Fork seal replacement

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Pomo, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. Pomo

    Pomo gonzo

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    612
    Location:
    El Desierto, NM
    So, I noticed my fork seals were leaking. How could I tell? Hmm...

    [​IMG]

    This is a pretty simple operation, but I knew nothing about it before I tried it. So this one is dedicated to weekend warrior garage mechanics who are also inept like me. :D

    Parts needed:
    Seals:

    • BMW 31 42 7 692 145 - Dust seal ($32.22USD each)
    • BMW 31 42 7 692 147 - Oil seal ($25.08USD each)

    OR

    • SFK KIT45M - Oil & dust seal (~$33USD each, sold together)
    The stock seals are NOKs. Mine lasted more than 20,000 miles. I think the replacement interval is ~18,000 miles.

    Edit (31/10/2012): The seal sizes I listed below are correct for my bike, which is a 2009. It appears that the forks on 2013+ models may be different (43mm WPs instead of the 45mm Marzocchis).

    I opted for SFK seals from Dual Sport Armory. The size of the stock seals is 45 x 58 x 14. Stamped on the inside of the dust seal are the measurements 45 x 58.4 x 4.0 x 14. The SFK kit has the same dimensions, save what I guess is the overall height (11mm for SFK versus 14 for the NOK). The lip insertion depth appears to be the same on both seals (~4mm).

    Bushings:

    • BMW 31 42 7 692 149 - Upper bushing ($32.02USD each)
    • BMW 31 42 7 692 150 - Lower bushing ($22.88USD each)
    My bushings didn't look worn, and they are on the expensive side so I just reused them.

    Tools:

    • E12 torx (brake caliper bolts)
    • T30 torx (fender bolts)
    • T45 torx (triple tree pinch bolts)
    • 8mm allen (damper bolt; possibly not stock? I have Bitubos)
    • 13mm open-end wrench
    • XXmm wrench or socket (fork top cap, depends on what kind of suspension you have)
    • Flathead screwdriver (upper bushing and snap ring)
    • Fork seal driver or similar homemade tool (PVC pipe, etc)
    • Fork seal "bullet" or a bunch of soft tape
    Disassembly:

    1) Unbolt your ABS sensor (if applicable), and remove the front wheel.

    2) Unbolt the brake calipers (2 e-torx bolts) and zip tie them to the frame to keep weight off the hoses.

    3) Unbolt the fender (2 torx bolts on the fork legs plus 1 bolt near the brake calipers on each side) and pull it off of the fork legs. Zip tie it to the frame if needed or make sure the weight is supported by the calipers.

    4) Loosen ONLY the top triple clamp bolts (2 torx bolts). Use whatever size necessary on your top cap to pop it loose, but don't completely unscrew it.

    5) Loosen the bottom triple clamp bolts and slide the fork tube out of the bottom.

    6) Unscrew the top cap and slide the stanchion down to reveal the spring.

    7) Drain the fork oil. You can optionally remove the fork spring by pushing the spring down, putting a 13mm open end wrench on the nut, and using your top cap wrench or socket to break the top cap loose from the damper rod. Then pull the spring off along with the plastic washer. (You'll have to do this at some point in order to pump the damper to get rid of the old oil and make sure it's purged of air when you refill the forks).

    [​IMG]

    8) Use an impact wrench to unbolt the damper unit from the bottom of the fork leg (8mm allen bolt in my case, I can't remember if this is the stock bolt or not). Pull the damper unit out and lay it aside somewhere clean.

    9) CAREFULLY use a screwdriver or pick to pull the dust seal off. This should come out pretty easily, if you have manly fingernails you can probably use those as well. Make sure you don't slip and scratch your fork tubes!

    10) Once the dust seal is off, look under the upper stanchion. There is a lock ring with a couple of indentations where you can pry it out with a flat blade screwdriver or pick. Again be careful of your fork tubes, this should also come out pretty easily.

    [​IMG]

    11) Once the lock ring is out, you need to unseat the oil ring. The easiest way I found on youtube to do this is to pull the upper and lower fork tubes apart like a slide hammer. It will take a few whacks but the oil ring should pop out along with a flat washer, the lower bushing and the upper bushing all on the lower fork tube.

    [​IMG]

    12) Use a flat blade screwdriver to spread the upper bushing apart and slide it off the top of the fork leg. It is set into a small indentation, so it may take a little convincing. Still don't scratch anything!

