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 Front fork seal leaking

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midlandchip
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PostSubject: Front fork seal leaking   Fri May 18, 2012 9:58 pm

I took my bike in to the Honda store for the 4,000 mile maintenance check. They cleaned the crankcase breather and then went through a fairly long check list to make sure everything was in spec and working properly. I cost me $55 and I thought it was worth it. I'm keeping a paper trail of maintenance done on the bike at the same dealership which I think will work to my advantage when I decide to sell it.

When I picked the bike up I was told everything looks fine except for the left front fork seal which is leaking. The service guy showed me where the seal is located and said it would take two hours at $75 dollars an hour to replace the seal. I didn't see any oil anywhere.

I said I couldn't believe a seal was leaking already since the bike only had 4,500 miles on it and it is an '09 that I bought at the end of '10. I was told this is pretty unusual. They usually see the seals leaking at about 25,000 miles or when the bike is much older than mine. Nevertheless, my seal is apparently leaking.

I rode the bike home which is about 40 miles. I was on fairly rough country roads so the front end was getting a workout at times. When I put it away I wiped down the upper part of the right fork with a clean cloth - nothing on the cloth. I wiped down the same part on the left fork and I got some red colored stains which I took to be oil. I couldn't actually see anything on the fork but when I wiped it I got the stains.

The problem does not appear to be very bad and I'm thinking I'll just ride till the end of the season and then get the seal replaced. What do you guys think? If I keep riding and lose too much oil out of that fork, what can happen?
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JeffR_
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Sat May 19, 2012 12:00 am

I had to get mine replaced too but I think it was because when the Hyperpro springs were installed. It seemed to leak just a little after that. But I had the shop replace them and they have been good since. I have about 15,000 miles on it now with the new seals.
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midlandchip
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Sat May 19, 2012 12:46 am

Okay, I looked at the info available on how to replace the seals. This is not something I want to mess with. I have some mechanical ability but I would rather pay someone else to do this. I paid someone to install my backrest, my foot pegs, the power outlet in the left glove box and my XL windshield. Why stop now? Oh, I forgot. I do change the oil myself - and I did put on my AirHawk seat cushion without any help (just a little humor there).

Based on what BigBird is telling me I probably should take care of the problem soon and I will do that. The only thing I have left to decide is do I replace only the bad seal or both of them?

I'm 74 and although I'm in pretty good health and physical shape now I have no idea how much longer I will be able to ride. If this one seal going bad was a freak occurance it is very possible the other one could last for years, more years than I will be riding. With that in mind, I'm thinking I will only do the bad one.
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Meldrew
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Sat May 19, 2012 3:18 am

I had a leaking fork seal on a MZ ETZ 300 back in the late 1980's caused by the pounding the forks took riding on the pre war concrete slab surfaced East German autobahns. I was quite worried at first because I had a thin film of oil on my right boot, but nothing else happened and I carried on with my tour and went on to Czechoslovakia.

I occasionally wiped oil of my boot and the fork leg, and checked none was getting onto the brake disc, and after a couple of days I stopped worrying. The leaky seal became more of an occasional weeping, and there was no deterioration in handling. I rode back to the UK, used the bike as normal commuting and doing MZ things. It passed all it's annual MOT tests, I went back to Germany the next year, and sold the bike the year after that.
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KurtPerthWA
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Sat May 19, 2012 6:47 am

Mine started leaking at 7-7500 km. It's more age of the seal than use, I think. Anyhows make sure the caps are in good condition as they are the first line of defence. The genuine seals are expensive.
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midlandchip
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Sat May 19, 2012 5:36 pm

Meldrew, I like your comments. My leak is not bad at all. I can't see any oil on the fork, I have to wipe the upper part with a clean cloth to see any staining and then it's not much. The service guy at my Honda dealership also warned me about getting oil on the break disc but I believe my problem would have to be much worse for something like that to happen. Bigbird got me thinking I should take care of this right away but now I'm not so sure. Maybe I'll just keep riding and check the fork from time to time to see if the amount of oil or staining on the cloth is increasing.

And I also like your comment about riding on rough roads. That may be caused my problem as well. I like riding on what we call back roads or country roads or secondary roads instead of main highways. These roads are often pretty rough and the front end of my bike gets pounded from time to time. Maybe I should stick to city streets or well maintained highways. But what the hell, I didn't get this bike to ride on main highways so I'll probably just keep doing what I have been doing and pay the bills when I damage something.
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john grinsel
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Sun May 20, 2012 12:31 pm

My take--replace seals both sides----age and lack of use may have killed them----while apart install some sort of fork boots to keep crud off of fork legs---crud grinds seal away. Dennis Kirk has boot that goes on with velcro----they go on all of my bikes with exposed fork leg.

Is safety issue? probably not for 6 months or so, but messy.

Additional---I had weeping MZ ETZ 250 fork seals---helped rust proof bike. In the 80's we were getting solos from Hein Gerick @ about $600 in the crate=great bikes----always kept a spare in the crate to steal part/tires from----my dealer friend would buy back bike in crate at end of year and usually sell engine complete. Very little money lost for me.
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Waspie
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Sun May 20, 2012 5:30 pm

Me personally. I would clean around the suspected area of the leak.

Ride as normal, monitoring for seepage/leakage using a clean cloth/tissue after a ride.

Assess how much is leaking - if any - then make a judgement based on YOUR observations and not those of the garage/workshop.

I'm just an old fashioned cynic who has no faith in garage mechanics and their take on leaks!!!! Nothing better than a rag with a smidge of the right oil on to make a quick buck on some unsuspecting rider.
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Waspie
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Tue May 22, 2012 3:18 am

I checked my forks yesterday!

And Lo! I found the dust seals are splitting due to corrosion of the metal beneath. My initial thoughts were that the seal had been struck by something. Then I placed my glasses on my head and it all came clear.

The dreaded corrosion. Have a major service due shortly, (1k miles), so will see if it is covered by Honda'a warranty, if not, then I have a long period off work when the Olympics are being run so I will strip it down and sort then.

As an aside. On my transit home last evening I had a bird strike!!!!! Bleeding thing committed suicide right in the grill above the headlight. I was spitting feathers - literally!!! Laughing pulled over, removed the dead bird from the grill and gave the bike a good look over after the hit. All OK. carried on home. Evil or Very Mad
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Meldrew
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Tue May 22, 2012 4:02 am

Rather than faffiing about putting fork gaiters on, Hein Gericke and other accessories companies do plastic fork protectors that are easy to fit and held on by a cable tie. I've also found that an aerosol can of Holts Rubber and Nylon Lubricant useful stuff, and give the fork tubes a quick squirt occasionally so the fork seals remain flexible.

It's proved very useful stuff to use on all the rubber seals and bulb holders in the headlight area, I find that taking stuff off and on takes a fraction of the time, and for someone like me that generally dislikes messing about in there, it's a great help.
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Meldrew
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Tue May 22, 2012 9:50 am

You sir, are a scoundrel and a darksider! Neutral
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Waspie
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PostSubject: Re: Front fork seal leaking   Tue May 22, 2012 4:01 pm

Meldrew wrote:
You sir, are a scoundrel and a darksider! Neutral

rolling laughter rolling laughter rolling laughter
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