Installing Fork Seals in the 1980-1982 GoldWing

My 1982 GoldWing Standard was leaking from the fork seals.  Actually, it was leaking so badly that it had lubed the front brake pads so well that the bike wouldn't pass inspection!  I'd intended to fix the problem, but was put off by the Honda shop manual which shows using a hydraulic press to remove the seals. Then I read the Clymer's manual, and it that said that a hydraulic press and special Honda tools were required to disassemble the forks and to leave the job to your shop.  Finally, I couldn't ignore the problem any more.
What I found is that the forks are NO DIFFERENT than any other forks, and if anything are easier to work on than many.

I pulled the fork tubes, but have been told that YOU DON'T have to!  Just drop the sliders out with the tubes still on the bike.  Have not done it myself.


Levitating the GoldWing (actually, it's on the center stand)


I pulled the fork tubes, but have found that YOU DON'T have to!  Just drop the sliders out with the tubes still on the bike.  At the very least, you could save yourself some money by taking the tubes to the shop.  This is where I studied the manuals and began to think I was in trouble.  I don't have a floor standing  hydraulic press, and didn't want to have to build a copy of the official Honda seal driver.  I polled the web, and was told that the manual instructions were bunk, so I drained the forks and decided to have a go at it.  I polished up the upper tubes with 0000 steel wool to make certain that things would slide off.


My local independent shop suggests using only Honda seals.  They even stock them for sale and their own work.  The seals were just over $21 a leg.


Disassembly of the forks requires removing the seal retaining circlip.  I broke my little circlip pliers trying to remove the clip.  Luckily, we have a Harbor Freight Tools outlet here in Austin, and they had a pair of LARGE circlip pliers for $9.99.  The pins on the pliers were actually just a little too large, but since they were nice, soft, cheap steel it was easy to grind and file them to size.
Take out the circlip and the steel ring just under it.
Then you have to remove the socket headed (allen head) screw at the bottom of the forks.  Make certain you don't lose the small copper washer that's under it.  The manuals worried about the inner tube spinning with the screw, but I didn't experience it.


All you have to do to remove the seals (and upper bushing) from the bottom leg is thump the tube and leg apart a couple of times.  The upper bushing comes out with the tube, and has the seal and lower seal retainer with it.
I noticed that it should be easy to replace the two slider bushings at this time.  I'll probably do that next time.
So it's apart.  Clean everything again.  Put the tube back into the leg and put the lower seal retainer and then the seal in place on the tube.  Reminder, the text on the seal faces out.  The upper bushing is a split bushing, so it turns out it slides back in with little force.  BUT I DIDN'T HAVE THE SPECIAL HONDA SEAL DRIVER!


But I did have a 3' length of 1-1/2" PVC tube.  It worked as a wonderful slide-hammer, and I didn't have to worry about scratching anything with metal.  About three thumps and the seal and bushing were home.


Looks like this.  Next just drop in the upper seal retaining ring and circlip, put locktite on the bottom socket screw and install it, put oil in the forks, and put the bike back together!  My shop suggested 15 weight fork oil with standard springs - ATF (as the manuals recommend) is closer to 10 weight.


Bike's back together and on the ground  - except the brake calipers are up on the crash bars.  I'd oiled the brake pads too well to reuse.


Ready to go with new brake pads.

That's all I know.  If there's something that should be added, tell me:  chuck@kichline.com

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