Stop taking your fork seals/dust wipers for granted when it comes to maintenance, just because they’re working as they should. You’re doomed for a bad ending if they don’t.
Your seals and dust wipers are your first line of defense from the grime of the trail by keeping the oil in and the dirt out.
So if you consider extreme bike trails for your rides, not exactly the ideal friction-free turf for suspension forks, service your seals/dust wipers regularly to keep them running smoothly for a longer time.
Stiction—starting friction—is the great enemy of a suspension fork, making it feel sticky and unresponsive. To avoid this, it is recommended to spruce up a fork by replacing your seals/dust wipers when you do your oil. Rule of thumb: oil leaking out means dirt getting in. And when dirt gets in, your fork’s life shortens. Here, we show you how to replace them.
The tools and procedure shown below were applied to a 32mm Fox fork model. Remember, each manufacturer has their own recommended service procedure. Check with them, the instruction manual, or your local bike shop for advice. Mind you, forks when damaged are not really cheap to fix, so you might want to be extra cautious when servicing them.
YOU WILL NEED:
- Oil: Fox 10 WT Green
- Kit: Dust wiper, Forx, 32mm, low friction,
- Fox lower leg seal driver tool
- 32 damper-side & spring-side removal tool
- 10mm socket
- 19mm socket
- 2mm Hex wrench
- Shock pump
Remove the blue air cap and cover the air valve with a rag as you release the air pressure. Use a 10mm socket to unthread and remove the air side bottom nut.
Use a 2mm Hex wrench to unthread the set screw in the red rebound knob. Remove the knob and set it aside. Then, use a 10mm socket to remove the damper side bottom nut.
Use the damper removal tools to dislodge the shafts from the lowers. Make sure that you have approximately half of the available threads engaged with your tool before striking with your mallet. Tap and see the crushwasher breaking loose. Remove the damper removal tools along with the crushwasher, then bring the fork upright over an oil basin to drain. After oil stops draining from the lowers, pull them off of the upper tubes and set them aside. Wipe the upper tubes clean. Stretch to fit the new foam rings from the Dust Wiper kit before soaking in a small cup of FOX 10 WT Green bath oil.
Remove the dust wiper and foam ring with a 19mm socket. Repeat the process on the other side. Discard the original foam rings and dust wipers as they are not reusable once removed due to potential distortion.
Thoroughly clean the seal bore and the inside of the lower legs with warm soapy water or Isopropyl alcohol. Install the new foam rings soaked in the oil.
Use a small amount of the oil to coat the outside ribs and exposed metal base of the new dust wiper. Rest the oiled wiper on top of the seal bore as level as possible. Position your lower leg seal driver on the wiper. While holding the driver straight and level, tap it with a mallet until the wiper is flush with the edges of the seal bore.
Remove the travel indicator O-ring from the air side upper tube and replace it with the new one from the kit.
Install the lower leg assembly on the upper tubes. Inject the appropriate amount of the FOX 10 WT Green bath oil into each leg through the bottom hole.
Install a new crushwasher on each side followed by the appropriate bottom nut. Torque bottom nuts to 50in-lb (5.7Nm).
Use a 2mm Hex wrench to install the red rebound knob. Make sure that the set screw lines up with the depression in the rebound adjuster shaft. Clean the fork exterior.
Add air pressure up to standard 75psi. Adjust according to the rider’s weight. Reinstall the blue air cap.