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  #1  
Old 01-16-2010, 08:16 PM
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Replacing front fork seal

I looked for the answer on this and though there was enough information to make me believe I could do this myself, there was no hard thread with pics... I am a visual guy so...

I had noticed that there was oil on the forks a while ago and was not sure if the seal was bad or if it was just an anomaly... it got worse and I had my answer.


Here is what I saw:

I started out by ordering from A&S motorcycles... no reason other than the fact that I have no local dealer and due to my time zone, Bobs was closed. Here is what I bought... (I know I likely didn't have to replace the visible "seal" but I didn't want to "Half-ass" it).



I went to Harbor Freight and bought a cheap seal puller, a screw driver would have also worked though.



I lifted the front wheel off the ground by parking my car right behind the bike, taking a tie down strap from my car bumper to the back of the bike and ratcheting it down.
There are three bolts to remove the handle bars to get to the inner fork, two pinch bolts, and one under the triple clamp. You will note that I originally tried to do this without removing the plastics... much harder and ultimately it only took a short time to know that this was not the right way.

To prevent undue stress to the lines and connections which remain on the handgrips, I used a small bungie and connected one end to each handlebar so the weight was not held by any connections.


With the body work removed, I took to draining the fluid from the fork. I know that I could drain it from the plug but decided that I would just use a brake bleeder to suck it out... worked well. I did have some tubing that was unused so I used that to attach to the vacuum device (so as not to mix fluid types if brake fluid was in the line at all). (yes this pic was before removing the body work, I stopped and removed the body work right after taking this.



Here is what it looked like before removing the outer sleeve...



Simply remove that outer sleeve. Using a screw driver or a seal puller, it just pops off. This will expose a retainer pin which is easily removed with a screw driver:

Then simply remove the seal... this is what is there when it is removed:


I took note that the new seals did not say which way they go, I don't know if it matters but I noted when I took the old out that there are notches on one side of the new seal... luckily these notches are on the old ones as well, in my case they faced up.

After getting it set using a seal seating tool (also bought at harbor freight) and replacing the retaining pin. I did not have to have the seating tool and could have done it with something else.

I put on the outer sleeve. For this I did one each way, I put it on and then slid the fork in, and I also slid it up the fork, put the inner fork into the assembly and then slid it down and seated it. I prefer the latter.

Then just put everything back together... Make sure that the wires and lines are routed correctly before putting it together. Also, be very careful as you torque... one of the pinch bolts is only in In lb... NOT in Ft lb... it is very lightly torqued.





All in all, it was very easy... I am thankful I didn't have someone else do it for two reasons... $$, and the fact that to have a BMW mechanic do it I would have had to drive over 3 hours one way.


Hope it is helpful to someone!
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2010, 09:18 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Thanks for posting this work sequence.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:45 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Chilei, thank you for posting!

IMHO, you did it exactly the right way! There are at least two schools of thought on this job. One is to simply slide the fork tubes out and replace the parts like you did, and the other is to raise the bike and remove the lower forks. Maybe that's because you always remove the lowers when replacing seals on a conventional front end. I had to do the same job on my R1150GS a month or so ago, and found a photo sequence on a British GS board. It was linked from "The GS-Spot" on Advrider.com, I believe.

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Old 01-16-2010, 09:48 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Nice job documenting this, thanks!
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:31 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

I will be doing this very thing in a week or two. Thanks for the great pics and quick tutorial!!
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:50 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobos505
I will be doing this very thing in a week or two. Thanks for the great pics and quick tutorial!!
Happy to have helped... Having done it I can't believe I was so hesitant to do it. I am anything but a mechanic, but do have basic skills... there is nothing to it...

I did not mention that I bought two jugs of oil, but each fork takes half a container (500ML) by the manual. Honestly I could have done it in half the time but I was taking my time, took breaks to check on the game, read the manual for torques and amounts, etc...

Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions at all, I check the site many times each day.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:38 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by chilei
Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions at all, I check the site many times each day.


I hereby nominate this as understatement of the month!

Very cool write up. I'm very impressed to see an officer get his hands dirty........sir!

