Fork rebuild question

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Apr 15, 2004
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I just have a simple question today - I need some advice on how to get the seal retainers loose. I bought a set of fork legs off ebay for my disk brake conversion project and need to rebuild the forks. These rings do NOT want to come loose though.

fork seal retainers

Hi Debbie,

The seal retainers have right handed threads, turn counter clockwise to remove them. If they're stuck soak the threads in penetrating oil and let them sit for a day. If that doesn't work try heating up the from legs with a propane torch. After you get the retainers off push the fork tubes to the bottom, then pull up quickly. This will drive the upper fork bushes out along with the fork seals.
Debby, If your doing this without help. You need a rawhide mallet. I named mine "Rap Smartly" . Get a good fit with a pipe wrench, apply a light pressure with a short grip leaving the end of the handle exposed for mallet blows. Then rap smartly with a rawhide mallet. It's a good time to score some Leak Proof Brand seals. norbsa
Leak proof

If you don't mind the looks of the old "accordian" boots vs. the more modern wiper boots, you don't need the Leak Proof seals. I've been running the same set of standard seals for years with no leaks at all by using the boots, which keep crud off the fork legs. Before this I was constantly replacing seals. It also keeps the chrome on your fork legs in nice shape by not letting dirt and water be converted into a grinding paste. End of commercial.
Thanks guys. Sounds like it's time for another trip to the HW store.

I'll definitely be installing the gaiters/accordian boots/whatever they're supposed to be called. Sounds like the way to go, and I think they look nice anyway. Gives the bike a nice classic look.


I have always found it best to clamp the seal holder (steel) in a vise. I usually wrap the seal holder with a piece of emery tape for extra grip. Then using the front axle as a tommy bar, turn the lower leg to unscrew the seal holder. This is a tip I got from Brian Slark years ago.
I don't like using a pipe wrench as these will leave score marks on the seal holder. Strap wrenches usually wont hold tight enough.
I haven't tried the chain vise grip. Sounds pretty good.

Ron L
Just a little update. I used a vise grip chain wrench to get the things apart and it worked great! My local Ace HW wanted $36 for a new one so I bought a used one off ebay instead.

At the moment I don't have access to a workbench with a vise so that technique wasn't available to me. Sounds good though.

But next month I'm moving out of the apartments and into a cute little house. And it has a big garage with shop space so no more working out of the storage unit - YAY!!! That will make everything so much easier. :D

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