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Discussion Starter #1
I pulled my bike out this weekend for the first time this year/season after sitting for about 10 weeks and noticed that the fork seals were leaking. They were fine when I put the bike to bed, we didn't have a cold winter. I rebuilt the forks less than 2 years ago, about 15K miles ago. Being that I pulled the bike out of the cold garage, maybe the fork tubes and seals had shrunk letting fluid through? Like the trick of putting a bushing in the freezer before press fitting. If this was true things would be leaking all the time, so I'm kind of ruling out that theory In 33 years of street riding I've never seen this happen. Anyone experienced this before?
 

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I pulled my bike out this weekend for the first time this year/season after sitting for about 10 weeks and noticed that the fork seals were leaking. They were fine when I put the bike to bed, we didn't have a cold winter. I rebuilt the forks less than 2 years ago, about 15K miles ago. Being that I pulled the bike out of the cold garage, maybe the fork tubes and seals had shrunk letting fluid through? Like the trick of putting a bushing in the freezer before press fitting. If this was true things would be leaking all the time, so I'm kind of ruling out that theory In 33 years of street riding I've never seen this happen. Anyone experienced this before?
Don't rule out the temp effect just yet. Just sitting in the cold garage they probably wouldn't leak since they're just sitting. Once you moved it out of the garage there would have been a little fork movement that pulled some fluid past the seals. Both sides the same?

If they don't fix themselves when the temp rises, try dressing them with some fine wet or dry or a sealmate sort of tool.

Cheers,
Glenn
 

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Not normal. There should be no leak for any temperature change. I've gone from a 50F garage to 0F.

Approach will be the same though - try to clean them out and see if they reseal. Are you sure it's oil and not moist dirt? What brand of seals did you use when you rebuilt last, and what did you use to drive them in?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Definitely fork fluid, I think they were All Balls(?) seals and bushings, I used a PVC pipe to seat the seals.
 

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Try this, worked on my 650.

Motion Pro Sealmate{loc_phyiscal_ms}&matchtype=&merchid=348908&mrkgadid=3301756451&mrkgbflag=0&mrkgcat=dirtbikeparts&mrkgcl=500&mrkgen=gpla&network=g&prodctry=US&prodlang=en&product_id=MOP002Q-X001-Y001&pssource=true&segment=badger&storeid={product_store_id}&targetid=pla-500020295964&variant=MOP002Q-X001-Y001&{ifpla:dsproductgroupid=500020295964&variant[MOP002Q]=MOP002Q-X001-Y001
 

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If you have some old 35mm film negatives, try one of them to help clean out debris between the tubes and seals.

Try this, worked on my 650.

Motion Pro Sealmate{loc_phyiscal_ms}&matchtype=&merchid=348908&mrkgadid=3301756451&mrkgbflag=0&mrkgcat=dirtbikeparts&mrkgcl=500&mrkgen=gpla&network=g&prodctry=US&prodlang=en&product_id=MOP002Q-X001-Y001&pssource=true&segment=badger&storeid={product_store_id}&targetid=pla-500020295964&variant=MOP002Q-X001-Y001&{ifpla:dsproductgroupid=500020295964&variant[MOP002Q]=MOP002Q-X001-Y001
 

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This was written by a member of our V4Honda board years ago. I've done it and it works. For the benefit of someone who may not be thinking due to hangover or what ever ails them, the grit side of the sandpaper is on the OUTSIDE, not touching the fork tube.

Cheers,
Glenn

269847
 

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It is not uncommon for seals to leak in the cold weather when the bike is sitting idle. Rubber gets stiff, different rates of thermal expansion, etc. The good news, is that most times, once the temps warm up, the seals will stop leaking.

On my dirtbikes over the years, I've had seals leak over winter. These bikes are in an unheated and un-insulated garage which outside temps could drop to -35F or colder on the coldest nights. In case a seal should leak over winter, when I put the bikes to storage, I tie a rag around each fork leg to absorb the fork fluid so that the fluid doesn't soak the brake pads.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the replies, I'll try the film trick to clean any debris out, but I'm thinking cold and dryness may be the culprit.
 

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The film trick is valid, but if the bike has been sitting inside all winter it didnt get exposed to any dirt anyway.
Do not use any abrasive material on the tubes. They should be smooth chrome plated, if there are visible nicks you can try to smooth it out, (good luck),otherwise dont scratch them up.
If its really leaking, new seals are the only fix, OE or similar quality.
 

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The film try worked for while on my forks. I rode from St Paul Mn back to Calif with a pukey fork before I did the repair. It's not catastrophic but it runs better after the rebuild.
I used a plastic card from some campground membership to clean the seals.Just cut the card to a hook.
I used Black Labs tutorial to do the job. It was similar to rebuilding the forks on my R75/6 BMW.
 

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Do not use any abrasive material on the tubes. They should be smooth chrome plated, if there are visible nicks you can try to smooth it out, (good luck),otherwise dont scratch them up.

For the benefit of someone who may not be thinking due to hangover or what ever ails them, the grit side of the sandpaper is on the OUTSIDE, not touching the fork tube.
Just sayin'
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The film trick is valid, but if the bike has been sitting inside all winter it didnt get exposed to any dirt anyway.
Do not use any abrasive material on the tubes. They should be smooth chrome plated, if there are visible nicks you can try to smooth it out, (good luck),otherwise dont scratch them up.
If its really leaking, new seals are the only fix, OE or similar quality.
My thinking too, it didn't get exposed to dirt while in storage. Tubes are smooth, no nicks. I'll most likely end up rebuilding them, I even found a set of Racetech seals and bushings in a drawer, and I have fluid, so no out of pocket expense. I think I followed Black Labs tutorial the first time I rebuilt.
 

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If its really leaking, new seals are the only fix, OE or similar quality.
My 'druthers are for OEM fork seals. I've been completely dissatisfied with Leak Proof® fork seals on my KZ. Installed them at 33000 mi. they lasted 4000 mi. Installed them again and went about 2000mi. Went back to genuine Kawasaki seals and they were still holding up at 43000 mi. I wasn't riding this bike more than 200-500mi/yr, and it's sat since 2005, before tearing it down to the frame in 2019.
 

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Same here: I've consistently, over many bikes and years, had the absolute best life and performance from actual OEM fork seals. It's not even close, and it's not worth farting around with any aftermarket seals, even if they claim to be "just as good" or "OEM Manufacturer" or "Same as OEM". They're not. The price difference is nothing compared to the hassle and potential hazard of fork oil on your brakes.

The one exception I've found is that "Leak Proof" brand's soft-bodied seals can work, for a short time, better than anything else on vintage bikes with damaged fork tubes (as long as you smooth out pitting as best you can), but they wear out and fail very quickly on any bike. They're just not worth messing with at all unless the bike is so rare you just don't have the option of finding fork tubes in better shape and you don't ride it much. Those situations don't really apply to V-Stroms.
 
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