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Old 01-18-2010, 09:11 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaMack
I hereby nominate this as understatement of the month!

Very cool write up. I'm very impressed to see an officer get his hands dirty........sir!

Remember... I have that "E" following my rate! (as in O-3E)
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:32 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

As I am looking on the MAX micro fiche, I see that I can order either 7.5W oil or 10W oil.

Any ideas?
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:00 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobos505
As I am looking on the MAX micro fiche, I see that I can order either 7.5W oil or 10W oil.

Any ideas?
I used 10W. I don't know a lot about this but I asked the dealer and he said that the 10W would be great if I was inclined to ride in the twisties... he said it was a better aggressive oil. Not sure the reasoning but that is what he said, it's what I went with.
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:33 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

You do not have to change the oil, after all it is "Lifetime".....!

But I did anyhow....and found....Water in the oil. Not much, a few drops, but some nonetheless!

I was even tempted to use some of that 10W Hydraulic Oil out of the 5 Gal. Bucket I have here, but broke down and bought some "brand name" Fork Oil 10W and used that.

I never ever had to replace a fork seal on a BMW since 1985....but often pull up the dust caps and clean the dirt from the top of the seals/fork tubes ,so it does not work its way down the seals and wear them out! Funny what I have found in there after weeks on the road in all kinds of weather! And funny what I found under the dust caps on this "well maintained" bike I bought last year....!

Lots of the dirt riders use "sponge wipers" under the dust caps to extend the life of their seals....!
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:45 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

I don't ride in dirt, but fork seals were the first job I did 4 years ago. At the time everybody said it was stuck bugs and road dirt that caused early seal failure.

I went for the 10Wt oil.

I fitted a pair of aftermarket black plastic fork gaytors whilst the top was in bits (Enduro rider parts) and I haven't seen a fork leak since.
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:15 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Since there is NO dampening mechanism in the forks I don't think it matters what weight fork oil you use. It will not have any effect on function or ride.

Nice write up with pictures.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:33 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

After all the years that I have wrenched on my own BMWs and other types one of the fine points that I have learned is that you need to clean the lower forks. You will be surprised out how much dirt ends up in the bottom of your forks. If you don't you will end up with premature seal failure down the road. I have a bottle brush the is about 2" in diameter and 36" long that I bought at a restaurant supply house, that works great for scrubbing out the inside of the lower forks. I use MIL-H-5606 in all of my forks.
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Old 01-24-2010, 03:51 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary
Since there is NO dampening mechanism in the forks I don't think it matters what weight fork oil you use.


Could you please explain this? I thought all shocks were a dampening mechanism. If they don't dampen, why have oil at all? I will say from my MX days, a change of 5w up or down can make a huge difference in how a shock performs. The heavier the oil the slower the shock moves which really controls how the front end feels over bumps and in corners.
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Old 01-24-2010, 04:10 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

The damping is all handled by the shock. The forks are there to hold the front wheel in place, provide proper trail, etc. The oil is just to lube the load bearings.
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:19 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Excellent pictorial write up Kyle!
I did the same project this past fall for my 98 K12RS.

Some notes from my approach/findings:
  • I took off the belly plastic & used a floor jack to lift the front wheel
  • The vacuum pump saves lots of labor time. I pulled the front calipers/wheel/axle to drain the fork tubes. That was a lot of work to get the "last few drops of old oil". In hindsight I could have cleaned out the old oil just fine & saved a bunch of time/effort by:
    • Vacuuming out the old oil
    • Putting in some new oil to mix with any remaining last oil drops/crud
    • Vacuum out that "flush" oil
  • The seal part #'s for a 98 are dependent on the manufacture date. The microfiche on Max BMW's site has the details to get the right ones (my local dealer missed that note on the fiche the first time around)
  • I used ATF fluid as recommended in previous threads here on I-BMW. Works fine & costs less than specific 7.5 or 10 wt "fork oil". As mentioned by others, in this bike the fork oil is to keep the sliders lubricated rather than being key to the fork dampening.
  • For my 98, the 500 ml spec in each fork leg was too much. I totally drained each leg from the drain bolts that are accessed by removing the front axle. Even fully drained, the 500 ml spec was too much in my forks. I ended up removing oil with a vacuum pump such that the level was about 1/2" below the fork seal. That was still too much!! A check after the 1st ride showed that oil was being compressed out. I lowered the level to about 1" below the seal & it's been fine since.
The oil qty spec issue that I had was almost certainly related to the early 98 vintage of my lower fork tubes. The diameter of the seals for my bike was less than the "late model 98 & later" seal kit & it goes to reason that my early 98 fork tubes require less fork oil.

