How To: Replacing Fork Seals

Replacing your Motorcycle Fork Seals

1. Back the compression and rebound clickers all the way out and record the settings.

2. With the fork still on the bike loosen the top triple clamp pinch bolts, crack the fork cap loose using a properly sized open end wrench, then loosen the lower clamp pinch bolts and remove fork from the bike.

3. With the fork off the bike unscrew the fork cap all the way and let the outer tube drop down (you’ll be staring at a spring with the fork cap screwed on the top.

4. You will see what looks to be a long nut on top of the damping rod and attached to the fork cap. Spin the spring (or the whole fork) around so the gap between the coils lets the wrench get on the nut.

There’s plenty of room to get the wrench thru the spring coil.  If you can’t get enough clearance for the wrench, grab the spring at the very top and pull down (hard as you can). Use an open end wrench (17 mm) to hold this nut and another to unscrew the fork cap.

5. Remove the spring, the solid rod inside the damper rod, and the fork cap.

6. Clamp the fork into a soft jawed vice by the axel bolt hole.

7. You now need a damper rod holding tool. Take a flashlight and look down inside the fork tube to get an idea of what the tool should look like.

You’re going to be making a castle nut remover basically the female version of a +. Go to home depot and buy a 1″ piece of black gas pipe.

Take a grinder and shape the end of the pipe to fit. Be careful and make be sure to do a good job in shaping the business end of the tool (and the tool will work for years).

Once you’ve shaped the end you can drill 1/4″ hole through the other end of the pipe so you can use a screw driver to hold it in place when in use.

8. Insert the damper rod tool into the top of the fork and get hold of the castle nut (have someone else hold it in place.

Insert a socket drive allen key into the base valve (where you adjust the compression damping) and remove the base valve. Remove the guts of the fork and you’ll be left with nothing but the inner and outer tubes stuck together.

9. Carefully use a thin blade screwdriver to pry the dust cover off then slide it up the fork tube out of your way.

10. Using a pick or small screw driver carefully remove the wire “C” clip from above the fork seals

11. Grasp the outer tube in one hand, the inner tube in the other, push them together, and then bang them apart with authority (like a slide hammer).

3 or 4 bangs and the tubes seals and bushings will separate. Don’t worry nothing will fall out as us do this so once your done note the order of the components.

12. Remove the old fork seals and clean everything spotless.

13. Put saran wrap over the top of the inner tube (so you don’t damage the seals as you slide the new one on.

14. Slide the Wiper and seal up out of your way and inert the inner tube (complete with slide bushings and washer) into the outer tube and let the washer fall down to cover the bushings.

15. Using a seal driver Drive the bushings and washer home. If you don’t have a seal driver (and you should) you can make one out of 2″or 2-1/2″ PVC pipe split down the middle.

16. After you set the bushings you need to set the seal so slide it down as far as you can then uss your seal driver to pound it into the outer fork tube. You’ll know that everything is right if you are able to reinstall the wire circlip.

17. You should now be able to slide the wiper down and push it into place with your fingers.

18. At this point reverse instructions and reassemble your fork.

19. Your manual will tell you everything you need to know about filling with oil and setting the air space.

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