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Old 12-13-2012, 11:07 AM   #1
ghetto waggon
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Minor wreck...fork leak???

After years of racing sport bikes without incident, I embarassingly rear ended a civic on a commute home one evening. Sold my S100RR knowing that I'd end up wrecking if I kept riding the way I was, and now with the v-rod (hands and feet spread out and a less hyper engine), I find myself spacing out fairly routinely on this bike!

Anyhow, heading home after dark, eyes off the road / watching the sun set and the gal in front of me came to a complete stop to abruptly change lanes. Fortunately a slow (~15mph) collision, impaled the civic rear bumper, but shockingly very little, if any damage to the bike.

I've looked it over myself and also had it spec'ed by both an HD dealer and indy- both say zero damage to the bike (other than a gash to the front tire).

I personally noticed several things- headlight was misaligned, tolerances were off, etc. The one thing I find most concerning is that the fork rebound has been slightly affected. Overall damping is much softer and there's about an inch of play than I can affect by sitting down and putting some weight towards the front of the bike. In looking back at photo record from that evening, I noticed a trace of fluids on the front wheel.



Both tech's say it's totally fine, not to worry. They felt that there couldn't be a fork leak/damaged seal/etc., that had it ruptured, it would completely drain & amass a pool of fluid, and "you would surely know it".

So, I've searched around here a bit and notice that fork leaks seem to be somewhat common? I've yet to dig in & buy the service manual, but that's my next step. There's just over 2K on the clock, so it's barely broken in.

Could I have a minor fork leak? Might replacing the seals and replenishing the oil be a good idea?

Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:31 AM   #2
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The seal is of course at the end of the upper leg where the lower leg goes in. If leaking you should notice drippage down the lower leg. It wouldn't be on the tire where you're seeing it. Check the fluid to see what type it is.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:44 AM   #3
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Can't check the fluid. ^^ iPhone photo taken from the side of the road. Never noticed the fluid in the dark.

No damage to any of the lines. No fluids to come from the bumper area of the civic.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:44 PM   #4
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It's jest a bit of wee.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rc4man View Post
The seal is of course at the end of the upper leg where the lower leg goes in. If leaking you should notice drippage down the lower leg. It wouldn't be on the tire where you're seeing it. Check the fluid to see what type it is.
Was the bike moved, so that the drip is now on the top? I have seen oil in the same area, when my fork was leaking. My Drips were near the bottom of the tire, after sitting all night.
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by HoneyB View Post
Was the bike moved, so that the drip is now on the top? I have seen oil in the same area, when my fork was leaking. My Drips were near the bottom of the tire, after sitting all night.
Excellent point -- looking at the pattern of the fluid, the bike was moved after the drip.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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Yep- had to move the bike before taking the picture, so the drip very well could be upside down.
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:35 AM   #8
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Whatever it is it won't be picked up on the tread unless it rolls over it. The forks will not leak directly on the tread from any angle. The only way to get fork oil on the tread is for the tire to roll over a puddle or for the fork to leak on the sidewall and roll around of which there is no evidence in that photo.
The place to look for fork leaks is around the seals and down along the lower fork tubes.
From the photo shown it could just as well be water, anti-freeze or Coca Cola.
He has a photo but took the bike to the dealer without verifying what the fluid was so the photo is worthless for attempting to figure out what it is or where it came from.
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Old 12-17-2012, 01:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rc4man View Post
Whatever it is it won't be picked up on the tread unless it rolls over it. The forks will not leak directly on the tread from any angle.
Mine did. It dripped onto the wheel, than ran down the tire!
It was leaking from the right tube, which would be high side when on the kickstand.
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Old 12-17-2012, 01:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyB View Post
Mine did. It dripped onto the wheel, than ran down the tire!
It was leaking from the right tube, which would be high side when on the kickstand.
same here but only when parked longer time. and the caliper backside was (is) oily. bike lowers first piece pretty easy. oil keeps leaking untill level reaches seal level. just dont know about the F upsidedown fork. suspect it will leak the bit that is inbetween the outher and inner tube and higher than the top of the innertube.
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:03 PM   #11
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Mine did. It dripped onto the wheel, than ran down the tire!It was leaking from the right tube, which would be high side when on the kickstand.
My point exactly, It dripped onto the wheel then ran down to the tire, but did not, nor could not drip directly to the tread.

If you want to look for fork leaks look at the forks.
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rc4man View Post
My point exactly, It dripped onto the wheel then ran down to the tire, but did not, nor could not drip directly to the tread.

If you want to look for fork leaks look at the forks.
The edge of the tire sticks out farther than the wheel. So it is possible to hit the tire, and not the wheel.
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:11 PM   #13
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Then the evidence would be plainly more obvious on the other side, which would be easier to view than squatting down to take shots from the low side. As shown there the fluid could be anything. If he showed fluid that had dripped onto the wheel or tire on the highside it would be obvious and without question. As is it means nothing.
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:21 PM   #14
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I didn't notice that it was the low side...
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:44 PM   #15
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Sorry for the confusion! I've never worked on bikes, I just ride them, so you'll have to excuse my ignorance.

Instead of diagnosing the type of fluid the photo alone, I guess I am asking- is it possible for a minor leak to occur from extreme fork compression? I would equate the impact to be the same as hitting a large pothole.

In regards to the photo- the fluid looks a little more viscous than water (and it was dry outside), which is why I thought to post it. From looking at the photo, that small bit of rash on the wheel (2 o'clock) would be where it penetrated the rear bumper, leaving the fluid spot at about 6 o'clock, at the bottom of the forks. Again, I looked it over at the time, but missed this due to it being dark and this patch of fluid tucked under the front fender.

What would one expect to pay to have the seals and fluid replaced? DIY?

Thanks!
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