In closing, excellent pics Kyle! Any early model 98 owners, be advised as to some variations on the lower fork tubes/seals/oil qty spec.
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:39 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeeter
Excellent pictorial write up Kyle!
I did the same project this past fall for my 98 K12RS.

Some notes from my approach/findings:
  • I took off the belly plastic & used a floor jack to lift the front wheel
  • The vacuum pump saves lots of labor time. I pulled the front calipers/wheel/axle to drain the fork tubes. That was a lot of work to get the "last few drops of old oil". In hindsight I could have cleaned out the old oil just fine & saved a bunch of time/effort by:
    • Vacuuming out the old oil
    • Putting in some new oil to mix with any remaining last oil drops/crud
    • Vacuum out that "flush" oil
  • I wasn't sure if it would be easier or not... just tried it. I didn't think to use some "flush" oil as you describe... that would have been a great idea and one that I would do given another chance.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Skeeter
  • The seal part #'s for a 98 are dependent on the manufacture date. The microfiche on Max BMW's site has the details to get the right ones (my local dealer missed that note on the fiche the first time around)
  • I used ATF fluid as recommended in previous threads here on I-BMW. Works fine & costs less than specific 7.5 or 10 wt "fork oil". As mentioned by others, in this bike the fork oil is to keep the sliders lubricated rather than being key to the fork dampening.
  • For my 98, the 500 ml spec in each fork leg was too much. I totally drained each leg from the drain bolts that are accessed by removing the front axle. Even fully drained, the 500 ml spec was too much in my forks. I ended up removing oil with a vacuum pump such that the level was about 1/2" below the fork seal. That was still too much!! A check after the 1st ride showed that oil was being compressed out. I lowered the level to about 1" below the seal & it's been fine since.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeeter
The oil qty spec issue that I had was almost certainly related to the early 98 vintage of my lower fork tubes. The diameter of the seals for my bike was less than the "late model 98 & later" seal kit & it goes to reason that my early 98 fork tubes require less fork oil.
This is a very important point... I read a few descriptions on the web where people got one and then went on to say that the parts fische was wrong because one would not fit into their shock... I would tend to say that they were a victim of just what you describe. I haven't had any problem with the amount in each leg though, I just put in 500ML as measured from the container and called it good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeeter
In closing, excellent pics Kyle! Any early model 98 owners, be advised as to some variations on the lower fork tubes/seals/oil qty spec.
Thanks! It seems there are less and less of these things as the RS get's older and older. Mine is still just great though and I won't be getting rid of it anytime soon!
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?"
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:46 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeeter
Excellent pictorial write up Kyle!
I did the same project this past fall for my 98 K12RS.........


........ The diameter of the seals for my bike was less than the "late model 98 & later" seal kit & it goes to reason that my early 98 fork tubes require less fork oil.


In closing, excellent pics Kyle! Any early model 98 owners, be advised as to some variations on the lower fork tubes/seals/oil qty spec.



Thank you sir. I already noted the different part numbers and the oil amount is duely noted.

On this subject, does anyone know how early the 98 was made? My taxi has some plastic parts marked with May/June 97. And one part has '96 and a '97 molded into it.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:54 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobos505
Thank you sir. I already noted the different part numbers and the oil amount is duely noted.

On this subject, does anyone know how early the 98 was made? My taxi has some plastic parts marked with May/June 97. And one part has '96 and a '97 molded into it.

