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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need some help from you wise ones on the forum... I was riding last Sunday on an old twisty road and hit a washout about 6" deep at about 20mph, I could feel the front forks bottom out (crap!) and a while later noticed a substantial amount of oil coming out of the dust cover of the left front fork, it was coming out at a pretty good rate.

Obviously I've messed up the seal in there... but have I done worse than that? How hard is it to tear down the front forks and service/repair them??

I've got about 16000 miles on the bike now and probably should be replacing the seals anyway... Has anyone done this on their own? are there special tools required? or is this best handled by a dealer??... appreciate any help/advice you can give... thanks
 

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Crazy Old Guy
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. . . I've got about 16000 miles on the bike now and probably should be replacing the seals anyway... Has anyone done this on their own? are there special tools required? or is this best handled by a dealer??... appreciate any help/advice you can give... thanks
Yes, yes, and yes.

If you have never had forks apart, they can be a little scary. The forks on the 900 Custom are 'old-school' forks in that they do not have a cartridge in them. They are fairly straight-forward to work on . . . if you have the tools.

I would recommend that you take your bike to your local repair shop and ask if you can watch them disassemble your forks. You can then make the determination if you EVER want to work on forks. Keep in mind a professional WILL make the task seem ever so simple. You will more than likely spend more on the special tools than the shop will charge you to replace the seals correctly.

FYI-I can change fork seals on my motocross bike's cartridge forks in about 45 minutes-take them off the bike, repair and reinstall. You do not need to replace your seals on your forks unless they leak. I have 25K on my 900 and they do not leak.
 

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You really shouldn't have to change seals at 16,000 miles. I have 27.000 miles on my KLX with oil tight inverted forks. But regardless, you're looking at rebuilding the fork leg. You can do one or both. Usually I'd do both, just because - Murphy's Law dictates if you replace just the leaking one, the other will leak soon there after.

At 16,000 miles there might be a reason for the failure beyond the hit. There might be a stone nick up higher where the fork almost never travels, but did when bottomed. You can either feel for it or run some sort of sheer material over the leg to try to find any nicks. I had that happen on my old Nighthawk S. I had to stone the small nick out of the chrome tube. If you don't check and it turns out there is, it will cut the next seal too.
 

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Sounds like to me you blew a seal,when i replaced mine in my first bike a kawi 454 limited.the hardest thing i found doing the job is making sure that you get the right amount of fluid in each fork.but if your in doubt i would let a pro do it.your life is more important than a couple hundred bucks.i wished we were closer i would do the labor for free.good luck:smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for your responses... this looks like a job for the dealer or other pro... I do my own maintenance and oil changes tire changes etc, but a real mechanic I am not. When I reviewed the section on suspension in the shop manual for the 900, it looked like several special tools are needed for this job and that is why I posted... I'll call the dealer to schedule and probably get the valves adjusted at the same time... again, thanks for your responses... this is a great forum with knowledgeable folks...

I do have another question... it might be a couple of weeks before I can get the bike into the dealership, will it hurt the bike or be dangerous to ride it?? so far I don't notice much difference in ride... the weather is great and it'll be tough not to ride!...
 

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If it was me I'd just do it myself. Mine went out at 8500 miles, I have a service manual and it saids you need these special tools and this and that, I did mine on my tailgate on my truck. Replace both seals on both forks, filled them with new fluid, the worse part was taking out the snap ring on the fork.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If it was me I'd just do it myself. Mine went out at 8500 miles, I have a service manual and it saids you need these special tools and this and that, I did mine on my tailgate on my truck. Replace both seals on both forks, filled them with new fluid, the worse part was taking out the snap ring on the fork.
Vubu; If you had to rate your mechanics IQ on a 1-10 scale... where would you rate yourself:biggrin: Reason I ask is that I rate myself about a 4 or 5:mad: If it's not rocket science, I'd really like to try this myself and learn something new... it was the special tools that got me thinking I couldn't handle the job:redface: ...
 

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It's pretty high up on there on the mechanic side,... I work on cars for a living. Motorcycle on the other hand is kinda at a 5, cars are a 10. I figured save a few hundred bucks. As long a you have everything to take the forks off the bike you should be alright.
 

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If it was me I'd just do it myself. Mine went out at 8500 miles, I have a service manual and it saids you need these special tools and this and that, I did mine on my tailgate on my truck. Replace both seals on both forks, filled them with new fluid, the worse part was taking out the snap ring on the fork.
+1, once you have been inside the forks, you see there is nothing to be afraid of.

Besides, if you take one apart and still feel over your head, you can take the fork tube in and get it repaired rather than the whole bike.
 
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