Help! Fork seal question
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  1. #1

    Member #
    5943
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    "99 CBR1100XX, and a 2nd '99 CBR 1100XX
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    Help! Fork seal question

    Hey guys, the bike's torn apart, got a question. I'm looking to replace fork seals, dust seals along with new Racetech springs. If I'm not looking to replace or remove the damper, do I have to remove the allen screw at the bottom of the fork? I'm asking because I can't get the old one to break loose, and it's threatening to strip with the basic allen key I have. The manual says to remove the damper to replace the fork seal...........is this true? If it is, anybody got any ideas? I've been jerking the tube off for awhile now and it doesn't seem to want to push the old seal out.

    Appreciate the help, I'm so looking to get the bike back on the road with the new suspension upgrades.

    Barry
    99 CBR1100XX Penske, Racetech, Yoshi, Corbin, PC3, Mototech, Givi, Genmar

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  3. #2

    Member #
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    Re: Help! Fork seal question

    1) The socket head bolt at the base of the lower slider/axle area must be removed to allow the slider to slide off the upper fork tube. The bolt screws into the internal cartridge damper assembly.

    2) With the bolt removed and the retaining hardware clip/s removed at the fork seal area at the top end of the slider, you should then be able to use "slide hammer action" to pop the old seal out of the top of the slider.

    3) Removal of the fork tube from the triple trees is not required,..but it sure can make life easier if the intent is to do a full clean and inspection of the tube componet parts, and allows the cartridge assembly to be full drained of the old oil. Draining all the old oil is easier to a degree. But note this: There is no better place to have the fork tube then in the triple tree's when one is attempting to loosen bolts and such, unless you have "soft jaws" type clamping hardware available to use on your bench top. The triple tree's provide for a safe clamping medium to hold the tubes while you apply torque loads to bolts to free up the lower socket head bolt as in #1,..and can also help you loosen the fork tube cap at the top of the fork tube by holding the tube securely and safely.

    Tricks: a)Depending on past history of the machine you may have a fork tube that was re-assembled with an impact gun used on that lower slider socket head bolt...or just a very hard hand tight unit. In most cases the easy way out of this is to use an impact gun to loosen the bolt if you have access to such tools.

    b) Regardless of impact use or hand tool use, I've found it pays dividends to not attempt to do anything else to the tubes until the lower slider bolt socket head at the base of the slider at the axle area is loose. Getting that bolt loose is the first and only order of business, PERIOD. The small amount of load that the fork springs can apply to the tube cartridge assembly may be all that is needed to help the cartridge assembly to stop rotating while you come on to the socket head bolt with your tool of choice. So..the very first thing to touch/loosen is that socket head bolt at the bottom. With this loose (with any luck) you can then snug it up a bit..and procede to loosen the fork tube cap and any other bolts (thinking triple clamps here if your going to pull the tubes). With the lower bolt loose you can then dis-assemble the tube as you like.

    BIG TIME WARNING: DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE THE "BONDHUIS" STYLE ALLEN KEYS WITH THE BALL ENDS TO ATTEMPT TO LOOSEN YOUR LOWER SOCKET HEAD NUT. If the ball end snaps off it may cause you more greif then you know. (BEEN THERE DONE THAT)

    See this link: https://www.cbrxx.com/suspension-tire...near-miss.html

    c) Only do one fork leg at a time. This allows you to use the untouched leg as a possible means of support for the bike so it does not fall on it's face when the front wheel is off. Any manner of blocks and/or jacking mediums can be positioned so that the front end is more secure then a forkless machine in total. This assumes your working in your back-yard under the shade tree of course. So..one leg at a time..then re-install, and move on.

    Also note: The amount of time it takes to do the fork seal in the triple clamps on the bike is only about 5 min's less then it takes to fully remove the tube and take it to your work bench area,but get the lower bolt loose first!

    Parts: In my experiance only use OEM Honda fork seals! In 25 years or more I've never used an aftermarket seal that ended up holding oil for any length of time. Do it right once or go cheap and do it twice. Also inspect the internal bushings for wear and tear on/at the upper slider and the one the lives at the base of the fork tube. Do not forget to get the "oil locks" out of the base of the sliders, and ensure they find there way back before the cartridge assemblies go back in. Take special note of the order of dis-assembly so that you get the parts back in the correct order. Save the removed seals as you can use them as a "install tool" to help protect the new seals as you tap them home. A bit of PCV pipe of the correct size will help as a seal driver also. You will need to pump the upper damper rod (the one that screws into the fork tube caps at the top of the tubes) to get the oil to fill the cartridge assembly/s.

    BIG IMPORTANT NOTE HERE: CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN IS THE NAME OF THE GAME. DO NOT RE-ASSEMBLE ANYTHING THAT IS NOT CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN. The guys at RaceTech can not stress this bit enough. Only the smallest partical of dirt of grit can trash the fork slider bushing and other parts in short order.

    HTH.

    Tony
    Last edited by TigreST; 02-18-2012 at 9:44 PM.
    "Stemmata quid faciunt."