When you go to order your parts, have your VIN # available - that will trigger the build date for the parts guy or gal. I've had good luck with Chicago BMW, they offer a 20% parts discount, just be sure to ask the parts person to provide the appropriate part for your build date or model year...

http://www.chicagobmwmotorcycle.com/store/
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:27 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJS350
When you go to order your parts, have your VIN # available - that will trigger the build date for the parts guy or gal. I've had good luck with Chicago BMW, they offer a 20% parts discount, just be sure to ask the parts person to provide the appropriate part for your build date or model year...

http://www.chicagobmwmotorcycle.com/store/
The VIN # should be the best to ensure the correct parts.
The plastic parts could be from who knows when....the "manufacture date" is under the seat with the VIN#.

I spent $46 to buy the wrong parts the 1st time. Happy to share!
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:18 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

[quote=Skeeter]The VIN # should be the best to ensure the correct parts.
The plastic parts could be from who knows when....the "manufacture date" is under the seat with the VIN#.

=quote]

thanks. I know my bike has the Machizi forks. it is an early 98 build.....I just didnt know when the bike was first offered??
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:20 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeeter
The VIN # should be the best to ensure the correct parts.
The plastic parts could be from who knows when....the "manufacture date" is under the seat with the VIN#.



Thanks. I know my bike has the Machizi forks. it is an early 98 build.....I just didnt know when the bike was first offered??
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Old 05-16-2010, 08:47 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Thanks for the post. It gave me the confidence to do it myself. I do recommend the seal puller. I used a 1 5/16 socket from Tractor Supply to seat the new seal. Also don't forget some threadlock when putting the pinch bolts back in.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:46 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Ordered the parts to do both fork seals.....

Thanks so much for the excellent write up and photos....it will make the job so much easier.
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:27 PM
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Exclamation Re: Replacing front fork seal

I'm getting ready for AHR and found one of my fork seals are leaking.

What damage or feel will be done if I go on the 2,000+ mile ride

Thanks for the help before hand
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:51 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesTexas
I'm getting ready for AHR and found one of my fork seals are leaking.

What damage or feel will be done if I go on the 2,000+ mile ride

Thanks for the help before hand

You probably won't notice anything handling wise as the fork oil is not part of the suspension, just there for lubricant.

BUT what you've got to watch out for is the fork oil running down the forks and making its way onto a brake caliper and pads - that could make for some low grade entertainment.

But the fix is really easy, so I'd recommend that you do it before you set off.
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:10 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

But how do you replace a fork seal on a Duolever?? Oh wait, we don't have fork seals... never mind...
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:13 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

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Originally Posted by Kneedragger
But how do you replace a fork seal on a Duolever?? Oh wait, we don't have fork seals... never mind...

Yeah, but wait, what's that big nut behind the handlebars, oh yeah, that's YOU.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:44 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

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Originally Posted by CJS350
You probably won't notice anything handling wise as the fork oil is not part of the suspension, just there for lubricant.

BUT what you've got to watch out for is the fork oil running down the forks and making its way onto a brake caliper and pads - that could make for some low grade entertainment.

But the fix is really easy, so I'd recommend that you do it before you set off.

I guess I will rag it, not enough time
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:57 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

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Originally Posted by JamesTexas
I guess I will rag it, not enough time

That should work. Zip tying a cloth above the seal should soak up the small amount of oil that leaks out.
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:00 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Kyle

Thanks for the great instructions and pictures.
Did you check the fork legs for nicks and burrs that may cut your new seals?
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:03 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

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Originally Posted by Lee
That should work. Zip tying a cloth above the seal should soak up the small amount of oil that leaks out.

Good Idea
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:16 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
That should work. Zip tying a cloth above the seal should soak up the small amount of oil that leaks out.

Just be sure to check it at the end of the day - I was surprised how quickly the thin fork oil worked its way down the fork legs, and keep a couple of clean rags on hand to change out as needed and you will be just fine.
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:35 AM
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Smile Re: Replacing front fork seal

Thanks for help
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:07 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Had my first ride today after about 3 months bike was parked and front fork seal is leaking on my 2004 at 50,000 miles.

