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Fork seals! Argh!


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#1 chrisflock

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:46 PM

Alright, so I'm planning on going for a nice little vacation over the 4th of July weekend, and whilst trying to find a throttle lock that would work, I noticed my left fork is leaking!

There was oil on the seal, a ring on the upper fork tube, and there's some oil residue on the little abs sensor wire. I wiped it up, then bounced the front end of the bike, I didn't see any fluid coming out, but it might just be that it needs a lot bumps to work some oil back up there? I dunno. Or maybe a lot of oil has leaked out already?

So, I've done some quick searching. One suggestion I saw was to simply change the fork oil...that seems way to easy to work.

I've tried to read up on how to change the fork seals, but I'm somewhat confused, as it appears everyone else took the opportunity to upgrade the front suspension as well. Is it necessary to completely disassemble the forks to replace the seals?

I'm worried about the time to do a fork job (it would basically have to be this weekend, but I doubt the dealer will have the seals on hand), but I'm also worried about all the fork oil squirting out while I'm riding on my trip.
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#2 Big Sky

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 06:07 AM

Chrisflock, I'm no mechanic but I have been riding for 35 years and have seen many fork seal failures. Generally, they just weep a little and make a grungy mess. I've never seen a catastrophic failure where oil was "squirting out." They can leak badly enough that you can oil the brake pads, which means they would have to be replaced. But if you park on the centerstand, any real bad leak would just have the fluid running down to the end of the fork leg. If it was me, I'd go on my trip, wipe the excess oil occasionally, and get the seals some attention upon return. If it gets real messy, tie a rag around the fork leg below the seal. Yeah, it's hillbilly but, hey, I live in Montana. And, yes, complete disassembley to replace seals.
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#3 HolaMesilla

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 06:08 AM

From my readings the fork seal repair is a bit complicated considering the the approximate $200 a dealer will charge.

On a side note I will be taking my '07 with 26K in today for seal replacement. After reading posts here I was able to provide my local dealer with enough information to make a supportable claim to have YES cover the repair. Particularly I mentioned the fact that fork seals are not identified as a maintenance item in the manual and as such should be considered covered under the extended warranty.

Thanks to the FJRForum.

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#4 BugR

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 06:20 AM

5 min fix.
Take some stiff thin plastic strip ( 35 mm film works well)
Slide it down the fork upper and push it past the seal
Run the film around the fork swiping the seal and then pull it out.

Any crud in the seal will come out on the film.

I tried this on Monday morning on the Versys just as we were leaving for CFR and it worked.
Considering some of the Quebec roads we ran were rough as hell it's got to be worth a try.

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#5 chrisflock

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 06:49 AM

QUOTE (BugR @ Jun 25 2010, 09:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
5 min fix.
Take some stiff thin plastic strip ( 35 mm film works well)
Slide it down the fork upper and push it past the seal
Run the film around the fork swiping the seal and then pull it out.

Any crud in the seal will come out on the film.

I tried this on Monday morning on the Versys just as we were leaving for CFR and it worked.
Considering some of the Quebec roads we ran were rough as hell it's got to be worth a try.

Chris


I did read about that, and I intend to try it. (35 mm film? Do they even make that stuff anymore? dry.gif )

I'm seriously thinking, the long, bumpy ride down a very bad gravel road (everything from sand up to approximately golf ball sized river rock, there were actually a few tennis-ball sized rocks, but I avoided those) on my memorial day ride may have been a contributing factor.

So, if I do this, get some crud out, do I even bother trying to top off the oil?
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#6 BugR

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 09:03 AM

QUOTE (chrisflock @ Jun 25 2010, 10:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I did read about that, and I intend to try it. (35 mm film? Do they even make that stuff anymore? dry.gif )

I'm seriously thinking, the long, bumpy ride down a very bad gravel road (everything from sand up to approximately golf ball sized river rock, there were actually a few tennis-ball sized rocks, but I avoided those) on my memorial day ride may have been a contributing factor.

