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Thread: leaky fork seal

  1. #1
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    leaky fork seal

    Anyone around here replaced a fork seal on an oilhead?

    I had a little too much fun on my last ride. The bike has decided to punish me. The left fork could take and it is now leaking rather profusely.

    It seems pretty easy....but I don't have a garage. Also, I've never pulled the front wheel on this bike. I know, sad and sorta lame. But that means this could be a bit of an adventure. Any quick thoughts? Any easy cheating way to do it?

    Or do I wimp out and hand over the money to the nice people at the shop?

  2. #2
    Registered User chickenman_26's Avatar
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    Re: leaky fork seal

    Originally posted by knary
    Anyone around here replaced a fork seal on an oilhead?
    It seems pretty easy....but I don't have a garage. Also, I've never pulled the front wheel on this bike. Any easy cheating way to do it? Or do I wimp out and hand over the money to the nice people at the shop?
    Seems pretty easy? Everything's easy when you know how. Yeah, there's an easy cheating way to do it. But I'd recommend you study the relevant section in the service manual before attempting it, especially the part about releasing the suction, or you'll likely get a surprise when you try to pull the slider off the fork tube. And it would be smart to do both sides if for no other reason than to have the same type, weight, and quantity of fork oil in both forks. Actually, given what you've told us, you'd likely be way ahead in terms of aggravation to just let a shop handle this job. No offense intended.

    Stu

  3. #3
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    On one hand, I know this is well within my capabilities. On the other hand, there's the lack of clean space.

    I've read two variations of the procedure. In one, you take apart everything up front and know that you're going to get the job done right, but that it could be over 2 hours of work. In the other, it only takes a 1/2 hour as you only pull the stanchions from the "triple clamp", but it can be more frustrating trying to get the old seal out and the new one seated properly.

    Just got a PM...looks like a friend is going to, yet again, help me out with work space.

  4. #4
    AK Bear
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    Somewhere in the last couple of days I saw a thread about changing fork seals. I looked but couldn't find it. Seems as though it was a 15 min job which kind of pisses me off since last year I paid $70 to have it done at a non Alaskan dealer who has other wise treated me well, so I won't diss them for this one.

  5. #5
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    My bike is happy again. With the help of Jorge (RubberCow) and Patrick(Curmudgeon), we got the seals replaced. If you don't bother to replace the oil and you have no problem getting out the seal, it might be a 15 minute job to fix one.

    With the time to do it "right", we decided to pull the front wheel, replace the oil, and do both seals. We also found getting the old seals out to be a royal pain. With a fair amount of gabbing and lazy fumbling, and some swearing when the seals refused to budge, it took us about 3 hours from start to finish.

    We didn't bother to remove the forks completely. The truly right way to do it is to remove the entire front end. This saves you from having to work inside the beak and makes getting the seals out MUCH easier, or so I'm told. Either way, I think it would have taken the same amount of time.

    I had been quoted 2 hours from the local independent shop - and they don't bother to pull the wheel and/or front end, as they only top off the oil.

  6. #6
    Blocking the slow lane
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    I don't know why removing the whole front end would be considered the "right" way. Since the slider isn't connected to anything, the whole leg just drops down when you remove the axle and loosen the screws on the fork brace....when I did mine, I considered that to be a smart service feature rather than a shortcut.
    Jon Diaz
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  7. #7
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Originally posted by jdiaz
    I don't know why removing the whole front end would be considered the "right" way. Since the slider isn't connected to anything, the whole leg just drops down when you remove the axle and loosen the screws on the fork brace....when I did mine, I considered that to be a smart service feature rather than a shortcut.
    If you pull the front end, you don't have to work within the fairing - a small cramped space - when trying to get the seal out. It was a royal pain to get the seals out and would have been *much* easier if we could have worked on the slider off the bike. If the seals would have cooperated, the path we chose would have undoubtedly been the right one.

  8. #8
    Blocking the slow lane
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    Originally posted by knary
    If you pull the front end, you don't have to work within the fairing - a small cramped space - when trying to get the seal out. It was a royal pain to get the seals out and would have been *much* easier if we could have worked on the slider off the bike. If the seals would have cooperated, the path we chose would have undoubtedly been the right one.
    Did they change the design? When I did mine, I removed the front axle, brake caliper bolts, and front fender, and loosened the bolts from the fork bridge (at the Telelever ball joint) holding the lower fork leg. When those bolts came out, I was holding the lower fork leg in my hand while the slider stayed with the bike, free to carry the lower fork leg to the work bench for seal removal. Something must have changed.

    How about posting some pics? Certainly a guy who documents a ride to the hot dog stand took some pictures while the front end of his bike came apart, right?
    Jon Diaz
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    BMWMOA Ambassador

  9. #9
    CRUISIN
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    what oil weight?????

    Hey guys (and gals), I have been searching for the recommended weight of fork oil to use in the front forks of a '98 RT. The Haynes shop manual I have shows all of the recommended steps but never gives the weight of fork oil. My almost useless rider's manuals that are under the seat also offer no weight of front fork oil. And I did a search here with various key words and came up with nil on fork oil weight. Does anyone out there have a definitive word on what weight oil to use in the front forks of a '98 R1100RT? I have a leaky seal on the right one that needs replacing but would like to do it according to specs rather than taking a SWAG that will sometimes suffice on other projects.

    Thanks
    cruisin

  10. #10
    Registered User ALIENHITCHHIKER's Avatar
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    Crusin, I'd be tempted to just call the parts guy at your local dealer and ask him what weight oil their wrenches use. He should be happy to tell you, especially if you buy some of it from him (at BMW's discount price). I've always understood that the forks use fairly light oil since it does not provide any damping - the shock does all the work - unlike conventional telescopics.
    Steve-O

  11. #11
    CRUISIN
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    Good idea

    If only I had made that call before wasting time with the printed literature. Of course with my nearest dealer being 250 miles away in OKC, I don't think I will be making a quick trip over just for fork oil... I did just call the Colorado Springs shop and was informed that they use 7.5 grade (weight). They understood that I couldn't make that quick little 400 mile ride to get to them and freely shared the information with me.

    Thanks for the idea, I guess that would have eventually come to me , but it is so much more fun asking you guys.

  12. #12
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    Question R1100RT leaking fork seals

    I just replaced my seals this week by removing both the sliders and the tubes. Bad news my new seals leak worse than the old ones did. I bled the air out as my manual describes which means I ended up with a vacuum in the forks when I reinstalled them. Anyone have an idea what went wrong?

  13. #13
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pghelmjr01 View Post
    I just replaced my seals this week by removing both the sliders and the tubes. Bad news my new seals leak worse than the old ones did. I bled the air out as my manual describes which means I ended up with a vacuum in the forks when I reinstalled them. Anyone have an idea what went wrong?
    Did u put them in backwards?? Just askin'
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    It's all about the details.

  14. #14
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    not sure how you did it, or how you might have had to work on it due to space considerations, but on a R11S, it could barely be an easier job.
    http://forums.pelicanparts.com/showt...ight=fork+seal
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  15. #15
    univers zero tessler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdiaz View Post
    How about posting some pics? Certainly a guy who documents a ride to the hot dog stand took some pictures while the front end of his bike came apart, right?


    This thread has legs. Knary ever post those pics?

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