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Thread: Fork seal leaking while Capo has been stored

  1. #1
    apriliaforum Member Swaff's Avatar
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    Fork seal leaking while Capo has been stored

    I came across a small oil puddle in my garage and traced it to my left fork --- oil is leaking out the top of the dust seal.

    I pulled the tubes last summer and took them and some All Balls brand seals (not OEM) to Moto International to have them install new seals. I had 14,000 miles on the previous set of OEM seals.

    I then went on a ~2000 mile trip in July 2017. Sadly, after that trip I have not done *any* riding including no riding this past summer. My Capo had been on its center stand with a trickle charger and a full tank of treated fuel. I took it out of the garage once this summer to change the coolant and the oil but still have not ridden it.

    Questions I ponder:

    1.) Are the All Balls brand of fork seals garbage and would one of them really fail after only 2000 miles of use?
    2.) Did some tech at Moto International botch the installation? (they have had some newer techs working there in the last couple of years)
    3.) Is there a particle or fragment of dirt or grit between the seal and the tube causing it to leak during storage?

    I have researched #3 and people have reported that they have had leaking fork seals while bikes have been in storage (not Aprilia specifically). There is a remedy that involves using camera film and you slip it between the seal and the tube to dislodge any particles. Some others have said take it for a ride so the forks get pumped and may dislodge any particles and leaking may subsequently stop afterwards. ...and then there are those opinions that simply say "if it's leaking, it's bad and needs to be replaced".


    Thoughts? Opinions?
    Last edited by Swaff; 08-28-2018 at 11:17 PM.
    -Swaff
    Seattle, WA
    2007 Caponord

  2. #2
    apriliaforum Member
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    I've had a similar thing, you can buy something called a 'seal saver' or make your ow. I did have one but I lost it, so made one out of an old milk bottle.

    I expect camera film would do as well.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    apriliaforum Member Swaff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by finnerz89 View Post
    I've had a similar thing, you can buy something called a 'seal saver' or make your ow. I did have one but I lost it, so made one out of an old milk bottle.

    I expect camera film would do as well.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
    Thanks finnerz89. I just purchased a Motion Pro seal cleaner tool from Amazon Prime for $7 that I will receive in a couple of days so I will try that. Hopefully that's all it is and I can potentially at least enjoy a couple of rides before Fall/Winter is upon me.
    -Swaff
    Seattle, WA
    2007 Caponord

  4. #4
    apriliaforum expert AndyB's Avatar
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    As reported in many motorcycle documents, its important to keep your fork tubes clean.
    That's why Aprilia have fitted a protector at the top of each lower fork body.
    Although its there to reduce surface damage from the impacts of stones and the like, it will therefore help to prevent any subsequent corrosion as well.
    But it has another purpose: the bodies of dead insects dry on the tube to become very hard, and its these hard lumps which can cause damage to the fork seals.

    A clean tube will keep your seals healthy.

  5. #5
    apriliaforum Member Swaff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB View Post
    As reported in many motorcycle documents, its important to keep your fork tubes clean.
    That's why Aprilia have fitted a protector at the top of each lower fork body.
    Although its there to reduce surface damage from the impacts of stones and the like, it will therefore help to prevent any subsequent corrosion as well.
    But it has another purpose: the bodies of dead insects dry on the tube to become very hard, and its these hard lumps which can cause damage to the fork seals.

    A clean tube will keep your seals healthy.
    Thanks for the tips AndyB. I keep a pretty clean bike and always clean the tubes after any extensive riding and I am pretty thorough in removing any dead insects or any other grime. I guess I will be even more meticulous about it in the future.
    -Swaff
    Seattle, WA
    2007 Caponord

  6. #6
    apriliaforum prov-nov
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    Hi Swaff, I had a set of All Balls fork seals installed on my old Mille a few years back, and they started to weep within a month. I’m fairly certain that they were installed correctly, as the job was done by a factory certified tech. I’m definitely inclined to use the OEM seals when it comes time to replace them on the Capo. I’ve also used the Motion Pro seal tool with varying degrees of success. I keep one in the tank bag just in case. Good luck!
    07 Caponord
    01 Mille -sold

  7. #7
    apriliaforum Member Swaff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobe View Post
    Hi Swaff, I had a set of All Balls fork seals installed on my old Mille a few years back, and they started to weep within a month. Iím fairly certain that they were installed correctly, as the job was done by a factory certified tech. Iím definitely inclined to use the OEM seals when it comes time to replace them on the Capo. Iíve also used the Motion Pro seal tool with varying degrees of success. I keep one in the tank bag just in case. Good luck!
    Much appreciated Tobe. I am definitely not ruling that out either. If it turns out to be case that the seal is already failing I will go back to the OEM ones for sure and go through the same installation hassle likely next spring.
    -Swaff
    Seattle, WA
    2007 Caponord

  8. #8
    apriliaforum Member Swaff's Avatar
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    Update: Removed the dust seal on the suspect fork --- the amount of oil sitting between the oil seal and the dust seal was not insignificant. It is indicative that this is much more than a weep --- it is failure.

    Lesson learned: DO NOT USE "ALL BALLS" BRAND FORK SEALS --- stick to OEM seals exclusively.
    Last edited by Swaff; 09-04-2018 at 06:16 PM.
    -Swaff
    Seattle, WA
    2007 Caponord

  9. #9
    apriliaforum expert spaz_666's Avatar
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    I just came to the same conclusion. I've rebuilt a dozen or so forks at home - on my own bikes and those belonging to friends and family - and always used OEM seals with flawless results. Recently, I've been doing some work for a local shop that insists on going the cheap route and using aftermarket parts whenever possible in order to cut costs. This frequently incurs lost time in making modifications to get the aftermarket parts to fit or even having to redo a job entirely when the aftermarket or "universal fit" parts fail or simply can't be made to work.

    They just had me rebuild a set of forks on a used bike heading for the sales floor using an All Balls seal kit - and I was NOT impressed. The seals just didn't feel right, and even with a light coating of grease and using my own Motion Pro seal driver (yeah - I gotta being my own tools), I had a hell of a time getting the All Balls seals fitted. I have very little confidence that these seals are gonna last. But hey, they just have to hold up long enough for them to sell the bike to the next sucker.

    Shameful.

  10. #10
    apriliaforum Member Swaff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaz_666 View Post
    I just came to the same conclusion. I've rebuilt a dozen or so forks at home - on my own bikes and those belonging to friends and family - and always used OEM seals with flawless results. Recently, I've been doing some work for a local shop that insists on going the cheap route and using aftermarket parts whenever possible in order to cut costs. This frequently incurs lost time in making modifications to get the aftermarket parts to fit or even having to redo a job entirely when the aftermarket or "universal fit" parts fail or simply can't be made to work.

    They just had me rebuild a set of forks on a used bike heading for the sales floor using an All Balls seal kit - and I was NOT impressed. The seals just didn't feel right, and even with a light coating of grease and using my own Motion Pro seal driver (yeah - I gotta being my own tools), I had a hell of a time getting the All Balls seals fitted. I have very little confidence that these seals are gonna last. But hey, they just have to hold up long enough for them to sell the bike to the next sucker.

    Shameful.
    It's shameful of me to think I would get the same results with parts that were 60-70% less expensive than OEM. If something sounds too good to be true it's because it usually is.
    -Swaff
    Seattle, WA
    2007 Caponord

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