Fork Seal Replacement - by Roady - GL1100

This Is Strictly For The "How To" Sticky's

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octane
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Fork Seal Replacement - by Roady - GL1100

Post #1 by octane » Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:01 pm

This brilliant post is the work of Roady. I'm just posting it here for him. Thanks Steve!
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This is not intended to replace instructions in your printed manual.

If you do not have a manual, study one of the online ones before attempting this procedure.

You should also study the excellent writeup by Chuck Kichline, Installing Fork Seals in the 1980-1982 GoldWing. It has lots of helpful pictures.
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Here's a pre-cleaning tip from Whiskerfish, 20 Oct. '09.

Whiskerfish wrote:
sunnbobb wrote:Is it common for that small inner slider to be corroded? And how do you clean out the inside of the slider and outer tube?

Corrosion on the non contacting surfaces is very common. I used a kerosene flush on mine. I drain what is left of the original fluid and dropped in like a pint of Kero and bounced the front of the bike for about 10 minutes then drained it and did it again. Drain that then do your teardown and rebuild. It cut the snot and goo left from water and breakdown of the original fluid and worked pretty well for me.


Put the bike on the centerstand and lift the front end until the back tire is firmly on the ground. It helps to have a jack or friend named Jack to help with this. Or, have a big girlfriend sit on the back seat.

I had none of that so this is what I call a skyhook and I used it to lift the front end. I kept it taut even after everything else was stabilized. Safety. Since taking this picture I have a new method using two straps in a "V" that come down from the sky and attach to the handle bar grips.

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Blocks and support under the engine and frame.

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A brief tour of where you'll be going. Have a nice trip.

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Unhook the speedo cable, remove it from the clamps and get it out of the way.

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Remove the caliper bolts, support them as you're loosening so they doesn't slam into something.

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Wrap and secure the calipers back above the engine. I wired them to the frame.

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Secure the brake lever so you don't accidentally press it and close the brake shoes. They're a pain to move back (dunno how I know that...).

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Support the wheel and then loosen the axle clamp nuts and pull out the axle.

Remove the shim under the wheel and roll it out.

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Keep your junk in order. Use plastic tubs, bags or cups. Keep left and right separate and organized and it'll go back together easier.

Note that the Axle Clamps are marked on one edge with an "F" and and arrow pointing to the front. This is important when reassembling.

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Remove the fender.

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Unhook the choke connection and move the cable and knob out of the way. Release any air using the Shrader valve. Undo the left connector. Undo the right connector. Pull the hose out to the right.

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Loosen both of the caps at the top of the forks with a 17mm(?) wrench but don't remove them. There are massive springs under there that could make those caps into effective WMDs.

Remove the upper 10mm and lower 12mm fork clamp bolts. The fork should now slide down and out smoothly. Refer to the "tour" picture above.

Wrap/protect the fork and clamp it in your vice on the caliper brackets.

jdvorchak wrote:What roady left out was that those forks are full of the nastiest looking oil you've ever seen. When you either pull the fork caps, to remove the springs or pull the allen out of the bottom keep in your mind that there is about 10 oz or more of this nasty stuff in each fork.

I have loosened the fork caps in a vise like that thread shows and have also done it with the forks still in the triple tree and clamped down. I prefer to leave the forks in the triple tree, loosen the fork caps. Just break them loose about 1/2 turn. Them remove the forks and go to the vise. You want to keep the spring pressure on them so you can easily remove that allen bolt in the bottom. Once the allen is out you can finish removing the fork caps. The springs are under a lot of tension so be careful when you remove the caps. It's not as bad as it sounds but you may have to chase one of two of those caps across the garage floor.

On re-assembly if you have trouble getting the springs back in, leave them out until you mount the forks and wheel back on the bike. Fill the tubes with the recommended amount of fork oil ( I use ATF per Honda) then insert the springs and caps. With the forks and wheel mounted you can get "above" the fork caps to compress the springs and begin tightening the fork caps.


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Wish I had a pic of this ... Make a tool to remove the caps. Mine was a 2"x2" about 2 feet long. I screwed two short pieces of 2x2 at the center with a 21mm gap. You can then hold both ends, press it over the cap and unscrew it while applying pressure. When the cap releases from the threads you'll have pretty good control of it. Put the caps back on with this tool, too. YMMV.

(EDIT: 12/27/09) I finally got around to making a drawing of this tool. I'm sure that it's parts have been morphed into something else by now.

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My cheap circlip pliers would not get that big clip out from under the dust seal. So, I ground the tips of an old pair of 8" needlenose pliers so they fit in the holes. Also, the tips had to be bent in at a slight inward angle.

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Remove the allen bolt at the bottom of the fork.
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NOTE: the following method does NOT, repeat NOT apply to GL1000 forks!!!!!

..the forks are quite different and attempting the method described below will ruin the 1000 forks
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Now (GL1100 ONLY!), there's a neat trick to separating the two parts of the fork and popping the seals and shims out. Just push in the small end and then pull on it sharply (not too much force, work up to whatever is needed).This slide action should separate the two tubes.

Now, clean/clean/clean.

It's easiest to reassemble the stanchions and lower legs, mount them back on the bike, insert the upper springs, fill with fluid and put the caps on.

Put the damper rod seat on the stanchion and fit it into the lower fork leg.

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Put the allen bolt into the bottom of the lower leg and thread it into the stachion. Tighten the allen bolt to 11-18 lbf ft. I don't have allen sockets so "nice and snug" with the wrench works for me.

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Keep your ducks in a row.

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And how those ducks look on the stanchion.

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A 3' long piece of 1-1/2" PVC pipe is an effective punch to put in the new seals. Slide the lower bush and thick backing ring down the upper leg and into the top of the lower leg. Slip the PVC down and tap them in, it doesn't take much and you won't need a hammer. Lightly oil the new seal and tap it down with the PVC until the circlip groove is fully revealed.

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Add the thin backing ring and finally, refit the circlip and upper dust seal.

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Like I said above, study the manual pages. If you don't have an actual manual then you really should consider it as one of your next purchases.

It's been a while since I did this so I hope that I didn't forget anything. Again, the manual should be your primary guide.

Good luck! - Roady

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Post #2 by octane » Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:18 pm

Here's a diameter-adaptable PVC tube sealing driver

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I'd place a piece of wood or something on top of the PVC tube
so as to hit the whole top of the PVC tube
(the slit makes the tube flex when hit)
to make sure you get an even preassure around the sealing circumference.


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Post #3 by Roady » Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:27 am

The procedure has been updated with tips from jdvorchak and Whiskerfish.

Thanks, guys!

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Re: Fork Seal Replacement - by Roady - GL1100

Post #4 by Roady » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:23 pm

Rebuilt my forks again, they weren't leaking, I sent the lowers to Sunnbobb for polishing.

So, I have updated the original post to include some new pics and descriptions.


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