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Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders Discuss Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders problems, advice, and/or how tos.

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  #1  
Old 16th July 2012
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Default New fork seal, still leaking...

So, here's the deal. I got a 96 1200C with a tick over 60K on the clock. A while back one of the fork tubes was showing some oil. I ran it for a while, not to concerned. I'd wipe it off, it came back.... When I got some time I pulled both tubes and changed out all the bushings, put new seals in, and fresh oil. Buttoned it all back up, BINGO!

Now here's the rub. The same side is doing the same thing... Weeping oil. I know I looked the tubes over good looking for dings or scratches. I ran a steel wool over the whole length too, to make sure. What I'm not sure about is, do the seals have a top and bottom? I looked at em quick and decided they looked the same on both sides, so put em in. before I pull it all apart again I thought I'd send it by you guys for any insight. Might it be as simple as turning the seal over? Thanks for your time. Roger
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  #2  
Old 16th July 2012
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I have never in my life seen a seal that is the same on both sides. One side is completely closed, and the other side has a spring inside that goes around the inner flap of the seal to give it some tension against the tube. The closed side is up, and the spring side goes down.

When installing seals you use the large washer on top of the seal and then with a piece of tube that is 2" diameter and about 3' long you use that tube as a slide hammer to seat the seal gently into place.

If the seal gets cocked slightly it will leak, so that slide hammer operation is necessary and the end of that tube needs to be cut clean and perpendicular to the tube for it to work right. Also the large washer is necessary to protect the seal as you do the slide hammering (gently).

So new seal, and check the slider tube again for nicks, then it's a do over.

I'm not a big fan of the steel wool idea, but if you were not abusive with it you are probably OK. If you can see scratches that's not good.

New tubes from BK Rider are inexpensive if that is found to be an issue, and they have a video on line to show what I just discribed with the slide hammer action.
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  #3  
Old 17th July 2012
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You can also take a set of vernier calipers and measure tube diameter just above the lower slider and again an inch higher to see if you might have some excessive wear on the tube.
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Old 17th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportsterpaul View Post
You can also take a set of vernier calipers and measure tube diameter just above the lower slider and again an inch higher to see if you might have some excessive wear on the tube.
LOL, now that hit me as funny... Only you Paul, only you would get that kind of wear on fork tubes. (And that's a compliment to a guy who rides more than I do).
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Old 17th July 2012
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What, doesn't everyone have the same issue? My 2000 "C" did at 60,000, but it had been beat up in some tremendous sandstorms out through N. Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Quality control being what it is you could get advanced wear on a tube, NO? And both the '06 "R", and '00 "C" have less than 200,000 miles between them, so there!
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Old 17th July 2012
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Thanks for reply Wedge. Yeah, I used a length of 2" PVC and a washer to seat the seal.
And I was very light on the steel wool. I kinda dragged it, feeling for a rough spot. None.

So, as you recommend I'll slide that tube out, and drop a new seal in. Closed side up, spring side down. Bless you sir.
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Old 17th July 2012
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This is wierd, I typed a very long reply to this thread, and for some reason it didn't post. I must have just been previewing it and then moved on to another thread.

Rather than try to remember it all, the bottom line is that Paul is very knowledgable and all joking aside, if he says check the taper, then I intend to check mine soon because it's time for seals on my bike too at over 50,000 miles. I suggest you check yours too when you take it apart.
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Old 17th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wedge View Post
This is wierd, I typed a very long reply to this thread, and for some reason it didn't post. I must have just been previewing it and then moved on to another thread.

Rather than try to remember it all, the bottom line is that Paul is very knowledgable and all joking aside, if he says check the taper, then I intend to check mine soon because it's time for seals on my bike too at over 50,000 miles. I suggest you check yours too when you take it apart.
I got a set of mics downstairs. I'll be sure to. Just waiting for a rainy afternoon...

Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 17th July 2012
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Dunno about the USA, but in the UK there are specialists (but not many) who will machine down worn or pitted fork tubes and re-chrome them to the correct diameter. This is a specialised hard-chrome process, not the purely decorative coating you'll get at most chrome shops. I'd be very surprised if you couldn't get the same over there, but it does seem a little early for the OP's forks to be worn enough to need it.
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Old 17th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bett View Post
So, here's the deal. I got a 96 1200C with a tick over 60K on the clock. A while back one of the fork tubes was showing some oil. I ran it for a while, not to concerned. I'd wipe it off, it came back.... When I got some time I pulled both tubes and changed out all the bushings, put new seals in, and fresh oil. Buttoned it all back up, BINGO!

Now here's the rub. The same side is doing the same thing... Weeping oil. I know I looked the tubes over good looking for dings or scratches. I ran a steel wool over the whole length too, to make sure. What I'm not sure about is, do the seals have a top and bottom? I looked at em quick and decided they looked the same on both sides, so put em in. before I pull it all apart again I thought I'd send it by you guys for any insight. Might it be as simple as turning the seal over? Thanks for your time. Roger
Yes it might, some seal fabricates do have a non pressure side that mimic the pressure side, with spring and all. The lip is just smaller on the non pressure side.
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