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Thread: 'Faulty' Fork Seal Job on 1992 K75S from Dealer

  1. #16
    FUKENGRUVEN SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    I use shock sox (www.shocksox.com) or whatever similar brand that I find locally. Easy to install, keeps the forks clean, can be washed if they become soiled and can be installed/uninstalled without dismantling the front fork. Since I started using them, even on fully faired bikes, I have not had any seal failures. On Annie's F650GS single cylinder, seal leaks were an annual affair until I stated using the shock sox.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  2. #17
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    You bet..
    Years ago darn near every UJM had fork boots - that some thought ugly so some even came in colors other than black to try to improve appearance- but they do a great job of keeping grit, rock impacts, etc from damaging those seals and causing way premature failure.

    If you ride in clean rural air on dry days most of the time- may not matter so much. But if you ride in traffic that kicks up grit, on wet days a bunch, where wind blows sand, on gravel and dusty roads sometimes- its a fair bet that protection for seals will extend their life. If you leave them exposed, at least clean/inspect seal area periodically.

    Note also that most modern BMWs have no seal protection for anything- not the front or rear of the bike. There are a few partial exceptions- for example the RT's tube tops are screened by the fairing and its fender shields the rear shock fairly well- but most models have NADA protecting front or rear- hence the industry in everything from huggers and link protectors to boots, etc etc.

    Its amusing that BMW uses excellent waterproof electrical connectors for pretty much everything on the bike (despite periodic switch problems) but eliminates the seal protection equivalents. Not sure whether its cost, design fetish or what..
    Last edited by racer7; 03-29-2014 at 05:04 PM.

  3. #18
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    Don't buy shocksox off their site- its not secure...

  4. #19
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    The fork tubes are 42mm - so any 42 mm fork gaiters (boots) will work fine. I use hose clamps top and bottom.

    The bike really doesn't care if they are KawaYamaSusiHon or other brand. Try any good dirt bike supplier if your BMW dealer draws a blank. When I wanted some the BMW dealer parts guy knew exactly what I needed and went next door to the Yamaha shop to get them. Thanks, Mike!!
    I used to buy Rancho-brand pick-up truck shock gators at the local auto-parts store. They worked fine.
    Last edited by 36654; 04-01-2014 at 06:35 PM.
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  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by timtyler View Post
    The fork must be disassembled to install new seals so if there was tube pitting or another problem you should have heard about it the first time they did the work.
    I guess this was the root of my original question. thanks for the answer.

    here's what happened since:

    i took it to BMW the next morning. they looked at it, agreed the seals were leaking, and took the bike to re-do them. they have the bike a week and 'fix the seals', no charge or hassle to me at all.

    i pick up the bike and by the time i get home i'm thinking, damn.. looks like they are still leaking. sure enough was only marginally better and still obviously leaking.

    i take it back and they again agree to look at it, but when i'm there the tech who did the work, says ' i'm not gonna do it again unless we add more parts' he mentions some parts (spacers? and springs?, sorry i don't know) he said the parts wear out and eventually the clearances no longer seal. ( i asked why they wouldn't have noticed that the 1st 2 times they did it but felt rude to push for answer, i'm sure they were trying to save me money and acting in good faith. )

    what the heck could go wrong on the forks? whats my worst case scenario? my bike has 28K miles on it, probably the bulk of it commuting to the city (which means it has ridden over really rough ****ty roads)

    if i do need new springs, what is pros v. cons of 'progressive springs'?

    i believe the bike was mostly leaning against a wall getting rusty for at least a year maybe 2 before i bought it. if that matters.

    lastly, i did get one weekend of riding (which included my first ever taste of the twisties ;-) but the bad news is that i noticed when i was going downhill at speeds around 30mph the front of the bike was bouncing around like i was on a really bumpy road. once it started it seemed hard to get smooth. i didn't really notice this on the interstate up to bear mtn, or the other times i've ridden - mostly in the city. i noticed it most strongly going slightly downhill

    could that just be a tire out of balance or is it possibly related to the forks deal? the front tire is brand new, mounted and balanced by the dealer who has it now.

    its been at the dealer over a week i still haven't heard news from them.

    thanks again for all the advice and wisdom.

  6. #21
    Rally Rat
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainista View Post
    ... he mentions some parts (spacers? and springs?, sorry i don't know) he said the parts wear out and eventually the clearances no longer seal. ( i asked why they wouldn't have noticed that the 1st 2 times they did it but felt rude to push for answer, i'm sure they were trying to save me money and acting in good faith. )
    I think it's ridiculous that you're asking for diagnostic advice on the internet when you should be asking the mechanic who is working on your bike.

    Find out what parts the mechanic thinks you need. Tell them to fix the problem and stop wasting your time. They took your money, didn't they?

