Fork Seal Repacement


Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1100
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MJSantos
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Fork Seal Repacement

Postby MJSantos » Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:07 am



Of all of the How To posted the fork seals have been the mystery. When I had to do the ones on my 1983 Interstate I took pictures of the process. This will be a start. The will be differences in the years but all of them are basically the same.

Start by getting the bike on the centerstand on level ground. Before I bought jack stands I built a support out of 2x4s with plywood gussets. It has to be stout if your going to do this leaving the upper portion of the forks inplace. Your going to be exerting a lot of pressure when you reassemble so make sure the bike is well supported. You can also elect to remove the entire assemblies from the trees.
Follow the How Tos for removing the front wheel and brake calipers. Make sure to support the calipers and keep them out of the way.

Bleed the air out of the suspension and disconnect the air lines from the tops of the forks. Look carefully at the connectors. On the 83s the right fork is disconnected first. The coupler is made to spin freely. If you try to remove the left fist it will wrap the hose which is what you don't want!

Drain the fork oil. The drain bolts are located at the very bottom of the forks and have given folks alot of problems. They strip out very easy if you have problems with these bolts your going to have to remove the entire fork tube from the trees. If you have to go this route remove the air elbows from the tops loosen the tree bolts then slide them out. Here's s shot of the bolts that cause the grief.


After removing the bolts draining the remaining oil and now remove the top caps. WORDS OF CAUTION! When the caps are removed the springs are under pressure. Do it slowly and keep your face out of direct line with the caps. It will be a very bad day if the spring cuts loose. What I did was lossen the caps with a Cresent Wrench. I put tape on the jaws to protect the surface from scratches. I fabricated a tool with a 7 inch section of 2x2. Notched the end to fit over the cap flats. It gives you alot of control when the cap comes loose. Here's a shot of it.


Once the caps are off you can slide the springs out of the tubes.
The next step will be to split the forks. Pry the dust cover up and remove the c-clip Mine had a felt washer in the below the dust cover but you will get to the clip. Once the clip has been removed pull the fork lower up and slide it down hard, it might take a couple of tries but this will dislodge the seals and allow the lowers to come all the way off. Here's a shot of the parts in sequence once the lower was on the bench.


Inspect the internals for wear and replace as necessary. Once everything is cleaned up reassemble. To seat the seal back in take a piece of 1 1/2 inch pvc pipe about six inches long, cut it length wise then clamp to the upper fork. Slide the lower on make sure the dust seal clip etc is on above the pvc pipe. Use the pvc as a slide hammer to seat the seal.


Install the clip and finish the reaasembly. Use caution when putting the caps back on. The wooden tool will give you support to get them started but please keep your face away. Once all of the assembly work is done fill the forks with Oil or ATF. Pressurize the system and your done.

It's really not that hard to do. I felt that the hardest part was getting the caps started while you have all of the spring pressure fighting you. I hit the first one right off but the second fork took ten minutes of struggling.

I hope this helps out and let's add to this write up with other pointers and quirks for the differnt models.



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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:53 am

Dude,

A Most Excellent how-to...

I for one will be scheduling a front fork seal replacement in the near future and will be referring to your post...

Thanks again,

Rich
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby jgstockton » Sun May 08, 2011 11:42 am

Great guide! I'm about to embark on this journey of replacing the fork seals on my '86 GL1200I. Everything looks very similar on mine vs. yours. I only have one question: How full do you fill the forks? Does anyone know the exact volume of ATF to pour in each fork?

Thanks in advance!
James

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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby MJSantos » Sun May 08, 2011 8:32 pm

I filled mine before I put the caps back on. It's the easiest way to do it when rebuilding them on the bike. If I remember the 83's have 9 oz in each one, double check before you fill. Too much and you'll blow your new seals!

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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby OldSchool_IsCool » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:45 am

Thanks for the write-up MJ! I plan to give this a try soon.

