Kawasaki Concours Forum

The C-14, aka Kawasaki Concours-14, the new one :) => The Bike - C14/GTR 1400 => Topic started by: Awaz on May 29, 2012, 01:30:19 pm

Title: Fork leak?
Post by: Awaz on May 29, 2012, 01:30:19 pm
I see a small streak of oil path down my left fork. No dripping yet, but that side is moist with oil. What is the urgency factor to get this fixed? I have not called the dealer yet. And would love to have a recommendation for a good dealer around central illinois or St Louis area.

The one in Sprigfield, IL is closest, but not sure how good they are.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: lt1 on May 29, 2012, 01:51:06 pm
I would spend $5 and clean it with a SealMate before taking it to the dealer. 
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: VirginiaJim on May 29, 2012, 02:09:52 pm
Seal Mate the Tool that Fixes Leaking Fork Seals (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wlzfoVroSY#ws)

Interesting.  Never knew something like that existed.  Thanks, Clyde.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: gonzosc1 on May 29, 2012, 02:33:39 pm
that is awesome. its worth a try for sure if you have a leak cuz theres nothing to lose!
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: VirginiaJim on May 29, 2012, 02:35:04 pm
I don't have a leak but I've got about 48k on the fluid and seals.  Think it's probably time to change them out.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: lt1 on May 29, 2012, 04:51:37 pm
I've fixed leaks on 3 bikes w/ the SealMate.  As noted, if the fork oil is old or the leak has been going on a while, a fork oil change is still a good idea.  Seals can last a long time if they are not actually damaged.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: Pokey on May 29, 2012, 07:09:50 pm
It is a must to keep bugs off your forks, I am beyond anal retentive about that. The guards do help allot, but bugs and road grime can cause leaks for sure "but can be fixed" as you have seen. ;)
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: JeffM on May 29, 2012, 07:19:43 pm
That's really slick. Great info.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: stevewfl on May 29, 2012, 08:03:29 pm
I'm at 53,000 on my '10, if I see my seals appear to be leaking I'm changing to a fresh battery in my KiPass (http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j180/stevewfl/avatars/badteeth.gif)
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: strester on May 30, 2012, 02:52:54 pm
If you have OLD film roll, it also works great. What ever you use no sharp points. The seals are not hard to do. If you take your time and clean them well you may not have to. Also if you do the job yourself be sure to set up a clean area and take care not damage or scratch the tubes.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on January 20, 2018, 01:27:26 pm
Well, looks like it happened to me.  I started noticing what I thought was a spot on the left side ground near the front weel a few weeks ago.  I had been mostly riding at night, so I didn't see much with a flashlight.  The spot was oily, but mixed with other stuff and impossible to identify.  So I cleaned it well and waited.  Noticed it again last night, so today I went in for a good look.  BOTH forks are leaking (32,600 miles, never touched).  I took photos first, then I cleaned them lightly with paper towels and reassessed (and took another photo).  At the front bottom of both tubes, it was not smooth.  So I removed the reflectors and the bolts that held the fender for better access.  I was unable to remove the stupid brake line retainer clips so I couldn't get the fender all the way off.  I then moved to bug/tar remover spray on the towels and worked on it.  Then I moved to a sharp piece of soft wood to try and scrape.  And I soaked the wood in bug cleaner and scraped and scraped and worked on it until I finally gave up (then removed the bug cleaner and cleaned up everywhere the oil had leaked).

There are still some rough areas that feel like perhaps scratches or pits in the metal, only at the bottom inch or so of the front of each tube).  Not willing to try anything more drastic at this point.  Put fender back.  Then started the bike and ran forward and stopped hard, several times.  Each time, the top few inches of the tubes were coated in a very thin layer of clean fork oil.   This is probably my fault for not realizing how important it must be to keep the tubes clean, ESPECIALLY in the barely accessible areas at the front near the bottom.

I am not sure how much oil I have lost.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on January 20, 2018, 09:00:27 pm
I am not sure how much oil I have lost.

