First Time Fork Seal Replacement Help Needed 1999

Discussion in '5th Generation 1998-2001' started by FrankieKingpin, Dec 1, 2019.

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  1. FrankieKingpin

    FrankieKingpin New Member

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    So, I've had my VFR for a couple months. I bought it with worn rotors, and since I finally had oodles of time over the Turkey Day break, I decided to put the new rototrs on. Lo and Behold, I notice some nice little drippy-drips from the right fork seal...

    Well, I wasn't planning on doing those, but now I guess I have to.

    So anyways, this will be my first ever time doing fork seals.

    What parts (hopefully with numbers) need to be replaced? what might also need to be replaced? What fork oil weight are you guys running? Im 230lbs and mostly use it for commuting on some... less than stellar highways. What are some tips and tricks you recommend? I have a manual, ive been looking up videos, and reading the forums. But I want to know exactly what I need before I begin, since a lot of this info is spread out. Thanks guys.
     
  2. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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    You will need a long-reach 6mm hex bit (for the bottom bolt) and a couple of 14mm spanners (for the damper rod locknuts) plus a large crescent/socket to get the fork caps off (IIRC 24mm but don't quote me). New fork seals obviously, and for good measure you may as well replace the bushes (10 and 11)while you are there (or re-use the old ones). I've had instances where the bushes were damaged as the fork was disassembled so you may as well have them to hand.

    I'd advise buying new special washers for the bottom bolts WASHER, SPECIAL (8MM) 90544-283-000, you can reuse the old ones but they sometimes weep.

    For a seal driver you can re-use the old seal and tap on that to avoid damaging the new seal, or a piece of 50mm PVC pipe about 600mm long with a nice square-cut end works great as a driver (slips over the fork tube and inside the top of the fork leg).

    Honda specify their SS-8 oil which is a 10W equivalent, you will need 1 litre.

    You should be able to reuse the dust seals unless these are damaged.

    My sequence would be:
    • Put lots of newspaper on the ground for the oil you WILL squirt around; wear clothes that you are not fond of...Set up a drain bucket and a drip tray.
    • Back off the preload adjusters
    • Crack loose the fork cap but don't take it off (leave it snugged up)
    • Remove the guard/brakes/wheel and slip the fork legs out
    • Invert the fork legs and loosen the hex bolt in the base; these little buggers are threadlocked in and the damper assembly inside can spin, which is why I suggest doing this with the spring still in place/under compression. A rattle gun is your friend in that case, sometimes heating the bolt head can also help. If the bolt is cooperating you can leave it snugged up on the washer to prevent excess oil leaking.
    • Unscrew the fork caps (watch for the spring tension!); allow the leg to compress and you should now be able to see the locknuts on the damper rod so you can remove the fork cap fully. Drain the oil out, there's about 500mL in each leg. Pump the dampers to empty those as well.
    • Remove the bottom bolt and slide the damper out of the fork; there is an oil lock piece (silver cup 25mm tall, #16) on the end of each that may fall loose at this point.
    • Prise the dust seal up gently using a fine flat screw driver, then remove the wire circlip.
    • Now jerk the fork tube and leg apart to drive the seal out; this may take some effort if it's been in there a long time, and you may have to do it over and over (and spray oil around...). I have resorted to heating the fork leg to help release a very old seal, others have inserted self-tapping screws to help extract these.
    • Clean all the parts, clean any corrosion in the seal area, look hard at the tubes for rock nicks which might cut the new seal. Use a fine file to dress any of these down. I also run a tap through the thread in the damper base and clean the bottom bolt to get rid of old threadlock. If you want to reuse the bushings inspect these carefully on their teflon-coated sliding surfaces and make sure the coating is intact, but don't worry about the non-sliding face.
    • Replace the bushings and slip the tube into the leg, tap the big washer into place then slide the new seal on; make sure it is the right way up, the inner ribs should have their sharp edges down (to scrape oil back into the leg). Putting the cut off corner of a plastic bag over the top of the fork tube can prevent damaging the seal as you slip it on. Tap the new seal into place evenly and fully. Install the circlip and the dust seal. Using fork oil or red rubber grease on the new parts is a good idea.
    • Fit the oil lock piece onto the damper end and insert that into the fork; put a trace of threadlock on the bottom bolt and use a new washer, and tighten that up (20N-m).
    • Fill the fork with some oil and pump the leg and then the damper to expel air; the damper will fill with oil and give nice smooth damping through the whole stroke. Set the final oil level to 130mm from the top, springs out, fully compressed.
    • Fit the damper rod locknut, then install the spring (tapered end down), washer, spacer, washer and cup washer, then wind the fork cap on and tighten the locknut; I always wind the locknut right down the rod, then put the cap on until it is fully on, and back the locknut up to meet it. Now wind the fork cap back onto the fork leg against the spring preload.
    • At this point you can reassemble the bike but I suggest as with anytime you pull the wheel out, you follow a procedure to get the forks as parallel as possible for best action: Tighten the axle bolt, bounce the forks, tighten the right axle clamp, bouce the forks again, then tighten the left axle clamp. Tighten the fork caps once the fork is back in the bike.
    • Reset the preload adjusters.
    • Double check that you torqued up all the fasteners properly! Check the clearance between the caliper and disk too. Pump the brakes and make sure they work nicely.
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    OOTV and zombie like this.
  3. zombie

    zombie New Member

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    That has to be one of the best responses to a question I have seen in a long time, big thumbs up!
     
  4. OZ VFR

    OZ VFR Member

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    Bloody hell Terry, you must have retired. Good job.
    I would just add to get yourself a couple of cans of brake cleaner.
    Best stuff to clean inside forks as it dissolves everything and finished dry without residue.
    Be warned, it’s a messy job, every time I’ve rebuilt forks I find new ways of getting dirty.
     
  5. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader New Member

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    It seems a daunting task with so many steps but really isnt that bad. The hardest part for me was to seperate the slider from the tube. I didnt know how hard to pull and in the end i was on one end and my son on the other. Got there after some force. Really satisfying job
     
  6. FrankieKingpin

    FrankieKingpin New Member

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    Wow, thank you guys for the replies!

    Just so I can confirm, according to the Partzilla chart I will need:
    2x #20 Seal Set, FR. Fork
    2x #10 Bush Guide (Showa)
    2x #11 Bush Slider (Showa)
    2x 26 Washer Special

    should i replace #17 Ring Oil Seal Stopper, and #9 Ring Backup (Showa) as well?
     
  7. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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    The list looks good (plus the OIL) and don't bother with 17 or 9, they're metal parts.
     
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