Replacing the front fork seals in the GL500

My front forks wouldn't really hold air, and felt like they provided little in the way of shock absorption, so I decided to replace the seals, fork oil, and a couple bushings. I took some pictures of the process as I followed along with the service manual.

First, before removing the forks, loosen the caps while the triple tree clamp is still holding the forks firm:

Remove the forks from the bike and continue removing the fork cap. Keep pressure on it because there is a spring below it putting pressure on the cap. Mine was very dirty:

Dump the springs and oil out of the stanchion, noting which way the springs are oriented (tighter coils pointed at each other) and the order they came out of the tube. There should also be a washer that sits between the two springs.

The piston in the stanchion is bolted to the lower fork tube, so that bolt needs to be removed:

Next, the stanchion needs to be removed from the lower fork tube. To do this, the circlip holding in the fork oil seal must be removed:

Then, the stanchion can be used as a slide hammer to pop it out of the lower fork tube. More evidence of how filthy the oil in mine was:

Here's a picture of the various pieces of the fork:

After some cleaning, I started on the reassembly. Here, the piston is back in the stanchion:

Then the stanchion was put back in the lower fork tube. The piston is bolted back to the lower fork tube:

Next, the upper bushing needs to be driven into the lower fork tube. Here you can see the fork bushing before it's pushed in place:

I made a fork bushing driver out of a piece of galavanized pipe that I had ground down to get the proper fit:

All I really had to do was slide the driver down the stanchion quickly, and the impacts drove the bushing into place:

Putting the dust cover back on:

After this, it was just a matter of putting the right amount of fork oil back in and screwing the fork cap back on. After mounting them back on the bike and airing the suspension up, it felt much better!

Copyright (c) 2009 Paul Miner <$firstname.$>