As for parts, I see Mother Honda sells a "Seal Set" (51490-MB9-782) which includes the oil seal, a back plate, the circlip and the dust seal. I also see from aftermarket sites that I can buy just the seal or the seal and the wiper. Seems the back plate and circlip would almost certanally be reusable.

Would the seal and wiper (dust cap?) be the minimum bits to replace?

Thanks!

EDIT: On closer inspection, the Honda set is the oil seal and the dust cap only. The clip and plate are NOT included. Reading another forum, people are suggesting to replace the fork pipe bush too. Thoughts?

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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:49 pm

Just curious....

Would you say that $250 to do a fork seal replacement is a good average price for a reputable shop to charge??

I had the old girl in for her inspection and I inquired about the cost for the shop to do the job as opposed to me to do it.. (I am fully capable of doing it, but can't seem to find the time right now) The price seemed reasonable for what is involved in correctly doing the job..

Any opinions???

Rich
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby OldSchool_IsCool » Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:22 pm

Hey Rich!

I ordered my parts thru Mother Honda. Paid $100 for everything (seals, bushes, o-rings & fork oil). I managed to get one fork done in three-quarters of a day. I have fairly decent tools & knowlage, but not like what you might find in a vendor's shop.

Figuring the $100 in parts and $70-$80 per hour labor, that would be 2 hours of shop time. Guess it's up to you if a day+ of ur time is worth $150. There is of course the hassles with scheduling & such too. And also the satisfaction of knowing it was done right to factor.

Value is in the wallet of the beholder!

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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:57 am

Anyone have any thoughts on using SYNTHETIC ATF in their forks after doing a seal/bushing replacement??

Any advantages or disadvantages you can think of??

I know it won't have any affect on the seals and should behave hydraulically and dampeningly (is that even a word??) as regular ATF, I was just wondering if it might reduce the "stick-tion" of the seals a little better than regular ATF...

I am probably going to do the forks myself and add the progressive springs into the mix as well as long as the forks will be opened up... Just askin' for opinions before I begin...


Rich
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:46 pm

OK,
I ordered the full rebuild for the forks, from the dust seal/seal set to the bushing and sleeve.... I also ordered the Progressive springs (11-1102) for the forks as well..

Total for parts is $169 So now all I have to figure into the equation is the value of my time to do the job...

I think it will be a cost effective repair/upgrade...

Still wondering about the synthetic ATF though....


Rich

Parts list for 1981 GL1100's: (need TWO of each part for both forks)

71-51412-463-003 : RING, BACK-UP
(Replacement part for 71-51412-463-305)

71-51413-463-003 : PLATE, BACK-UP

71-51414-463-003 : BUSH, FORK PIPE

71-51415-463-003 : SLEEVE, FORK PIPE

71-51447-463-003 : CIRCLIP (INNER)

71-51490-MB9-782 : SEAL SET, FR. FORK
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby OldSchool_IsCool » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:23 pm

Hey Rich,

You might wana pop for the O-rings too. As for the ATF, I think it would matter little. I'm using fork oil. Mainly cuz I'm mounting a side car and need something heavier than ATF.

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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:17 pm

Hmmmm,

All the research I've been able to find (from both laboratory testing and other motorcycle forums) seem to indicate that by using the ISO specs for each different type of oil (fork and ATF) for a given weight of (ie 10W) for fork oil, seems that ATF is a suitable substitute. The ISO specs were used for comparison as the SAE weighting method is more prone to margins of error in similar weight classes as compared to the ISO ratings.

Synthetic ATF also has additional properties that for things like off road racing, allow it to be more stable viscosity-wise over wider temperature ranges. Both types of oils have sufficient anti-foam properties and adequately keep the seals lubricated and pliable.

Since my GL1100 originally came with ATF in the forks, it would seem logical to use what was originally installed. The "upgrade" to synthetic ATF couldn't hurt... As far as the "stick-tion" issue goes, I can't find any definitive research or even opinions from other forums as to whether the synthetic ATF increased or decreased it, so without doing scientific testing (or even just trying the two different types of ATF separately in my forks at different times) I will just report back here what my opinion of the increase or decrease or lack of difference in my own bike after the rebuild...

