Fork Seal Replacement. - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 10 Old Jul 14th, 2007, 10:44 pm Thread Starter
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Fork Seal Replacement.

Is there a quick and dirty way to replace a leaky fork seal or will I have to pull the plastic and tank to get to the culprit? I have the seals and the dust boots, just need to see if I can complete this task in an hour or two, or if it is going to be a day long project

Thanks in advance for any help on this project!!

Gene
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post #2 of 10 Old Jul 16th, 2007, 9:57 am
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I have to do the same thing and have been told that it is not a major project. The seals have been ordered, but I saw no 'dust boots' listed on the parts list. The dealer rechecked for me and said he showed only the seal as a replacement part. Another member on this list said he installed dust boots from a dirt bike himself - which sounds like a good idea.

What kind of oil are you planning on using to refill the fork and how much are you going go use?

Good luck.

Lee Nowell
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post #3 of 10 Old Jul 16th, 2007, 11:04 am
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I have not done it but remember there is nothing inside these sliders but a little bit of lube oil. All the sping and damping is done in the central shock unit. These are just sliding guides. Just remove the wheel and disconnect every thing, unbolt the lower from the fork bridge and the lower will just slide right off.

John
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post #4 of 10 Old Jul 16th, 2007, 12:26 pm
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I have an annoying leak on both of my fork seals. I was reading your post and saw the related links down below and noticed this fork seal replacement link with pictures.

The job looks very doable and I am going to do it when I get back from my trip.

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8911

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post #5 of 10 Old Jul 16th, 2007, 3:13 pm
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Gene,

Is this an Olympia thing?? I just noticed that mine is leaking as well - Let us know how yours goes! What parts did you order? Number? Thanks

Steve
Olympia
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post #6 of 10 Old Jul 16th, 2007, 4:57 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene_Chapman
Is there a quick and dirty way to replace a leaky fork seal or will I have to pull the plastic and tank to get to the culprit? I have the seals and the dust boots, just need to see if I can complete this task in an hour or two, or if it is going to be a day long project

Thanks in advance for any help on this project!!

Gene
Hey Guyz:

Just to clarify a few things:

There are seals which keep the fork oil in, and wipers which keep dirt from contaminating the seals - these are both BMW parts and SHOULD be replaced on both forks.

The fluid MUST be replaced since it is contaminated and probably congealed (not what the repair manual says) and will lead to premature failure if you don't use new fluid. You should also clean out the legs completely with spray brake fluid cleaner, allow to drip and air dry upside down and then swirl some oil in the tubes to remove all traces of the brake fluid cleaner. Discard this oil by allowing it to drain upside down. I used "fork oil" but any ATF should work just fine - all it does is lubricate.
Common jack oil (contrary to what I have said earlier) would probably not be a good choice since it might "froth". The capacity of each leg is 16 ounces.

Wipe down the outsides of the tubes with a new microfiber towel lubricated with oil BEFORE installing the legs and new seals. If you feel ANY snags, burrs, dings, pitting, etc. it will need to be replaced. Lubricate the inner surfaces of the seals with oil as well. After the legs are installed wipe off any residual oil on the tubes with another clean microfiber towel before allowing them to compress.

If you want to dramatically increase the life of the seals a dust boot is a MUST. This is NOT a BMW part but they are very common at MC shops and especially dirt bike and 4 wheel drive shops. If you're a cheap sonomabeach like me you will not need the wipers if you install these, the savings will probably pay for the boots. Putting the wipers and boots on is total overkill. ..but I did it anyway...

I used a black accordian boot, sorry I don't have the part name or number. Luckily the diameter of the ends of the boot fit perfectly on the top of the tubes and the leg, although I did need to trim off some of the pleats on the bottom with a utility knife since they were too long. I further secured the boots at the bottom (the top of the boot was very tight around the tube) with BLACK nylon wire ties (white ones will snap in very short order) to keep them in place.

Prior to riding make SURE the boots don't bind on anything - they may touch the sides gently on the top at full lock - this is nothing to worry about.

I've included a few (fuzzy) pictures below to show you what the installed boots look like.
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Last edited by RonKMiller; Jul 16th, 2007 at 9:13 pm.
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post #7 of 10 Old Jul 17th, 2007, 9:20 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
Hey Guyz:

Just to clarify a few things:

There are seals which keep the fork oil in, and wipers which keep dirt from contaminating the seals - these are both BMW parts and SHOULD be replaced on both forks.

