Scenario: 2008 Wee, aka “Toothless”; 31K on the odometer; right front oil seal leak
Tip: During reassembly, use the oil seal spacer to press fit the guide metal bushing into the fork cylinder, after inserting the fork tube and slide metal bushing into the fork cylinder.
Long Version: I've had "Toothless" since Sep 2012 and I noticed a leak in the right front seal about 3 months ago. I performed the 35mm clean-out trick which bought me a couple of extra months. Last week, when the seal started leaking again, I tried the film again, to no avail.
I knew I needed to replace the front seals and planned on following Black Lab’s excellent tutorial, Replacing Front Fork Oil Seals << Black Lab Adventures
The disassembly of the fork went as expected. The reassembly is where it got tricky, specifically with the guide metal bushing and slide metal bushing interplay. I inserted the guide bushing as directed, then tried for the next two hours to get the slide bushing to fit through the guide bushing as indicated in this section excerpted from the tutorial:
“Using a finger, I coated both the “guide metal” and the “slide metal” with a film of fork oil. I then carefully slid the fork tube back into the cylinder. I found that I had to use some pressure, and a “twisting motion” to have the “slide metal” work its way through, and by the “guide metal”. This is a snug fit!”
With no way simple way to get the guide metal bushing out and the slide metal bushing deforming, due to multiple attempts to force the slide metal past the guide metal, I realized I had a problem.
First, I focused on removing the press-fit guide metal bushing. I was able to wedge a thin flat blade between the guide metal and the wall of the fork cylinder. Using a twisting motion, I pried the lip of the guide metal away from the cylinder wall and removed the bushing. Having no replacement guide metal/slide metal bushings, I set the fork assembly aside and focused on the other fork.
Disassembly of the second fork followed the guide exactly. After cleaning all the parts, I worked through the reassembly in my mind. I realized that if I inserted the fork tube, with its slide bushing into the fork cylinder, prior to pressing in the guide bushing, I could use the oil seal spacer to press in the guide bushing. Two minutes, and a couple of hammer taps later, I had the guide bushing correctly seated in the cylinder and completed the fork reassembly.
Moral of the story: Every tutorial is a labor of love, but only represents that individual’s experiences. As is said all over the forum, YMMV. I would never have attempted the seal replacement without Black Lab’s tutorial and as a bonus, learned a valuable lesson in the process.