  4. #3

    Member #
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    Re: Help! Fork seal question

    Tony this was just the answer I was hoping for, and thanks for the heads up about the allen key fiasco. I'm sort of in the same boat here. I have a basic allen key that fits and tried using a vice grip to provide the necessary leverage, (after a penetrating oil soak) but so far all I've got is a twisting allen key, threatening to break. I have a set of socket/allen wrenches but the socket portion is too large to fit into the area near the bolt. Btw I have removed the forks from the bike and can secure them safely in my bench vice. I'm considering applying some heat, slowly and carefully to the region around the bolt. (I know, dealing with aluminum and residual oil in the forks). I may also see if I can find an allen tool (socket) with a longer reach to it.
    Above all I'm trying to avoid what happened to you! I've considered putting it all back together (with new oil, springs) but then I'd have to deal with it in the future and possibly on the road with a weeping fork seal, plus I really want to inspect and clean out the fork internals.
    Thanks again, I'll keep you posted.
    Barry
    99 CBR1100XX Penske, Racetech, Yoshi, Corbin, PC3, Mototech, Givi, Genmar

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  6. #4
    Supercharged Mod
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    Re: Help! Fork seal question

    I would back up everything that Tony has written, I too had 'issues' with that bottom bolt on one of my sets of forks and I can confirm also that they do round! A rattle gun really is the best tool for the job. Worth taking it to somewhere that has air tools at the first sign of trouble.
    Full of Hot air? Intercool yourself............ you know it makes sense

  7. #5

    Member #
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    Re: Help! Fork seal question

    If your bolt is to the point of being rounded off the impact gun may still maybe give enough bite to allow it to come unscrewed. The vibration supplied by the impact driver plays a big part here. But failing that fear not. As long as there is no "tool parts" broken off in the bolt you can still carefully drill off the head of the bolt and this will also release the internal cartridge damper system, which in turn will allow the fork to be come completely apart.

    I found it interesting that when I had to drill off the bolt that the remains of the bolt turned out of the cartridge damper with realitive ease. The issue in my mind is not so much "corrosion" at the bolt sight but the extreme loading of the bolt on the threads of the cartridge damper. Once the "load" is reduced (by drilling the head off the bolt) the remains spin rather easily out of the end of the cartridge damper. Care must be taken not to drill to deep,..if you begin to see copper sharf coming off the drill bit your close enough. The copper color is the sealing washer next to the bolt head.

    I'd suggest that you carry on and get the bolt out now..rather then wait until later. Take it to your shop of choice, a machine shop or continue on yourself. As you state..it will only be sitting in wait for the next time.

    Good luck.

    Tony
    "Stemmata quid faciunt."

  8. #6

    Member #
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    Re: Help! Fork seal question

    Bolt update: Ok with a little heat, and installing the damper/spring/cap I was able to break the other one free. Thoroughly cleaned everything, re-assembled with new seal, dust cap.

    So I've ordered a T handle 6 mm hex wrench ($12) from Napa, it'll be in tomorrow am. I'm going try again with alittle heat and the damper/spring re-installed on the fork with the degenerating bolt. I'll give it one more try installed in a vice. If that doesn't work, then yes it's going to a shop for proper removal. I'll call the dealer Tuesday and get 2 new bolts with copper washers too.

    Thanks Duck and ST, appreciate the help! Oh and I am installing OEM seals, picked that tip up on another posting. Last thing will be to install the All Balls tapered bearings in the steering head, then the suspension upgrades will be DONE.

    Barry
    99 CBR1100XX Penske, Racetech, Yoshi, Corbin, PC3, Mototech, Givi, Genmar

  9. #7

    Member #
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    Re: Help! Fork seal question

    a 3/8ths impact gun, and a long hex (about 3 inches or so) will get them out with no problems.

  10. #8

    Member #
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    Re: Help! Fork seal question

    Another Trick/Tip: If the bolt is sorta beat up from your attempts with the 6mm allen key work..you may be able to force a SAE sized allen key in there and get some grip on the bolt. Depends how deformed the bolt head gets. Congrats on leg #1.

    Tony
    "Stemmata quid faciunt."

  11. #9

    Member #
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    Re: Help! Fork seal question

    Well Tony I ended up going down the same path you did. The longer T-handle hex key was only successful in chewing up what was left of the nut, so I was left with either taking the fork in or drilling it out as you did. I secured the fork in a vice and began to drill in carefully with progressively larger bits, slowly and carefully. The last bit was a 21/64 and just as you mentioned the damper assembly simply dropped out about the time I hit the copper washer! So now it's clean and inspect time, and I'll work on finding 2 new nuts/washers tomorrow. Because the nut is recessed there is little danger of damaging the lower damper where the nut inserts either, so anyone else in this predicament I'd encourage you to "drill baby drill" Oh and as you said, the residual nut that was left came out with fingers only.

    Seriously guys thanks for helping me out! Anytime you're down in Colorado look me up for a beer, it's on me.

    Barry
    99 CBR1100XX Penske, Racetech, Yoshi, Corbin, PC3, Mototech, Givi, Genmar

  12. #10

    Member #
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    Re: Help! Fork seal question

    Cool!

    Tony
    "Stemmata quid faciunt."

  13. #11
    Supercharged Mod
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    Re: Help! Fork seal question

    Phew, glad you got that sorted.
    Full of Hot air? Intercool yourself............ you know it makes sense


 

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