Rebuilding the front forks on a GL1000 is very easy. In fact, the GL1000 is one of the few bikes that permit a fork rebuild without removing the fork tubes from the triple tree! I don’t generally do it that way, but I have.The only difficult part is removing the old fork seals. The Honda workshop manual merely says: “remove the fork seal” with no additional explanation. Obviously, the writer of the manual never attempted this task!
Most mechanics try a variation on the “pry them out” method suggested in other manuals. Trust me, this will frustrate you and risk damage to the slider. Attempts to rig an internal gear puller will also frustrate you and risk damage to the slider.I’ve found only one method that works reliably that won’t damage your sliders.
It requires the fabrication of a very simple tool first suggested by Jerry Boody. Since this information is hard to find, I decided to share the information here. I use a variation of the tool created by Jerry and give him full credit for this clever creation.
The tool is built in 2 parts as shown below from ordinary 1 1/4″ heavy strap material purchased from any hardware store. The material I selected is 3/16″ thick. I found it easier to build from “strap” material rather than “angle” as Jerry suggested. The actual dimensions aren’t critical so long as it’s sturdy and can be shaped into the configuration shown.
There should be 2 holes in each puller half for securing with sturdy bolts and nuts (I used 8mm hardware). The lower bolt hole should clear the top of the slider by a comfortable margin.
Overal length is about 8″ on the tool I built. The business end of the 2 combined halves is bent and shaped into a circle with a diameter that is just slightly less than the internal slider ID at the point where the seals are installed: approximately 45mm. You’ll need a sturdy vise, a heavy mallet and a bench grinder to get the desired shape. The ID of the fork tube where the seal installs is 48mm. This 3mm difference betwen puller and slider is critical! If the dimater of the circular portion is too large, you might damage the slider…too small and it might not get enough “grip.”
Jerry’s original design called for a short section of strong chain connecting the puller to a vise. This would allow the seal to be “jerked” out.
After trying it this way a few times, I ditched the chain and clamped the puller in my vise. This allows you to use the considerable length of the slider to “lever” the seal out under total control.
Using the Puller:
Remove the forks sliders from the fork tubes (consult your manual)
Clamp a fork slider in a soft vise and remove the dust seal (pops out easily with a flat-bladed screwdriver)
Remove the retainer clip. Note the gouges and scars from prior fork seal replacement efforts! We won’t be so careless this time.
The 2 unbolted tool halves are inserted indivdually into the seal area so that the radiused edge of the “puller” engages the internal metal lip architecture of the fork seal.
The 2 halves of the tool are then bolted together. You will need to gradually tighten the lower bolt first, then the upper in several passes.
As the 2 bolts are tightened, the puller gets a death grip on the seal.
Reposition the slider as shown…gripping the end of the puller in the vise.
Now you will be able to exert the force necessary to remove the seal without damage.
They pop out like butter!
Repeat for the other slider.
1. Use new Honda seals. There have been many updates to the OEM seals. I’ve had poor results with aftermarket seals.
2. Get the latest and freshest stock you can buy.
3. New design Honda seals omit the separate “wiper” seal found on the earliest bikes. Since these were early forks, I found a wiper seal which is easily removed as a separate step…no puller needed.
4. Don’t forget the back-up ring:
5. Ready for cleaning and rebuild.
6. This is the point were I would sent the sliders out for polishing. Remember to clean very carefully with strong detergent after polishing to remove all traces of polishing compound. Remnants of these materials will quickly destroy new seals!
7. Make sure your fork tubes are clean and free of any nicks, burrs or pits before you re-mate the sliders. Problems of this nature are the cause of most premature fork seal failures.
Highly recommended and thanks again to Jerry Boody!