Yep, rode twice tonight and stopped at 30 miles each and they are still weeping.  Ordering the Seal Mate.  But checked the factory manual and I don't see any way to check level or add oil/fluid without totally removing the fork tubes.  :(
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: VirginiaJim on January 21, 2018, 09:05:25 am
Just had mine redone.  Going to start installing them back this afternoon.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: gPink on January 21, 2018, 09:36:32 am
Are they still in the Dodge?
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: VirginiaJim on January 21, 2018, 10:15:26 am
Nope.  Leaning against the work bench at the moment and not on the shelf.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: tjhess74 on January 23, 2018, 08:56:50 pm
I had a leaky left fork too. I replaced the seals twice before I realized something else was wrong. Upon closer inspection, I saw I had a super small vertical scratch in the tube that was allowing fluid bypass. I used some fine emory cloth and got her back to normal.  There have been no leaks since!
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on January 23, 2018, 10:03:01 pm
I had a leaky left fork too. I replaced the seals twice before I realized something else was wrong. Upon closer inspection, I saw I had a super small vertical scratch in the tube that was allowing fluid bypass. I used some fine emory cloth and got her back to normal.  There have been no leaks since!

That is one of my concerns about that rough area I discovered that would not clean.  I hadn't researched polishing the area yet- my initial thought would be I could do more damage than just leaving it alone.  My "Sealmate" should arrive tomorrow and I will attempt to clean the seals as soon as possible, if I can figure out how to remove the damn "brake hose clamps" on the fender.  The factory manual is utterly unhelpful, it just says "remove" them with no indication as to how.  I pulled and pulled and twisted and rocked and pulled and gave up, convinced I would break them.  A mechanic, I am not.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: bowtie39 on January 24, 2018, 06:35:31 am
That is one of my concerns about that rough area I discovered that would not clean.  I hadn't researched polishing the area yet- my initial thought would be I could do more damage than just leaving it alone.  My "Sealmate" should arrive tomorrow and I will attempt to clean the seals as soon as possible, if I can figure out how to remove the damn "brake hose clamps" on the fender.  The factory manual is utterly unhelpful, it just says "remove" them with no indication as to how.  I pulled and pulled and twisted and rocked and pulled and gave up, convinced I would break them.  A mechanic, I am not.
IIRC....got behind it (tire side) with a needle nose.  Have to squeeze it together to slip it thru hole.  Also why I cut them off afterwards and use black zip ties to hold hose now.  Or....after you commit to taking the things off your bike, just cut them where they hold the hose so they no longer are holding the hose.  Then you are able to get fender off and you can deal with a suitable replacement. 
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: gPink on January 24, 2018, 06:50:50 am
I cut mine off (easy boys) and left them off. Hoses don't flop around. If you're anal and have to have them you can always buy a bag of spares.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: fartymarty on January 24, 2018, 10:41:53 am
I broke off my hose retaining clips as well. I just got mad at them and yanked 'em off. IIRC the "best" way to remove them is to (remove the wheel?), then place a socket (5mm???) over the nubs that stick through while pulling from the outside. The "better" way (my way  :) ) is to just break them off and then drill another hole about 1/4 inch lower than the clip hole and run a cable tie through both holes and cinch it down and trim. Now you'll have a vertical band that you can easily slip a new cable tie through and around the hose (not cinched down tight) when ever you need to remove the fender.  gPink's way might just be good enough, but I have two sets of wires going down each side that need to be secured as well so I like having an attach point there.

Yeah, my right seal is leaking too now at 75+k. Are seals considered wear items like brake pads?...or are they covered under warranty?
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: Justcliff on January 24, 2018, 01:27:45 pm

Yeah, my right seal is leaking too now at 75+k. Are seals considered wear items like brake pads?...or are they covered under warranty?

I've always considered them a wear item. Although I know someone in Miami that had them replaced under warranty around the 100K mark.

So it's anybody's guess.

Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on January 24, 2018, 02:59:37 pm
Thanks for the replies.  I am glad I am not the ONLY one who has had issues trying to remove those damn clips!  I am the type of person who would really want to not damage them/remove them and replace them with just ties.  The Sealmate is in my hand now (wow it is thin/flimsy), I am not sure I can use it with the fender in the way, but I think I will try and post back....

As for the seals, I am going to guess they might consider that a wear item, but like others have said, who knows?  I figure it is certainly worth trying a $7 tool and 30 minutes to see if I can fix it myself.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on January 24, 2018, 04:07:25 pm
Thanks for the replies.  I am glad I am not the ONLY one who has had issues trying to remove those damn clips!  I am the type of person who would really want to not damage them/remove them and replace them with just ties.  The Sealmate is in my hand now (wow it is thin/flimsy), I am not sure I can use it with the fender in the way, but I think I will try and post back....

