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Discussion Starter #1
I've blown my 3rd set of fork seals in a couple of years. Can anyone recommend the best brand to buy? OEM? I've been using cheapy Ebay seals so thinking that could be the problem. This time I intend to replace seals and dust caps, should I replace bushes too even though they don't seem worn? I'll also stick some of those neoprene seal savers on.
The chrome tubes are in good condition but I'm using 2.5 weight oil with intiminators, and I do ride some rough gravel roads.
Thanks for any help.
 

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I'm also running intiminators, no blown seals on two DL650's in an aggregate 170,000k's. The new owner of my old DL blew the seals on my old bike pretty quickly (I'd moved the neoprene seal savers to the new bike).

Could be dirt or oil height, with the forks fully extended, springs in, my oil is 170mm down from the top of the tubes.

The neoprene seal savers are magic, but take them off and wash them when they get filthy and a squirt of a silicone spray on the inside helps.

Pete
 

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Have you had the tubes checked for nicks or even scratches? The tiniest nick can damage the seal. When I had one go on me they checked things out and smoothed out some tiny imperfection. Another of my bikes got a stone chip which was the culprit. The mechanic said the best way to feel for something is running your fingernail up and down the tubes.
 

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Seals

My left fork seal started leaking after 18000kms on my 2012 650, I put a set of Italian fork seals in. I noticed the top lip of the seal had more spring pressure than the stock seal. Theoretically they should work much better
 

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Have you tried cleaning the seal ?

Often the seal is fine it just has crud under the lip.

You use can plastic or feeler gages (caution they are sharp) to clear any mud out from the lip of the seal, some seals can rollover and cleaning them will fix that too.

Ballards sell a plastic tool made for the job and it works fine.

On my dirt bikes I put a small strip of foam rubber wet down with fork oil between the dust seal and the oil seal, the foam collects the crud and keeps the tube lubricated so the seals don't stick and grab, a over tight seal can cause problems too, KTM had that problem years back.

Some cleaners will leave the tubes very dry, try a silicone spray after washing your ride.
 

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From what I have read and from personal experience, most " blown " fork seals are not blown at all tho they are a good earner for some repairers.
As mentioned above, the smallest nick can cause a seal to leak or mostly they only weep. If the chrome stanchions are in good shape your weeping seals almost certainly have dirt that looks like a tiny piece of paste or thick slurry, trapped under the rubber.
I keep mine in check with a plastic tooth pik, the white ones with a curve and attached floss one end and a gently curved pik on the other end. These are sold in those Cheap Charlie type discount shops that spring up everywhere. A box of a couple of hundred for around 4 bux.

Google " BALLARDS Offroad " for his catalogue.( one of my favourite catalogues. ) Under tools you'll find a ' Seal Doctor " $29.95
Almost all MX riders and many off road riders carry one in the main toolbox.
The tooth pik works just fine for me tho almost never needed these days.

Saturn 5 …….. pensioned off, see Flea Market.

Rolex posted as I typed but +1 what he said. G'Day Rolex, Good to meet you and thanks for your kind offer to stay down south. Hope to take that offer probably in Springtime. Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes I have tried cleaning out the seals with no improvement. I blew the seal 4 hours from home so tried filling the forks with thick engine oil which pissed out pretty quickly adding to the mess already accumulated over my brakes, bike and boots.
Any preferences for replacement seals? OEM?

Off the topic, me2, how r u finding your intiminator.

I really like them. I found them a bit harsh over small bumps until I drilled the 1mm hole down through the top. My only concern has been keeping the very light oil inside.
 

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I will go with OEM - and neoprene seal savers - You can cut a stubbie cooler and and put some Velcro inside- ask Gotawee or Ang - she was telling everyone that at a recent gathering.

Many OEM stuff are of higher quality than after-market rubbish.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
OK, thanks for all the advice. I'll use OEM seals, dust seals and will make some seal savers too.

Cheers,
Mark
 

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I keep a roll of 35mm camera film in my toolbox. It's an old dirt bikers trick. When a seal starts to weep, slide up the dust seals and clean out the crud with judicious amounts of WD-40, a toothpick, and a small toothbrush like for a baby. Then, cut off a 6" section of film and GENTLY work it down between the seal and the fork tube and work it up and down all the way around the diameter of the tube. 9 times out of 10 this remove the culprit causing the weeping seal and your good to go. Unless a seal is actually torn or just plain worn out, it doesn't always need to be automatically replaced if it leaks. If that were the case, I'd be replacing seals on my KTM after most every race.

Neoprene seal savers help, but for you guys that never wash your bikes, you gotta keep them clean underneath cuz if they build up with crud they will scratch the fork tubes and cause much more harm than good. Also, not that it matters on our bikes, but don't use seal savers on high end forks like Ohlins and high-end Showa because they contain a special coating on the surface of the tubes.........
 

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Cheap seals are a waste of time, as you have learned. Some are so useless that I can't believe anyone of conscience sells them.

But anyhoo, now you know to use OEM seals. The PVC pipe should be the approximate diameter of the upper fork tube, and you split it lengthwise into two semicircular pieces. That will allow you to fit the two PVC pieces over the upper fork tube, and I recommend that you use a hose clamp or two to keep the two sides in place while you pound down on the top of the PVC, but don't try to get the PVC pieces tight against the fork tube -- you want to put pressure on the OUTER rim of the seal, not the softer portion close to the fork tube . (Of course the PVC must extend up over the top of the fork tube so you have a place to pound.) Use a wood block on top of the PVC when you pound to distribute the force equally onto the two halves of the pipe so the seal goes in evenly.

I'm sure this sounds confusing, but you'll figure it out as you go.
 

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Fork seal leaks can also be caused by an improperly mounted front axle.

The left hand fork leg "floats" on the end of the axle and is held in place by the pinch bolt. If the LHS leg for is pushed in toward the hub to far or pulled out away from the hub too far, and locked in place with the pinch bolt, the fork leg will be in a constant bind.

There are 2 remedies:

My prefered method, with the front wheel in the air, is to install the axle and tighten it into the RHS leg. Leave the LHS leg pinch bolt loose. Spin the front wheel by hand and pull hard on the front brake. This will jolt the whole front end and the LHS fork will naturally jump to its most neutral position. I repeat the above a few times, just because. Then tighten your pinch bolt.

The same as above could be done with the bike on the ground. Hold the front brake and compress the forks by sitting on the seat and pushing down on the handlebars. Do it a couple times then tighten your pinch bolt.

Motion Pro actually makes a tool for this but I find it a pain to weave in around the wheel and forks. The above methods work very well.
 
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