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Well gang, A mere 4 months ago I rebuilt the forks on my 84 gl1200 Interstate. Some of you might recall the post about "needing a warning label on those fork spring installs". (I would link to it if I knew how) Well just 3000 miles later I completed my 2nd fork seal job on the same machine. Starting seeping from the left fork first and then on the other side. This has been going on a few weeks now. Wiped and rode. Rode 310 miles on Monday and the left seal blew. Thats the bad. Dang it. With the first experience being such a PITA getting forks caps back on I was dreading this project in a big way.

Well Thursday, news seals in hand, I took it all apart. Spent most of the day rubbing on the fork tubes doing my best to get them smooth as possible. That's the ugly. They were in really bad shape. Got'em as slick as I could although I'm not overly optimistic about the long term. If, or when, they leak again I'll have to get new tubes. From Frank????

Now the good. As Wendy Bagwell used say, "with my right hand up", indicating that he was telling the truth no matter how hard it was to believe
... I, me, myself & I put the forks sprangs back in - - - by myself!!! Yeah, solo! Right hand up! The first time around round me and my buddy groaned and strained and grunted and took the better part of two hours to get the darn caps back on. = Whew!

Last night, I spent the better part of four hours going thru the forums looking for a homemade tool to compress the springs. Had a plan formulated. But got to the point in the project and thought, "what do I have to loose?" I summoned up all my courage and gritted my teeth and gave it the ole college try. BAM! 5 minutes latter I was sitting in my shop chair reaffirming my belief in the miraculous.

How did this happen?? Two observations. 1- It seems to me that the springs - Progressives - had softened up, or broken in a little. Didn't seem to require as much muscle to get back in. {On the other hand, 3500K on this trike w/o rake kit may have strenghtened my shoulders/forearms to the point I just whooped'm:))} 2nd - You know how in golf the harder you swing the harder it is to hit the ball solidly .... in retrospect I think me and my buddy just tried to out muscle them the first time. More force, applying more force making it very difficult to start the threads. Maybe it is more finesse than brute strength? Anyway glad it's done.

Only question now is why leaking so soon? The seals looked fine. Really close to the new ones. So much so I was careful not to mix them up. The old ones might have been a little out of round?? They were installed correctly. Right side up. Replaced bushings first time around also. The forks were in rough shape. Hoping the emery cloth and fine sandpaper will do the trick. And hoping I don't have to do forks seal every oil change!!! - Sirkitrider
 

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1985 GL1200 A
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Next time you have weeping/leaking, and I hope you never do (but we also know better), before you do a fork rebuild you might want to try using Seal Mates. I just did mine on seals that are only a year old and they worked great and saved alot of time. It's just road dirt that gets worked around the dust covers and into the seals from time to time. It's gonna happen.
 

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With worn tubes they are probably not going to last long.
 

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Gee, how bad were your tubes?

when I got my 1100 in 2010 it had a leaking seal so I did mine.
I found a couple nicks in the tubes which almost look like vice jaw teeth marks maybe and the seal had a tear/cut from a sharp edge I guess.
I sanded my tubes carefully at those chew marks to remove sharp edges then filled the pit holes with JB weld smooth as I could, then sanded the JB smooth with emery.
Way over 10K miles that year and the forks never leaked again!
When I did mine I was thinking I'd blow the seals soon and need new tubes also, but never have yet!

Don't give up hope, you may luck out too.
 

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When I did my 1200, I used All Balls brand seals, 2 times. Each time they leaked right after the installation.

Wondering about the brand of seals, I ordered my third set but this time I picked an off brand on EBay, I think they where Pyramid Brand. I could physically feel the difference in the seals. All Balls were hard and the Pyramids were softer, more of a rubber feel to it.

I installed them, no differently than I did the All Balls brand and 2 years later they are still in there and working. All Balls have a lot of good products but their seals just didn't work for me at all.
 

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"Well Thursday, news seals in hand, I took it all apart. Spent most of the day rubbing on the fork tubes doing my best to get them smooth as possible. That's the ugly. They were in really bad shape."

this pretty much spells out your short seal life problem,pretty much why the factory chrome them to avoid rusting and pitting
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Next time you have weeping/leaking, and I hope you never do (but we also know better), before you do a fork rebuild you might want to try using Seal Mates. I just did mine on seals that are only a year old and they worked great and saved alot of time.
I did a DIY -milk jug I think - helped on the first side for a day or so.....
Sirkitrider
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gee, how bad were your tubes?
I found a couple nicks in the tubes which almost look like vice jaw teeth marks maybe and the seal had a tear/cut from a sharp edge I guess.
I sanded my tubes carefully at those chew marks to remove sharp edges then filled the pit holes with JB weld smooth as I could, then sanded the JB smooth with emery.
Way over 10K miles that year and the forks never leaked again!
Don't give up hope, you may luck out too.
My forks did not have marks that badly actually .... but a lot of little surface bumps, rust I guess. Some scoring. Only had three nicks. Filled with JB Weld. Two smoothed up well, the other never would hold the JB.
Hoping to have your luck. I did use heavier wt. fork oil hoping that might help some. Hope I have your luck! - Sirkitrider
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
this pretty much spells out your short seal life problem,pretty much why the factory chrome them to avoid rusting and pitting
Agreed. Hope these hold up better. They are pretty smooth now but still could be worn or mis-shapen? Time will tell as I don't have a micrometer. -Sirkitrider
 

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I'm doing my '84 again right now; the Leakproof brand seals didn't last a year so this time it's original Honda parts. We'll see.
My trick to getting the caps on again is to set the cap onto the tube without the spring and find the point at which it just starts to engage the thread, then mark it so I can find that spot again. Then I put the tube into the trees, take a T-bar socket handle with an 18-inch extension, straddle the front end (the fairing is off already), drop the spring in, line up the marks, moose the cap down until it meets the threads, and turn. It takes at least a quarter-turn to hold itself, don't give up too soon. Using the long extension and T-bar allows you to hang from it with your weight doing the work. You do have to feel around a little for the thread engagement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
275 miles today. No leaks! For now. AND wow, can't believe how much difference the 15 wt. oil made. Had put in 10 wt. before. Liked it. The 15 wt. is a MUCH harsher ride. But I can live with it so long as it stays inside there:) - Sirkitrider
 

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Glad to hear it's working well.

The seals I bought for my 1100 3 years ago which never leaked still were from BIKE BANDIT for $10 but not sure what brand now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
600 plus miles - so far so good - no leaks. Yay! Curious thing. My first impression of the 15 wt. fork was that it was a lot harsher ride than the 10- wt. But after upping the rear shock air pressure to max, harshness in front seems to have gone away. Strange uh? No air in fronts. - Sirkitrider
 
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