Thanks for the pics and info.
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:07 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Hello. I am curious what happens with the inner tube all this time. (I mean the shiny one, the one that's smaller in diameter). I changed the seals many years ago at some bike I had, and it had springs, and stuff inside, had to take everything outand took me a lot of time. This one just slides in? or... out?
I see there is a lot of discussion about the level of oil. One mechanic said to me as a general note that I must fill the fork until there are 10 cm of air left inside, with the fork extended at it's maximum lenght. (that's about 3.9 inches). What do you think about that?
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:47 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladhd
Hello. I am curious what happens with the inner tube all this time. (I mean the shiny one, the one that's smaller in diameter). I changed the seals many years ago at some bike I had, and it had springs, and stuff inside, had to take everything outand took me a lot of time. This one just slides in? or... out?
I see there is a lot of discussion about the level of oil. One mechanic said to me as a general note that I must fill the fork until there are 10 cm of air left inside, with the fork extended at it's maximum lenght. (that's about 3.9 inches). What do you think about that?
Its just a tube..yank it out...no springs and junk to deal with....You can do this job in a half hour if need be.
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:55 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Thank you. I was checking the diagram for the leg and I noticed there are no plastic or rubber parts. I was thinking of cleaning it with benzin (gasoline). It dissolves grease, fat very well. After draining the oil, was thinking to put back the drain plug and fill the leg with gasoline, leave it ,for, I don't know 10-30 minutes! How about it?
No input about the level?
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:37 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladhd
Hello. I am curious what happens with the inner tube all this time. (I mean the shiny one, the one that's smaller in diameter). I changed the seals many years ago at some bike I had, and it had springs, and stuff inside, had to take everything outand took me a lot of time. This one just slides in? or... out?
I see there is a lot of discussion about the level of oil. One mechanic said to me as a general note that I must fill the fork until there are 10 cm of air left inside, with the fork extended at it's maximum lenght. (that's about 3.9 inches). What do you think about that?
my inner tube (the one which attaches to the triple tree) had nothing in it... quite simple really. Your worries are similar to mine, what happens when you start sliding something out and hear a "ping" or something similar. Don't worry about it, this is just as simple of a design as you read above. You should do just fine though, it is one of the easy repairs, I was over thinking it when considering taking it to a dealer.

As for the oil, I used what the dealer service rep told me to do and a year later everything is great!

Good luck, I think you will find that you are worried about nothing (though as I said, this is only being passed after I went through the change)...
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:41 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladhd
Thank you. I was checking the diagram for the leg and I noticed there are no plastic or rubber parts. I was thinking of cleaning it with benzin (gasoline). It dissolves grease, fat very well. After draining the oil, was thinking to put back the drain plug and fill the leg with gasoline, leave it ,for, I don't know 10-30 minutes! How about it?
No input about the level?
No, I wouldn't introduce anything like that for a couple of reasons.

1. The inside of my forks was clean, there was really nothing that I saw... I had thought of using a rag on a gun cleaning rod, but after seeing it I didn't want to risk getting fibers or anything else inside.

2. Once you put gas in there, it will leave some level of residue, this mixed with the oil doesn't seem good (no need to break down new oil). Given #1, I think you would just be increasing the odds of introducing a substance without any significant gain.

Others may disagree with me, these are just my thoughts.
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:43 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Kyle

Thanks for the great instructions and pictures.
Did you check the fork legs for nicks and burrs that may cut your new seals?
Lee I don't know how i missed responding for so long.

Yes... everything was smooth, I think they just wore out.
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:55 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladhd
Hello. I am curious what happens with the inner tube all this time. (I mean the shiny one, the one that's smaller in diameter). I changed the seals many years ago at some bike I had, and it had springs, and stuff inside, had to take everything outand took me a lot of time. This one just slides in? or... out?
I see there is a lot of discussion about the level of oil. One mechanic said to me as a general note that I must fill the fork until there are 10 cm of air left inside, with the fork extended at it's maximum lenght. (that's about 3.9 inches). What do you think about that?

Unlike most other bikes, the BMWs have their fork suspension shock and spring OUTSIDE so the only purpose for oil in the fork tubes is to lubricate the sliding joint. However, leaking oil can work its way down the fork leg and on to the discs and looks unsightly anyway.

