Front fork oil level

Revz

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Aug 13, 2020
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49
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Central Minnesota
Greetings, when I bought my S10 it had leaky front fork seals. I think I’ve got them clean and not leaking with a Seal Doctor. I’ve looked at the service manual and can’t find the answer to my question. This is the first bike I’ve owned with upside down forks that leaked. On my KLR650 I could jack the bike up off the ground and remove the fork caps to gain access to the oil level and the springs were easily pushed back to replace the caps.

My question is this, if I get the forks off the ground can I remove the fork caps without the suspension popping out and knocking me out? Will I be able to get the caps back on? Can I get an accurate measurement of the oil level in each fork? What type fork oil will mix with the stock oil? I’m sorry for all the questions but I’d rather not take my bike to a dealer for something I can do myself.
 

Longdog Cymru

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Jul 21, 2018
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Swansea, Wales, UK
I think that you should drain them completely and fill with the correct quantity of fresh oil. No, I don’t know the exact amount right now but the oil weight and quantity may be altered to suit your weight, use and riding style, but fresh oil is what you need.
 

holligl

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Nov 13, 2015
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IL
To do it right you will need to dissassemble to a point to check the level correctly, after removing forks from the bike. You will need a spring compressor and a rod puller. Do you have an ES or NonES? They are slightly different.

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jrusell

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Aug 23, 2017
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Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
You can't do the same as your klr. Tenere forks are cartridge forks, klr are older damper rod forks. Tenere fork cap is connected to the cartridge and will not come off when you loosen the cap.
If you could fix your leak with a seal doctor it is likely you did not lose much oil. In most cases it looks much worse than it really is. You probably only lost a few to maybe 5ml of oil.
If you want to set oil level or change the oil you must remove the forks from the bike.

You have 2 choices. Just ride the bike the way it is. You might be down on oil a few mm but you will be fine. Or you can remove both forks and do a drain and fill with new oil and be confident all is good. Also depending how old your bike is and how many miles are on it you probably should consider changing the oil anyway.

Not a hard job, maybe a half hour job to do a oil dump and refill after the forks are off the bike.
If you want to do a real thorough job a disassembly and clean will take much longer and in this case you usually set fork oil level instead of going by volume.
 

Revz

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Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
49
Location
Central Minnesota
Thanks for the responses. My first experience with cartridge forks. My bike is a 2012 with 12,500 miles on it and I don’t know how long the fork seals have been leaking. It seems to work okay as far as soaking up the bumps so I guess I’ll ride it until winter and do it properly.

Does anyone know what size the fork caps are?
 
Last edited:

RCinNC

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Aug 30, 2014
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1,691
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North Carolina
The fork caps need a 24mm wrench for removal. Be real careful when you do it; the caps are aluminum, and it's easy to round off the flats if you aren't paying attention. If you use a socket, look for one with a flat ground face. I bought one on Amazon. I also have a 24mm aluminum wrench that I use just for the caps.
 

holligl

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Nov 13, 2015
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IL
24 mm, or 15/16 inch will work.
ES is 44mm. 1- 3/4" will work but is a little loose. Take forks off first or raise them higher to get a square fit, as the top of the triple tree provides little clearance for the socket on the ES.

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