Author Topic: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?  (Read 436 times)

Offline Kinzua ADV Rider

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Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« on: December 07, 2017, 12:18:45 am »
I think it is time for a serious fork seal failure analysis.  I purchased an S10 specifically for a trip to Alaska this past July.  It performed beyond all expectations, except... 
At about 4200 miles, a film of oil was showing on the lower fork legs.  At 4500 miles, there was a drop of oil on the bottom of the fork legs and dripping on the pavement at stops.  At 5000 miles the forks were both dripping enough oil to significantly hinder the stopping ability of the front brakes, and splashing back on the bike.  The problem was reported to my Yamaha dealer back in New York, who tried to find new seals at a dealer in Alaska, but the parts were not available without a couple days wait.  I added fork oil every day to get back to the States, and finally found a dealer with parts to do a warranty repair, including new front brake pads.
While in Alaska, I met another S10 rider in Fairbanks who also had leaking fork seals.  Searching this forum, there are many other owners reporting fork seal failure, but there has yet been an analysis of the cause of the problem.  Is the seal to blame for not cleaning the leg and allowing dirt to build up inside? Is the wiper not stopping dirt before the seal?  Have there been any changes to either the wiper or seal to improve either part over the years?  With the number of seal failures reported (and repaired under warranty) on this forum, I would think Yamaha is aware of a problem.
I did not ride the S10 anywhere off-road, so that is not to blame for the seal problem.  After owning KTM's for the past 40 years, I haven't had any fork seal failures on the upside-down White Power forks.
I have not tried the x-ray film trick of cleaning dirt out from under the lip the seals, but WHY should this be necessary?  I now have a set of the neoprene fork wraps to try and make the seals last for more than 5000 miles.
Let's hear from other S10 owners about their fork seal experiences, and welcome any thoughts as to the seal improvements and solutions.  Maybe our group can find a solution.  Maybe its already been solved on new models with a new part.  Thanks!
Too much fun is still not enough!

Offline bob dirt

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 01:13:53 am »
My fork seals leaked when I rode to Alaska also. It was caused from the road grime from construction in Canada. I did not use fork seal savers. I tried my seal mate a couple of times on the way up but they kept leaking. I replaced the seals when I got home. They were pretty easy. Yes I have fork savers n my bike now.
Life is short...eat the cookie

Offline Juan

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2017, 05:48:27 am »
I had one fork seal failure after a couple of hundred kms. The dealer started dismantling the fork to replace the seal and informed me that the cause was a minute scratch on the fork leg, which was tearing the seal as it rode over it. The scratch was facing backwards and therefore could not have been damaged through riding. The complete fork leg was replaced under warranty.

Offline Madhatter

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 06:13:54 am »
just takes a thin film of dried dirt dust road muck to start a leak , for me all that has been done is take a fork seal cleaner tool ( film etc ) and the leak has stopped. I have to be careful to keep the lower tubes clean . sometimes I remember to actually do that. because we have the upside down fork any compromise of the seal creates the leak, simple gravity doing what it does . this summer on its 5th birthday I am planning to have the forks reworked , seals,  bushings , fluid , maybe respring with fresh springs. if you keep the lower tubes clean should have few issues. and some covers are not a bad idea at all.

Offline EricV

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 07:04:11 am »
I've used fork seal covers since the bike was new on both my S10s.  I put 109k on my '12 including a month long trip to Alaska and the IBR and never had a fork seal leak.  Ever.   :o

Kriega and Shock Sox both work great.  I now prefer the Shock Sox since they are a little longer.  Remove and clean now and then and hit with some WD40 after drying and before re-installing.

Shock Sox
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Offline Checkswrecks

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 07:19:29 am »
Upside down forks like ours are stiffer at the top, due to the thicker tube, and lighter at the bottom, making the suspension work better.


The issue you describe is totally normal for upside down forks, because anything which gets into the fork falls into the seal. Again, totally normal. If you found a fastener starting to loosen, would you just let it keep going until something broke or fell off?


Throw a piece of camera film or a SealMate into your tool kit and you would have been good as new at the first sign of leakage, without the angst and drama.