The top nut which seals off the tube does from memory have a slot underneath to equalise air pressure. If you think about it, just pushing that long tube into the oil will create some back pressure. What you don't want is to overfill so it deforms the seal and pushes excess oil out of the top. The shop manual says 0.5 litre of oil each side and I suggest those are factory quantities in a clean, drained and dry tube. I think I used 5Wt fork oil, but I don't think it matters if you go to 10 Wt. The main thing is to use a magnifying glass to check the polished surface of the sliding tube for any dings or stuck bug debris.

I wouldn't use gasoline to degrease. Not only is it inflammable but it can shrink nitrile rubber (your new seals!). Kerosene is better if you must use something as you are still left with some lubrication on surfaces after draining.
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:21 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Thank You
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:36 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Geez James, thanks for reminding me that my fork seals are still weepy . (hey that emoticon fits!!)

The leak has been just an annoyance, not enough to have reached the lower fork tubes, more importantly the brakes. Clearly it hasn't bothered me enough in the past 5k miles, but wiping the forks of a few drops gets old after a while.

And for my next go at it, a different approach.... after all insanity is doing the same thing the same way & expecting different results..

Steps for the next time:
  • Get the correct seals for my 97/98 from the get go
  • Use genuine fork oil rather than ATF for good measure
  • Use the 3.9" down fill method
There are other projects I'd rather do... It's not too bad, just hate doing things & paying for seals twice, make that three times... (wrong seals the 1st go round)....
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:37 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Thanks for that great write up with the great pics. It's given me the confidence to do the job myself. Like you I have a 3 hr drive to the nearest dealer.
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:04 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

It does matter which way the seals go in. One of mine went in the wrong way and soon it was weeping a bit. So pay attention.
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:55 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

NCS, time to tell our boogers, huh?
I changed mine this Aug, it was over 100* the last 49 days till Sept 5th, so, I'd work a bit and then run inside and cool off. Every thing was going soooo smooth. I cooled off ready for the last tube, had it clean and slicked down with oil, slid it thru the triple, eased it thru the seal, and pushed it to about correct height for handlebar clamp and snugged the pinch bolt. filled the 500cms of oil, and started to screw in the top plug, tried about 5 times and never caught a thread. looked inside the tube. And!!!!! the tube was upside down, the threads were in the bottom.
Please add 15 more minutes to labor bill!
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:00 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Thanks for your post. I have a 2002 k1200RS and need to remove and adjust the handlebars. In the beginning of your post, you mentioned there are three bolts to remove (two pinch bolts and one under the triple clamp). If possible, please explain in more details. I see two bolts and am not sure about the third one, thanks.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilei
I looked for the answer on this and though there was enough information to make me believe I could do this myself, there was no hard thread with pics... I am a visual guy so...

I had noticed that there was oil on the forks a while ago and was not sure if the seal was bad or if it was just an anomaly... it got worse and I had my answer.


Here is what I saw:

I started out by ordering from A&S motorcycles... no reason other than the fact that I have no local dealer and due to my time zone, Bobs was closed. Here is what I bought... (I know I likely didn't have to replace the visible "seal" but I didn't want to "Half-ass" it).



I went to Harbor Freight and bought a cheap seal puller, a screw driver would have also worked though.



I lifted the front wheel off the ground by parking my car right behind the bike, taking a tie down strap from my car bumper to the back of the bike and ratcheting it down.
There are three bolts to remove the handle bars to get to the inner fork, two pinch bolts, and one under the triple clamp. You will note that I originally tried to do this without removing the plastics... much harder and ultimately it only took a short time to know that this was not the right way.

To prevent undue stress to the lines and connections which remain on the handgrips, I used a small bungie and connected one end to each handlebar so the weight was not held by any connections.


With the body work removed, I took to draining the fluid from the fork. I know that I could drain it from the plug but decided that I would just use a brake bleeder to suck it out... worked well. I did have some tubing that was unused so I used that to attach to the vacuum device (so as not to mix fluid types if brake fluid was in the line at all). (yes this pic was before removing the body work, I stopped and removed the body work right after taking this.



Here is what it looked like before removing the outer sleeve...



