Author Topic: Leaky fork seal quick fix?  (Read 205 times)

Offline aconti2

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Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« on: October 13, 2020, 05:09:09 PM »
I had the front tire of my GS replaced in preparation for inspection. To my dismay I noticed I had some oil weeping from my fork seal!

This forum had a lot of great advice on replacing the fork seals but in my searches elsewhere I found something super quick and easy to check.

All you have to do is lift up the dust cap, wipe everything clean, and slip a .2 mm thin feeler gauge between the seal and the fork and work your way around the fork.. Sure enough when I did that I could feel some dirt and grime being dislodged. Another wipe down and a few quick pumps on the forks and it seems my issue is gone. I read that this worked for a lot of other people as well. I'll check in to let you guys know if it comes back.

My bad if this is common knowledge. I didn't see this in any of the threads I saw here during my search! 

Offline herennow

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2020, 07:48:01 AM »
you can make a little plastic hook from a coke bottle that pulls the dirt out.¨

or you can buy one .

https://www.motionpro.com/product/08-0395
« Last Edit: October 14, 2020, 07:50:03 AM by herennow »

Offline sledge

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2020, 11:23:57 AM »
Nah.... dont worry......it will start leaking again very soon  :icon_lol:

Offline Bluesmudge

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2020, 04:47:22 PM »
Always worth a try. Especially on the newer (02+ or 04+?) forks with their damper rod that is nearly impossible to remove.

Offline aconti2

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2020, 05:00:18 PM »
Nah.... dont worry......it will start leaking again very soon  :icon_lol:

Well with THAT attitude it will. At least it will pass inspection for now. I'll keep an eye on it and let you guys know when it leaks again.

Offline herennow

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2020, 04:14:27 AM »
Quote
Nah.... dont worry......it will start leaking again very soon  :icon_lol:

 :icon_rolleyes:
« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 01:32:41 AM by herennow »

Offline sledge

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2020, 09:24:06 AM »
My view of issues such as this is that the best approach is to deal with the problem head on and carry out a proper and reliable inspection and subsequent repair rather than taking the `sticking plaster` approach and hoping the problem then goes away. ie focus on and deal with the root cause rather than applying a piss poor and unreliable remedy........... and then thinking you have achieved something.

There is an irony here, this forum is always keen to highlight poor service and quality, and second rate jobs when they are carried out by dealers and professional mechanics. yet bodges and kludges and questionable repair methods and techniques when carried out by owners are at the same time something that seems to be actively encouraged by this forum.

However in light of your comments I take no offence and furthermore if my pragmatism offends I offer you my most sincere apology (along with reminder that are free to ignore my and indeed everyone else's comments)  :thumb:
« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 02:41:51 AM by sledge »

Offline Sporty

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2020, 10:40:03 AM »
Cleaning a fork seal can get you by for while. You should also change the fork oil and fill to the proper level.

However, Sledge is not wrong, even if it's not what you want to hear.

Often the problem will return sooner than later. In addition when you actually disassemble and clean out and reseal forks, you find out just how crappy the old oil is, just how much sludge and gunk is in there.

The debris that is making the seal leak, is coming from inside the fork on the street bike. It's also wearing out the bearings (wear metal) and sliders.

 In addition, unless you change or at least top off the fork oil, you’re riding a poorly dampened front suspension.

« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 01:50:59 PM by Sporty »
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Offline sledge

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2020, 02:58:08 AM »
Let me give you an example of the logic.......

You go out to your bike tomorrow morning and find the front tyre is flat. So you do the obvious thing and pump it. Great! but has that actually fixed the problem? Of course not, the tyre has gone down for a reason and if you don't find address the root cause and instead choose to ignore it, it will go flat again and it will keep going flat until you replace the leaky valve or dig the nail out and patch it or find the crack in the rim or whatever the underlying cause happens to be.

This is the situation you are in with your seals, you have simply relieved the symptoms, you haven't actually fixed the problem.

However......its your bike and its your call.

Offline Bluesmudge

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2020, 08:40:27 AM »
Let me give you an example of the logic.......

You go out to your bike tomorrow morning and find the front tyre is flat. So you do the obvious thing and pump it. Great! but has that actually fixed the problem? Of course not, the tyre has gone down for a reason and if you don't find address the root cause and instead choose to ignore it, it will go flat again and it will keep going flat until you replace the leaky valve or dig the nail out and patch it or find the crack in the rim or whatever the underlying cause happens to be.

This is the situation you are in with your seals, you have simply relieved the symptoms, you haven't actually fixed the problem.

