Friday, January 23, 2015

"No, that's just a little ice cream." (Fork rebuild on the XLCH)

... I blew a seal. Anyone... anyone...?

I mentioned in my last post about some maintenance items left to do on the XLCH. Basically everything on the front end that was rubber was dry rotted. I tackled the front tire and the riser dampers last week. 

The fork seals were leaking like a rusty bucket and the boots were so dry rotted that they crumbled when touched. The fork boots and seal kit arrived so it was time to tear down the front end.

I didn't get a lot of pictures during this process because it was incredibly messy, oily, and dirty and so was I, my clothes, the garage floor, etc.... Also, I won't bother doing a step-by-step for how to do this because there are plenty of those already out there. I would, however, like to give credit to the video I found most helpful during this process which was from Delboy (aka Moonfleet41)

Specifically, his tip for giving a quick snap with the wrench to loosen the bottom bolt holding the damper rod (around 4:00 in the video). Trying to loosen them at "normally" just causes the damper to spin in the tube.  I was able to remove the bolts in both legs this way without having to resort to an impact wrench (which I don't have) or other, creative ways. I did have to use a punch and give one of the bolts a quick tap first but, other than that, both came out easy. 

Also useful was the tip about holding a rag over the cap to keep it from flying off (around 6:12). And yes, it does tend to fly when it slips loose. I didn't have troubles initially getting them out but when trying to put them together (after my hands, tools, and the fork were nice a greasy) I managed to launch them a couple times.

So now, just a few random pics from throughout the process.  Here's the front end missing to prove I actually was doing this.
The fork seals were so caked with dirt and grease, I almost forgot about the retaining clips.
The were so dry rotted and hardened, I had to use a pry bar and a rubber mallet to bust them loose.
New fluid about to go in... much cleaner than what came out.
And finally put back together and the surrounding area cleaned up.
I must've used half a roll of paper towels throughout this process.

Now that it's done, it wasn't as bad of a project. I'm glad it doesn't have to be done all that often but I'll probably be up to doing it myself once again when it's due.

Next step is to do something about all those wires hanging down from the front end....

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