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Removing old fork seal

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by awafan, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. awafan

    awafan XS650 Member

    First of all, thanks to this forum I have been able to search and get most all of my questions answered to help me get the '72 XS650 I am trying to bring back to life with only having to post a coupla questions.

    I have searched and read the fork seal removal threads but my fork seal seems to have become part of the fork itself and am wondering what will get the rubber off the inside of the fork? I read one post about using boiling water... Has anyone used a small propane torch?

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  2. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    I wonder if one of those aggressive aerosol gasket or paint removers would get that?
  3. FrkyMnky

    FrkyMnky XS650 Junkie

    Go to a parts store and pick up a oil seal remover. Its basically a curved pry bar. It will remove the seal including the metal/rubber outer should you tear the inner part of it.
  4. jd750ace

    jd750ace Front Toward Enemy

    A few folks here have busted those forks by prying directly on the top. If you are removing residual stuck on rubber, paint stripper or the spray on gasket remover stuff. You can really ding up a piece of aluminium pretty fast with mechanical removal of stuck on seals.
  5. awafan

    awafan XS650 Member

    Thanks for the replies. I am going to try the spray stuff and see what happens tomorrow.
  6. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yes, you need to protect the top of that fork lower if you'll be prying - and old fork seals can take lots of it. A piece of aluminum angle with a "finger" bent down makes a dandy protector .....


    It will sit there all by itself .....


    I have a big old square shank screwdriver that I filed the tip round on .....


    This is my "special tool" for prying out fork seals .....

  7. wherearewe

    wherearewe Rub on Ya Titties

    What 5twins said. Those things can really take some work to get out. I recommend heating in boiling water first, a good ten minutes or so. This will help a lot. Id be slightly cautious with paint strippers, i don't know what that would do to the 'teflon coated' busing below the seals.
  8. mrriggs

    mrriggs XS650 Junkie

    This won't help the OP, but what I do to remove the seal is fill the fork with oil, remove the dust seal and retaining ring, then compress the fork in a press. The hydraulic pressure will push out the seal.
  9. Street Tracker

    Street Tracker Dirt Track Mentality

    Harbor freight has a nice rubber coated seal remover in the hammer shape that works pretty damn well also.
  10. awafan

    awafan XS650 Member

    Thanks for the help everyone. I am boiling water as we speak. These seals are just making fun of all my attempts. They are seriously stuck. I know I've read what a pain these are but didn't think they would be this bad. I guess after sitting for 15+ years they became one with the fork /*sarcasm*/.

    Oh and the lowers came off with really no problem and I didn't have to take the top fork caps off to get into the fork for assistance! Just grabbed the lowers and the 7mm allen loosened right up so I guess I used up all my luck on that....
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
  11. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Since you have the lowers off, you might want to go into the tubes and pull the dampers out. Then you can make the "special tool" needed to hold it from spinning as you loosen/tighten that Allen bolt on the bottom. You're right, you got lucky removing that Allen bolt. Chances are, the damper rod is going to just spin when you go to tighten it back up.
  12. awafan

    awafan XS650 Member

    So the boiling water did the trick. Man it came off in pieces but it came out. Used a small pick to clean the debris and grooves so thanks again to all the ideas. 5twins, yes I think I am going to make the tool because I am not going to press my luck since I have it basically all apart now!
  13. mike-dubai

    mike-dubai XS650 Member

    Hey Wherearewe! Boiling saved a lot of time for me. After 10 minutes they were off with a tyre lever (and a protection plate!). Thanks a lot for your help, Mike. :thumbsup:
  14. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Easy removal 101, just thought of and tried this today, duh, I've only removed about 50 seals in my shop.
    Hit it with rust buster what ever, Pick a large socket say something over 1" flat side down hammer the socket around the seal a few times. then use any of the tools above or the one I show elsewhere. seal will come out MUCH easier because you have loosened the seal's grip on the fork tube.
  15. I know you got it out. But another fast way for removal is buy am extra fork cap. Drill and tap for scraeder valve. Remove retaining clip and blow the seals out with air. Thats what i do for the 74.

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  16. barncat

    barncat XS650 Addict

    40+ year old corroded fork seals will resist any attempts to pry them out even with propane torch heating. the steel core of the seal "welds" itself in place, or at least the pair i just pulled did. last resort method as follows:

    disassemble forks. spray some PB Blaster on seals and allow to sit overnight. put on some safety glasses (sharp pointy objects), clamp the lower in a vise or to the benchtop. install a suitable hose clamp around top of fork lower at seal to reinforce the thin wall aluminum. wire wheel or wire brush as much grit/corrosion away as possible. remove clip and washer. cut and pull away as much of the old rubber as possible with razor knife and pliers to expose steel core.

    get out your Dremel with a 1/8" dia straight radius-end carbide burr and side cut through the steel seal core. this is a very delicate operation- don't grind into the aluminum fork wall. when you are close to cutting through the steel ring, use a suitable old flat blade screwdriver ground to a thin wedge as a pry bar to snap the ring, working in a circle around the perimeter. even a hopelessly stuck seal will bend right out.

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