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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just noticed my left fork seal is leaking. I was planning on rebuilding both forks over the winter.

I have two options:

1: head straight home, about 1200 miles ish, mostly through the Great Plains.

2: my original route: head west to black canyon, then down towards the million dollar highway, over to great sand dunes, then home.

Option 2 adds a couple days and several hundred miles through twisty roads.

Is it safe to put down that many miles on twisty roads with the seal leaking?

I was going to order a seal doctor but it won’t get here in time so I’m gonna try to pick one up on the way.

I’ve read tons of threads on rebuilding forks and cleaning the seals but I didn’t see anything about what to do in this situation if you are a few days from home and if it’s safe to ride.

Thanks
 

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try clam shell plastic, it's thin, but stiffer than film, and available everywhere. cut it to shape as Invader suggests.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I pulled the dust cap and cleaned what I could with a paper towel, obviously didn’t get into the actual seal… looking for something to use as a make shift seal dr at the moment
 

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I pulled the dust cap and cleaned what I could with a paper towel, obviously didn’t get into the actual seal… looking for something to use as a make shift seal dr at the moment
check trash bins, clam shell packaging probably found in most, or you could just buy something you need that uses that style package material.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Clam shell trick work worked. Pulled out a lot of crud! Gonna leave the dust seals off overnight and check for oil in the morning. Thanks!!!!
 

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I pulled the dust cap and cleaned what I could with a paper towel, obviously didn’t get into the actual seal… looking for something to use as a make shift seal dr at the moment
if you pull out the dust cap, you can get into the actual fork seal.
 

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Continuing the ride depends on how bad it is leaking. Running down onto the brake, NO. just leaving a film on the chrome that you can wipe off every so often and I would continue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It had only been leaking for about 170 miles. The front fork was two days ago when I did the stator, definitely would have noticed it.

I didn’t see any oil on the front brakes. That being said I did feel like I wasn’t stopping as well yesterday. I’m gonna clean the rotors this morning with some brake cleaner before hitting the road.

Trying to plan ahead…. Let’s say that left fork seal just blows out completely, worst case, catastrophic failure. If I clean the oil off would it be ok to limp it home or is that type of failure something that would need a trip to the closest shop?

I have trip interruption insurance with progressive, I think it covers mechanical issues. But it’s something I’d rather do myself when I get home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Checked it this morning and there was some oil on the ground under the fork.

The fork itself was dry and I pulled the dust cap and it didn’t have any fresh spots. Can’t tell if this oil is new or just the residual left overs that dripped down the fork.

I guess the safe thing to do would be to head home.
 

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Trying to plan ahead…. Let’s say that left fork seal just blows out completely, worst case, catastrophic failure. If I clean the oil off would it be ok to limp it home or is that type of failure something that would need a trip to the closest shop?
first, determine if the seal is still leaking after the seal cleaning. if it's still leaking, try this...clean the leg with brake clean, then put a couple wraps of electrical tape on the tube near the seal in a smooth helix type pattern. cycle the forks using the front brakes, remove the tape, check it again.

if still leaking, zip tie a piece of toweling around the tube, ride it home. change toweling as necessary to keep oil off the brakes. it's unfortunate, but not unusual, to have a leaking seal in the middle of a trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Cleaned the seal again, then the fork. Tape had oil. I’m assuming that’s a trip killer. Bummer.

Most direct route home is 1,200-1,300 miles. 3-4 day ride depending on the weather.

Is there a way to top off oil if needed or should I not worry about anything but keeping it off the brakes?

Also the dust caps are pretty dry rotted, I’m guessing the seals are as well. This is one of the few jobs Im a little concerned is out of my skill set to fix when I get home. I hate going to dealers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Looking at a map, I’m gonna head to Great Sand Dunes then start the trek back East. Not comfortable enough with a leak near the brakes to ride the million dollar highway or try to push further west to black canyon.

Gonna zip tie some paper towels around the forks and just keep an eye on it
 

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Gonna zip tie some paper towels around the forks and just keep an eye on it
if you did the electrical tape, it's supposed to have oil on it since you cycled it past the seal. the tape helps dislodge any grit missed by the field fix plastic device.

take it easy, see the sights, keep the oil off the brakes, ride it home, rebuild when you get there
 

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You did remove the tape I hope.... wrap a rag around it, and ride home, change as necessary. I've done the brake cleaner on the pads/rotors as well. BTDT. Just know you may not have 100% braking in a panic stop.
You will not get a catastrophic failure, nor are you losing enough oil to affect anything, it's really peanuts amount that just looks bad.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Got about 50 miles down the road and just couldn’t get it out of my head so I turned around. I wrapped and zip tied a paper towel and it’s dry after the 50 miles. Might have stopped the leak with the tape trick, I don’t see any new oil on the fork or damp areas on the towels.

That being said I’m getting to close to the hard deadline to get home. The bike would likely be fine but I’m not gonna be able to ride twisty roads without worrying about oil getting on my rotors.

Still been an amazing trip. Put down 8,000ish miles so far this summer with 1200ish to get home. The bike would probably have been fine on the rest of my original route but I don’t wanna add extra days and miles knowing I'm not gonna get that thought out of the back of my head. I’m a little OCD when it comes to having my bike in tip top shape, or at least what I consider tip top lol.

I’m probably being overly cautious but if can’t ride with a clear head I don’t really wanna push it up here in the mountains especially with a fully loaded bike. I also know I’ll be thinking about it every time I lean into a corner or come to a stoplight, feel like that will kill the first experience on some of these amazing roads.

Million dollar highway will be here next year, gotta make sure I’m here to ride it!

Now time to start reading up on the rebuild. I’ll hit the service manual when I get home and search the threads, but are there any upgrades that could be made when doing this service? And the only thing I’ll be replacing is the fluid, dust caps and seals right?

Thanks for all the help.
 

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Million dollar highway will be here next year, gotta make sure I’m here to ride it!

👍Smart. Sorry you had to end early. Safe journey home.
 

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This is one of the few jobs I'm a little concerned is out of my skill set to fix when I get home. I hate going to dealers.
You can save yourself some serious cash by removing the forks-I'd replace both seals- and take them to the dealer to install the seals. If you can change the front wheel it's not difficult to remove the forks.
 

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You can save yourself some serious cash by removing the forks-I'd replace both seals- and take them to the dealer to install the seals. If you can change the front wheel it's not difficult to remove the forks.
why would he do that? it takes longer to R&R the forks than it does to rebuild them. review the service manual, watch the youtube, don't bother with the dealer, that's where he saves money.

besides, this rider travels, the more he learns about his bike the better
 
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