That didn't take long.  I was able to do the procedure with just removing the fender bolts and leaving it attached to the brake lines.  I could then push it enough out of the way.  The tool is really flimsy and thin (maybe 1/3 tthe thickness of a credit card) and easily damaged.  Cleaned forks again, moved dust covers down using a small flat screwdriver.  Cleaned above where they were, used the tool twice on each seal.  First attempt nearly ruined the tool- it is too fragile to try and push up the hooked end so tried again with the larger body of the tool and then rocked it to feed the hook into the seal.  Spun it around twice and pulled out and cleaned then repeated then did other side.

It is fun to watch people actually compress the forks using their body on the videos (usually small bikes).  That ain't happening with my 150lbs and the Concours, so I had to bolt the fenders back on and ride it, slamming on the brakes repeatedly to compress the suspension.  After several I stopped and checked and there was still fluid.  Cleaned that off and did it again another 15 times or so and it doesn't seem to be leaking any more!  Used tool to clean dust covers, cleaned forks, then pushed the seals back and finished up. 

I won't know if this really worked until a real ride this weekend, but so far, it seems like it might be the real deal.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: Poseidon on January 24, 2018, 04:25:25 pm
I broke off my hose retaining clips as well. I just got mad at them and yanked 'em off. IIRC the "best" way to remove them is to (remove the wheel?), then place a socket (5mm???) over the nubs that stick through while pulling from the outside. The "better" way (my way  :) ) is to just break them off and then drill another hole about 1/4 inch lower than the clip hole and run a cable tie through both holes and cinch it down and trim. Now you'll have a vertical band that you can easily slip a new cable tie through and around the hose (not cinched down tight) when ever you need to remove the fender.  gPink's way might just be good enough, but I have two sets of wires going down each side that need to be secured as well so I like having an attach point there.

Yeah, my right seal is leaking too now at 75+k. Are seals considered wear items like brake pads?...or are they covered under warranty?

Being new to the Concours, I have no experience with this issue. Just looking at the clips on mine, it looks like a zip tie push pin anchor would work if someone doesn't want to drill holes in their fender. the ones pictured below would allow you to clip and replace the zip tie without removing the anchor

(https://www.waytekwire.com/images/items/21371FL.gif)
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on January 24, 2018, 05:26:42 pm
Being new to the Concours, I have no experience with this issue. Just looking at the clips on mine, it looks like a zip tie push pin anchor would work if someone doesn't want to drill holes in their fender. the ones pictured below would allow you to clip and replace the zip tie without removing the anchor

Those are neat
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on January 27, 2018, 09:00:12 pm
I won't know if this really worked until a real ride this weekend, but so far, it seems like it might be the real deal.

It is the real deal!!  $7 plastic strip, 30 min of fiddling, and all fixed!  I would say that is a total success.  Highly recommend.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: kzz1king on January 28, 2018, 06:25:26 am
Maybe you run out of oil?  ;D
Wayne
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: gPink on January 28, 2018, 06:41:44 am
 :)
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: VirginiaJim on January 28, 2018, 09:01:14 am
 :rotflmao: exactly..
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on January 28, 2018, 09:05:31 am
Hardy, har, har...