  7. #22
    i'm not really asking for diagnostic advice actually, more asking.. is it 'normal' to have to rebuild forks after 28K miles.

    also asking for advice perspective on how i should be dealing with the mis-diagnosis and now additional parts and labor.

    yeah exactly, i paid them. now i feel like i'm gonna be paying them again for more or less the exact same work.

    the bike is right now at the dealer, i'm waiting for them to call me and tell me whats wrong, i just want to be as informed as possible to deal with it.

    thanks for reading the post and your input just the same.

  8. #23
    Kawa Afterthought weschmann's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=timtyler;935241]I think it's ridiculous that you're asking for diagnostic advice on the internet when you should be asking the mechanic who is working on your bike.

    I don't wish to be argumentative here, but this forum is exactly the right place to ask questions about specific items on a bike, before going to the mechanic to have it worked on. An informed consumer is the best type of consumer to deal with, (from my many years of experience in the retail business) and if the mechanic is worth his/her salt, will welcome the information the consumer can provide for trouble shooting.

  9. #24
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    Normally a bike with 28k shouldn't have an issue with workout fork components, though age may cause rubber components(seals), to fail. You did say that it had been sitting in the rain and rusting prior to your owning it. Could your fork tubes be pitted from rust?
    Gary Phillips - #6322
    Wildland Firefighter, Retired, Riggins, ID
    Heartland Moto Locos BMW Riders
    '77 R100/7 Dirt Hack, '83 R80ST, '85 K100RS w/EML, '00 R1100RS

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by 6322 View Post
    Normally a bike with 28k shouldn't have an issue with workout fork components, though age may cause rubber components(seals), to fail. You did say that it had been sitting in the rain and rusting prior to your owning it. Could your fork tubes be pitted from rust?
    i don't think so. technically the bike was next to a shed under a roof. but it has some rusty nuts on it.

    the tubes aren't pitted and don't seem to have any trace of rust, plus the mechanic would have seen that 1st time around i hope.

    hence the mystery. and thanks i agree that 28K miles seems not enough for forks. thanks for the input.

  11. #26
    I have no idea how springs in good or bad condition would affect the fork seals one way ot the other. Bushings - yes. While I wouldn't expect bushing to be worn at 28K miles, I haven't seen the bike so can only guess.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  12. #27
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Maybe the best reason for gaiters...

    Once you get fork seals that work, the biggest threat to them is...bugs. They crash into the fork tubes and become very hard little protrusions which are forced past the seals every time you hit a bump or brake.

    I have a pair on my K100RS that I think were originally intended for dirt bikes. They Velcro on with an ease that even I can handle, and were cheap. Just make sure those forks are pristine before you install the gaiters.

    Yes, some folks think they are ugly. I believe anything which eliminates a regular maintenance item and expense (see Paul Glaves comment on his 370,000 mile K75) is just beautiful!
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  13. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I have no idea how springs in good or bad condition would affect the fork seals one way ot the other. Bushings - yes. While I wouldn't expect bushing to be worn at 28K miles, I haven't seen the bike so can only guess.
    great man thank you, i appreciate the info on springs because it also seemed odd to me and i know he mentioned springs... but maybe he was just in general mentioning parts in the forks? or being sarcastic.

    i feel bad the guy has done it 2X already. mine is the least valuable bike in that shop i'm sure.

    i mentioned about the front end bouncing/wobbling which instinctively feels to me like unbalanced tire, but also kinda lasted longer/was harder to get smooth than i have experience with unbalanced tires in the past.

    the other thing i remember now is that when i got the bike back the 2nd time, and i really hit it as close to WOT as i go, i felt the forks expand kind of 'chunky' or in stages rather than totally smooth. like perhaps there was some friction which prevent it being totally smooth so it popped out in 3 or 4 stages. i dunno if thats normal.

    my sum total of experience is the 1K miles i've put on this bike since i bought it in november.

    my hunch, which is just a random guess really, is that someone in the past did a ****ty job of rebuilding the forks and either left out a piece or used the wrong part but it's not obvious enough to notice unless you are really looking for it vs. just trying to jam the freaking fork seals on and get the ugly old k bike out of the shop.

    anyway, hope to hear from them tomorrow. they have had the bike a week already and no news.

    thanks for reading the thread and your comments.

  14. #29
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainista View Post
    the other thing i remember now is that when i got the bike back the 2nd time, and i really hit it as close to WOT as i go, i felt the forks expand kind of 'chunky' or in stages rather than totally smooth. like perhaps there was some friction which prevent it being totally smooth so it popped out in 3 or 4 stages. i dunno if thats normal.

    my sum total of experience is the 1K miles i've put on this bike since i bought it in november.
    With respect, I might suggest a friend, or someone you trust, with more experience ride the bike to see what his/her evaluation might be on the fork's performance.

    No evaluation needed on the seals, though. They either leak or they don't. Best o' luck getting this all put to bed.

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