|OK guys & ladies, here goes. This is how I have done my
fork seals in the past. It is not quite the same as the shop manual method
but it works for me. Each time I have replaced them they have lasted
nearly 30,000 miles. My bike has covered in excess of 75,000 miles now
without major problems. (except the dreaded driveshaft splines but that's
I have found the only "special tools" I need are a length of
pipe (no sharp edges!) that just fits over the fork tube (for driving the
seals into place) and a thin wooden rod tapered at one end to stop the
damper rod from turning when undoing the bottom bolt.
- First obtain a new set of genuine Kawasaki seals & also new dust
seals, I have found it very difficult to remove these without damaging
them, they also sometimes rust underneath where the water gets past
them. (Plenty of water here in England!) *** Also, having gone to
all the trouble of replacing the main seals, you may as well replace
the dust seals while you have everything apart ***
- Place bike on centerstand, place a jack (with a piece of wood on top
to protect the sump) under the engine & raise the front of the
bike just enough for the front wheel to come off the ground.
- Remove the wheel, fender, calipers & brake hose guides.
- Remove the plastic caps on the top of each fork. I have found it
best to remove & work on one side at a time (as tonyfan70 says).
That way, the yokes have no chance of going out of line. Loosen the
pinch bolts on one side & carefully slide the fork assembly out of
- Place the whole assembly in a vice using soft jaws to protect the
aluminium, clamp it up on the caliper mounts & don't over tighten
the vice! Release any air in the forks (if your VN7XX has air valve
nipples) by pushing down the top valve (if fitted) although if the
seals are shot there probably won't be much pressure in there
- Place a 6" extension bar into a half inch socket and place the
socket over the valve and push down to expose the thin snap ring that
holds the top in place. If the cap is stuck, give the end of the
extension bar a sharp tap with a rubber mallet or a soft hammer or a
piece of wood. While holding the cap down, hook out the snap ring with
a thin screwdriver and let the spring pressure lift up the cap. It is
recommended to have new snap rings from your Kaw dealer as you might
not want to reuse the old ones.
- Remove the cap, spacer, washer & spring & take note of the
order they come out in.
- Take the whole assembly out of the vice for a moment & pour the
fork oil out into a container, it will probably be very dirty &
look a bit like milk (and will stink) if enough water has got
- Place the assembly back in the vice &, using a good quality
allen wrench, undo the bottom bolt. If the bolt keeps turning but
doesn't seem to want to come out the damper rod is turning inside
& needs to be held as follows. Using a piece of thin wood that has
been filed to a taper at one end (a thin broom handle will do) push it
down into the tube until it pushes against the bottom. Hold it tight
& the bolt should undo without a problem. *** Bulldog's note:
when we did my fork seals, I loosened up the allen bolt before we took
the fork apart so the tension of the fork spring allowed us to break
the allen bolt free ***
- Next, pry off the dust seal & slide it up the tube & off the
- Remove the snap ring that retains the oil seal.
- Now you need to pull up sharply on the tube to remove the seal,
sometimes 2 or 3 goes may be needed but it WILL come out. Once the
seal has popped out of it's place you can slide it up the tube &
- What you do now is up to you. You can either start putting the
assembly back together or (recommended) strip the tube out of
the stanchion & give the components a thorough clean. If you
decide to strip the assembly, make a careful note of how it all came
out so you can put it all back exactly as it should be.
- Oil everything as you put it back together. Remember, one mistake
could seriously upset things as far as handling goes! (Or
- When you are ready to fit the new seals proceed as follows.
Make sure the ouside of the fork tube is clean, apply a thin film of
fork oil to the outside to lubricate the new seal & very gently
slide the new seal down over the tube.
- Now you need your piece of pipe I mentioned earlier. I use plastic
pipe that I got from the scrap bin where I work. Bulldog used
two pieces of 1.5" PVC. A 3" long piece and a 18"
piece. The 3" piece makes contact with the seal and the
18" piece just fits over the tube & is exactly the same size
as the outer edge of the seals. The 18" piece is also longer than
the tube so that it can be tapped from the top. Place the pipe over
the tube & gently tap the seal into place using a rubber mallet on
the other end of the plastic tube.
- Once the seal is seated, replace the snap ring. Now slide the new
dust seal over the top. I use a very thin bead of silicone sealant
underneath the outer edge of the dust seal which will stop water
getting under the seal & rusting the metal reinforcing ring
underneath. Don't apply too much silicone or it will go over the fork
tube when you tap it down & you don't want to do that.
- Tap the dust seal gently into place & wipe off any excess
sealant (if used) that gets squeezed out of the edge.
- Now you can replace the bottom bolt & tighten it to the correct
torque (14.5 ft/Ibs). Use a new copper washer if necessary. If the
damper rod turns, use your wooden rod to hold it still like you did
earlier when you undid it. *** Bulldog's note: We used the fork
spring to hold the assembly in place so we could tighten the allen
- Pour 362ml of new fork oil in the top, replace the spring, washer
& spacer then replace the cap & snap ring & you're
- Wipe off any excess fork oil from the tube & any you spilled
anwhere else - you don't want the stuff getting anywhere near the
- Replace the fork assembly in the yokes, tighten the pinch bolts
& repeat the whole process on the other fork.
- You can then replace the wheel, fender & calipers etc & the
jobs done. Double check everything is in place & tight before you
ride the bike & admire your (hopefully) nice dry forks!
- Check your brake pads as this is the time to replace them if
needed. Bulldog found his brake pads were in need of
replacement. Once he had the brake pads in hand, the whole brake
job and reinstallation of the calipers took less then 15 minutes to
I hope this procedure makes sense - if anyone thinks I have missed
anything, or needs more information then please let me know. I am also
always open to suggestions on anything that might make the job any
Take care & ride safe!