    13) Slide the rest of the pieces off, making a note of the order and orientation of everything. (I think the bushings and the washer are bi-directional, but obviously the seals are not!)

    14) Clean up the fork tubes and bushings, if you plan to reuse them.

    [​IMG]

    Reassembly

    1) Slide the fork seal bullet over the top of the lower fork leg. The goal is to cover up the sharp edge of the indentation where the upper bushing sits. Use tape if you don't feel like spending a few buck for the fancy plastic thingy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    2) Slide the dust seal onto the fork leg. Make sure the metal ring is facing down towards the ground.

    3) Slide the snap ring onto the fork leg.

    4) Slide the oil seal onto the fork leg. On the inside of the seal there is a double ridge, make sure this is on the upper side of the fork leg, i.e. on the side closest to the handlebars. I put a dab of oil on the inside of both seals before I put them on to help lubricate them, not sure if it's entirely necessary but I figured it couldn't hurt.

    [​IMG]

    This is a really bad picture of the correct orientation, but you can also sort of tell by the indents on the inside of the outer ring.

    5) Pull the bullet off, or remove the tape. The rest of the parts won't fit over it. Slide the washer on.

    6) Slide the lower bushing on.

    7) Slide the upper bushing on, and make sure it is seated into its groove.

    [​IMG]

    8) Slide the upper fork tube over the lower fork tube. Use the seal driver to individually seat the lower bushing. You should be able to hear when it bottoms out.

    [​IMG]

    I actually put the washer between the driver and the bushing in order to drive it in since the tool I have has a gap that the bushing fits into perfectly, making it not fully seat.

    9) Use the seal driver to seat the oil seal. If the oil seal is properly seated you should be able to see the groove that the lock ring goes into.

    10) Reinsert the lock ring. I had to use my flat blade to get it all the way in because my fingers were too fat.

    [​IMG]

    For reference, the bottom of the ring is in the groove but the top isn't quite seated.

    11) Slide the dust seal in. You should be able to do this by hand.

    [​IMG]

    12) Put the damper back in, refill it with oil. Pump the damper until the oil height doesn't change. Set your oil height, reinstall the spring, and button it up with the fork cap.

    13) Put everything back together on the bike in reverse order. Tada!
    #1
  2. LukasM

    LukasM Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,457
    Location:
    On a RTW ride - currently touring the U.S.
    Great job on the tutorial, that will definitely help all the first timers! :clap
    #2
  3. malloy

    malloy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    825
    Location:
    THE FOOTHILLS
    Very nice, Lukas. Thanks for sharing:clap:clap.
    #3
  4. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,834
    Location:
    Cowtown
    Well done:thumb
    #4
  5. mapuda

    mapuda Crash Tested

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Thanks for the tutorial. I have Kriega fork seal protectors on my F800 but also 43K miles. Been wanting to change the fork oil anyway. Time to go for the seals.
    #5
  6. Pomo

    Pomo gonzo

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    612
    Location:
    El Desierto, NM
    I was also due for a fork oil change. Only about 10 or 12k on the oil, but there was a little bit of sludge in the bottom after I pulled the dampers out. You'll probably have lot more at 43k. :eek1
    #6
  7. Scapadu

    Scapadu Motomaniac

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    865
    Location:
    South France
    Great job, thanks for sharing! :clap
    #7
  8. Dual Sport Armory

    Dual Sport Armory Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    251
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, Va
    Fantastic step by step ,how do like the SKF's?
    #8
  9. Indy Unlimited

    Indy Unlimited Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,604
    Location:
    Parker, CO
    I don't remove the cartridges to change the oil and dust seal. That step is optional. I use a thin sandwich bag for a condom to slide the new seals over the tube.
    #9
  10. officerleroy

    officerleroy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    126
    Location:
    District 37
    Good write up man :thumb

    I noticed mine are starting to leak and I'm right at 20k.

    I'm up in Farmington, hit me up if you're ever in my neck of the woods.
    #10
  11. Pomo

    Pomo gonzo

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    612
    Location:
    El Desierto, NM
    Well, they don't leak when brand new. :D I dislocated a finger a few weeks ago on my mountain bike, so I haven't been riding any offroad.

    The stock seals didn't really seem to be inferior. The SKF's just happened to be a lot cheaper than buying a set of stockers from a BMW shop.

    Removing all the innards probably isn't necessary, but I figured while I was in there I would change the oil. Probably not necessary even then, but it only added maybe 10 minutes total to the job. :dunno
    #11
  12. grndzr0

    grndzr0 its Ground Zero

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Montana

    What year is your bike?

