• Welcome to the new ER5-ER6 Forum. Please be sure to read the "Welcome to the new forum" thread in General Spouting. This contains some important information. I hope you enjoy the new site. Steve (The Gremlin) Just so you are aware the new URL for this site is: er5.bikersoracle.com

Fork seal replacement - How-to

Firstly I'd like to say thanks for posting up such a great guide. I haven't even had to touch my Hayne's manual doing this job!

Secondly do you have any ideas as to how to separate the two parts of the fork from each other when they're being stubborn. I've already got one fork completed and back on the bike and, although it wasn't easy, the two parts of the fork came apart without too much problem. Just been trying to do the second fork now and I can't get the two bits apart. I've tried clamping the stanchion in a workmate and pumping the lower fork as well as heating the lower fork with a hairdryer to try and expand the metal a little. I've also soaked the seal area with WD-40 for a while but none of this has helped. Any suggestions would be appreciated!


biker, times two
difficult one. See here.

I think I saw the same problem on a GPZ fork that mudplug had when I went to visit him.

Some have describe removing the fork seal while the stachions are still together, with some sort of bent (hook shape) of the end of a screw driver or something. That may give more room :confused:


Unclassified Rider.
When any particular ER5 fork takes a LOT of effort to remove the stanchion, the bushings will certainly need replacing when you finally get the thing apart. (I think this was observed by fuel__2001, IIRC.)


engineless with 2 wheels

2 methods for removing the stanchion from the fork leg when its difficult which will result in shagged bushings. The only reasons i can think of why this happens is due to the metal in the oil seal swelling as the seal perishes and so get stuck inside the fork leg.

so 1st method, use a screw driver and set of long nose pliers to remove the oil seal from the fork leg. take your time pulling and hammering the seal, you really dont want to score the fork leg where your new seal will sit.

2nd method which will shag the bushes for sure, make sure you removed the oil from the leg. Then clamp up the fork leg back into the triple clamp. Now put the spindle through the bottom of the fork leg so the fork and spindle resemble the letter T. use this as a way of pulling the fork leg down, dont be shy and really yank the hell out of it, you might even twist as you pull.
Last edited:
Thanks for the suggestions. I've had a go with a screwdriver trying to get some leverage on the fork seal but with no luck. I'll try giving it another go with some pliers.

Btw, assuming the bushings are damaged in this fork and need replacing do I need to replace the bushings in the other fork as well (which although had some signs of wear were in fairly decent condition) or is it ok to just change them in one fork? It's just that I know that some things need to be done to both at the same time to avoid imbalances in the suspension.


engineless with 2 wheels
When you try and separate the stanchion from the fork leg, it relies on the outer and inner bushing colliding, so the force removes the outer bushing from the fork leg. The inner bushing rides up the inside of the outer bushing - this action shags the teflon coating
This is an obvious sign of the damage that is caused by the collision of the bushes to the inner bushing. I never did take a picture of the outer bushing, but it was mangled.

My advice is when the seals blow, change the everything, both inner and outer bushes and the oil seal - personally I dont bother with the dust caps. Its easy to see the damage caused to an inner bushing (in the case of that picture), but trying to inspect the teflon coating on the inside surface of the outer bushing, its hard to see the wear.

There are many posts on here to view, 'ive changed my oil seals and there leaking again'. Your choice, cut corners and you may get away with it but its just another problem which will show its head, usually sooner rather than later.

I should have mentioned, the screwdriver method is to cut into the metal within the oil seal, this is so you can get the pliers onto the metal so you can pull it.
Thanks again for the tips. In the end I took the fork to my mechanic for him to have a look at as I was having so much trouble separating them. He clamped the lower fork in a vice, heated it with a blowtorch to expand the metal and after a few hefty tries managed to separate the two halves.

The inner bushing, surprisingly enough, looks to be in fairly good condition still! The outer one does have some damage but the mechanic suggested that I could carefully file away any protruding bits (as the damage isn't too bad) to avoid these scratching the stanchion and still use it.

I know that this isn't going to be as good as replacing the bushings but I think I'll give it a go and, if the fork seals start to leak again soon, replace the bushing on both forks at the same time as I don't particularly want to have to take apart the other completed fork unless I really have to.
Seals all done at last. Filed the bushing down and it seemed fairly smooth afterwards. Just have to wait and see if the seals last now. I'll let you know if it's still all ok in a few months as if it works it might save some other people a few quid if they can keep their existing bushings longer.


biker, times two
Good luck and let us know. It may prove that you have done a good job.

:gossip: Based on previous experiences, get new seals and bushes in the next three weeks, depending on how much you use the bike.


biker, times two
Another way of removing the top metal ring. Some one here to fabricate a few for us? or can we buy a ready to use device?

It would not require much pushing, just about 3-5 mm. Perhaps with a thick nut all screwed in a bolt, then tight between the top yoke (with a piece of wood) and the stopper at the top of the stakion, and then unscrew the nut from the bolt to push the stopper down. To prevent the bolt from rotating, a two nut screwed against each other may do the trick.

The pics are easier to understand than what I have written. :rolleyes:

fork device 1.jpg fork device 2.jpg fork device 3.jpg

I was thinking that this assembly may put an ackward pressure on the head bearings. To prevent some distorsion, I think I would probably keep one fork in situ and do one fork at a time. This means that the front mudguard will have to be removed, at least, from one fork.
Good luck and let us know. It may prove that you have done a good job.

:gossip: Based on previous experiences, get new seals and bushes in the next three weeks, depending on how much you use the bike.
Just a quick update, although my bike's engine is now dead (but that's another story), the forks have held out remarkably well after my "filing down the damaged bushing" bodge, having done at least 500 miles since, probably the best part of 1000, with no issue.

It's worth noting that only a few mm of the teflon (I think?) coating had been worn away so the damage wasn't too bad, but for other people in this situation if you're careful it might be a way of getting a little more life out of your bushings and saving a few quid; if my experience is anything to go by that is.:dunno:
Going to have to so my fork seals sometime soon, not sure when though as I cannot really afford to have the bike off the road if something else needs doing.
What are the part numbers for the fork bushes on the Cornwall Kawasaki site because I got confused? :lol:


biker, times two
I've done it!! :D

I have changed the fork oil !! :D

This method makes the job a one-man's job !! :D

Easy peasy!!

A few pics!!

DSC05975.jpg DSC05973.jpg DSC05972.jpg DSC05974.jpg