January 18, 2022 5 min read

If you’re new to dirt bikes, you’ll find out eventually how wear and tear disrupt your riding days. Maintaining your bike and getting it back on the track as fast as you can, will probably become a top priority when you love riding as much as we do at Risk Racing. There will be a few tips you pick up and learn to fix on your own as you ride your bike more often. 

Fix a leaking fork seal on your dirt bike with Risk Racing’s Seal Doctor. With just 5 easy steps you can have your leaking seal fixed in minutes. The Seal Doctor prevents and cures leaky seals that are typically caused by dirt and debris so you can get back on the track as soon as possible. 

Before fixing your leaking seal, you’ll need to know how to spot it when it happens to your bike. Your bike is going to go through numerous mechanical issues in its lifetime if you’re riding fairly often. It’s just the nature of dirt bike riding. The least you can do is learn how to fix a few bits and pieces here and there and a leaking seal is an easy one to add to the list if you read on below. 

 

How to fix fork seals

 

What Causes Dirt Bike Fork Seals to Leak?

The main reason a fork seal leaks is due to debris getting under the seal. Although there is a dust seal in place to prevent this from happening, it might not always do the trick. 

There are, however, a few other reasons as to why your fork seal might be leaking. 

  • Torn dust seal
  • Damaged 
  • Nick in the fork tube
  • General wear and tear

It’s important to check your seal and inspect for further wear and tear issues before getting back on the bike. 

Hopefully, the cause is just from debris getting into where it wasn’t invited, and you’ll only be off the track for a few minutes while you fix the issue. That is if you have theSeal Doctor of course.

How do you Clean Under Fork Seals?

Fortunately, at Risk Racing, we’ve come up with a solution to fix your leaking fork seal if it is in fact caused by debris getting under the seal. 

Here’s how theSeal Doctor works in 5 simple steps:

Lower the dust seal down and out of the way. 

You can usually just use a flat head screwdriver to get this lowering started. Be careful not to nick the fork tube!

Snap the Seal Doctor onto the fork tube. 

It really is as easy as snapping it on and in place under the seal. 

Twist the Seal Doctor gadget up and under the seal

While twisting the Seal Doctor into place, the design of the Seal Doctor maintains its grip and correct angle on the fork tube to get under the seal effortlessly. No elbow grease is needed. 

Rotate until the Seal Doctor pulls out the debris caught under the seal. 

The hooked end of the Seal Doctor tool removes the debris from under the fork which should solve your issue, if that in truth, was your issue to begin with. 

Clean and put the dust seal back on.

Once the Seal Doctor has pulled the debris out from under the fork seal, remember to clean any leakages off your bike with a cloth and put the dust seal back into place. 

Risk Racing has also provided a protective holder for your Seal Doctor so that you can store it safely in your toolbox and add it to your “that will come in handy” dirt bike mechanic must-haves. If you want to fix a leaking fork seal and get back on the track quickly, you should consider keeping this tool around. 

Check out this YouTube video for a demonstration on how to use Risk Racings Seal Doctor:

 

How Does a Leaking Fork Seal Affect Your Bike?

If you have a leaking fork seal, you should not ride your bike. We can’t stress the danger of this enough. The oil from your forks can leak out onto your front brake, this causes your front brake to lose it's stopping power. Furthermore leaking fork seals means your forks no longer have the appropriate oil level inside the fork which can cause your fork components to not have appropriate lubrication and cause internal damage. 

It’s important to know how a leaking fork seal will affect your bike and your ability to get back on the track. 

Leaking fork seals, if gone unchecked and unfixed can cause the following issues:

  • Affects suspension tuning
  • Soaks front brake pads 
  • Poor shock absorption 

All these issues make for unsafe riding conditions, and you should not ride your dirt bike if you suspect or find that your fork seal is leaking. It’s extremely dangerous and should be fixed immediately or at least before you get back on the track. 

How Do You Check if Your Dirt Bikes Fork Seals are Leaking?

There will be a few tell-tale signs that will determine if your fork seals are leaking. The first and most obvious, is oil dripping down the fork leg of the dirt bike. If you see oil dripping down, inspect for the cause straight away and remember to clean the oil off before you do anything else. 

Here are a few other signs to look out for:

Uncontrollable suspension

If your suspension feels bouncy and uncontrollable, this is another sign that your fork seal might be leaking. 

You can check this (if you haven’t already felt it on the track) by getting on your bike while it’s stationary, hold the brakes in, and give it a few bounces. The suspension might be loose, and the forks could be “springy”. This is a sign you have bad or leaking fork seals. 

Run a cloth up the fork leg to check for oil

Sometimes we can’t see oil on the front suspension or fork leg if it’s dirty. Use an old cloth or your fingers, wipe the lower part of the forks to check for oil. 

I’d recommend doing this regularly as a routine maintenance check. It’s hard to tell if there are any oil leakages when there’s already so much debris and dirt built up on the bike from regular use. 

Oil under your bike

Noticed a puddle of oil under your bike recently but not sure what’s caused it? Try the Seal Doctor to check and clear out any debris from under the fork seal. Hopefully, that’s what’s caused the oil leak but typically if there’s a large pile under your bike, you might there’s another issue completely, like a nick in the fork tube. 

When Should You Replace Your Fork Seals?

If Seal Doctor doesn’t do the trick, it might be time to replace your fork seals. Yes, this means you can’t get back on the track straight away, but it’s for your safety and the safety of others. 

Fork Seals typically last around 2 years, depending on how often they’re being ridden. The more you ride, the more wear and tear damages your bike will sustain. 

Complete routine maintenance and check-ups often to avoid costly fixes and unfortunately timed mechanical problems. 

If your fork seals have had a fair amount of leakage, you might want to check your oil levels and get them topped up once the fork seal has been fixed or cleaned. 

Conclusion

In the case of fork seals leaking, the main issue is generally caused by debris getting under the dust seal. This is an easy fix with Risk Racing’s Seal Doctor tool if you have it on hand. While using the Seal Doctor, you might find more oil slowly leaks out of the fork seal. Once the dirt has been removed it should clear up the issue immediately. We still recommend checking for other causes to establish if there are any other concerns.  Check out Risk Racings fork seal leak cure here, the Seal Doctor.


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