    I have a 2010, and I noticed that this EBAY listing shows that they are different size---- [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]INSIDE DIAMETER=42mm OUTSIDE DIAMETER=54mm THICKNESS=11mm

    [/FONT]
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/FRONT-FORK-SEALS-2009-BMW-F800GS-F800-GS-/250740001163[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]

    And the sizes you list are different...

    Just wondering if these were different between years or not...

    Ryan
    [/FONT]
    #12
  13. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    8,998
    Location:
    :o)
    I'll keep that thread warm in my favorites. Thanks for the upload<label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label>
    #13
  14. grndzr0

    grndzr0 its Ground Zero

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Montana
    So, thanks for the write up, I used it this weekend, but had some questions for all you veteran riders out there.

    First off, this was about the 4th fork seal job I have ever done, and it was much easier than any other bike I have ever done.

    The culprit:

    [​IMG]



    The issue:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    This is on the leg that was leaking. I cannot feel anything, no change in resistance, no edges, uneven surfaces, nothing.

    It looks like the chrome is rubbed off.

    Something I should be worried about?

    Bike has about 21,500 miles on it. The leg was only leaking for about 200 miles and for about a week. It still had lots of oil In it, and it was still producing oil while riding around and sitting, so it wasn't dry.

    By the way, I used the 45mm Marzocchi Kit from www.dualsportarmory.com and it fit like a charm. Exact same size seals as the stock ones.

    Ryan
    #14
  15. grndzr0

    grndzr0 its Ground Zero

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Montana
    Bump on my last question

    :norton
    #15
  16. greenthumb

    greenthumb b00b

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    265
    Location:
    Okanagan, British Columbia
    If it were me, I would check it for cracks, straightness, diameter, out of round as well as the bushing condition.
    Did you crash it? Does it look like the spot is from wear or a buildup of something? Does it buff out with fine sandpaper?
    If it checked out, I would reuse it, but that is just me. Or at least have a reputable suspension shop check it out.
    A new one is $528 from maxbmw if you want piece of mind, but apparently it has been updated, and you need to change both.
    #16
  17. Pomo

    Pomo gonzo

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    612
    Location:
    El Desierto, NM
    Well my right side fork seal is leaking again, but not nearly as bad as before. I was at the dealer getting my tank replaced and the dealer speculated that it's just because I'm riding in sand so often. :dunno Just gonna try to clean it out and see if it holds up. I might go with the dealer's suggestion to get some neoprene boots for the forks.

    My Hyperpro rear shock is also leaking now as well. Not sure how long that's been going on. I've had a Mudsling installed for over a year so it's probably not sand. May just be due for a rebuild.
    #17
  18. Reaver

    Reaver Outta Here

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,121
    Location:
    Zona Sur Costa Rica

    I just changed my fork oil and my chrome is the same. The marks you see are the bearing material that has transferred onto the chrome. The fork has an upper and lower bearing so the chrome rubs on the bronze (?) bushing as it does it's job. I'd bet that area is in contact the most during a normal ride. This happens on aircraft struts all the time. You can polish it smooth if needed but no need to remove the stain as it will be back anyway. Despite what most people think, chrome is quite porous. The bearing material works its way in. Inspect for sharp edges or cracks but don't worry too much about it.
    #18
  19. Konflict Motorsports

    Konflict Motorsports KM TUNER

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,000
    Location:
    Redmond, Wa-Thousand Oaks Ca.
    Its hard to tell in these pictures if the chrome is worn, or if the seal has run dry and burned itself onto the chrome. Any chance you can supply a few more pictures in sunlight?
    If the chrome is peeling it can be due to a few things, either the lower bushing is shot and it has metal to metal contact when the forks are compressed or due to road grime (corrosive) like road salt etc. that happened to sit for a while after drying.
    If the chrome is worn, the seals will not last more than a few thousand miles if even that.

    I have a set of "DLC" coated lowers in stock I can get rid, PM me for more details....
    #19
  20. lawe

    lawe lawe

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    141
    Location:
    UmeƄ, Sweden
    Is this the SKF Seals you used: http://www.ridejbi.com/skf-fork-seals ?

    They are supposed to reduce friction with 20%. I also read in a swedish magazine that BMW has changed to seals with lower friction on later models (2013?).

    Any thoughts on that? Could it be worth the effort to change seals to the SKF?
    #20