Keep tuned for more updates...


Rich

Oh, and I already have O-rings for the caps in my metric O-ring shop set. Thanks for the mention...
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby TommyRocker » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:29 pm

Thanks for the post! Can anyone tell me what the torque specs are when reassembling the forks?

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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:02 am

Send me a PM,
I have reduced the Fork Data to a small PDF file ( just under 2MB) that I can E-mail anyone who needs it...(as long as your E-mail can accept files up to 2MB in size) The whole SM is over 40MB big and would require an FTP site to D/L it..

Rich

*** There is a discrepancy on the exact amount of ATF to be replaced on the forks, there are two references to oil amounts one is for changing the fork oil (7.4 Oz.) and the other is for a refill after fork service (8.0 Oz.) I guess a 1/2 Oz. of oil remains when you just drain and refill the forks?? Just wondering....
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:26 am

Just curious,

As I wait for the heat wave to break so I can do the front fork project on my wing, I was curious as to whether anyone had done the fork rebuild with the forks still attached to the bike. (several sources say that the 1981 GL1100 can be done this way, even for a total rebuild)

I know it would probably be easier to just remove them from the triple clamp and such, but I was wondering if anyone had done it without doing the removal and just pulled the sliders off and left the tubes still attached to the bike..

Are there any disadvantages to doing it this way?? Anyone have any particular difficulties in driving the seals back in (which would be limited by the fairing clearance from above) with the PVC split-tube shown here in the thread?? I would also think that the seals, back up washers, and dust covers, etc., be put back on the tubes before the sleeves and bushings went on as to prevent seal damage..

Hopefully I won't have any issues with the piston stop and will just be able to replace sleeves, bushings seals and springs without having to drop the tubes out of the top..

Any suggestions or advice will be appreciated....


Rich
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby ramdam1 » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:07 am

I have an 1981 Interstate and I just found it easier to pull the fork out. I dropped the tire jacked the front way up and just slide the whole thing out. The allen screw in the bottom gave me a little problem on one and I had to use an impact driver. Could never have done it on the bike. Went real quick with the help of my son holding things and a big bench vice. The 1 1/2 pvc pipe is perfect. I changed the bushing while I was there. I followed the below.

http://chuck.kichline.com/GoldWing/forks/default.htm

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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:08 am

Well the heat is off for the time being...

I got the old girl up and ready for the job...

I have everything all ready to go on the first fork slider (pics to follow) and am about ready to crack the caps and remove the springs, etc.

The allen head (6MM) cap bolt in the bottom of the forks was strangely way too easy to remove... after reading about others having troubles and resorting to bench vises and such, I was worried... I had a 6MM hex driver for my 3/8 ratchet handle and all it took was turning the front handlebars to the extreme right and giving the ratchet handle a good shot with the palm of my hand.... the bolt loosened as I would have hoped... no fighting or impacting required...

When I got the seal to dislodge, The oil lock piece fell out with it... was this supposed to happen?? I thought that the oil lock piece was supposed to remain in the fork tube....

Any ideas??

Rich
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:33 pm

Oh I forgot to say I didn't take the Markland fork brace off until I was done with the prep work on the forks... this helped to not allow the forks to "spin" while trying to remove the Hex Bolt from the bottom of the Sliders... Also I did not remove the springs from the top until the hex bolts were out, this also kept pressure on the piston to keep it from turning also...


While I had the sliders out I thought I'd polish them up a bit... the years had pitted them and made them dull...

Here is a close up of what they looked like:

Close up of right fork bottom showing pitting
Close up of right fork bottom showing pitting


And after a little time on the buffing wheel i it started to look like this:

Halfway done with right fork
Halfway done with right fork


I had to stop (was working outside enjoying cooler weather) due to some rain, so that's where I left off...

