Inverted fork seals leaking again!

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Apr 23, 2002
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#1
My seals have been leaking for a while now. It gets on my disk and brake bads, which lowers the breaking power dangerously!

I'm getting fed up!
First I replace the seals with an Italian 30$ (Can.) pair, they start leaking right away. (dust seals as well)

Ride it for a couple months, ged fed up again, buy another pair of Japanese wierd name brand for 10$, install them, go for a semi-hard ride, and they leak again. Not an extreme leak, but enough to ecumulate and drip oil off the bottom of the fork tubes.

I have the oil seal facing up (opposite direction of the dust seal), and have applied a light coating of silicone around seal and aluminum outer tube to make sure oil doesn't leak through the sides (even though they are pressed in pretty tight)

I have 90mm (3 3/4") of space between the top of the fork tubes and the oil level (springs out and forks colapsed)

The fork tubes have no niks or scratches in them. And the bushings seem all right. I would think just a little bit of play in the fork tubes would be alright(i'm talking minimal), seeing how the rubber of the seal would be able to re-fit it self accordingly. We're not talking metal on metal sealing here.
-If there is a doubt, perhaps the replacement of the bushings would be in order. (I seriously don't think it's the problem)

Any Ideas!
I don't understand why the seals don't seal! It's what they were designed to do!

the seals are 41x53x8/9.5 (not sure what the numbers after 41 mean.
Ideas would be appreciated.
 
Joined
May 3, 2002
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#2
The oil seal is designed to keep the oil in the forks. The dust wipers are designed to wipe the fork leg clean before it gets to the oil seals. What happens when you do not replace the wipers and seals, is exactly your problem. Been there bro! You get dirt past the wipers and into the seals which then leak.

Get a new set of seals and new set of dust wipers. Be sure to install the seals with a plastic bag covering the inner for as to not tear the seal when you install them.

Lastly, buy a set of the Seal Savers. Worth the $20 and then some!!!!
 
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#3
Yeah, I figured the oil seal was to keep the oil in and dust seal to keep the dust out. I have been through 2 new sets of oil seals, and one set of the dust.

The dust seal is doing it's job, keeping all the dirt out, but the oil seal obviously has problems.

Whether I have screwd up somewhere without knowing it (I couldn't have torn any part of the seal, the rubber is much to tough!) or perhas the fork and seal combo is faulty!

I don't mind spending the time tearing the forks down, but the money for the seals is getting on my nerves.

I would put on seal savers, if my seals could hold the oil back for more than day. Otherwise I would call them oil collectors, because that's all they're doin!

Anything else!
 

KDXFreestyle

Damn Yankees
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#5
you have to replace the metal bushings that I believe are below the oil seals. my deaer told me this. He said that if I dont replace them, I cant gaurentee they wont leak.
 
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#6
All right down to the basics.

I look at my previous "new" set of seals that I took out (because they leaked) and coulnd't find a tear or sign of wear what so ever.

I perform the job in a semi-clean environment (it is a shop after all!), but make sure to keep all abrasive and small particles away from the seals etc.

I don't see how the bushings (which I can't see as being worn out) could effect the fork seals that quickly. Even so, how would worn out bushings effect the sealing properties of the rubber seals?

What does the phrase "I've just blown a fork seal" mean? Nothing should explode, so I assume a tear or break is present in the oil seal.

Just one more thing. The seals dont leak while sitting. Actualy, while riding on the street, I see very minimal leakage, if any. But when the pounding and long travel suspension come in to play, here comes the oil! And I don't want it getting on my disk, I need all the braking power I can get! LOL.

Thanks so far guys!
 
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#7
Again, you are getting dirt in the seals.
install new parts and then install some seal savers.
 
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#8
So I go to a Kawi dealer today and start pondering about my fork seal dilemma. A few minutes go by, when the guy asks me, "Which way do you have the seals facing?" I say "With the letters up." I'm sure I was told to put them with the letters up.

Ends up I had 'em in backwards.

Uh, hueston we've found the problem.

Sorry for the pain and grieving guys. I'm no dummy, and I was out of ideas, but who would ever have thought. Upside down.

I'll flip em and tell ya the results.
 

Fibb

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Oct 30, 2003
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#9
Yama,

If they still end up leaking (I hope not), check your inner fork tube for serious gouges or scratches. This will generally abrade the seal in operation. If this is the case I think you can get them re-coated and polished - not sure where in North America though.

The Seal Savers are a good idea too. I'm not sure how much they help leaking seals, but they definitely help collect the oil and keep it off your brakes.
 
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#10
Flipped the seals, go for a hard ride, now only one seal is leaking. The one opposite the brake luckily!
I dunno, I think some magic is in order for the leaking seal. Maybe I will replace the leaky seal with another one.

It's looking better...
-Before the ride, I phoned in a stolen SUV on fire, which I happened to notice. I did my good deed for the day.

I had the digital camera with me, took some pics, and in the haste of uploading them on the computer, I formated the disk! DOh!!! to the tenth power! Don't ask, I think I was in a hurry, and it's a new program etc....
 

JCW

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#11
When you get it right, get fork bleeder valves and release the pressure when you have the bike on the trailer and a few times throughout the day. This will make your seals last a long, long time. Cost $25.
JCW