The front fork on your motorcyle is the hardest working component on your bike. Not only does it steer the bike, but it also ends up absorbing bumps impacts from the road surface and isolates the rider from them thus helping retain control over the motorcycle in the harshest of terrain. The fork also acts as a mounting point for the front wheel and brake assembly thus making it a vital component for the motorcyle.
Before we go any further, lets understand how the front suspension operates, it quite simple really. The front forks have fork tubes – we all know how they look like- which contain an oil bath in the downtubes in which are suspended 2 long springs. The springs absorb the impact while the oil in the fork tubes keeps the springs lubricated and also further end up cushioning any bumps since the fluid is stored in the downtubes which offer limited scope for the oil to expand thus making it denser.
To ensure that no foreign bodies get into the oil from outside and also to ensure that the oil inside does not escape the downtubes have fork seals fit to them. Now these especially important due to the reasons we just mentioned and it is necessary to ensure that they are regularly checked and worn out seals are immediately replaced. A common symptom to detect a worn seal is oil deposits on the fork legs.
Here we attempt to tell you how to save some money by doing a DIY job and replacing the seals yourself. Mind you, this requires some amount of mechanical skill so venture forth only if you are sure of your capabilities. You will need a full set of tools to ensure this is done properly and also a jack to place undereath your bike to ensure that it stays in one place after the front wheel comes off.
Step 1 – Mount your bike on the main stand and place the jack underneath the engine
Step 2 – Start by loosening the bolts on the top yoke. Move on to the bottom yoke and loosen the clamp bolts there. Next, turn your attention to the brake callipers and loosen the bolts that mount the callipers to the fork and finally the speedometer cable and the main axle bolt. Get the front wheel out of the way before proceeding further.
Step 3 – Now put the bike in gear and elevate the jack placed under the engine frame. Be careful when raising the bike since you do not want it to topple over. Once that is done, loosen all the earlier bolts even more till you are able to get the fork off by twisting on it and pulling downwards.
Step 4 – Now its time to remove the fork caps under which the main springs are mounted- you need to get those out first then drain the oil in the tubes.
Step 5 – Remove the outer rubber dust seal that covers the point where the stanchion tubes and down tubes come together. Now you have access to the actual seal that should be under a clip that holds it in place. Try to pry it out
Step 6 – Pull the two tubes apart and ideally the seal should pop out. Now clean the entire assembly and remove debris if any. If need be, flush the tubes out once.
?Step 7 – Change the seal and put the new seal in place making sure its seated properly. Follow all the above disassmbling steps in reverse order and voila, your front forks are back to safe operational levels.