Rusty fork problem with leaking fluid - Suzuki Burgman Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Rusty fork problem with leaking fluid

I just purchased a 2008 Burgman 400 and my fork was leaking fluid yesterday. 2 mechanics saw the rust at the top of my fork & think that changing the seals won't be a permanent fix. They both think it needs replacing the tubes or the whole fork which is a big job costing way too much money. My motorcycle instructor on the other hand says that the rust can be minimized/removed with some steal wool, soft sand paper or a plastic bag. What do you guys say because this has me feeling pretty down?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 07:28 AM
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:16 AM
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First point. There are many things that are not permanent fixes. There's a reason you're in there fixing this in the first place. So how long must it last to be permanent enough.

Depending on the degree of rust, I'd go the steel wool route, replace the seal and see what happens. Worst case - it's not a permanent fix. Are you an area that is exposed to a fairly corrosive atmosphere? Salted roads.

Alternatively, keep an eye out on ebay. Look to get the forks off a rear ended 400 of a suitable year.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Chatman128 View Post
....... Alternatively, keep an eye out on ebay. Look to get the forks off a rear ended 400 of a suitable year.
I've rebuilt a few forks, Goldwings/Kawasaki 700 ... pitted forks ARE difficult to repair successfully ... ebay, salvage yards for good straight forks would prolly save you a lot of headache later.

Seal, bearings, fluid are not that expensive, BUT this is a labor intensive job and a PITA! So, you don't wanna have to redo it again. Don't axe me how I know this .....

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 12:38 PM
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The problem is that any irregularity on the surface of the fork slider/leg is going to cause the fork seals to leak. The larger the irregularity, the sooner the seals will quit working. A small amount of rust can be dealt with by honing the chrome portion of the leg with a small stone or very high (non-abrasive) grit sandpaper. Anything that leaves a pit means the leg will damage the seals. If you can feel it with your fingernail, then it's going to butch up the seals. If you can find a fork leg from a salvage bike that isn't bent or rusted, that's your best option. Otherwise, you're looking at getting the fork leg re-chromed ($$$) or dealing with a leaking for seal. And fork oil on tires or brake pads can be...very stimulating (boom, crash, bang).

Most 'discount' bikes often end up costing as much or more than a newer bike to bring up to snuff. It's just a fact of life that you have to be aware of. Stuff like fork seals, switches, tires, and often more expensive things like water pumps and engine internals are all things the used bike buyer should be aware of. You an arm yourself with all the knowledge in the world, but at the end of the day you want to own a bike that you're willing to spend a bit of cash on to maintain. Replacing a fork tube might be expensive, but it shouldn't cost more than buying a new bike.

It's an old joke that a 'free' motorcycle is usually far from free. Ditto 'basket case' bikes that are disassembled. Once you've paid for the missing parts and replaced the broken ones, the cost in time and hassle is equal to or greater than a newer running bike. Which is why I have an impulse to strangle anyone whose ad says "Ran when parked".
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