The fluid MUST be replaced since it is contaminated and probably congealed (not what the repair manual says) and will lead to premature failure if you don't use new fluid. You should also clean out the legs completely with spray brake fluid cleaner, allow to drip and air dry upside down and then swirl some oil in the tubes to remove all traces of the brake fluid cleaner. Discard this oil by allowing it to drain upside down. I used "fork oil" but any ATF should work just fine - all it does is lubricate.
Common jack oil (contrary to what I have said earlier) would probably not be a good choice since it might "froth". The capacity of each leg is 16 ounces.

Wipe down the outsides of the tubes with a new microfiber towel lubricated with oil BEFORE installing the legs and new seals. If you feel ANY snags, burrs, dings, pitting, etc. it will need to be replaced. Lubricate the inner surfaces of the seals with oil as well. After the legs are installed wipe off any residual oil on the tubes with another clean microfiber towel before allowing them to compress.

If you want to dramatically increase the life of the seals a dust boot is a MUST. This is NOT a BMW part but they are very common at MC shops and especially dirt bike and 4 wheel drive shops. If you're a cheap sonomabeach like me you will not need the wipers if you install these, the savings will probably pay for the boots. Putting the wipers and boots on is total overkill. ..but I did it anyway...

I used a black accordian boot, sorry I don't have the part name or number. Luckily the diameter of the ends of the boot fit perfectly on the top of the tubes and the leg, although I did need to trim off some of the pleats on the bottom with a utility knife since they were too long. I further secured the boots at the bottom (the top of the boot was very tight around the tube) with BLACK nylon wire ties (white ones will snap in very short order) to keep them in place.

Prior to riding make SURE the boots don't bind on anything - they may touch the sides gently on the top at full lock - this is nothing to worry about.

I've included a few (fuzzy) pictures below to show you what the installed boots look like.
The parts list does not show a WIPER and the dealer I talked to said the same thing. Is there a part number for this WIPER? I received the SEALS I ordered so I thought I was ready to go.

Is there a part number or information on the fork oil that should be used - or just any brand?

Lee Nowell
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post #8 of 10 Old Jul 17th, 2007, 3:05 pm
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The BMW repair manual on page 31.13 (and just about everyone else) calls it a WIPER. (#3)

In the BMW parts fiche they list it as a CUP - go figure! Then again they ARE Germans!

Anyway it is part no. 31422311980. (7 on the diagram)

The seal is part no. 31422311988. (3 on the diagram)

Use ATF - Automatic Transmission Fluid. Any kind, any specification, don't waste your money on fork oil.
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post #9 of 10 Old Jul 17th, 2007, 3:37 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
The BMW repair manual on page 31.13 (and just about everyone else) calls it a WIPER. (#3)

In the BMW parts fiche they list it as a CUP - go figure! Then again they ARE Germans!

Anyway it is part no. 31422311980. (7 on the diagram)

The seal is part no. 31422311988. (3 on the diagram)

Use ATF - Automatic Transmission Fluid. Any kind, any specification, don't waste your money on fork oil.
Thanks. I saw that too, but the dealer I talked with said on all the fork seal repairs done there, no new wiper is used - no matter what it is called.

Did you have to remove the side t-w to get to the Bleed Screws at the top of the fork tubes? Can the Slider Tube Bridge be removed without disconnecting the Steering Damper and Ball Joint Bolt? I don't have or have access to the special tool for that job.

Thanks again.

Lee Nowell
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post #10 of 10 Old Jul 17th, 2007, 7:39 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lnowell
Thanks. I saw that too, but the dealer I talked with said on all the fork seal repairs done there, no new wiper is used - no matter what it is called.

Did you have to remove the side t-w to get to the Bleed Screws at the top of the fork tubes? Can the Slider Tube Bridge be removed without disconnecting the Steering Damper and Ball Joint Bolt? I don't have or have access to the special tool for that job.

Thanks again.
I think your service manager should be canned. The wiper's job is to keep curd from getting to the fork seals. Once it has slid up and down several hundred thousand times it no longer is able to do it's job since the bore will be worn. If they re-use the old one it will simply lead to the seals failing again rapidly. For a few more bucks in parts the job can be done correctly.

The only thing you need to take off is the legs, not neccessary to take anything else apart. Make sure you support the bike from underneath the tranny with a block of wood or similar to keep it from tipping forward. No special tools are needed, providing you tap the seals back in place with an appropriately sized socket. I've also done it many times with a hammer and flat faced punch - simply gently tap the seal slowly in a circular motion around the perimeter until it seats. You don't even need to take the drain screws out of the bottom of the legs - when you take them off simply hold them upright to keep the old fluid in and then tip them over to drain it out!


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