Tip & How-To about Motorcycles
When forks start leaking, a large part of the time there is actually a peice of debris in the seal, not an actual damaged seal. Here is a way to clean the seals while still installed on the bike. If this doesn't work, you'll know that your seal is indeed damaged and needs replaced. If it does work, you can put a little more gas in the tank!
WIth the forks on the bike, use a flat screw driver to pry out the forks dust seal. Slide the dust seal back a ways and clean it thoroughly. There will usually be alot of gunk in there to get out. Spray it out with carb cleaner and dry with a paper towel inside and out. Now clean the recess that contains your fork seal thoroughly with carb cleaner and paper towel.
There are a few things that can be used to clean the actual fork seal. You can buy a special made piece of plastic from mc parts catalogs, use a very thin feeler gauge, or my favorite is a piece of camera film negative.
Whatever you're using, very gently insert it about 1/2 inch between the seal and the fork tube. Be careful not to damage the seal. Now, holding your cleaning tool snug against the fork leg, slide it around the fork tube while slowly pulling out to make sure the debris is pulled out of the seal instead of pushed in. As you work around the fork, your little "tool" should be gently sweeping between the seal and the fork tube, removing peices of sand and dirt. You may do this a few times if they are really dirty. Wipe everything clean and very dry and work the forks up and down to see if you've stopped the leak. If so, wipe everything down one more time, reinstall your dust seal, and your through!
If you are working on upside down forks, make sure the area at the bottom of the fork tube (next to the casting) is clean. Often times simply bottoming the suspension out can cram dirt from this area into your seals.
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Posted by Woods Goat on
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