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A question of risk/benefit for you wizened sages of keeping these beasts running...

My wife and I have vacation set aside in two weeks, unmovable. We are leaving from Philly PA and doing a New England tour including Niagara, Bar Harbor, and the Adirondacks. Last weekend I tried to get the bike inspected - and she failed!

The guy felt bad, but pointed out that my front fork had a noticable oil leak on the right side, that drips down the tube and goobers up the brake housing - thou it doesn't appear to get close to the actual disk. He can't work on it (chopper shop that can't lift a bike that big - he said), and I have weddings and work-travel right up to our leave time. He said to just drain the oil out, refill it, and a two week tour shouldn't be a big deal. I looked at the fix from past posts and it looks a bit intimidating (impact hammers?? actual mechanic's vise??).

So, is this kosher or bad advice? Is there anything dangerous about riding for two weeks on a leaky fork seal - from the perspective of common sense human beings and not insurance agents?

Ryan
 

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jedinice1980 wrote:
A question of risk/benefit for you wizened sages of keeping these beasts running...

My wife and I have vacation set aside in two weeks, unmovable. We are leaving from Philly PA and doing a New England tour including Niagara, Bar Harbor, and the Adirondacks. Last weekend I tried to get the bike inspected - and she failed!

The guy felt bad, but pointed out that my front fork had a noticable oil leak on the right side, that drips down the tube and goobers up the brake housing - thou it doesn't appear to get close to the actual disk. He can't work on it (chopper shop that can't lift a bike that big - he said), and I have weddings and work-travel right up to our leave time. He said to just drain the oil out, refill it, and a two week tour shouldn't be a big deal. I looked at the fix from past posts and it looks a bit intimidating (impact hammers?? actual mechanic's vise??).

So, is this kosher or bad advice? Is there anything dangerous about riding for two weeks on a leaky fork seal - from the perspective of common sense human beings and not insurance agents?
Ryan, you could probably get by for 2 weeks (depends on how severe the leak is). If you are going to refill it before travelI would drill the top of the fork cap(s) & install a 1/4 pipe plug (actually do both sides), that way you could EASILY refill on the road if needed & the next fork oil change will be much easier.

My biggest worry wouldn't be running out of fork oil but would be getting oil on the brake rotor & impeding brake performance. You might build a small deflector to keep the fork oil off the brake rotor area & possibly carry a can of brake clean with youto spray the brakes with..

Twisty
 

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It's not a major job to fit a new seal. I personally wouldn't chance two weeks with a leak, specially with my old dragon on the back! :shock:
 

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I'd agree withBRowan on this one, if it were a slight leak it wouldn't be a problem, but if its leaking enough to get on the brakes and wheel I would fix it or get it fixed. You have two weeks so ought to have enough time to find a Honda shop to do it for you if you don't want to do it. You said it failed inspection, does that mean if you go ahead and use it you'd be illegal or something? That might cause a problem with your insurance company if something happened.
 

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One thing that I've done in the past that is maybe 40% successfull is to pry up the dust cap on the fork and take an old photographic negative and work it down into the seal, to try clean any foreign grit that may be causing the leak. If the seal is just shot from being too old this will not work. Another trick that never seemed to stop a leak but sometimes slowed them down was to put a small amount of brake fluid in the fork oil. The brake fluid causes the rubber seal to swell and sometimes slowed things down. But I would have to say that fork oil on the brakes is a very bad thing. Replacing the seal if possible really is the best way to go.
 

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If you've got two weeks, maybe you could set the first day aside to fix your leak.

The evening before the trip you could take the fork legs off and have them ready to go to the Honda shop in the morning (make an appointment!).

You shouldn't need a lift to get the front wheel off... put the bike on the centerstand, jackthe front off with a small automotive jack, put some blocks of wood underneath the engine case, then lower the bike onto the wood.
 

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Again depending on the severity of the leak, if you absolutely-positively have to make the trip with-out the repair. I used a folded shop-rag, zip-tied around the fork leg to get me through a 1,000 mile week-end. (just below the seal) Looks really terrible and did shame me into not putting off the repair after my return fromthe trip.
 

