Best Protection for Fork Seals?


20 replies to this topic
  • NorCal

Posted March 07, 2007 - 05:44 PM

#1

Every single time I ride wet/muddy conditions I get a leaky fork seal.:applause: I can pop the dust seal off and clean around with a film negative. So far this method has stopped the leaky fork seal....until I ride another day of wetness.

I commonly see guys running neopreme around the forks. Do these really work? If so, can anyone reccommend a brand? The last leaky fork seal ruined my brake pads and my day, so I want to figure out this problem once and for all!

Thanks

  • Goosedog

Posted March 07, 2007 - 06:25 PM

#2

The shop that reworked my suspension pulled off my neoprene sealsavers and showed me the damage they had done over the years. There is no way you can keep them completely clean and the grit that stays will score your fork tubes and actually promote leaking seals.

They not only pulled the neoprene, they also took off the fork gaurd guides that set just above the seals. With all that crap removed I can now keep an eye on that area and clean it much easier, and that's all you should have to do.

Are you by chance putting your bike away dirty after each ride? If so, on the next ride you're forks will be compressing and all that dried on mud will travel right up inside your seals and cause your described leaking.

When that does happen take a business card and swipe up into the seals with a downward motion to bring the dried grit out. Nine times outta ten that's all a seal needs when someone goes to replace a leaky one.

  • Goosedog

Posted March 07, 2007 - 06:30 PM

#3

Sorry, I just re-read your post and realized you know the film trick already.:applause:

  • velosapiens

Posted March 07, 2007 - 06:56 PM

#4

Are you by chance putting your bike away dirty after each ride? If so, on the next ride you're forks will be compressing and all that dried on mud will travel right up inside your seals and cause your described leaking.


it can get you even on a lunch stop if mud dries on the fork leg. dezert mud in particular is famous for this because of the dry air.

i don't know how hard it is to take apart the yz forks. the oldschool ones on the wr (and on ktm's) are childs play. first thing i would do is buy some fork oil, take the fork apart and wipe out the seals (dirt often builds up in betwen the seal lips), then tighten the spring on the seal and on the dust wiper as follows:

take the spring off the seal, look for the tiny seam where it screws into itself. unscrew it. cut 1/4" or so off the female side. screw it back together. put it back on the seal. this will tighten the seal up slightly and help keep dirt out in the future. in my experience, modern seals come pretty loose to reduce stiction on new bikes. once the seals and forks get broken in, that's not such a big deal, and shortening the spring doesn't seem to increase stiction noticeably.

if you decide to replace seals, i recommend synergy seals from synergyseals.com . much more leak resistant.

the business-card trick, or similar seal cleaning mumbogumbo may be better than nothing, but keep in mind you are also pushing some of that dirt further in, so now there's dirt in our fork oil. that will accelerate wear on bushings and other fork internals, so it's worth dismantling the fork if you have an hour or so to kill.

i can do both fork legs on a single-chamber type fork (wr or ktm) in about an hour, including removing the wheel and putting it all back together and everything, and i'm not a great mechanic or anything. the first time may take 2 hrs, but it's really not hard.

  • 642MX

Posted March 07, 2007 - 07:02 PM

#5

I used Seal Savers before with no problems. I use the Tusk brand seal savers now. They do keep the dirt from getting in the seals, but you do need to roll them up and clean them every once in awhile or they could cause problems.

  • Goosedog

Posted March 08, 2007 - 05:21 AM

#6

I used Seal Savers before with no problems. I use the Tusk brand seal savers now. They do keep the dirt from getting in the seals, but you do need to roll them up and clean them every once in awhile or they could cause problems.


I rolled mine up and cleaned them often as well but you should see what the really fine grit that you can't get out does to the fork, it looked like someone had dulled the chrome with sandpaper....not condusive to sealing off your oil. :applause:

  • grayracer513

Posted March 08, 2007 - 09:37 AM

#7

One of the things I like about the MSR fork seal kit for the 48mm KYB's is that the dust seal was upgraded, and does a much better job of scraping off the stuff on the outside before it gets under the dust seal.

Also, don't skip the step of running a bead of grease between the oil seal and the dust seal to help trap small grit before it gets to the oil seal.

