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Discussion Starter #1
Hey gents,

Just picked up this used 2016 1000F with 9,900 miles on it. I have only ridden it two times since purchase due to a variety of lame excuses. Owned it for just under two months. I went into the garage two days ago and saw a fresh puddle of gold-colored oil underneath the front brake caliper. If you're sitting on the bike, it'd be the front caliper on your right. Initially I thought it was brake fluid b/c of where it was dripping but then realized it was most certainly fork oil, indicating a fork seal leak.

I cannot fathom how this leak developed. Nothing on the bike has leaked at all for these two months I've owned it, then all of a sudden it just starts dripping. The last time I rode it before noticing the dripping by the way was three weeks ago. It's simply been sitting on a rear track stand.

Any thoughts?
 

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Firstly congrats on your new purchase, regarding your issues i would isolate the problem to be sure, check the master cylinder level and inspect the hose route and check for tell tale darker patches on the caliper. Then I would inspect the lower chrome section and around the seal area of the fork to look for seepage, then take the problem from there.
 

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It might be unusual but seals don't last forever and sometimes leak for a variety of reasons. Replace it and it's fixed no big deal
 

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+1 on fluid determination. Make certain that it's not brake fluid. Check the slider closely for oil. Also, and I'm probably going to get flogged for typing this, but I'm a fan of the extreme; the taste test :). Oil and brake fluid have two distinct tastes. I won't type how I know.

I'm pretty sure that the front end is Showa and I've never had a Showa leak. I've had the Ohlins leak on my RSVR after 13,000 miles but that's because the Ohlins is apples and the Showa is oranges. Anyway, if it's fork oil why would it leak? Perhaps the previous owner was a little wheelie happy and one decided to check out. Or maybe some debris managed to make its way up there. Either way, if you replace the seal; don't cheap out. Do them both. Both fork legs. As Twag mentioned, consider bushing replacement. If the bike was wheelied, hard impacts to the front end upon return to the ground can beat the **** out of those. Wear can be easily visible on them to indicate this. If you do the job yourself, it's tough to do without a spring compressor but I don't know; maybe someone on the forum has done it a different way. I know youtube's got some videos but use caution with those.
 

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Also, and I'm probably going to get flogged for typing this, but I'm a fan of the extreme; the taste test :). Oil and brake fluid have two distinct tastes. I won't type how I know.
Taste test is legit, but as a last resort; smell test is usually enough. I start with just feeling it, rub between finger and thumb, which heats it up to make the smell test better.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Okay, results from my testing...

I rubbed some of the oil between my fingers and smelled. It was very thin, light oil, and didn't smell like anything. I then did a further inspection and took some pics. Everywhere I circled, I found oil residue. The most damning piece of evidence I have is the pic looking at the back of the fork... It looks like the oil is seeping out from under the dust cover on fork and puddling at the bottom. It appears to be goldish is in color. Which isn't that helpful b/c I looked in the little window of the front brake fluid reservoir and it's also goldish in color. Is it safe to say it's a bad fork seal?
 

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Looks like fork to me, based on where you've got circled. Just to be sure, pull the cap off the brake fluid reservoir and compare, the feel and smell (taste for that matter) won't tell you much if you don't know what you're comparing it to; a lot of that comes with experience, and different people have different sensitivity. It's hard to describe smells over the internet, but brake fluid definitely has one you'd notice. It's not powerful like burnt engine oil or pungent like gear oil, and it's not exactly unpleasant, kinda how I'd expect baby oil to smell without the perfume.
 

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If it's up by where the forks join, it's not likely to be brake fluid. I think someone already posted it but try cleaning out the seal first. Likely got some gunk in there, it happens. I've used that method before and saved myself some time on a fork seal change. I dug out a bunch of crud that had gotten in there. You can buy the product, I think it's "Seal Mate" or just cut your own out of a plastic bottle.

Something like this.


You can make it for free, and then you aren't out any money and maybe be successful. Clean it out, wipe it down and then see if it worked. Also remember, spilled oil always looks like more than it is, so you've actually likely lost very very little.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If it's up by where the forks join, it's not likely to be brake fluid. I think someone already posted it but try cleaning out the seal first. Likely got some gunk in there, it happens. I've used that method before and saved myself some time on a fork seal change. I dug out a bunch of crud that had gotten in there. You can buy the product, I think it's "Seal Mate" or just cut your own out of a plastic bottle.

Something like this.

(snipped youtube video)

You can make it for free, and then you aren't out any money and maybe be successful. Clean it out, wipe it down and then see if it worked. Also remember, spilled oil always looks like more than it is, so you've actually likely lost very very little.
I will try it this weekend. I have been trying to call a local indy motorcycle shop but so far no one is answering or calling me back. I think it's just one guy who works there so he isn't really catching a lot of phone calls.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Update: Well, my wife's car is in the shop and was due back to us tomorrow morning (front wheel bearing and front right axle repair). But it won't be back to us until at least late tomorrow afternoon. That means I'll be riding the bike to work tomorrow and Saturday. So, I went ghetto and cut up the top to a Chick Fil A chicken nugget container and cleaned the fork seal after watching two how-to videos on youtube.

I'm not sure that I fixed it... but it certainly didn't hurt it.

https://i.imgur.com/mTGsEJv.jpg
https://imgur.com/ZO9pUva
 

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I addition to watching out for more oil leaking, I'd check to see if you have lost enough to cause any issues. They've got about a half liter of oil in them, so you probably haven't leaked enough to make a difference if you're not taking it to the track or doing some serious canyon carving. But, just to be on the safe side, I'd check it by putting a zip-tie around each fork and sliding it up till it's butt against the boot. Then take it into a parking lot, go a few miles per hour, and slam on the front brakes. If the stop felt clean and straight (you didn't lean and the rear tracked with the front) then look at where the zip-ties wound up, eye-balling it, they should be the same. If they are very obviously not the same, the oil you've lost may be a safety issue with spirited riding and emergency maneuvers. If you find it's impossible not to dive to one side, then it's definitely an issue.
 
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