So you might have read the post where I describe how my fork leg is now marking it’s territory as if it were a dog checking it’s pee-mail around the neighborhood. If you did, then let’s get on with this post shall we?
The trick of shoving a bit of plastic up the works and reaming out the grit might have actually worked! I went online and bought a couple of the “Seal Mate” products, and waited patiently for them to arrive in the mail posted up from the US… …then I got a call from my Honda dealer in Summerside that a petcock I ordered in for my 2001 Honda XR400 was in, and while I was at the parts counter, I spied a rack of the Seal Mates, for $10 each. Almost twice what they cost online before shipping, so I bought one. I’d love to tell you that I brought it home and proceeded straight to work on the bike, but it would be truthful to say instead, that I made a kick-ass Chicken Curry for dinner that night for my PEI family. (recipe available upon request)
Let me describe how I went about this wonderful task:
I thought my triple tree lift was in storage… Nope, it was stuffed in the back of a shed.
It turns out that the lift was designed for sportbikes, and not wanna-be adventure bikes, or as my friend Zac likes to call bikes like the Versys, Sport Utility Bikes. (You know, sort of like the SUV’s that only ever go offroad onto the grass of the soccer pitch?) So I had to locate a couple pieces of 2×6 spruce to put under the lift for some added, er…. …lift.
Remove the front axle (it had been so long since I had this axle off, that I forgot what size hex fit the front, was it 17mm or the 19mm? Either way I knew I was covered with my Motion Pro axle removing tool —which didn’t fit. ) with a 14mm 1/2 drive hex key…
Remove the front tire (and find that the lovely Michelin Pilot Road 4 or PR4 front tire was scalloping but had plenty of meat on it after just over 10,000km)
Remove both right and left brake calipers
Wedge said fender with brake calipers dangling off of it out of your way so you can now sort the fully exposed oil soused fork leg.
Clean it up. I’m going to suggest first off using a rag and some elbow grease, and perhaps some brake cleaner as well if your leg looks like mine…
Pry down the dust seal very gingerly so as not to scratch the surface and really bugger things up…
Clean that up as well..
Produce the Seal Mate and follow the instructions they provide, and perhaps even watch their How-to video once or twice for virtual practice.
Right, now I need to put it all back together again to compress the front end so the seals reset themselves. 10 good compressions of the front end.
If I got this right, I should see smears of fresh fork oil coating the leg, then those smears getting pushed lower and lower by a newly seated fork seal.
Open the envelope your brother-in-law hands you, to find out that the two Seal Mates you ordered online are now in your possession, making you the proud owner of one seal mate, and two superfluous backups.
Realize that instead of being superfluous, the two surplus Seal Mates would make great stocking stuffers for the dirt bikers in my family… win:win:win
And Hey Presto!!! It seems to have worked in bench testing mode! I walked away from it after compressing the front end about 15 times, and it was dry as a bone when I got back. We all know that bench testing is no substitute for the real thing…
Today I took the bike out for a fling for green peppers as tonight Chilli Con Carne was on the menu (recipe available upon request), and I took a road full of potholes and frost heaves there and back, around 20 km of fun riding… And again, the fork leg was as dry as a bone when I got back and packed it away into the garage.
Tomorrow I’ve got to return some library books and collect some fork oil to top off what got pissed away, and I think the bike is overdue for a nice clean up.
Anyhow, I’m packing for my first tour of the season, and I am so happy that I don’t have to spend my trip budget on new fork seals and having someone else replace them for me, although fork seals are messy, messy adventures. *sigh*
I’d love to say that I’ll order in a set of seals and the inverted fork spring compressing tool, but when I was doing all that work on the front brakes, I can see that this tour will end with a front brake pad re & re.
It turns out that if you ride them, you have to repair them. Go figure.
That fork oil collects even more dirt and grit, and paper towel just won’t clean off the lowers.
These things work as advertised!!!
Everytime I wheelie, I think of all the grit that might end up jammed under the seal (It doesn’t stop me though)
Yes, it is pulling out the dirt
And more dirt
Seal Mate sells them through Motion Pro
I can’t remember what this was supposed to show, but the lighting is bad so I took a duplicate. Just be a good reader and ignore this one, please? There’s a good lad/lass.
Seal Mate works, and I wanted to pass that information along should you want to try it out for yourself.
It never rains, it pours. Or so it seems here at home. I’ve made a hash of my XR400 Carburetor repair, yesterday I blew a brake line on my venerable old 2003 Honda Civic, and today while riding my bike, I blew a front left fork seal. :'(
I’ve had some experience replacing fork seals on a Kawasaki KLR 650, but the Versys uses the inverted upside down fork configuration, and my research shows that the job is just as messy, and requires some specialized tools to service the fork that I simply don’t have at the moment. So lining up for this job, I find I need the following bits based on servicing both front forks as opposed to only one:
SEAL,DUST (Ref # 92093) 92093-0035 2 Each
SEAL-OIL (Ref # 92049) 92049-0058 2 Each
Fork Spring Compressor tool
Fork Bleed tool
Fork Spring Compressor Kit for inverted forks
These are from Traxxion Dynamics and if you find cheap Chinese knock offs that look very similar, the word on the street is be very careful, as they tend to break more than they work as compared to this Made in USA model.
I found a comprehensive video that shows service on similar forks to the Versys, but this is not exactly the same as out bike. Please let me know if you have a better source for this.