So, if I do this, get some crud out, do I even bother trying to top off the oil?


I bet you have some of that sand in the seal.

You don't have to top up if it is a few drips, there is over a pint in in leg.
Do spray the fork and disk with brake cleaner and wipe them off, Have a rag over the caliper to protect the pads.

If you can't find 35 mm film then overhead transparencies is another source.

Blister pack packaging, plastic bottles, windscreen wash bottles, credit cards (expired ones are best, don't use the missus's if you like sex) might work but make sure they aren't too thick, it has to bend around the fork tube, thin and stiff is what you are looking for.

Check around the house you will find something.

Also credit to Moosehead for suggesting this last monday, bad enough for the CFR Rally master to have to ride a Versys 'cause he didn't have time putting the FJR back together, I could have been stuck in the Siena.

Chris
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#7 chrisflock

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 09:33 AM

QUOTE (BugR @ Jun 25 2010, 12:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (chrisflock @ Jun 25 2010, 10:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I did read about that, and I intend to try it. (35 mm film? Do they even make that stuff anymore? dry.gif )

I'm seriously thinking, the long, bumpy ride down a very bad gravel road (everything from sand up to approximately golf ball sized river rock, there were actually a few tennis-ball sized rocks, but I avoided those) on my memorial day ride may have been a contributing factor.

So, if I do this, get some crud out, do I even bother trying to top off the oil?


I bet you have some of that sand in the seal.

You don't have to top up if it is a few drips, there is over a pint in in leg.
Do spray the fork and disk with brake cleaner and wipe them off, Have a rag over the caliper to protect the pads.

If you can't find 35 mm film then overhead transparencies is another source.

Blister pack packaging, plastic bottles, windscreen wash bottles, credit cards (expired ones are best, don't use the missus's if you like sex) might work but make sure they aren't too thick, it has to bend around the fork tube, thin and stiff is what you are looking for.

Check around the house you will find something.

Also credit to Moosehead for suggesting this last monday, bad enough for the CFR Rally master to have to ride a Versys 'cause he didn't have time putting the FJR back together, I could have been stuck in the Siena.

Chris


I'm sure I will find something, I just find the 35 mm film reference to be kind of funny. You know, like the sign at Walgreen's that says 'we STILL develop film'. I have actually heard from a few people that have had trouble getting oddball sized film developed...

I would think a credit card would be too thick (though they work great when someone locks themselves out...)

Actually, I would think a soda bottle would work just perfect.

And as for having to ride a Versys, well, I was debating the alternative of doing a few 500 mile days on the CBR. rolleyes.gif

But I have NO luggage for it.

Chris
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#8 gainsi

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 05:49 PM


Having worked in the photographic industry for 25 years, I can tell you that there's plenty of film still out there. Trouble is, lots of idiots don't get them processed when they have finished shooting them, & they still expect a lab to cater for them when they get off their lazy asses......!

35mm film will be around for a while yet. It will work well for this task as it's thin & very flexible. IMHO, don't try anything else - the soda bottle & credit card are way too thick.

#9 chrisflock

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:59 AM

Minor update:

I cleaned off the forks, drove the bike for a nice 90 mile ride to a dealer, and they were pretty covered in goo again. (The seals, the upper forks, and some dripping down the fork leg).

I asked at the dealer, they told me the seals were cheap (no big surprise) and that if I wanted to leave the bike, they'd try to get it in before my trip, and they'd submit a claim to Yamaha for it. They didn't know if it would go through or not. Unfortunately, leaving the bike yesterday wasn't in the cards (no way home, no good way to go get it back either) so I'm going to try my local dealer on Monday.

BTW, they said if it wasn't covered, it would be right around 300 for the whole job. Does this sound reasonable?

