Fork Seals

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I have two motorcycles... Stands to reason that I should never be bike-less!!! If one is down for repairs or maintenance, the other should be ready to ride. Well, that was the plan. But....

Click here for Ernie's Fork Seal Replacement Procedure

PDF copy of the Climers Manual on Fork Seal Replacement

Over the winter, my VN750 popped a fork seal and was leaking stinky fork oil all over it's spot in the garage. But what the hell... I have the Nomad and repairing the VN750 can wait until I get around to it. Well, as the fates would have it I dropped the Nomad off at my shop for an engine pull to repair the engine issues that the former owner did to it and with some nice spots in the day I wanted to go riding... But NO!!! I was planning on not being without the Nomad until the end of the season, so the VN750 fork seal repair could wait... So a few days ago, I get a call from my mechanic telling me that he has an open spot in his schedule and can do the engine work I need and have to bring it in ASAP so he can get it back to me within the week... So I bring it in and figure that I can go a week without riding... Boy was I wrong... I got the itch within 1 hour of dropping off the RedDog...

Believe it or not, this state of disrepair only took about 15 minutes to accomplish.  Everything came apart easy like the bike wanted to be fixed...

My wife could not look at the VN750 in this condition.  She said that it broke her heart to see Black Betty in this condition...

So, with the RedDog in the shop, I got a hold of all the parts to do a fork-seal replacement and called my friend Chad for some advice and help.  You see, I'm a tinkerer where Chad is actually a certified mechanic.  So he came over and we went to work.  I took the front end apart the night before so that we would not have to waste time.

We got the job done within 4 hours and am now awaiting on brake pads which I will pick up tomorrow. While working on putting everything back together, I fixed some past issues that were waiting and cleaned up some areas that I could not get to with the windshield on. Tomorrow the brakes will be installed and I will go for a late night ride. I will have to readjust the clutch and brake levers as well as the handlebars as I am now accustomed to the position that the Nomad has and will have to get the Vn750's controls to a near happy medium.

The headlight bucket is apart because I had to remove some of the wiring that I had when the speakers were on the bike

Both Chad and I have heard that when messing with the forks, it is unwise to loosen both forks as it can affect alignment.  So we did one fork, then reinstalled it and removed the other

With the left fork done, we now are removing the right fork.  The top bolt on the triple tree is a 12mm and the bottom bolt is a 14mm.  Make sure that you are holding on to the fork as when you loosen the bolts, it will come free quickly.

One thing to also keep in mind...  Make sure that the bike is supported by a jack as you do not want her pitching forward.  I actually heard of someone doing this...

Chad getting ready to drain the oil from the fork

If your forks are older, they might have a pressure fitting.  If so, bleed the pressure out or you will have oil shoot all over when you release the lower drain plug

The drain plug on the bottom of the fork.  Make sure that you have a oil pan or something to drain into.  If you have a pressure fitting on our forks, press it in so that you will release any vacuums to help in draining the fork

Using an allen key to loosten the bolt holding the guts in place.  Have a pipe ready in case it doesn't want to break free.  One of my forks required a little tap with a hammer to break and the other went easy

The top of the fork...  This was a real mutha to get off if you don't know how.  We used a 13mm socket with an extention to press down on the cap while Chad slipped the C-ring off with a small screw driver.  Notice the C-ring hooked in my index finger.  Keep your hand on the top of the fork when doing this because the pressure from the spring could send the whole top flying into a dusty dirty corner of the garage never to be seen again.

The spacer from the forks.  This one was modified and cut down when I had my Progressive springs installed a few years ago

The Progressive spring coming out of the tube.  Keep in mind on a Progressive spring, the tighter wound side should be on the top

Pulling out the fork seal retainer clip with a small flat blade screwdriver

With the tube out of the lower leg, a look down the lower leg.  Strongly recommend spraying brake cleaner down there to remove any debris

The guts of a VN750 fork!!!

Putting the whole mess back together.  Follow the directions in your shop manual...

Checking out and lubing the slider bushings

Using a piece of 1-1/2" PVC pipe as a tool to press the fork spacer into place

Placing the fork seal in place.  Make sure that you use some new fork oil to make the surfaces slippery and to avoid damage to the new seal

Ready to seat the fork seal

Using a second piece of 1-1/2" PVC (this one around 9" long) to hammer the fork seal into place.  If we ever have to do another set of pipes, we will use a 16" piece of PVC so we can hit the top of that one with a rubber mallet and not touch the fork tube

Replacing the fork seal retainer clip

Adding 12.4oz of new fork seal oil to the fork

Putting it all back together.  Make sure that you use new C-rings from your dealer as the old ones might have gotten torn up during the removal.  We just followed the reverse on this one to get the C-ring back into place.  This was a two-person job all the way.  With me using my weight to press down on the cap using 13mm socket and an extension, Chad pressed the C-ring back into place.

With the front end all put back together with the exception of the brakes which were replaced the following day.

So, I've learned a lesson here. Even when one has two bikes, to avoid being bike-less one has to repair the down bike ASAP or risk not being able to ride when one desires... But even with one bike in the shop and the other awaiting brake pads, my itch is kinda scratched. Wrenching is almost as good as riding... Almost.

This page is not meant to be a "how-to" guide for replacing fork seals on a VN750.  It is just a photo documentary on two friends replacing a set of fork seals and some things that we learned in the process.  If this page helps you on your fork seal replacement, then I would love to hear about it.  But please don't follow this page thinking that it is the instructions.  There are gaps where we forgot to take pictures and at times we did stray from the instructions in the manual.  We actually had both a Kawasaki Shop manual and a Clymers Manual open side-by-side as they have slightly different methods in some parts and gave us some insight into the job we were doing.  But this is in my humble opinion a two person job for anyone who is not a motorcycle mechanic and I could have never done it alone.  I once again owe a bunch of thanks to my friend Chad who gave up half of his Sunday to help me out of a jam.  Thanks man...

Nomad Mod's LED Tail Lights VN750 Tank Bib V&H Dual Baggers VN750 Facelift Fork Seals RR Relo VN750 Air Horns DSHL Mod KA Volt Meter LED Brake Light Radiator Cover Luggage Rack VN750 Tunes

Click here for Ernie's Fork Seal Replacement Procedure

PDF copy of the Climers Manual on Fork Seal Replacement


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Last update: 10/07/2012

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Evan Breyn