Simply remove that outer sleeve. Using a screw driver or a seal puller, it just pops off. This will expose a retainer pin which is easily removed with a screw driver:

Then simply remove the seal... this is what is there when it is removed:


I took note that the new seals did not say which way they go, I don't know if it matters but I noted when I took the old out that there are notches on one side of the new seal... luckily these notches are on the old ones as well, in my case they faced up.

After getting it set using a seal seating tool (also bought at harbor freight) and replacing the retaining pin. I did not have to have the seating tool and could have done it with something else.

I put on the outer sleeve. For this I did one each way, I put it on and then slid the fork in, and I also slid it up the fork, put the inner fork into the assembly and then slid it down and seated it. I prefer the latter.

Then just put everything back together... Make sure that the wires and lines are routed correctly before putting it together. Also, be very careful as you torque... one of the pinch bolts is only in In lb... NOT in Ft lb... it is very lightly torqued.





All in all, it was very easy... I am thankful I didn't have someone else do it for two reasons... $$, and the fact that to have a BMW mechanic do it I would have had to drive over 3 hours one way.


Hope it is helpful to someone!
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:26 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

There is a pinch bolt on each side of the top triple plate to handlebar adapter, another on the bottom triple of each side that clamp the tube securely. Also under the top triple close to the fork tube (1/4") is another socket head screw that goes thru the plate into the handlebar adapter. When re-installing please install this hidden screw 1st so everything lines up.
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:33 AM
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Thanks a lot, I will get on it this weekend!
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:55 AM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

This is the hidden upside down screw.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:43 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Another Clarification.... Where is the plug that you remove to drain the oil? I thought it was at the bottom of the forks, under the calipers, but it looks like you are more towards the top in your photo.....
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:36 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by weschmann
Another Clarification.... Where is the plug that you remove to drain the oil? I thought it was at the bottom of the forks, under the calipers, but it looks like you are more towards the top in your photo.....

The drain for the forks requires removal of the front wheel - and its attendant axle, part # 7 in the attached diagram,

http://www.maxbmwmotorcycles.com/fic...png?v=05012012
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:42 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

The fork oil is drained by removing the front wheel and axle.In the very bottom of the fork slider, just past the axle hole is the socket head screw and copper crush washer. Drain in a pan.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:48 PM
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Try this #12 and 13.
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  #57  
Old 08-09-2012, 11:03 PM
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weschmann weschmann is offline
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Thanks, I think I've got it now... A picture is worth a thousand words....:-)
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  #58  
Old 05-03-2013, 03:29 AM
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vladhd vladhd is offline
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Hello. Does anyone knows the size of the seals? Cause I need to change them (again), and I remember I bought a pair of seals after one of the specifications, and did not fit and got stuck with the bike dismantled for the weekend. I am not sure but I think it was the external diameter. So, the size that I found is 35x48x11. Anyone has another one? Unfortunately I did not keep the old ones to check the size. Thanks!
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  #59  
Old 05-03-2013, 05:35 AM
voxmagna voxmagna is offline
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

It is some years since I did mine. At the time I just got them from the dealer because there were discussions about 2 compatible seals for Showa and Marzzochi(?) forks and one type had some reports of failing early. Sorry cannot remember which, but the dealer sold me the correct seals for the bike VIN and year.

If you get the sizes, check that the new seals come with a dust lip which you can see on the outside top edge. Standard seals from bearing shops do not usually have this and you have to ask for the seal with a dust lip.

It sounds as though you are second time around on those seals? I replaced mine seven years ago AND fitted a pair of aftermarket fork gaytors. The thinking is that road grit and bugs get on the chrome sliders which knocks out the seal quickly. You also need to check the sliders very carefully with a magnifying glass for any 'dings' in the chrome and polish them out. I also replaced the fork oil with a slightly heavier weight and got the oil level correct in the tubes (not too high!).
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Old 10-05-2013, 02:01 AM
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CRASH CRASH is offline
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Re: Replacing front fork seal

Good thread. I had to replace a bad seal today and did a search and came across this well done pictorial. I managed to do it just fine with all bodywork on. 500ml is too much oil per tube I am probably closer to about 400 to maybe 425. And that was still more than I took out of the good leg.
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