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HOW-TO: Fork Seal Replacement
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My Chicken eats Busa's
 
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HOW-TO: Fork Seal Replacement - March 15, 2010, 08:23 PM

Doing a fork seal replacement can be very messy. Itís a good idea to start off with a clean work area: Smokes are optional.

First, Identify bad seals:
Notice the oil on the shaft. Seals are designed to "Squeege" all the oil off, so any oil is a bad sign. Anothe tell tale is the gathering of dirt/grime around the dust cap. Oil collects this kind of gunk very well.

Suspend the motorcycle safely. You can use pitbull fork stands, although if you work on a lot of bikes like I do, the adapters can be expensive. I have a cherry picker and it works very well:

Remove the calipers by first taking out the two bolts that hold them on to the forks. You can then easily slide off the calipers.


With the RC51, you can remove the fender first, but with the Chicken, you have to wait until the tire is off, so go ahead and remove the tire. There are a few pinch bolts that hold the axle in place as well as an axle bolt. Take the pressure off the bolt side of the axle by removing the pinch bolts on the fork, but leave the pinch bolts in the other side for now. That will hold the axle in place while you crank off the bolt. This particular axle had a problem, and you can see the details for that here ( http://www.monkeyriders.com/forums/v...ic.php?t=13872 ). Once you have removed the bolt, take out the opposing side pinch bolts and remove the axle.

Once you have removed the tire, set it in a safe place keeping in mind all the collars, washer, axle and bolt placement.
Take out all bolts holding the fender on the forks as well as any bolts holding brake line. Remove the Fender:

Loosen all the pinch bolts holding the forks. There are two on the lower section of the tree, one on top and one holding the clip-ons.


The forks should now slide out pretty easily. If you have problems, loosen the pinch bolts more on the clamps and tap lightly on the BOTTOM of the fork with a dead blow hammer. This will free up the fork from its stuck position.
Once the Forks are out, identify the bolt from the bottom of the fork. If you have not already removed the pinch bolts, like I told you to, do that now. Once the pinch bolts are out, you can put a hex on the bolt. It is MUCH better to have a hex socket as opposed to an allen key. Much better leverage. Iíve found that using an impact wrench can save you A LOT of trouble on this. You need to be careful NOT to use a hex that is Ďballí rounded, such as the Craftsman model T-handles. The round hex can strip the hell out of the bolt. I know from experience.

Once the bolt is out, drain all the fluid out. This can get messy. Once the fluid is out, you can remove the dust seal using a small screwdriver.

Then remove the Fork seal retaining ring. Use a small screwdriver to get the ring out of its slot. It will then easily slide up and out.

Once the ring is out, you can now remove the Fork Seal. Iíve found that the easiest way is to grab the shiny part (for all intensive purposes) and the bottom part and pull them apart. The shim below will pull the seal out. When you get it out, make SURE that you notice the order of things. Lay them on a clean towel in the order that they come off and the side up or down that they come off. Hereís the order:
Dust cap, Fork seal retainer, Fork Seal, Washer, Bushing.

Once you get them out, make sure that the bushings donít get lost. This is on the end of the shiny parts inners. These little bastards have a way of getting lost. Make SURE that you have each accounted for. A good way to keep them in place is with a coating of grease:

This is the best opportunity to clean these dingy damn things, so do it now!

The forks go back together in the reverse order. If you donít have fork seal drivers, you can use PVC pipe. With the RC51 (as with most modern sportbikes) the forks are upside down, so you need to cut the PVC in half to use them. Make sure that you replenish the oil in your tubes before reassembly. The ending product is VERY good looking:


The last thing: When you put your brake calipers back on, there are two VERY IMPORTANT THINGS THAT YOU MUST DO!!!
1: Put locktight on the bolts holding the calipers to the forks.
2. More often than not, you need to expand your brake pads to get the calipers back on to the Discs. This creates a gap obviously, so make sure you pump your brakes until pressure builds back up. Or you could be in for a nasty surprise the first time that you go for a test ride. (I know this from experience)
There it is, guys! Enjoy.
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March 29, 2010, 02:08 PM

awesome write up!!!. I will be doing this in a week or two
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March 29, 2010, 02:12 PM



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March 29, 2010, 02:18 PM

post of the year so far


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March 29, 2010, 02:26 PM

Nice write-up, and I have not read it thoroughly, but after skimming it looks like you sort of skipped over what I consider the crux: getting the internals locked back into place against the preload of the spring. As novasquid and I both know, that's a little tricky.

There are some other details involved with this that are important as well, like lock nut postion and so forth.

Finally there are a few different ways to get the wrong oil level but only one correct way.

So to anyone planning to do this, just be forewarned that it is not a trivial job. Don't plan any dates with that girl you been chasing for months on the evening of the Saturday you set aside to do this for the first time.


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March 29, 2010, 07:08 PM

Yea I think you skipped quite a bit also. Not the end all post for fork rebuild.


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March 30, 2010, 11:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dodge131 View Post
Yea I think you skipped quite a bit also. Not the end all post for fork rebuild.
Gotchya, maybe I'll do another more in-depth write up in a few weeks. It was intended more or less to be a good visual reference than anything.
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March 30, 2010, 11:47 AM

When Novasquid and I did mine on my gen1 zx10r, we followed a guide that said don't break the tubes down by the bolt at the bottom but rather take apart the internals from the other end, at the caps. Is it maybe easier to do it the way you did it? The only trouble I can think might occur is with getting all of the old oil out and getting the proper amount of new oil in, all the while minimizing trapped air.


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April 2, 2010, 10:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeShirtDude View Post
When Novasquid and I did mine on my gen1 zx10r, we followed a guide that said don't break the tubes down by the bolt at the bottom but rather take apart the internals from the other end, at the caps. Is it maybe easier to do it the way you did it? The only trouble I can think might occur is with getting all of the old oil out and getting the proper amount of new oil in, all the while minimizing trapped air.
I'll do another write-up showing both ways. The reason I like doing it this way is that the tubes will be Completely empty and you won't have any residual old oil. This makes it easier to refill as well. Just put in the capacity and recheck really quick. I'll do another write up to avoid any confusion.
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April 2, 2010, 10:14 AM

PS: THIS is how you write a HOWTO.


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April 2, 2010, 03:34 PM

GREAT POST!!!

GIXXERNOOB..check this out!


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September 17, 2010, 09:19 PM

I need for seals replaced on my gixxer, this just confirmed I am going to do it on my own. I figure if i can build a car motor I can do this, lol. I have been skeptical on putting the wrenches to the bike... time to give it a swirly!!
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November 2, 2010, 08:06 AM

I usually take out the top bolt as well and remove the cartage to do a complete clean before the rebuild. you dont want any of the new fluid contaminated.

and like others said, the install can be much more tricky than removal....I use a little wd 40 on a rag as not to scratch the forks....its a bummer having a zig zag scrape on your nice newly sealed forks!! trust me I DID IT ON MY FIRST TRY! haha
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November 2, 2010, 10:50 AM

I want to change my fork oil and seals so bad...each time I read it SEEMS relatively simple...however I now from listening to people that it takes a while to get right but it seems like one of those things that if I do it myself it would be that much more gratifying...

one day this winter I will do this.


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November 2, 2010, 12:55 PM

Good job! General video tutorials like this are great for someone who is interested in trying something like this...keep them coming...
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