Craig Rowe (ibleedorange) from Endurowe Tech Suspension and chassis will be writing a regular feature for Perth Trail Scene members focusing on mechanical tricks and tips that will help make keeping your bike in good shape a simple task. Here is the first in the series that will focus on seal maintenance. Over to you iBleed!
Now that winter is finally kicking in and the riding season has begun, I thought we would begin by covering the topic of seals and keeping them clean. The basic theory applies to any seal, but most commonly fork and wheel seals.
Begin by removing or sliding the slider up. Next very carefully pry the dust seal down and spray CRC or similar up into the fork seal and down into the dust seal. The aim is to flush as much dirt out as possible. Sliding the dust seal up and down while wiping away the dirt and compressing the forks slightly is the easiest way to do this. You can see how much I simply scraped out of the dust seal here.
Not only will your fork seals last much longer, but the suspension action will be much smoother as the lubricant will reduce stiction on the dust seal. You’d be surprised how much a dry dust seal ‘grabs’ the chrome.
Begin by using a soft ‘drift’ to knock the spacer out from the opposite side. Give the spacer a good clean and the seal that is in the hub. Now is also a good time to check wheel bearings. Turn them with your finger and feel for any looseness or rough feeling as they turn. Replace them if need be. Collapsed wheel bearings can not only ruin a ride but potentially destroy the hub and leave you stranded. Also check the spacer for excessive grooves. It’s amazing how a rubber seal will destroy metal! Smear some good waterproof grease into the seal and tap the spacer back in.
As with fork seals, the more often you clean the seals the longer the spacers and bearings will last. It’s also more Important to do both of these simple jobs after a wet, muddy ride. It’s surprising where water can get into and it’s the dry mud at the bottom of the fork leg that makes its way into the seal causing a leak.