cleaning fork seals

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by tennessee thumper, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. tennessee thumper

    tennessee thumper Don't Text Me Bro

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    I just bought 2006 TE 450 with 20+ hours. Fork seals leaking a bit. Any tips on cleaning/repairing them to stop the leak. I planned on the initial ride Sunday but am worried about the leak and may not ride. Any comments with prior experience would be helpful...
    #1
  2. ThumperDRZ

    ThumperDRZ Bouncing off Rocks!

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    I think I read once here where someone used 35 mm film from a standard camera and ran it around the seals to clean them out and stop the leaking with good results.
    #2
  3. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    Lots of opinions on how to go about that and what to use.

    My method consists of dropping the dust seals, cleaning them and packing them with a medium body water-proof grease. The grease acts as a "crap catcher" before the actual seal.

    While the dust seals are down, I'll take a new, clean white business card, insert the corner into the oil seal lip and give it a pass or two around the inner circumference of the seal, between seal and tube.

    Why a clean white business card... you ask with giddy anticipation?

    1. you can't damage the seal with paper. (OK... there's probably somebody out there that can damage a seal with a down feather)
    2. every card has four useful, fresh, pointy corners that slide nicely between seal and tube.
    3. you can see the crap you scrap out.
    4. you can see when you've scrapped out all the crap... and how lazy you are because you're oil is so damn dirty.
    5. business cards are cheap and the fit in your wallet real nice.


    C
    #3
  4. tennessee thumper

    tennessee thumper Don't Text Me Bro

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    Thanks for your comments.... I had heard about this but wanted to get some feedback. As I mentioned, the bike is a 2006 has only 20 hours on it. I can't imagine the seals are bad, but one never knows. The good news, I called the guy I bought the bike from and he apologized for the trouble and is sending off a set of seals for my trouble. Good Karma...Maybe a good clean job and some riding will help get everything back in proper order. Field test report to follow.....
    #4
  5. motometal

    motometal i like motorcycles

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    has it sat awhile? it is possible that they are weeping a bit from the bike not being ridden. I have had several bikes, with different brand forks, that had no leaks until the bike sat awhile...then the fork seals started weeping. It's sorta tough to convince prospective buyers of this theory though :D
    #5
  6. ram1000

    ram1000 Long timer

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    I used a 3/1000 feeler gauge slide up into the seals on my wifes DR650 and it stopped the leaking for about two years now. The feeler gauge works better because it has its own structure whereas paper wouldn't hold up I wouldn't think.
    #6
  7. tennessee thumper

    tennessee thumper Don't Text Me Bro

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    I am on board with the sitting idle theory. Supposedly the bike (a 2006 with only 20 hours/300miles) sat for a few months...the reason, a common one I guess..."it was too much bike for my son" the seller told me. So, I am hopeful the down time and sedintary history of the bike is the cause of the leak. Again a report to follow and thanks for your input.

    TT
    #7
  8. RightSpin

    RightSpin Been here awhile

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    TT, plain white business cards worked for me. I was preparing to replace my seals and a thread about leaking seals on KTMtalk.com caught my eye. Creeper and several others reported good results when leaking seals were cleaned.

    Mine have been nice and dry ever since. I do clean the wipers more often and keep the sliders wiped down with silicone spray after washing the bike.
    #8
  9. motometal

    motometal i like motorcycles

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    just riding it may take care of it. Just keep an eye out, if it pukes to much out on the brake side it will foul the pads.
    #9
  10. neepuk

    neepuk Such a drag...

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    +1
    Feeler gauge with a notch cut out of it about 1/2 inch from the end. Slide the gauge in carefully and use the small notch to pull the dirt and grime out of the seal instead of pushing it in to the oil. Work it very slowly and you won't rip the seal.
    #10
  11. KTMSER

    KTMSER Big bike friendly

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  12. kiriakos

    kiriakos Banned

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    I have my little Honda for 14 years , no problems at all with fork oil seals .
    Until few weeks , that i had to do an emergency braking , and the left one , started to leak badly .

    I ordered new , oil seals and dust seals .

    I have a second front system as spare , and i opened it up the boots , so to learn how it opens , so to not cause damage at my main front system .

    The oil seal internally , is a sensitive part at the center , sticking parts in it , its a very hard task , especially if you have dust seals on top .
    I do not know how it is actually possible , this method of cleaning , to work on my motorcycle .

    Its the Showa boots , not compatible with this method ? , i do not know .

    All that i know is , that my oil seals and dust seals , had become aged , and loosed their ability to operate.
    #12
  13. neepuk

    neepuk Such a drag...

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    You have to carefully remove the dust seal and slide them up and out of the way. Your feeler gauge will then slide right in. Sometimes a little oil on the feeler gauge will help.
    #13
  14. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    I have also heard the 35mm film trick, although you may get asked 'what's 35mm film?''
    JIm
    #14
  15. alpiv

    alpiv Sr. nOOb

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    All are good suggestions and I've used the business card out in the middle of no-mans land with success.

    Yet, if you are running larger forks, 43 or 48 mm
    I would suggest replacing the stock seals with
    synergyseals.com

    I've used them on both my KTMs (450 EXC and 640 Adv) with great success.
    #15
  16. KaBooM

    KaBooM Adventurer

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    It is true that with OEM style seals you will need to clean them with a seal mate, business card or film negative. But keep this in mind. You fork oil is already dirty and you most likely have water in your forks along with dirt. So cleaning the seals just keeps pushing the dirt back into the oil. This is what is called "Jimmy Rigging". Just think, if you had a product in your forks the first time or next time, you would not have to worry about "Jimmy Rigging" any longer.

    You see, the Synergy Seals setup is pretty savy. Our design is a single tall lip oil seal, then we have a pre-wiper that physically scraps and pushes dirt, water, dust, silt away from the seal. Then we have a backup ring which acts as the fork tubes pivot during the forks deflection and most importantly, keeps the oil seal and pre-wiper axially straight.

    Again, by reading this and reading other riders that use our seals, you can tell right away that we are the only company in the world doing the right thing for riders and the only company in the world with this design and material. EVERYTHING is propriotory and we license to no one.

    Call us sometime, we love to chat, Rob
    #16
  17. fast4d

    fast4d Long timer

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    I had a 2002 duke II with only 750 miles (as of 2 months ago).

    one fork seal leaks oil when it's parked. Once I ride the bike it'll stop leaking for a couple days.

    a friend told me the seal may have "shrunk" from lack of usage. he told me to spray WD-40 at the rubber seal so it swells. will this work?


    I've used a business card to clean the seal.
    #17
  18. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

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    If WD-40 by chance swells seals then you will be in luck. I can't recall if it eat seals, so you had better find that out too. You might have better luck using one of the fork oils that has additives that swells seals. I was told the Silkolene fork oils have such additives, but you should check around to make sure.

    Pity you can't simply ride more... :ricky
    #18
  19. fast4d

    fast4d Long timer

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    I bought it in oct with 700 miles. it has 1700 mile now.:D
    #19