I did find that leaving the fork tubes still in the bike had it's pros and it's cons..

While the ability to use the full lock steering position aided in some part removal, the interference and the "working around" things like the handlebars, cables and brackets wasn't too bad but required a little more "nimble fingeredness"..

I used a standard cinder block to hold up the bike with another added 3/4" piece of pine to keep the underside of the engine off the cinder block...

The pistons, the piston rings and oil lock pieces all looked OK and I cleaned them up with rags and some mild degreaser.. I will fully wash out the sliders to make sure no polishing rouge has found it's way inside after I finish the polish job...

New progressive springs are waiting and ready to be dropped in at a moment's notice...

Can't wait to finish up, and see what a difference the rebuild makes...

Rich


BTW, interestingly enough only the shorter spring (spring "A") was shorter than the service limit, but not by much.. Spring "B" was almost full length. So I guess my front end might not behave a whole lot different, except for the fresh ATF (the old oil was pretty stinky and black, not at all resembling ATF) which should change the dampening of the forks a bit...
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:29 pm

First of all THANK YOU MJSANTOS!

Without your DIY posting, I would have spent more $$ and gotten less of a job...

I'll admit I was a little bit overwhelmed before I took on this project, but all the posts here on the GW Docs site have been a godsend.

I now KNOW I have too much time on my hands!! As I had posted earlier this afternoon, I was polishing the fork sliders back to a brilliant chrome-like finish... well here is the first one just about 100% done....

It looks AWESOME!
WOW
WOW


Here is a close-up
Shiny
Shiny


Tomorrow I will finish up the other slider, and start the re-installation...

Can't wait to take a picture of her all back together with the shiny fork slides....


Rich
:D
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:39 am

Just finished the fork sliders... I am all covered in buffing wheel fuzz and rouge, but the sliders are ready to be put back on and the forks are ready for reassembly...

All dressed up and ready to go!
All dressed up and ready to go!


More to come after she's finished!


Rich
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby MJSantos » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:31 pm

N2PPN wrote:First of all THANK YOU MJSANTOS!

Without your DIY posting, I would have spent more $$ and gotten less of a job...

I'll admit I was a little bit overwhelmed before I took on this project, but all the posts here on the GW Docs site have been a godsend.

I now KNOW I have too much time on my hands!! As I had posted earlier this afternoon, I was polishing the fork sliders back to a brilliant chrome-like finish... well here is the first one just about 100% done....

It looks AWESOME!
The attachment IMGP3933.JPG is no longer available


Here is a close-up
The attachment IMGP3933.JPG is no longer available


Tomorrow I will finish up the other slider, and start the re-installation...

Can't wait to take a picture of her all back together with the shiny fork slides....


Rich
:D

Your welcome glad it helped. You found out that they are really not that hard. I'm like you couldn't resist polishing the lowers. Keep them shiny with Mother's.
Attachments

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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:58 am

Hi MJ,
After re-reading your original post, I would make only one change.... fill the forks with the ATF/Fork oil BEFORE you put the caps back on.. Otherwise you would have to find a way to fill the forks with oil through the air hose holes..

I used one of those long thin tapered funnels (like the ones perfectly suited for adding ATF into your car's transmission dip stick tube) and it fit through the springs pretty far down as to not have any ATF get on the dash or fairing. I also wound up using wifey's (don't tell her) gravy oil separator cup (the one that has a spout attached to the BOTTOM of the measuring cup, so you can let the oil stay on top and pour from the bottom) which had pretty accurate measurement markings on it's sides. I might have preferred a real graduated cylinder, but my childhood chemistry set has long been discarded.

I was pretty anal about cleaning out the bore of both the tubes and sliders, using oil absorbing pads and a sort of a push/pull rod like a shotgun cleaning kit. After several cleaning wipes, I then used one with a little degreaser, then several more clean wipes and then one clean one with a light amount of the Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF on it to coat the insides/outsides up a little before reassembly. Reminded me of all those times I was cleaning my rifles/shotguns.

