2.06. Changing Fork Oil

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Easy fix for leaky forks

Before you dive in and change your fork seals, try cleaning them. This is pretty common on motocross bikes and I've fixed a couple of street bikes with seepy fork also.

What happens is that extremely fine dirt will get packed inside the seal and prevent the seal lip from making good contact with the fork tube. Obviously more likely to be a problem if you ride in dusty areas.

To clean it out, pop the rubber dirt scraper off and slide it up the tube. Find a very thin piece of plastic--I use the tip of a cable tie, generally, since those fall readily to hand. Credit cards are too thick. A piece cut out of an oil bottle might be about right. It seems to work best if you cut a bit of a hook shape in it to catch the dirt rather than shoving it back down inside.

Work the plastic tool in between the fork tube and the seal lip, and slide it around. You will probably drag out a little oily silt, which is the idea. Here in Oklahoma, the silt is red, but I understand that other parts of the world have dirt in other colors. No idea why--no doubt some sort of geological deficiency.

Anyway, that's it. Takes about 5 minutes and seems to solve the problem most of the time. Obviously if your seals are cracked, rotted, and falling apart, you have a more serious project.

I noticed that my last Dennis Kirk catalog actually has a tool for doing this. It's less than ten bucks.



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