Honda VT500ft Ascot Fork Seals
How to

The fork seals on my '84 Ascot had been leaking for quite a while, but I hadn't done a seal job before I did my GoldWing last month.  I found out it was pretty easy and decided to make it happen to my Ascot, too.  Read your manual about how to do the job, this page has my hints and observations which I hope will make you more comfortable starting the job.

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.

OK, let's get the show on the road.  Air out of the forks, drain them now if you want.  Pull the fork brace and brake caliper now.

<>Levitate the front end.  Pull the wheel and fender. Loosen the allen bolts that hold the fork tubes into the triple clamp and slide them out.  Either do one at a time or both.
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.

Here's what the fork tube and seal kits look like on the floor.  Everybody says to use Honda OEM fork seals.  They're a little over $20 a tube.  Polish up the fork tube with some fine steel wool since you're going to be pulling seals over it.

Disassembly.  There's a large snap ring under the dust cover that holds the seal in.  This has to be removed. You need a medium to large size snap ring plier and I found a nice pair at Harbor Freight for under $10, but it took a bunch of grinding on the pins to make the tool fit.  I understand that Honda sells a special tool at a reasonable price.  Next you remove the large allen screw in the bottom of the forks.  I've read some about the inner tube turning instead of the screw unscrewing, but I haven't experienced it.  If you haven't drained the forks already, the oil will drain quickly through the bottom hole.  Then you "thump" the forks apart, pulling the fork tube out of the slider.  It pulls the seal and bushings with it.  It would be easy to replace the bushings as well as the seals now if you want.

You need to push the new seal (and the bottom support that comes out with the old seal) into the fork sliders now.  Put the seal and support ring on the fork tube, assemble it and get ready to push the seal back into place.  I found that a piece of 1.5" PVC tube works great as a slide hammer, and does the job without worrying about scratching or denting anything.  Put the snap ring back in and the dust seal on.

Here's a quick way to fill the forks.  Before you install the bottom allen screw, extend the fork (it's hanging from the rack here) and fill it upside down through the bottom hole.  If you leave the drain screw out the oil goes in quick and easy.  Honda says 10wt fork oil or Dextron (which is about 10wt), most shops seem to suggest 15 or even 20wt fork oil.  Then you just screw everything back together again!

If you waited too long (like me) the next thing you'll probably have to do is replace the oil soaked pads on the front wheel.

Total time to do the job was just about three hours, and that included grinding on the snap ring pliers to make them fit.  Now all you have to do is check it out, air the forks, and take it for a ride.  Let me know anything I can add to the page.

Happy Trails,
chuck@kichline.com