If you ever replace the seals, always carefully inspect the inner tube for any kind of vertical scratch or nick that is prominent enough to feel with you fingernail. These need to be sanded away as well as possible with 320 grit or finer wet/dry. Sand at an angle to produce a cross hatching for best results. Leaving such scratches alone will almost certainly result in an immediate failure of the new seal.

  • torrmentor

Posted March 08, 2007 - 09:56 AM

#8

These guys make great seal-savers, they're velco closure so you can wash/service the bike & don't have to remove wheel or fork to install:

http://sicassracing.com/

  • NorCal

Posted March 08, 2007 - 02:36 PM

#9

Also, don't skip the step of running a bead of grease between the oil seal and the dust seal to help trap small grit before it gets to the oil seal.


I'll try that tonight. Does Bel Ray waterproof grease work well?

  • grayracer513

Posted March 08, 2007 - 02:49 PM

#10

Anything sticky, yes.

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  • NorCal

Posted March 08, 2007 - 04:13 PM

#11

Alrighty then. I got a nice bead of grease up in there. I'm going riding at Stony tomorrow, so I hope it won't leak!

  • BlakJak

Posted March 21, 2007 - 07:57 PM

#12

Alrighty then. I got a nice bead of grease up in there. I'm going riding at Stony tomorrow, so I hope it won't leak!


there may be an obvious answer to this but here goes: ok, if you apply a bead of grease between the fork seal and dust cover, won't that bead get rubbed / smeared away the first time you bottom out? also, wouldn't this bead also trap dirt as well?

  • CaptainKnobby

Posted March 21, 2007 - 08:16 PM

#13

I have a set of shok sox they velcro around your fork so you dont have to take your forks off.They are made of neoprene and work well. I was just sitting here and thinking I might even ziptie them at the top and bottom for even more security. I know this guy that had a leak in 1 of his forks and he took a piece of tear off and curved it around the fork and stuck it in and it kept it from leaking til he fixed it. You might could try that.

  • NorCal

Posted March 22, 2007 - 09:55 AM

#14

there may be an obvious answer to this but here goes: ok, if you apply a bead of grease between the fork seal and dust cover, won't that bead get rubbed / smeared away the first time you bottom out? also, wouldn't this bead also trap dirt as well?


I don't know about that. My seals have held together pretty well after adding grease. I definitely recommend it.

  • grayracer513

Posted March 22, 2007 - 10:14 AM

#15

... if you apply a bead of grease between the fork seal and dust cover, won't that bead get rubbed / smeared away the first time you bottom out? also, wouldn't this bead also trap dirt as well?

The grease gets pushed down by the oil seal, and back up by the dust seal, so it just shuttles up and down.

And yes, it does trap dirt. That's the idea. The dirt gets stuck and suspended in the grease instead of finding its way into the oil seal. This also rather obviously means that you need to clean it out and refresh it fairly often.

  • BlakJak

Posted March 23, 2007 - 05:18 AM

#16

The grease gets pushed down by the oil seal, and back up by the dust seal, so it just shuttles up and down.

And yes, it does trap dirt. That's the idea. The dirt gets stuck and suspended in the grease instead of finding its way into the oil seal. This also rather obviously means that you need to clean it out and refresh it fairly often.



:applause:

  • ____Kurt____

Posted March 23, 2007 - 11:41 AM

#17

wait, when you do this whole grease thing do you have to take your fork off or just slide the spring off the dust over as its on your shock?

  • Goosedog

Posted March 23, 2007 - 12:10 PM

#18

or just slide the spring off the dust over as its on your shock?



Yes. :applause:

  • grayracer513

Posted March 23, 2007 - 12:26 PM

#19

wait, when you do this whole grease thing do you have to take your fork off or just slide the spring off the dust over as its on your shock?

Neither. You simply pull down the dust seal, clean the space between it and the oil seal, and push the dust seal back up. It's all on page 3-34 of your manual. :applause:

  • dwnlowx

Posted March 23, 2007 - 01:32 PM

#20

HERE IS A PIC OF MY SEAL SAVERS THEY LOOK SWEET AND THEY WORK I GUEES Posted Image





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