The only thing I noticed after putting it all back together (almost forgot about re-tightening the top pinch bolts, but caught them on a second check) was I now have spring noise when I compress the front forks. I installed new progressive springs (the one piece ones with the variable rate) and installed them with the tightly wound end down as recommended by Progressive.

I can only assume that the noise might be because the springs haven't gotten coated in oil yet or it is just a new noise I will have to deal with. Other than that, I re-pressurized the forks to about 16 psi (a little less than half the range of 14 to 21 psi) and the front end feels real nice... Still haven't gone out for a ride, I am hoping to run a few errands today and use the bike, so I will report back on the ride improvement.

More to follow...


Rich
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby N2PPN » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:34 pm

Ride height is back up to where it was when she was new!
Goes down the street almost as if it were riding on glass (well not that smooth, but a WHOLE lot smoother than before), don't feel the minor imperfections in the road like expansion joints and asphalt patches as I did before, now they are very much "muted" and smoothed out...

The most noticeable thing is that there is no more front end drop when stopping for a traffic light. Used to be that when I would stop for a light using mostly front brakes, the front end would kind of droop a bit and when I would start off from the light, it would pop back up.... now all I get is a little "bounce" when I hit the front brake, and it returns back up to full height. Even hard front end braking, doesn't feel as bad as it did before.

Highway speeds seem smoother as well, the concrete roads are less sending vibrations through to my handlebars, and the bike feels more "solid" and tight... the "nimbleness" factor has also been enhanced and there is no longer any kind of "mushy" feel to the front end at speed.

All in all, this was a good feeling repair/rebuild. As I has said before MJSANTOS has hit a home run with his DIY for the front forks rebuild. If I wasn't preoccupied with all the polishing and such, it would have been a "Saturday project" that would have been able to be done in one day with frequent breaks for coffee and food. The PVC "slide-hammer" was the best tip of all.... I now have it permanently included in my toolbox in the garage.


Think I'll take the bike out for a nice weekend-long ride this weekend, perhaps do a few winery tours here on Long Island..... North Fork here I come!!!


Rich
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midnightrider1
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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby midnightrider1 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:58 am

I order my fork seal kit from the Honda dealer go pick them up this Saturday and I will be trying to install the seal kit with the tube still on I have read a few how to's on different forums. Left side seal leaking really bad so bad its starting to get on my brake so time to fix and all the hot weather is over.
Change the front tire yesterday just bolted the wheel back on just to be on the safe side left everything else disconnected.
Looks like Sunday I am gonna give the changing seal a try and hope all goes well. So far from what I can tell who ever owned this bike didn't know what they where doing.
These forums and manual sure does help a bunch.
Once this is done I have a couple of more things to do to it one thing after another. Good project bike for me I sure have learn a lot.

Frank

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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby squeaky8g » Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:57 pm

Hi,we doing the seal repair this weekend as well.We have a 1986 gl1200i and was wondering if anyone would have the metric equivalent in mls of how much ATF to use.thanks in advance from us down under in New Zealand ;) :D :D

P.S I so glad I found this site an everyone is so awesome in the amount of information they are willing to share :D

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Re: Fork Seal Repacement

Postby midnightrider1 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:36 pm

squeaky8g wrote:Hi,we doing the seal repair this weekend as well.We have a 1986 gl1200i and was wondering if anyone would have the metric equivalent in mls of how much ATF to use.thanks in advance from us down under in New Zealand ;) :D :D

P.S I so glad I found this site an everyone is so awesome in the amount of information they are willing to share :D


In my manual it says. 1984 to 1987
Drain and fill. 323cc --10.92 fl oz
After overhual 345cc -- 11.66 fl oz

Going to start on mind in the morning.

Talk to the mechanic there at Honda shop said pulling the tubes is the best way of doing it.
Told me if I need a question answered just give him a call.

Frank




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