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I searched the forums for info before I asked this question. My right front fork has a little oil on it. Nothing extreme, just enough to coat it with a thin layer. Is this a busted seal and if it is how long do I have before it is a huge problem. In other words, should I stay off the bike until it's fixed? Thanks.
 

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yea the seal may be bad or you may have some debrit in there which could be cleaned. either way its your call on the replacement.
 

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I'd go ahead and get some cheap fork oil (if you don't have any old bottles laying around) & clean off the fork sliders & your dust seal. I'm surprised at just how many people don't routinely clean off these areas. If you don't and the dust seal get's dry & beat up the crud on the seal will move past that seal & into the fork oil seal & eventually destroy your seal. Could be that you are at that point if you start seeing weeping. But you check the condition yourself. Grab a thin slotted screwdriver & gently pry the fork dust seal off the fork tube. Slide it way down the fork slider & grab a paper towel & that fork oil. DO NOT USE WD40 to do this. I fold the paper towel & few times & then pour a little fork oil on the edge of the towel. Clean out the inside of the dust seal that is usually hidden/covered by the fork tube. Is it really wet in there or is there plenty of fork oil in that area of the seal? That would be an indicator of how bad your fork oil seal is. Take a flashlight & shine it up at the fork oil seal itself & see how much oil is weeping out of there. I generally wipe the fork slider off with the rag & then with the dust seal way out of the way I get on the bike, hit the front brake hard & bounce up & down on the front end several times. Then take the flashlight & shine it back on the seal & see how much oil is weeping out. Wipe the area clean & do it again. This is not a bad way to do an evaluation.

Before you slide the dust seal back in place take that paper towel & fold part of it over twice. Put a little bit of fork oil on the towel & grab that dust seal at the edge that wipes the fork slider clean. Pinch that part of the seal hard & try to slide a bit of the paper towel into & under that part of the seal. This may take a few tries if you have never done it before. Once you get it under the seal spin the seal around slowly a few rotations to clean the crap out of the seal. Remove the towel, fold it up again, drop some oil on it & do it again. Keeping this seal clean & slightly lubed will insure the oil seal behind it will last a long time...
 

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They also make a tool to clean out the seals for dirt bikes, that are pretty cheap. Be very careful using it :rant

Also check the little clip is seated against the seal.

Here is a picture of what is in there.

Left to right is the dust seal, the clip, the fork seal, the retaining washer then the bushings. All you are doing is getting under the edge of the dust seal and sliding it down. Make sure it is really clean before sliding the dust seal :coocoo

click for a big 'un

 

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Not a dumb question at all. It's something I heard from a tuner many years ago. Said the kerosine in the WD40 leaves a residue that will break down the fork oil that will eventually be smeared over the fork slider. So it will interfere with the lubrication process & can cause seal issues. That was the story I heard. Not quite sure if he was just being super careful with fork maintenance. It is easy enough to use left over fork oil that you usually have laying around to do the cleaning job. I will see the Race Tech race support guys at Willow Springs on Monday & I will bring it up with them if my feeble brain remembers to do it.

:devious
 
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