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Old 16 Feb 2004
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f650 leaking fork seal

Hi I´m in Iquique Chile and one of my fork seals has started to leak. I´ve just been through the dust and mud of bolivia where they got very covered in mud, including where the forks go into the seals.

I can see no visible damage to the seal but the rate of leakage appears to be increasing, though they are now clean.

My main concern is wether I stop here to try and get it fixed - or whether I should be okay to get to Santiago (about 1200 miles, 1600 km away) where I can get the BMW dealer to look at them? How much oil has to come out before there is a risk of more serious damage to the fork itself.



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Old 16 Feb 2004
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You can loose a lot of oil before you get any problems!

If you afraid there is not much left then top up with oil for automatic transmission. usually it helps to clean the seal and it's always smart to have one spare:-)

Good luck!!
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Old 16 Feb 2004
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Hi Richard,

Although there are some rough sections between Iquique and Santiago most of the Panamericana is (comparatively) smooth and flat, although the last time I did this section parts of the road had gone due to an earthquake. I think you should be fine providing you top up regularly (keeping the levels in each fork the same) and take it VERY steady, particularly on the steep windy decents where much of your weight will be over the front (e.g. around Antofagasta). Are you sure there is no BMW dealer in Antofagasta or Copiapo? Probably not, but I wouldn't know for sure. The worst that can happen is that you'll end up with a dangerous pogo-like ride, and you can manage that if you take it steady. I have had this problem on an old Tenere, and it is possible to get used to it. I've heard this is common on F650GS's. Why did BMW not fit fork gaitors?? When you get this fixed it might be wise to invest in some.......

In short, I would risk it.

One other thought. I have no idea if it will work or not, but it might be possible to use some of that engine stop leak on the forks (Holts or similar if you can get it). It's bound to affect the fork oil viscosity, but it might just make the seals expand enough to get you to Santiago with minimum loss. It's helped me before.......

Good luck!

Tall men see everyone else's bald patch but their own.......
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Old 16 Feb 2004
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I wouldn't worry to much about it.

It happened to me two and a half year ago and I rode another 7000km (on tarmac though) before I changed the seals.

When you change the seals change both, since the other one will probably go south soon.

See http://faq.f650.com/FAQs/ForkSealReplacementFAQ.htm or http://faq.f650.com/GSFAQs/ForkSealFAQGSDakar.htm depending on what bike you have for more information.
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Old 17 Feb 2004
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thanks for the tips. after looking at the chain gang i tried cleaning between the fork and seal with a bit of flexible plastic - this seems to have slowed the rate of loss. I´m in Antofogasta now and will be able to get to Santiago without any problems I think.

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Old 17 Feb 2004
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Might try a little alcohol in the fork oil - just a cap full or two. This will make the seal swell a little, and might stop or slow your leak.
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