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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I finished a cross country tour on my 2004 Wee-Strom about a month ago without any serious maintenance issues. Over the weekend, however, I noticed that the front fork is leaking a significant amount of oil. In the past I have used the film trick to clear the seals of debris and that has always stopped the leaking, but this time it seems like the leak is much more significant, and I have already probably lost too much oil. At 42,000 miles and change after an 8,000 mile heavily loaded ride I am thinking that it's time for a total rebuild of the fork.

Before I begin the process I have a couple questions that I was hoping to get answers to. First of all should I attempt the entire process myself or maybe just remove the fork tubes? A local shop said they would do the internals for about $100 which seems like an ok deal to me, whereas to do the whole job they quoted me close to $300.

The second question is what do I need to replace in the fork? I have been told by the shop to replace the fork seal, dust seal, and both bushings, parts 5, 6, 8 and 10 here. Finally, is there any cheaper kit out there or another location where I can buy these parts for less? The order comes to $118, which seems like a lot for these kinds of seals/bushings.

Thanks for all of your help. This forum is a big part of why I love this bike so much!
 

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At only 42K miles, why on earth do you need to replace the bushings or dust covers? :confused:

Yes, I know that's what the manual says. The manual was written by lawyers intent on boosting parts sales. In practice, you'll find little to no perceivable wear in the bushings as long as you haven't run the forks completely dry.

Just replace the seals, and perhaps the seal retainer clips, and give serious consideration to doing it yerdamself instead of paying a shop to screw it up.

If you decide to remove the fork tubes and take it to a shop, consider talking to a local dirtbike shop, if there's a good one around -- they do a lot more competition-grade suspension work than a streetbike oriented shop.
 

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My new old Indian trick is to examine the tubes themselves especially for dings that have RAISED a little burr. If this is not dressed the new seals will go by by real fast.

A little stone /sharpening stone can dress these down.. I had success then to clean the f out of the pockets then fill them with with JB Weld.

Lastly I used a buffing wheel and rouge to buff the tubes in the direction of travel

No leaks and a real noticeable reduction in sticktion
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Where/What to buy

Thanks for the responses everyone. I have looked through your tutorials Black Lab, including this one here and they have been immensely helpful. Thank you for posting these guides.

I ordered some new Sonic Springs (0.90) and am now putting together an order for the seals. I think I will try to salvage the old dust seals as they seem to be in perfect shape, but I was planing on replacing the slide and glide metals and obviously the oil seal.

I found these seals here and they seem to be a great deal, but I am wondering whether I should go with OEM seals and fork over the money. As for the bushings I can only find them at a couple online parts stores for $15-$20 each and the fastest shipping I could find was by 10/6 for $17.10. This shipping seems ridiculous to me given that they are such small parts, but I have tried multiple online part vendors and that was the best I could find. Any recommendations on where to get these parts? The local Suzuki dealer wanted $30-$40 for each bushing and they had to order them anyways so they're definitely out. Suzuki Parts House seems to be the best part store in terms of price I've found, but I would really like to have a good source for parts for future reference.

Any suggestions? Especially regarding those after market seals? If I could use them and save the slide and guide metals my overall cost would drop from $200+ in parts to about $100 - pretty significant to me. Thanks again.
 

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I've given up entirely on aftermarket fork seals. They suck, period. All of them. Yes, especially the "Leak Proof" seals. :thumbdown::furious::headbang:

I've never once had a problem with OEM seals and they last. :thumbup:

OEM seals are only $15 - $17 each and are worth every penny.

Yes, you can skip replacing the bushings ("slide metals" as the fiche calls them) until you've got 150,000 miles or so.

As far as OEM parts, Babbitts/Suzuki parts house is well known for posting slightly cheaper parts prices and then gouging you on shipping. There are several better options out there, such as:

- partshark.com

- My local dealer, Westfield Suzuki -- they have free shipping above a certain dollar amount, reasonable shipping costs below that, and I can drop by to pick up my stuff for free as well.

- Poke around the web sites for your local Suzuki dealers -- many, like Westfield, offer large discounts on parts you order through the web site.

- Bikebandit.com isn't too bad if you have a discount code -- AMA membership or Dairyland/Sentry insurance gets you 10% off. Their prices are about 15% higher than others and I avoid them because they use their own fake part numbers instead of Suzuki part numbers, which can get very confusing if you have a large order.


It's important to remember that ALL these parts sources, including your local dealer, are simply ordering from the exact same Suzuki warehouses, and none of them can tell you exactly when your stuff will show up. Nobody actually stocks OEM parts -- the parts have to be ordered from Suzuki, and usually (but no guarantees) arrive at the dealer in three to five business days. They are then packaged and shipped to you. The fastest way to get OEM parts is always to order them through your local dealer and pick them up in person. If your local dealer sells online at a discount, great. If they have to wake up a parts monkey, you're going to pay...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the help guys. I have ordered a set of sonic springs, oem seals and new bushings - the bushings may be unnecessary but I figured I might as well have them on hand if the old ones look like they need replacing once I get everything apart.

I really appreciate the help and guidance. By the way I learned the hard way that the bar ends are not meant to be unscrewed fully. It was a big doh moment when I figured out how the fastener worked - fortunately nothing that a few minutes with a coat hanger couldn't fix though.
 

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Once you've done one of these very simple damper rod forks you'll be able to have them apart and back together in no time at all next time. They are super simple to work on and rebuild. It takes longer to get them off the bike than to rebuild one of them.
 
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