Oh, and I haven't been able to find anything thin enough to fit through the actual seal. The dust seal, no problem...
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#10 Zorlac

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:16 PM

I feel your pain, I just flushed mine & changed the oil and now the left one is weeping, so much for preventative maintenance since they were fine before I "maintained" them. rolleyes.gif

FYI, this has worked 2 out of 3 times for someone I know.
It makes sense when you don't think about it.

#11 phroenips

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:23 PM

QUOTE (chrisflock @ Jun 27 2010, 11:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
BTW, they said if it wasn't covered, it would be right around 300 for the whole job. Does this sound reasonable?


I think mine cost somewhere around $250, but when I called some dealers in Denver, they quoted around $300. It's all labor, the new seals were under $20 I think.
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#12 Queensland Ken

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:24 PM

QUOTE (chrisflock @ Jun 28 2010, 03:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
BTW, they said if it wasn't covered, it would be right around 300 for the whole job. Does this sound reasonable?


I've had my seals and bushings done here (Australia) and it's been about $220 Aus + bushings.
My mate also had them done locally in his home town for the same price, so it could be a bit expensive.

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#13 chrisflock

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 06:15 PM

QUOTE (Zorlac @ Jun 27 2010, 04:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I feel your pain, I just flushed mine & chained the oil and now the left one is weeping, so much for preventative maintenance since they were fine before I "maintained" them. rolleyes.gif

FYI, this has worked 2 out of 3 times for someone I know.


I wonder how thick those are...


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#14 gainsi

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 10:26 PM



It looks thin enough & flexible. For $5 it's got to be worth a go.

#15 Harald

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 01:16 PM

A little late for you, but the guy at GP suspension told me I should replace the dust seals on an annual basis to keep the main seal in better shape. With the forks off the bike (an easy job) you can easily remove and replace just the dust seal.
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#16 Zorlac

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 09:01 PM

FWIW, I seem to have been able to stop the leak from my left fork seal.
I cut a piece of plastic from a grocery store strawberry container (it measured .015" thick) into the shape roughly equivalent to the seal mate gizmo, removed the fork tube from the bike and followed their directions. I wet the plastic with the sticky foam oil before inserting it into the seal, topped off my fork oil to the proper level and it seems to be OK for now.


It makes sense when you don't think about it.

#17 dcarver

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 09:13 PM

This will show you some pix of what you're up against. I've done mine several times now, if you don't have the tools or experience, take it in, pay the 300 clams.
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#18 Zorlac

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 09:36 PM

I think the seals are intact, it's debris that gets jammed in there that's the problem.
GPS just rebuilt & upgraded my forks 2yrs ago, so they better still be good internally.
My Connie's got 82K on her and no leaky. glare.gif
I'm gonna look into some fork gaiters for the temperamental FJR. rolleyes.gif
It makes sense when you don't think about it.

#19 MojaveFJR

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 04:49 AM

If you are going to pay that much, pull the forks and send them to Dave at GPS and have them de-burred valved for your riding style and weight. Then when they come back have someone help you set the sag and rebound.

If you are going to pay that much, pull the forks and send them to Dave at GPS and have them de-burred valved for your riding style and weight. Then when they come back have someone help you set the sag and rebound.

#20 MartinH

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:55 AM

FWIW, I seem to have been able to stop the leak from my left fork seal.
I cut a piece of plastic from a grocery store strawberry container (it measured .015" thick) into the shape roughly equivalent to the seal mate gizmo, removed the fork tube from the bike and followed <a href="http://www.sealmate....tructions.html" target="_blank">their directions</a>. I wet the plastic with the sticky foam oil before inserting it into the seal, topped off my fork oil to the proper level and it seems to be OK for now.

<img src="http://i50.tinypic.c...com/98djqa.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />


I love this forum! I made a "tool" just like this one. Used it with the fork still on the bike. Only took about 20 minutes. Just rode into work this morning (47 miles) and the seal is dry as a bone. Gota love a free fix. Thanks to everyone on this thread.

Martin