got it:
1. Put bike on center stand and Jack up the front enough that the wheel can be removed.
2. Remove fender, calipers, Speedo cable ( from wheel), and front wheel. Drain fork oil.
3. Loosen top pinch bolts. Loosen the rebound. Then loosen the top caps.
4. Loosen all pinch bolts. Remove fork.
5. Take off top cap.
6. Use home made hex tool. Stick down fork tube into hex. Use impact to remove bottom bolt.
7. After bolt is removed, pull fork apart.
8. Remove seal and dust cover. I'm probably gonna replace the circlips too.
9. Oil seal before I replace. Use a pvc make shift seal tool to slide seal back on. Put dust cover on.
10. Rebuild the fork. Add oil. And replace.

Did I miss anything?  And when and where do you add the fork oil?
And trust me Ted, I wish you were closer too. I have no problem doing the work, just need the supervision!
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Offline Freddy

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2017, 03:04:52 am »
Yeah, you missed fitting new bushes.  The specified volume of oil goes in the cap end - unless the tube is upside down  :))

I've used this kit.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Full-Suspension-kit-Fork-Seals-Dust-Seals-Bushes-Kawasaki-ZG1000-Concours-86-06-/272728153132?hash=item3f7fdd5c2c
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 03:12:52 am by Freddy »
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Offline Tjnoma99

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2017, 03:23:59 am »
Cool! I just read the way to measure the oil. Probably going to buy a fork oil tool!
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Offline Tjnoma99

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2017, 03:28:40 am »
How important is it to replace the bushings? I can't find a set here in the states.
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Offline connie_rider

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Re: Fork seal: easy or P.I.A?
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2017, 03:37:30 am »
How many miles on your bike?
If low mileage (Below 50k), not really necessary.

Ted
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