Shock covers used by Eric and others can help a lot and are a good preventive, as well.
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Offline Shipwreck

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 09:26:59 am »
Hey Guys,

I am having intermittent issues with my forks leaking as well. I try to stay on top of wiping the forks off periodically and I use my seal saver to get the crud out. Now my shocks have leaked so much with the bike sitting in the garage for the winter that I am concerned that I am running too low on fork oil. How hard\difficult is it to refill these tubes?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Offline mebgardner

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 10:11:53 am »
I've used fork seal covers since the bike was new on both my S10s.  I put 109k on my '12 including a month long trip to Alaska and the IBR and never had a fork seal leak.  Ever.   :o

Kriega and Shock Sox both work great.  I now prefer the Shock Sox since they are a little longer.  Remove and clean now and then and hit with some WD40 after drying and before re-installing.

Shock Sox

What size, please?
2016 ST, Non-ES, Power Commander PCFC, Seat Concepts, Rox 2" Risers w/ OEM lines, Aux: ADVMonster 44W LEDS and Dimmer, HL: NightEye H7 50W LEDs, Eastern Beaver CS3, Givi TN355 crash bars, Skene Designs Photon Blaster LEDs, Knight Design Wide Hunter lowering pegs, Denali SoundBlaster w/ Twisted Throttle horn mount, SW Motech Evo Side Racks, Saddleman X-Jumbo Cruiser Soft Bags, Hepco Becker Rear Rack, Hepco Becker Junior 45 Rear Top Case, MRA X-creen Tour, OEM reg. shield and bracket, OEM side wind deflectors, RideOn Tire additive, 0.55 in. LED eBay Voltmeter, Battery tender. Hit-Air Airbag Vest, Motoport 3/4 Length 3 Layer Jacket with Quad Armor Upgrade, EVS G6 Mesh Armor (summer), Revit 2 Layer Mesh Pants, A* Corozal Boots, Shoei Hornet X2.

Offline switchback

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 11:24:08 am »
Mine are starting to go at 23k Miles.
Cheers,

David
Current:  2012 Super Ténéré,  2007 Ducati MTS 1100DS, 2003 WR450F
Past:  2007 DR650, 1999 Triumph Tiger, 1989 CR500 (Rick Johnson's), 1986 TT350, 1985 ZX750 Turbo, 1984 IT200, 1980 MX175

Offline EricV

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 12:56:08 pm »
What size, please?

The Shock Sox are all the same size.  Pick your color.  36-50mm fitment.  We have 46mm forks.  Kriega, you want the larger of the sizes, for dual sports rather than dirt bikes.  They may only offer one size now, which would be the larger one.  I ran thru a few of the earlier ones and they all cracked over time, even after putting sun screen on them as directed by Kreiga.  Just too much of a stretch over the larger forks.  They sent me the larger style when they started offering them and they worked great and never cracked.
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Offline mebgardner

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2017, 02:44:49 pm »
The Shock Sox are all the same size.  Pick your color.  36-50mm fitment.  We have 46mm forks.  Kriega, you want the larger of the sizes, for dual sports rather than dirt bikes.  They may only offer one size now, which would be the larger one.  I ran thru a few of the earlier ones and they all cracked over time, even after putting sun screen on them as directed by Kreiga.  Just too much of a stretch over the larger forks.  They sent me the larger style when they started offering them and they worked great and never cracked.

Any advice on 13 inch, or 6 inch length selection?

Thanks.
2016 ST, Non-ES, Power Commander PCFC, Seat Concepts, Rox 2" Risers w/ OEM lines, Aux: ADVMonster 44W LEDS and Dimmer, HL: NightEye H7 50W LEDs, Eastern Beaver CS3, Givi TN355 crash bars, Skene Designs Photon Blaster LEDs, Knight Design Wide Hunter lowering pegs, Denali SoundBlaster w/ Twisted Throttle horn mount, SW Motech Evo Side Racks, Saddleman X-Jumbo Cruiser Soft Bags, Hepco Becker Rear Rack, Hepco Becker Junior 45 Rear Top Case, MRA X-creen Tour, OEM reg. shield and bracket, OEM side wind deflectors, RideOn Tire additive, 0.55 in. LED eBay Voltmeter, Battery tender. Hit-Air Airbag Vest, Motoport 3/4 Length 3 Layer Jacket with Quad Armor Upgrade, EVS G6 Mesh Armor (summer), Revit 2 Layer Mesh Pants, A* Corozal Boots, Shoei Hornet X2.

