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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

Brought home my first Vulcan the other day. 2007 900 custom with 6500 miles. Rolled it off the trailer (-26 and snow on the ground), into the shop and realized the front forks are leaking. I'm hoping it's because I compressed them when trailering the bike, but Im guessing the seals need to be replaced. Any insight would be great!

Cheers
 

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Welcome - and congratulations on the bike!

Yeah, unfortunately, it can be really easy to damage the fork seals when you compress them while carrying the bike on a trailer. For future reference, try strapping the bike down in a way that's still secure, but doesn't compress the forks. If you DO have to compress the forks, try not to compress them all the way.

As for the fork seals - how bad is the leak, and is it both sides? It's possible that they aren't blown, but that dust/dirt has gotten in there and is preventing a good seal. A trick I've seen, and read on the forum, is to take some thin plastic film (about the consistency of camera film - do you remember that stuff?) and wrap that around the fork leg and clean any dust and dirt from inside of there . . . if that makes any sense. We don't have a Custom in the family anymore, or I'd take a picture and show you. The Ol Man said that it worked for him when he thought he had bad seals.

If they ARE bad, a quick flip through the service manual states that there are some special tools needed to rebuild the fork assembly (like this one) that will cost you a few hundred dollars. So, while maybe others will chime in with some ways to do it without using the proper procedures and tools, that's something that I would probably just leave it up to the shop. It's probably only a couple of hours of labor, and $10.00 in parts.

Good luck!
 

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Maybe that it was just so cold that the seals are stiff and couldn't handle it. I've seen seals leak on hydraulic cylinders do that when it's super cold and work fine when it warms up a few degrees but damn -26 I'd leak too
 

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Your profile does not reveal where you live, but try to find a Race Tech shop, take off the forks and have them go through them. This is your best bet, and you can get different valving and/or springs to match your body weight and riding style. It is not as expensive as you may think. And they are experts so it will be done right, even if you just opt to service the seals. If you don't mind shipping them, which I have done, you can send them to Lindemann Engineering in Southern CA. Best outfit for special suspension work in my opinion. And they can work on anything. So can Race Tech.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies guys. I have cleaned them up and will keep an eye on them. I will also try the film trick this weekend. They were leaking out of both sides, one side a little more than the other. I only noticed from the oil puddle left on the ground after a night. Don't recall any oil on the floor of previous owners garage though. I have to replace the front tire before spring as it has a few aging cracks on it, so if need be ill get the forks done too.
 

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+1 for taking it up to the shop. If you have a good Kawi dealer it shouldn't cost that much to make sure you are ready to ride for spring.
 

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The link below is for one product out there for cleaning the forks but after seeing it, you can probably make something similar yourself.

SEALMATE
 

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I personally have tried the sealmate with no luck on 2 different bikes, cheap enough to try I thought. But ended up doing the fork seals on a shadow, no special tools required, for a seal driver me and a buddy made our own out of 2" PVC pipe cut in half and clamped together around the tube with hose clamps, and used the tube to slam it into place.
 

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Hey guys,

Brought home my first Vulcan the other day. 2007 900 custom with 6500 miles. Rolled it off the trailer (-26 and snow on the ground), into the shop and realized the front forks are leaking. I'm hoping it's because I compressed them when trailering the bike, but Im guessing the seals need to be replaced. Any insight would be great!

Cheers
You don't state where you got the bike, but I'm willing to be that cold temperatures are the culprit. Trailering requires some amount of fork compression, so, it being winter in Saskatchewan, I'm guessing it's cold and between the cold and the trailering with forks compressed has allowed some fork oil to work its way up past the seals.

Try letting the bike warm up completely, then, with the front brake applied, pump the forks up and down and seeing if this leaves any oil on the upper fork legs. Of course, this after carefully cleaning the forks and removing all the previous oil off. Or you may have to wait for a warm spell and take it for a short ride and use the front brake a lot to work the forks. Generally speaking, it's a bit unusual for both fork seals to go out at the same time.
 

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Trailering requires some amount of fork compression . . .
Unless you secure the bike by the frame, or someplace other than the handlebars.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So I cleaned them up. Moved the bike about 20 feeT. Left it for a few days (sitting in heated shop), came back and oil on the ground again. I didn't try the brake and compress yet. Maybe it will seat the seals again.

I'm preparing to replace Them. all shops in my area want $400 just labour to do It. Can't be that hard? any insight would be appreciated.
 
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