I really don't know how much oil was lost.  I can't tell any difference with the handling.  I am guessing I lost maybe 2 to 4cc.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: VirginiaJim on January 28, 2018, 11:39:21 am
You've got a 2011 and it's now 2018.  You probably need to get the fluid changed and new seals.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on February 23, 2020, 02:06:43 pm
Ug.  Left fork leaking on 01-12-2020.  Followed same procedure as 01-20-2018 with the cleaning, then the plastic tool.  Tested and it seemed OK.  Then 02-16-2020, leaking again.  Cleaned it again.  And today it is leaking AGAIN.  Ug.  Going out now to clean it yet again.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: Rubber_Snake on February 23, 2020, 04:22:05 pm
Ug.  Left fork leaking on 01-12-2020.  Followed same procedure as 01-20-2018 with the cleaning, then the plastic tool.  Tested and it seemed OK.  Then 02-16-2020, leaking again.  Cleaned it again.  And today it is leaking AGAIN.  Ug.  Going out now to clean it yet again.
Might be time to polish the tubes and replace the seals.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: MAN OF BLUES on February 23, 2020, 07:00:40 pm
well, if there are no visible nicks.. polishing anything is not really gonna do anything but waste time..  just mentioning that... cleaning seals, using solvents and "seal friendly pokey scrapers" may help.. but I'm still on my OEM's from '07 issue, never dicked with them ever.. , always reconsider every time I think "I SHOULD" replace fork oil.. hell.   I guess I'm just lucky
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: Rubber_Snake on February 23, 2020, 09:49:46 pm
well, if there are no visible nicks.. polishing anything is not really gonna do anything but waste time..  just mentioning that... cleaning seals, using solvents and "seal friendly pokey scrapers" may help.. but I'm still on my OEM's from '07 issue, never dicked with them ever.. , always reconsider every time I think "I SHOULD" replace fork oil.. hell.   I guess I'm just lucky
Agreed.  My experience from traveling to Alaska last year on the dirty, muddy, sloshy roads did my tubes in.  They were scratched up and needed attention.  My right seal had been seeping before the trip and I used the sealmate to remove dirt.  They seemed to work for a while, but ultimately they gave out during the trip.  I suspect that if you’re constantly having to use the sealmate to clean your seals, and they begin leaking again and again, the seals are done and/or the tubes need a good polish. 
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on February 24, 2020, 05:48:33 am
The forks are very smooth, with the exception of a little rough spot on both of them, in the front at the very bottom.  That area that is impossible to see, and really difficult to get to.  I tried using bug/tar remover, brake cleaner, and several other chemicals and nothing removes it.  So perhaps it is damage in the metal?  My friend has one of those "cameras on a snake", maybe I can borrow it so I can see it.  I have never taken the fender all the way off, just move it around for access, which is not enough to see.  I think the right brake hose clamp is an issue the one time I thought about removing it completely.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: TireguyfromMA on February 24, 2020, 09:17:11 pm
The SealMates are pretty good but if you want a really trick tool for cleaning dirt out of your oil seals you should try the Seal Doctor from Risk Racing.  I've fixed fork seal leaks on three bikes with these now...love em.  I think they are easier to use than the SealMate and do a better job.

https://riskracing.com/pages/seal-doctor
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: VirginiaJim on February 25, 2020, 03:21:52 am
I would think that cleaning out the seals, if they are leaking from debris, should be done as soon as possible in case the debris damages the seal permanently.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on February 25, 2020, 05:55:25 am
The SealMates are pretty good but if you want a really trick tool for cleaning dirt out of your oil seals you should try the Seal Doctor from Risk Racing.  I've fixed fork seal leaks on three bikes with these now...love em.  I think they are easier to use than the SealMate and do a better job.

https://riskracing.com/pages/seal-doctor

That does look like a much better design that is easier to use.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on February 25, 2020, 06:01:17 am
I would think that cleaning out the seals, if they are leaking from debris, should be done as soon as possible in case the debris damages the seal permanently.

Agreed.  It seems it is important to inspect and clean the fork tubes regularly, too.  Something I suspect most of us don't do.  I learned my lesson, and I hope my seals aren't permanently damaged.  I wish it were easier- it is very difficult to get to the inside and front of the tube, especially the lower sections.  I have been working on my technique now.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: MAN OF BLUES on February 25, 2020, 02:27:26 pm
That does look like a much better design that is easier to use.

$25.....?????????

30 seconds with a pair of sharp scissors, and a discarded 2 liter pop bottle, and I can make a dozen... and have a drink while doing so...    :rotflmao: :chugbeer: :chugbeer:
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: Rubber_Snake on February 25, 2020, 04:50:08 pm
$25.....?????????

30 seconds with a pair of sharp scissors, and a discarded 2 liter pop bottle, and I can make a dozen... and have a drink while doing so...    :rotflmao: :chugbeer: :chugbeer:
$15 on eBay or $9 if you want to wait for China shipping.  Much easier to use as getting around the fender is a pain, but doable.  Seal Mates are $6-8 on eBay.  But you certainly can make your own with a 2 liter bottle, pretty easily.  I wouldn’t spend $25 but would consider $15.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: accbiker on February 27, 2020, 11:52:14 am
how many miles?  The selamate did wonders until the 110k mark when I replaced the oil and seals.

-David
Dunwoody, GA
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on February 27, 2020, 03:29:53 pm
how many miles?

If you are asking me, first incident was 32K miles.  Last was 44K miles.
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: VirginiaJim on February 27, 2020, 05:34:15 pm
You need to ride it more, Max!
Title: Re: Fork leak?
Post by: maxtog on February 27, 2020, 08:32:00 pm
You need to ride it more, Max!

Depending on weather (no rain) I ride year-round, about twice a week.
My 200937 G just hit 30K; so the bike gets a lot more miles :)