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My fork seal replacement experience

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' started by veom, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. I own a Kawasaki KLR 650, I went away over the christmas break for a few days came back to find a puddle of oil on the floor coming from the right fork. I knew straight away it was the fork seal and that it was a bit out of my depth to do myself, however, I gave it a shot and heres what happened!

    Firstly lifting the bike:
    I don't own a motorcycle stand that can lift the front end of the KLR up so I borrowed a friends dirt bike stand which isn't height adjustable. Its the style where you just lift the bike onto it. So one night it took 5 of us and a 6 pack each to lift the bike off the floor and onto this stand.


    Removing the wheel:
    I had never taken a wheel off a motorcycle before, but I have done brake work so this was nothing challenging, I was a bit worried the axle wouldn't slide out but came out easily.

    Stripping the fork:
    I originally took the leaking fork of the motorcycle and drained the oil, but couldn't remove the top cap. So I had to put the fork back in the bike to remove the top cap, next time I'll definitely pop the top cap before bringing it out of the bike.

    The big issue, removing the damping rod:
    Unlike modern cartridge forks the klr has a damping rod which must be held in place in order to break it free. After reading some articles on how to hold it in place I decided the best approach was to get the rear axle nut into the end of the damping rod and hold it in place with a long breaker bar and a 24mm socket. As I began to slide the socket in with the breaker bar I felt some resistance but kept pushing it. After a moment I realised I was doing something wrong and removed the breaker bar, only to find it had left the socket inside the fork! At this point I thought I was completely stuffed, it was my worse nightmare. Lucky I was able to remove the socket with a garden hook which I had shaped in my vice to create a hook to remove the socket.


    I was so lucky to be able to remove the socket, other wise I would have had to drill the damping rod bolt out. At this point I was taking no chances, so I waited until the next day for my friend to fetch an impact wrench to use on the bolt. We ended up holding it with a broom stick while using the impact wrench.

    Pushing the fork seal in:
    I didn't have the specialised fork seal pusher for this job so I cut the old seal in half, then used a hammer and a flat head screw driver to push it in. It took me 4 attempts until I finally seated the fork seal in deep enough to get the clip in.

    After all that I fill the fork up with oil and was glad to see it not leaking from anywhere. I've seated it back in the bike now but I have to get a few mates around again to help me lift the bike off the stand.
  2. here is a tip do them both together
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Highly recommend replacing both together, too.

  4. Funny you mentioned that. After I did just the one it blew 2 weeks later. So I had to do the job again but this time I did them both, it only took me about 4 hours opposed to the 3 days it took me the first time. the new seals are still holding strong.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Every time I have had leaking fork seals I have fixed them by just cleaning them with a cut out plastic piece from a peanut butter jar. I suspect that alot of fork seal problems are just dirt making them leak
    • Agree Agree x 1