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I've taken off the front wheel and was one bolt away per a fork leg from getting it off. The bottom bolt of the double bolt clamp for each fork is very stuck - not sure how I'm going to get it off yet. The idea was to show up at a shop with the forks and seals (express ordered) and watch so I'll know next time. I sprayed some penetrant on it - other than that I'm not sure what I'm going to do about those last bolts - it was going so smooth - too smooth I suppose.

I'd hate to delay our vacation for this...
 

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jedinice1980 wrote:
I've taken off the front wheel and was one bolt away per a fork leg from getting it off. The bottom bolt of the double bolt clamp for each fork is very stuck - not sure how I'm going to get it off yet. The idea was to show up at a shop with the forks and seals (express ordered) and watch so I'll know next time. I sprayed some penetrant on it - other than that I'm not sure what I'm going to do about those last bolts - it was going so smooth - too smooth I suppose.

I'd hate to delay our vacation for this...
If it's a double bolt clamp sometimes you can tighten one to relieve stress on the other and it might loosen. Then to get the other one out, put some grease on the threads of the one you removed, tighten it down to get the other one off. With grease on the threads it should come out without a problem.

Just something I've done that has worked. Sometimes it's just a matter of a longer breaker bar for more leverage, and a matter of turning it in thecorrect direction!
 

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Marco's bringing up a good point. When threre are two bolts in a clamping setup, loosen them a little bit at a time. If you loosen one til it's not holding any pressure the tight one has just had the load on it doubled and it will be tighter. So always loosen and tighten these together a flat or so at a time. Especially the exhaust clamps which tend to be a bit corroded and can shear off.
 

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Hi Ryan,

You didn't mention which model you ride, and I'm not sure if it really matters. I had a leaking right fork seal on my '83 for a couple of months and just kept it cleaned off. Problem is that I went into a turn a little to fast (just once) and the seal blew out causing MAJOR oscillations in the front end until I slowed to around 25 MPH. After replacing the vinyl seat cover I rushed to the parts store and bought new seals (both sides). Axelwik's post is good info for replacing them. Took me about 3 hours to replace them and remount. It's a pretty easy job and well worth it. As a side note, my '83 had an extra washer (plastic) under the dust cover that covered up the C-ring, Took me a minute to try and figure out how to get the tubes apart, but after removing that washer all was smooth sailing. Best of luck, enjoy our vacation.
 

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Friend of mine wrapped paper towels around the fork where the rubber boot is, then wrapped the towell with Electrical tape.

This absorbed the runoff oil and kept it from oozing down near the brakes.

Keep a can of Brake Cleaner in your bags/trunk just in case though and replace it asap.

Careful in the corners.

Randy.
 

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Only you know if it's a minor leak or not?

Could wrap a piece of cloth around the fork with a fat zip-tie and carry spare cloth and zips,plus brake cleaner, if it's a minor leak?!

The Brake fluid will swell the seals up but you'll be half way home before it starts swelling them up ?

And the "Adirondacks " will probably thow some "Switch Backs" and Curves at you, hard on the forks 2 up !

It's your call, make it a "Safe" one !

Don't want to hurt any "Dragons":goofygrin:, LOL!
 

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Don't mess around with your safety. My voice is to fix it or spend the small amount of money to get it done properly. Your peace of mind/relaxation on your vacation is worth the $200 or your time/sweat, right? Mine is....
 

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Hey Mag, i thought you Canucks like living on the edge?!:doh:
 

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jedinice1980 wrote:
I've taken off the front wheel and was one bolt away per a fork leg from getting it off. The bottom bolt of the double bolt clamp for each fork is very stuck - not sure how I'm going to get it off yet.
There's a little know tool that's very usefull for removing stuck bolts and screws, can find it at most tool supply stores...

The Impact Driver...

They usually come with a few different bits for different types of screws and for attaching a socket.

They work very simply, hold the impact driver on the stuck fastener with the proper bit inserted and strike the impact driver with a hammer. drives the bit onto/into the fastener and provides a 1/8 turn.

My tool of choice for stuck fasteners.

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=TOOL&pid=00947641000
 
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