Fork seal cleaning

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by jtrider, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. jtrider

    jtrider Ya. nOOb.

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    Hi. I have a '04 KLR 650. Last spring, about 6000 miles ago, i replaced the fork seals and wipers because one was leaking. OEM parts. All stock fork setup. I have been hitting the fire trails pretty hard lately, and the bike was pretty crusty with clay. After a cleanup, I find both forks are leaking BAD. I twisted off the fork boots and crud is caked in there on top of the seals. What I am wondering is, what would be a good way to clean the crap out of there without having compressed air. There is a fork brace on there. I am hoping to try the 35mm film method of cleaning these fork seals. 35mm film kind of went the way of free gas station maps. Hard to find. What else can I use? About the process of working this film down in there between the fork and the seal. Do I have to remove the retaining ring and wiper first? New fork seals won't be the end of the world, but I have enough on my plate right now. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    #1
  2. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    The film trick works pretty good if it a grain of something.... dunno about what you have. Surely you or some one you know has old pictures & still has the negatives. There is usually a leader that has no pic on it.

    That said, I would prolly pull all the seals & clean things up... One of my OEMs has almost 30,000 miles the other was replaced at about 12K.

    The KLRs fork boots have holes in the bottom of the bellows part... I always try to turn them facing aft to minimize the crap that makes it in there. Might need RTV to fill in at least one that still faces forward. Hard to get a good seal with a brace too.

    While you're at it.... bring the oil level up to 170 if you haven't done so already. It really helps remove the brake dive.
    #2
  3. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    I've used a Seal Mate (like film, but shaped to get the crud) with a fair amount of success. For $5 it can't hurt to try one.
    #3
  4. peterhively

    peterhively Been here awhile

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  5. peterhively

    peterhively Been here awhile

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  6. jtrider

    jtrider Ya. nOOb.

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    Seal Mate ordered. I will let you know how it works out. Thanks.
    #6
  7. Buster452

    Buster452 Been here awhile

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    Figured I'd share a new tool that you can use to clean the crud from your Fork Seals.

    I had the bike torn down for maintenance this weekend and one of the items I was looking at was a leaking fork seal that was pissing oil all over the place.

    So, conventional tools are 35mm film, business cards and seal mates. You can hardly find 35mm film laying around anymore. Business cards are kinda flimsy and swell when soaked with oil. I didn't have a seal mate and the local shops don't carry them. What to do...

    Cut the side out of a 2 liter soda bottle. You can even cut a curve and a little hook just like the seal mate has. It's thin enough to get in there, but sturdy enough to not bend when swiping around the seals. Just rinse any soda off of it and wipe it clean.

    Big plus is if you're out on a ride and develop a leaky seal your local convenience stores and gas stations have fork cleaning tools on their shelves.
    #7
  8. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    all KLRs came with the vent holes in the fork boots facing forward. turn the boots around so that the holes are in the back & they scoop less dirt. also cover the outer couple holes with black RTV
    #8
  9. VStromTom

    VStromTom Long timer

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    All a seal mate is is a plastic bottle cut with a hook shape to it. Easy to make and both work well, seal mate and homemade.
    #9
  10. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    Instead of 35mm film, I use a feeler guage to clean my seals. .002-.005 from an old set so I dont worry about it getting kinked or creased. Sits inside the on-board tool kit for service when traveling if needed.
    #10
  11. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    :ddog
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  12. silvergoose

    silvergoose Adventurer

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    I have tried the Seal Mate, but I think the Seal Doctor is far ahead of the Seal Mate. The Seal Doctor attaches to the fork in order to keep the cleaner edge in position, IMHO, this will prevent the Seal Doctor from cutting/ nicking the seal. Although I do not have holdings in the Seal Doctor product, I feel very strongly about the product and the design.

    Good Luck
    #12