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Gaiters for RT forks

Eckhard Grohe

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Every bike I have had up until the R1150RT has had them.

The RT lives in fairly harsh UK conditions and I have had no issues with corrosion or impact pitting. Moreover, unlike conventional forks, these stanchions have an easy life.

It just isn't worth it for me.

Why do you feel the urge?

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Seems to me the exposed portions of the stanchions are well-protected from impact damage behind the fairing. I had to replace a seal on my fork after 100,000+ miles, but the seal failure didn't appear to have been caused by a rough sliding surface on the stanchion.


I would worry more about the possibility of gaiters retaining any water that happened to get in there, preventing the stanchions from ever drying out.

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Eckhard Grohe

I have developed a leak on the right hand stanchion and thought while I was disassembling I might as well. This is the second seal in there but it may be a problem with the install. Will look at it when the snow clears.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would say that if one of the forks is leaking, replace the upper bushings (copper and graphite ones) and both the oil and dust seals. Also, get as much as possible grease between the oil and dust seals. This way, the large washer will not rust and also water does not get anywhere near.



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I agree with Mitch, the bodywork provides a lot of protection, and gaiters could actually be worse.


About 6 weeks after I bought my RT in 2008, the left fork seal started leaking a pretty significant amount of oil. I replaced the fork oil on both sides with a 75/25 mixture of 10 weight fork oil and Gunk TranSeal, which stopped the leak within 50 miles. Approaching 120,000 miles, there is not a hint of a return of the leakage.




Fork oil can be changed without removing any RT bodywork. Here are a few suggestions:


1) Wipe the fork tubes vigorously with a paper towel and/or 3M scrubby soaked with 91% isopropyl alcohol.


2) After cleaning, pry up the dust seal, and pour in a small quantity of alcohol (isopropyl swells the rubber)


3) Remove the fork tube end caps and springs, and measure the distance from top of tube to oil. A yardstick works well for this.


4) Suck out the old oil with a turkey baster and a 3' length of vinyl tubing. The first time I changed the fork oil, I drained from the bottom, which was a lot more work, and still left "crap" in the sliders, which the turkey baster sucked out.


5) Refill with 470 ml 75/25 mix, pump up and down a few times, then measure the height as in step 2. Make sure that you get exactly the same measurement in both tubes.


6) Periodically wipe the fork tubes between the top seal and triple clamp with 91% isopropyl alcohol.


If this doesn't stop the leak, replace the oil seals.

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A seal on my 04 RT started to leak and I replaced it myself using only the Chris Harris YouTube instruction video. And I honestly have very little mechanical skills. According to Chris the oil is a lube only and does not function as a damper so the oil level is not critical.


There may be a small particle causing the seepage. Sometimes the seal can be cleaned with a piece of camera film (if you can find it). I should have tried this first.

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