Thursday, March 26, 2009

shop time

Thank goodness for the snow I guess. It's given me a bit of time to catch up. For those from far away, we got 12+ inches of snow today. Good thing, too, as it's been super dry up in these here hills. Talking tinderbox style just looking at the trees and brush. As it snowed today, you could hear the sucking sounds coming from the ground as the soil sucked in the much needed moisture. This was a wet one today and it's still coming down. Snow is not just good for the trails and the dirt. The other beautiful thing about snow is that folks aren't riding, so I got a rare chance to spend some quality time on my own steed. The Fox Float 140rlc on the Tracer was in desperate need of love. Serious love. I can't say I've been super happy with the seal life of the original Fox either - they haven't lived up to my expectations. This fork was put into service in late June of '08. Since then, it's seen use averaging about 3 times per week in various locations, temperatures and conditions and now the seals were on their last legs. Am I expecting too much for fork seals to last longer than 10 months?

Sometimes when you're working on your own bike, you'll find that it's easier when a tasty beverage is nearby. In this case, a very, very tasty beverage (Thanks Mike!).

A lot of riders ask me how will they know when it's time to replace the seals on their fork. Well, when they start to look like this, it's time. This is the damper side, so it's good that not much oil has leaked out. Significant oil loss on the right fork leg will affect damper performance.

And by the time they look like this, it's long overdue. Fortunately, this blown seal is on the spring side. All of the oil in the left leg is there to provide stiction prevention and to lube the seal. What you do want to be careful about, though, is that the seal keeps grit out of the fork. Once a seal gets really shot, your bushings will die and you're in for much more major surgery than seal replacement.
I like ABI/Enduro seals. Here's why. The original Fox seal is on the left. It's a combo seal/dustwiper that sits on top of a foam ring. The foam ring saturates with oil to help lube the seal and stanchion.
The Enduro (blue) has dust wiper, then a foam wiper, then the real seal. The dust wiper geeps the gunk out, then the foam wiper aids in the prevention of dust/grit getting to the main seal. Finally, the main seal keeps the bad out and the oil in.
Done! I like the blue dust wipers of the Enduros, too. Off the bat, the Enduros have just a tad more friction, but it's a 3 part seal that fits super tight. They break in after a few rides and last much longer than the stock Fox seals.
Finally got er back together and looking sharp.
I've got another project for tomorrow if it doesn't get too busy. This is one I've been putting off for a long, long time, too. Wish me luck...

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