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Thread: Fork Seal Opinions

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Fork Seal Opinions

    What are your opinions on fork seals? I have tried 3 aftermarket fork seals in about 10 years on 2 bikes. These were not the cheapest ones available, about mid grade. One set was double lipped so I really thought they would last. OEM on these lasted about 20 years. My opinion is that though expensive the OEM ones seem the way to go for less maintenance. Opinions please.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member SHAG's Avatar
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    I would go with OEM for fork seals and try to keep the tubes as clean as possible. Are your tubes smooth and without nicks and dings?
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    Go like hell, You'll get there quicker!

    2005 BMWR12GS Rock Red 106k miles
    2013 TW200 - 8k- miles
    2018 X-MAX - 6k- miles

  3. #3
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    Possibly greater chance of bad fitment with aftermarket seals. MOAB2017 had a fork seal replacement demonstration. I may be incorrect on the details but if I recall:The aftermarket seal package indicated the application was for “TW200” yet the seal itself was slightly different from seal being replaced. VanillaGorilla worked his magic somehow and completed the installation successfully. However having an exact match OEM seal would have made for an easier installation for a first timer.
    2003 TW200 "Betty Boop"
    2006 TW200 "Nibbler", a.k.a. “Mr.Gizmo"
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  5. #4
    Senior Member Ebbanflood's Avatar
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    If you speak with any suspension shop they will tell you that 90% of the time it is dirt in the seal and not a bad seal. On my bike I tried making the tool like the seal mate with 35mm film it worked for 1 ride, I tried making the tool from a soda bottle and it lasted a few rides. I bought this https://www.amazon.com/Universal-45-...k+seal+cleaner and it has worked ever since. Make sure that you get the correct fork size. If it doesn't work you're only out a few bucks.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    SealDoctor looks superior to the simpler SealMate I tried. SealMate was so thin and small I misplaced it after using and sharing it at MOAB2016. Thanks for the tip Ebb and Flood, we would want the smaller unit for 33mm forks:https://www.amazon.com/Risk-Racing-0...MN0KR5A845RFQ1
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    2003 TW200 "Betty Boop"
    2006 TW200 "Nibbler", a.k.a. “Mr.Gizmo"
    Hidden Content All Things Considered I’ld Rather Be Motorcycling

  7. #6
    Senior Member Ebbanflood's Avatar
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    It worked great for me Fred, I highly recommend it.
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    Senior Member Peterb's Avatar
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    Fred I clicked on your link for the Seal Doctor and it automatically sent me to Amazon.ca...$33 plus shipping for a piece of plastic. What is the price on Amazon.com? As far as fork seals go or pretty well anything else unless its absolutely outrageous I always use OEM parts. One exception is I will always use All Balls tapered roller bearings in my steering head. My 99 has 32000 kms and the forks have never leaked yet...I credit fork boots for that.
    Last edited by Peterb; 11-30-2017 at 08:51 PM.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Interesting. I have replaced the fork seals on 2 TW's with OEM seals. One seal replacement was on a friends TW but I have not seen him in a few years and don't know if they're still working good. On my 2005 TW the fork seals have worked good and...

    one side started leaking. I heard about the dirt seal remover tools ebbanflood is talking about. Made my own out of an old credit card. There was in fact dirt in the seal and it has not leaked ever since and that was at Moab March 2016. So, I say first do what ebbanflood recommends and try to clean the seal but if that doesn't work replace with an oem seal.

    Fred, I provided the OEM seal to fix Jeff's TW fork after they discovered the seal you mention didn't seem to fit correctly. Only mentioning this not to toot my horn but to say it was an oem seal I gave them.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. I wipe the forks off often and apply oil also. That doesn't mean there wasn't a sneaky piece of dust. I will try one of these seal cleaners first. This is actually for my Radian, it doesn't have the protective boots like the Tdub.

  11. #10
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    @Ken. I would quote your post but can't. Stupid forum electrons, now I can't even insert a smiley emoji. Like your Radian, my XT200 doen't have the long fork boots like the TW. It's just got the little rubber ones directly covering the seal. On the TW there is the boot, dust cover and then the seal. Noticed after one of my XT rides a few weeks back all the dirt, dust, mud and what not all over my fork tube. I'm gonna buy me some fork boots and install them on my XT to help prevent dirt and dust getting past the small boots. I'm gonna keep the small boots on too for good measure.

    I'm guessing the Radian wouldn't look to purty with long fork boots but you could see if anyone has used fork skins (fork skins not foreskins) on street bikes. (imagine a smiley emoji here).
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

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