Offline EricV

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2017, 03:00:17 pm »
Any advice on 13 inch, or 6 inch length selection?

Thanks.
I have the 6" length.  That leaves me approx. 4" of exposed lower fork tube.  Of that, perhaps 2" or less shows dirt.  There is only approx. 7.25" of exposed lower fork tube when the bike is at rest.  I don't think the 13" would be feasible on USD forks as you'd have to mount them high, cover the entire exposed lower fork tube, and they they would push up or constantly be binding the bottom of the fork cover as you rode.  That doesn't make sense to me.  My assumption was that the 13" might be great for regular forks or dirt bikes.
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Offline mebgardner

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2017, 03:02:45 pm »
I have the 6" length.  That leaves me approx. 4" of exposed lower fork tube.  Of that, perhaps 2" or less shows dirt.  There is only approx. 7.25" of exposed lower fork tube when the bike is at rest.  I don't think the 13" would be feasible on USD forks as you'd have to mount them high, cover the entire exposed lower fork tube, and they they would push up or constantly be binding the bottom of the fork cover as you rode.  That doesn't make sense to me.  My assumption was that the 13" might be great for regular forks or dirt bikes.

OK, Thanks.  "We return this broadcast to your regularly scheduled OP"... please excuse the hijack.
2016 ST, Non-ES, Power Commander PCFC, Seat Concepts, Rox 2" Risers w/ OEM lines, Aux: ADVMonster 44W LEDS and Dimmer, HL: NightEye H7 50W LEDs, Eastern Beaver CS3, Givi TN355 crash bars, Skene Designs Photon Blaster LEDs, Knight Design Wide Hunter lowering pegs, Denali SoundBlaster w/ Twisted Throttle horn mount, SW Motech Evo Side Racks, Saddleman X-Jumbo Cruiser Soft Bags, Hepco Becker Rear Rack, Hepco Becker Junior 45 Rear Top Case, MRA X-creen Tour, OEM reg. shield and bracket, OEM side wind deflectors, RideOn Tire additive, 0.55 in. LED eBay Voltmeter, Battery tender. Hit-Air Airbag Vest, Motoport 3/4 Length 3 Layer Jacket with Quad Armor Upgrade, EVS G6 Mesh Armor (summer), Revit 2 Layer Mesh Pants, A* Corozal Boots, Shoei Hornet X2.

Offline limey

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2017, 05:08:02 pm »
I've used fork seal covers since the bike was new on both my S10s.  I put 109k on my '12 including a month long trip to Alaska and the IBR and never had a fork seal leak.  Ever.   :o

Kriega and Shock Sox both work great.  I now prefer the Shock Sox since they are a little longer.  Remove and clean now and then and hit with some WD40 after drying and before re-installing.

Shock Sox
Same 140,000km without a fork seal leak, 2 trips to Alaska and a couple of BDR.

Offline Cycledude

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Re: Fork Seal Failure Report: Anyone Else?
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2017, 08:43:41 pm »
Mine also started leaking last year on the way home from Prudhoe Bay , a little over 20,000 miles on the bike when the leaks started, after getting home with about 25,000 miles on the bike I replaced the seals and bushings with All Balls parts, that was 12,000 miles ago and so far no leaks.  I have been using All Balls parts on Goldwings for years with excellent results.  For me the upside down forks seem quite a bit more difficult to work on, I actually had to get someone to help when putting them back together because I simply didn’t have enough hands to do it alone.  It rained EVERY DAY on our trip so we rode in a lot of slop so that might be what made the leaks start, but mt friend was riding a BMW 800 GS with 100,000 miles and upside down forks and it’s never had a fork leak.
2013 Tenere heading for Alaska about May 25th 2016
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