However......its your bike and its your call.

Or is the analogy that you plug the tire instead of replacing the entire tire? Its a lot cheaper and depending on the puncture it might work great. It cost next nothing but a few minutes of your time, so its worth a shot, yeah? You will eventually have to replace the tire either way but maybe not today.

Repair before replacement. You guys really think that there is no situation where the seal is okay and a piece of gunk got in from the outside?
« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 08:46:01 AM by Bluesmudge »

Offline sledge

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2020, 08:56:46 AM »
Its nothing more than an hypothetical example engineered to illustrate a purely hypothetical situation. If I found myself in the actual situation I would make a call based on exactly what is front of me and what I found after investigating...........as I am sure most others would.

Offline Sporty

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2020, 10:55:22 AM »
Let me give you an example of the logic.......

You go out to your bike tomorrow morning and find the front tyre is flat. So you do the obvious thing and pump it. Great! but has that actually fixed the problem? Of course not, the tyre has gone down for a reason and if you don't find address the root cause and instead choose to ignore it, it will go flat again and it will keep going flat until you replace the leaky valve or dig the nail out and patch it or find the crack in the rim or whatever the underlying cause happens to be.

This is the situation you are in with your seals, you have simply relieved the symptoms, you haven't actually fixed the problem.

However......its your bike and its your call.

Or is the analogy that you plug the tire instead of replacing the entire tire? Its a lot cheaper and depending on the puncture it might work great. It cost next nothing but a few minutes of your time, so its worth a shot, yeah? You will eventually have to replace the tire either way but maybe not today.

Repair before replacement. You guys really think that there is no situation where the seal is okay and a piece of gunk got in from the outside?

Yes, all the time on dirt bikes. Many dirt bikers own those “Motion-Pro Sealmates”.
  I see no issue giving it a try on any bike, especially to get by for a while. It’s also time for a fork fluid change

A dirt bike is going through dirt, mud, water, etc... 

A street bike not so much, if the dust seal is intact, not much debris is getting in there.

On a street bike, unless the bike is ridden in severe conditions,  the debris (and wear causing debris) is coming more from the inside of the fork. Bits of wear metals, sliders, and coatings.

I’m not a professional motorcycle mechanic. I seem to reseal every set of forks on bikes that I own.

Every time I take the forks apart, they have the worst looking fluid, all metallic, black and nasty with congealed gook in the bottom. The current GS no exception with only a few ounces of very nasty fluid in each fork.  Even if not resealing, they were in desperate need of a flush out and fluid change.

As far as a plug on a motorcycle tire? Just to get home thanks.   All IMHO,  YMMV!
« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 10:56:11 AM by Sporty »
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Offline aconti2

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2020, 10:57:54 AM »
Hey Sledge I think you misread my tone in my response  :icon_lol:  I was just joking with ya.

I'm totally aware that the most correct thing is to totally go through the forks. I'm just happy to have found something to buy me some time. If I decide to put some nicer fork springs in ill probably just do that, the seals, and the oil change at the same time.

I just want to ride a little after all the work I've put into this thing.

Offline herennow

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2020, 05:10:42 AM »
Oh well, we had a couple years of peace on here....

Nothing's forever!

Offline Sporty

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2020, 09:52:31 AM »
So peaceful and quiet, it's almost dead! :icon_lol: :icon_lol: :icon_lol:
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 11:46:40 AM by Sporty »
Used Suzuki GS500 = motorcycle adventure without leaving the shop.

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Offline aconti2

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2020, 10:09:18 AM »
Ok it's leaking again Lmao.

Offline Bluesmudge

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2020, 11:31:15 PM »
At least you made Sledge's day  :laugh:

Offline sledge

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2020, 08:30:39 AM »
I am not gloating in the slightest. You learn by experience  :thumb:

Offline Sporty

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2020, 09:05:37 AM »
An experiment would be to flush out the forks and refill the fork oil. Clean out the seals with a hook type sealmate tool and see how long it lasts. 

If it's debris causing the seal to leak, it coming from inside the forks!

Seals do wear out of course and nothing is going to fix seals with a worn or damaged lip.
Used Suzuki GS500 = motorcycle adventure without leaving the shop.

Current motorcycles: 1993 GS500E, 1996 XL1200, 1999 ST1100

Offline sledge

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Re: Leaky fork seal quick fix?
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2020, 01:53:24 PM »
You should carefully inspect the chrome on the area the seal wipes. The slightest defect will soon ruin a seal, even something the size of a pin prick is enough to cause damage.


 

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