Opinions please - are these fork tubes trash?


XS650 Enthusiast
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Toronto, Canada
Been working on a fork overhaul and it turns out my stanchion tubes are in worse condition than expected. I suspect it's not worth cleaning and filling the corroded areas, but would like some other opinions.

Pictured are the worst sections from each tube. Some loose material was removed from the left leg. Thanks

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Roll them on a flat surface, table top or something like that, they look bent on my screen. Some contour sanding with wet or dry paper and then chrome polish could make them usable. Pits are not much of an issue if they are not sharp enough to cut the fork seals. So, yeah, they could be used if straight and smooth, or used until you get replacements.

FD8B9CE3-D6B1-4D77-9FEC-EBC02129131D.jpeg 7944B44B-58F3-49D5-B169-CD36D8DA6B71.jpeg FD8B9CE3-D6B1-4D77-9FEC-EBC02129131D.jpeg Some before and after photos of my fork stancions. Hard chrome plated and reground. UK £135. I know it’s no good to you across the pond, there should be specialists over there to do this work.
You could try scrubbing the rust with some wadded up aluminum foil with a lubricant like WD40.
The rust typically occurs above the area that is functional; that is, above the area that would deteriorate your seals.
So, it might just be an appearance issue for you, and thus you could go with boots (gators).
$10 will buy you a nice set. 5Twins makes good rec's on which ones to buy:
I just bought some on fleabay.
Thanks... I’ll check for straightness (pretty sure it’s just lens distortion from my camera) and do some more cleaning. Will also check into replating/surfacing costs. Found new oem replacements for about $150 each, so that’s a consideration as well
I guess you can try cleaning them up and using them, but it appears all the pitting is in the area that will get pumped through the seals. I think they're going to leak.
Thanks 5twins. I should note that the pitting is worst near the triple tree (see clamp marks in pics). They were taken with the top of the tubes facing me, like when sitting on the bike. It made sense at the time, but now think is confusing... So, the bottom of the tubes are at the top of the pic.
Well, all you can do is clean them up and try them I guess. If they don't leak then you can cover the "ugly" with gaiters. I've been using the truck shock ones for almost longer than I can remember. I installed my 1st set way back in the mid '80s on an SR500. I use the Daystar brand, available usually for $10 or less a pair .....

Thanks for the link 5twins. Gaiters are a good option if the tubes aren't re-chromed or replaced. Will try some more surface cleanup this evening.
Ahem... if you should try it, you wouldn't be the first person to use body filler paste and give them a good sanding afterwards.
Such dreadful bodges skilled repair techniques can be effective for a surprisingly long time, especially when carried out with care and hidden under boots.
The seal lip doesn't care what it's riding on, so long as it's not getting torn to bits.
Been working on a fork overhaul and it turns out my stanchion tubes are in worse condition than expected. I suspect it's not worth cleaning and filling the corroded areas, but would like some other opinions.

Pictured are the worst sections from each tube. Some loose material was removed from the left leg. Thanks

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If that's the part where the seals slide, than it's unwise to use them. They will eat your seals in no time. You could try to let some specialist re-chrome them again, but my guess is that this will cost you as much as new ones. Or try to gets a pair of good used ones. But if the rust is not afecting the sliding parts, I would use gaiters like the Dude suggested. That way it won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Both my link and 5twins are for EMGO tubes. Fwiw... I've used other EMGO products in the past and have always been more that happy with the quality of their products. And as 5twins said, if you go with his link, ask and make sure the price is for a pair and not a single...
Did some more cleaning last night and decided the tubes should be repaired or replaced. I'd rather just rebuild the forks once and have done with it.

Made some enquiries on eBay, but it looks like a no-go, mainly due to exorbitant shipping costs. Gotta admit that I'm kinda envious of you all in the US. What you can get shipped for $20, can cost us Canadians $85 and up, plus exchange, brokerage, duties... :sick:

At this point, I'm leaning towards getting the stanchions refinished locally. It may not be the cheapest solution, but I've confirmed that industrial refinishing services typically add a much thicker chrome layer than the original parts (5 or 6 thou vs 1 thou). I'm thinking this will be much more durable and resistant to corrosion in the future. United Surface Refinishing looks like they do great work (thanks TwoManyXS1Bs), however they quoted $300 USD (plus shipping both ways) which isn't workable. Going to contact some local shops this afternoon...

JimD54 and 5twins - thanks for the info on the EMGO tubes. I spotted them on eBay as well, but wasn't sure about the quality and couldn't find any reviews. Seems like most people tend to stick with OEM parts for these kinds of applications. Jim - good to know you've had positive experiences with other EMGO products. Lastly, I confirmed that the EMGO tubes are sold as a pair. For anyone wanting to avoid eBay, Dennis Kirk has them for $74 (https://www.denniskirk.com/emgo/fork-tubes-45-42000.p585809.prd/585809.sku). This is likely the cheapest option if refinishing isn't viable...
On a related note...
Does anyone know if the bushing/washer thingy at the bottom of the fork tube is removable? It sits below the small damper rod spring and I believe it acts as a bushing for the narrow part of the rod. Not sure what material it's made of and can't find any reference to the part in diagrams. I suspect it'll require protection if the tubes are re-chromed...