Front Fork Leak - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Front Fork Leak

2003, 1800GL 57,498 miles front right fork seal started leaking. This is "pot hole" season here in Southern Va so I have been extremely watchful and so far have avoided them. I haven't read any reports of anyone experiencing leaking forks.

Any recommendations other then replacing / rebuilding the front forks?

Thanks

Brad


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 04:49 PM
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At 57K it's time for a rebuild!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 05:11 PM
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Hi Brad, search on "fork seal" there are several hundred posts on the problem. It is time for a rebuild, probably at least with new springs, there are a number of ways to improve your suspension and handling available out there.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 05:28 PM
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If you want to give it a try, there are lots of threads out there about DIY fork seal cleaning tools (usually made from part of a plastic Coke bottle). From what I've read, something like 90% of seal leaks are from dirt between the seal & fork leg, rather than failing seals. It costs nothing - zero - to try it, other than 10 minutes or so time spent doing it, and it MAY solve your problem.

Here's a website (for professionally made seal cleaner tools), with a video on how they're used - http://sealmate.net/ - watch the video to the end!

They're a VERY simple tool (some people have even made 'em from leftover pieces of old 35mm film), and there are even patterns available for the DIY version.

Funny, 57K miles seems like a REALLY brief life for fork seals to me. I only ever had one leak (at around 100K), and even that one turned out to be dirt, rather than a failing seal (discovered after pulling them apart, of course!). Recently, I had a really bad leak in one of my Kawasaki seals (oil spewing all over the underside of the fairing on every bump) during a long ride. I found a plastic soda bottle on the side of the road, whipped out my pocket knife, cut out one of these tools based on what I remembered on the 'Net, cleaned out the seal, and *presto!* - leak cured. Didn't leak again after that, either.

I'm just sayin...
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 08:18 PM
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is this why a cartridge shock is made for the 1800?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 08:35 PM
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Yeah, check out Sealmate on You Tube. You can make one from a 2 litre pop/soda bottle. No exact measurements are needed. Notice the hook with a rounded point to pull the dirt up and out when you remove it. I buff the edges of the plastic with a Scotch-Brite pad. I use Walmart Tech Lubricant, similar to WD-40, to clean the fork tube, top of seal, and lubricate the tool before inserting it between the tube and seal. This has worked for me many times on many bikes. I get a real kick out of doing this for other people. Usually the fork has not even lost enough fluid to make any difference. Any bike that has sat for a while is apt to leak when first moved around. The Tech Lubricant limbers up the seals and the tool removes the dirt. Seals only close up when compressed, when moved the other way they can pull dirt in. New grease over the circlip will help the uninformed who may remove it in the future.

Scott

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-04-2015, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hondagw4m View Post
2003, 1800GL 57,498 miles front right fork seal started leaking. This is "pot hole" season here in Southern Va so I have been extremely watchful and so far have avoided them. I haven't read any reports of anyone experiencing leaking forks.

Any recommendations other then replacing / rebuilding the front forks?

Thanks

Brad
Is the original oil still in the forks? If so the oil is toast and bushings are most likely bad too. The forks have to be removed to bleed out the old oil in the dampner. Cleaning the seal at this point is useless as you have lost oil and if it's over a year old or 2 yrs at most your fork action will be compromised and damage to the fork legs can happen shortly, which will require replacement if they get egg shaped as the fork tube will slop around.
You have the information to make the safe choice. It's your ride and those that you put on the back.

Stu
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+1983 ASPENCADE Barn find @36,000 to be sold
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Previous bikes
-1999 GL1500 ASPENCADE Red Sold barn find restored
-1999 GL1500 SE(@57k)(totaled by cagger @105,000) Feb 2013
-76 CB750K Red(new) sold @ 45k
-75 CB750K Blue(new) 9,000 mi Before cousin totaled it.
74 CB450 Burnt Orange(new) 9,000 miles sold
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-04-2015, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newday777 View Post
Is the original oil still in the forks? If so the oil is toast and bushings are most likely bad too. The forks have to be removed to bleed out the old oil in the dampner. Cleaning the seal at this point is useless as you have lost oil and if it's over a year old or 2 yrs at most your fork action will be compromised and damage to the fork legs can happen shortly, which will require replacement if they get egg shaped as the fork tube will slop around.
You have the information to make the safe choice. It's your ride and those that you put on the back.
As I stated, at 57K, you need a rebuild!
The suggested seal "repairs" are valid fixes for some leaking seals. However, you have no way of knowing exactly how much fork oil you've lost.
I replaced my fork springs @ 32K. One reason is I have triked and have a rake kit. But, again at 57K you are ready for new "springs"+ other internal items!
Also, never understood time intervals being used as when to change vs. mileage. IMHO, 50K woold be a good mileage to do the fork service.
I suggest you look at Progressive Mono-tubes:
http://www.progressivesuspension.com...9/monotube-kit
I have tested several options that are available and found these to be a good choice for 2 wheelers. Unfortunately, it seems Progressive has no plans to make these for trikes w/rake kits
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-04-2015, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfdeputydawg View Post
As I stated, at 57K, you need a rebuild!
The suggested seal "repairs" are valid fixes for some leaking seals. However, you have no way of knowing exactly how much fork oil you've lost.
I replaced my fork springs @ 32K. One reason is I have triked and have a rake kit. But, again at 57K you are ready for new "springs"+ other internal items!
Also, never understood time intervals being used as when to change vs. mileage. IMHO, 50K woold be a good mileage to do the fork service.
I suggest you look at Progressive Mono-tubes:
http://www.progressivesuspension.com...9/monotube-kit
I have tested several options that are available and found these to be a good choice for 2 wheelers. Unfortunately, it seems Progressive has no plans to make these for trikes w/rake kits
So I take it progressive doesn't offer different spring rates on the monotubes?

In that case get the race tech gold valves and dampner mod with the heavier springs for @$350 parts retail plus labor for an economical option. You could even do the fork mod Dave0430 did putting in a dampner in the left fork to give more valving instead of just the right side only.

Stu
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John 14:6 Psalm 118:19-29
CMA Wings of Eagles-Escondido, Patriot Guard Ryder
+2008 Cabernet Red ABS/Airbag bought 6/2013 @16,000
+1983 ASPENCADE Barn find @36,000 to be sold
+1976 CB750K6 @25,000 was Dad's
Previous bikes
-1999 GL1500 ASPENCADE Red Sold barn find restored
-1999 GL1500 SE(@57k)(totaled by cagger @105,000) Feb 2013
-76 CB750K Red(new) sold @ 45k
-75 CB750K Blue(new) 9,000 mi Before cousin totaled it.
74 CB450 Burnt Orange(new) 9,000 miles sold
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aloha Tom View Post
is this why a cartridge shock is made for the 1800?
Nope Tom. The monotube cartridge upgrade still uses 200-300 cc fork fluid in each side. Can still leak around a bad seal.

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