About oil on Fox stanchions? Basic but not dumb question. Maybe.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    About oil on Fox stanchions? Basic but not dumb question. Maybe.

    Is it normal for less oil to be left up on the spring side stanchion of an open bath Fox F100 than is left on the damper side? I raced today and hammered the bejeezus out of my new fork (which is pretty killer, by the way) and was kind of flummoxed by the appreciable oil on the damper side but close to dry conditions on the spring side.

    Second question. Should I spring for some new crush washers every time I crack the thing open to add oil?
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  2. #2
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    The damper side has 155ml of oil. The spring side has 20ml. So it's understandable that the damper side would show more.

    How often do you open the fork to add oil? You shouldn't need to add oil that often. If your fork is leaking enough oil that you have to open it to add some, then something is wrong. I usually only replace the crush washers when I do a rebuild, which is about once a year.
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  3. #3
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    Brand new fork. That race was the fourth ride total on it. I haven't opened it up and probably won't for some time.

    The major difference in oil levels from right to left makes sense. Only for lube on the left, lube and damping on the right, need more in the right.....

    All is right with the wonderfork, then. Sweet.
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    You should regularly check the oil left in the spring side. 20ml is not that much oil and can be gone faster than you know...

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    Do yourself a favor and just install Enduro seals on there now. Then you won't have oil on your stanchions and you won't have to worry about checking the oil.

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    ^^

    +1 to the enduros
    I havent ridden a fox fork for more than a couple of rides, but all of the riders in my local club who have fox forks have swapped the seals to enduros, because the fox seals are rubbish at sealing out the ausie outback dust so they say

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    Yeah, might as well pony up for the Enduro seals. The kit comes with crush washers, so there you go.

    But again, if you are just opening it up to check oil levels, does that require new crush washers every time just to seal it back up?
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    GrantB I've reused mine over and over and haven't had a problem. I did lightly sand the aluminium crush washer at one point to make it flat again as it was getting a bit scored, but I've not seen any oil leak past these old washers yet so it seems reet enough to me.

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    Installed the Enduro seals about a month ago. No puddles of oil on the stanchions now. Due to the hamfisted destruction of a new crush washer in the Enduro kit, I recycled an old crush washer. I have had no leaks from the bottom of the fork, so I guess an old one will still seal up the hole in some cases.
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  10. #10
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    I've re-used the crush washers on my 36 many times with no leaking. As far as Fox seals go, It's very important to clean under the edges of the seal to prevent leaks (easier said than done). I use a toothbrush to get between the stancion and seal. I've used Enduro's and they work well, but do create more drag. It's a double edged sword.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAKESNAKE
    I've used Enduro's and they work well, but do create more drag. It's a double edged sword.
    The new generation of Enduro seals go a long way toward fixing this.

  12. #12
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    Hey Guys,

    While Fox makes great products most are shipped with either no bath oil or the incorrect amount. They can't get away with it on the open bath side or else you would have no damping. I just received a 2010 Talas 32 fit. It had about a teaspoon in talas side should have been 10 cc at least. The other side had slightly more and should have been 30 cc. I guess that is one way to get to the target weight leave out a few ounces of oil. Mind you this is not an isolated case I have owned many fox forks and routinely check the levels before they are mounted. Had a 09 that had ZERO bath oil in the talas side. Maybe if you are not see oil on the spring side stanction it may not have any oil in that side.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom schoonveld
    Hey Guys,

    While Fox makes great products most are shipped with either no bath oil or the incorrect amount. They can't get away with it on the open bath side or else you would have no damping. I just received a 2010 Talas 32 fit. It had about a teaspoon in talas side should have been 10 cc at least. The other side had slightly more and should have been 30 cc. I guess that is one way to get to the target weight leave out a few ounces of oil. Mind you this is not an isolated case I have owned many fox forks and routinely check the levels before they are mounted. Had a 09 that had ZERO bath oil in the talas side. Maybe if you are not see oil on the spring side stanction it may not have any oil in that side.
    Word. This is why I always recommend people rebuild their new Fox fork straight from the box. However, I've also found Rock Shox forks to be low on oil, and in one I even found a huge thing of grease instead of oil on the air piston, so I think it's less of a Fox specific problem, and more of an industry wide problem.

  14. #14
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    Right. The absence of oil. This fork was a NOS 2008, so I didn't ride it for a terribly long time before opening it up to both do the Enduros and make sure of the correct oil levels. FWIW, it looked to me that my fork had ample oil in both legs.

    I agree with Bad Mechanic that these newer Enduros don't feel draggy at all. I can't tell a difference stiction wise between them and the OEM stuff except for already noted lack of leakage.
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  15. #15
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    I have not had a problem out of any of my fox forks requarding the seals leaking. Most mechanics around here agree that the Fox seals are great and Enduro is a little tighter and scratches the stantions overtime. Here in the SE, we might not have same conditions in other parts of the world? Why is everyone having problems with Fox seals? And I love mine and my 2 yr old Float is butter smooth and clean with Fox seals. I do keep my fork super clean and every couple of months I pop up the seals, foam rings, and clean them per Fox instructions. I change my oil about every 12 months. The last oil change I did the oil was still clean! After a year + of hard riding. I almost wish I had waited longer. I have been enjoying my Fox forks throughly.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNeiles
    I do keep my fork super clean and every couple of months I pop up the seals, foam rings, and clean them per Fox instructions.

    That's why I went ahead and changed to the Enduros. I figured with the way the Enduros work, if I change the seals once a year when I do the fluids, that with the amount of grunge that I don't see on the stanchions and assume is getting sucked into the fork, I could skip the Fox recommended every couple of months dental tool under the lip of the seal, etc. I will agree that the tightness of the Enduro seals probably doesn't come without risks. Seems like simply wiping down the stanchions in this case might alleviate some of that.

    Also, whenever I get into a discussion like this where it starts to sound like I might know what I am doing, I feel I should let future readers of this thread know that I am largely ignorant in most things and am really motivated more by an obsession with my toys and their well being than anything else. So there's my disclaimer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNeiles
    I have not had a problem out of any of my fox forks requarding the seals leaking. Most mechanics around here agree that the Fox seals are great and Enduro is a little tighter and scratches the stantions overtime.
    I hate this hearsay rubbish. Enduro seals do not wear the stanchions, period. If your stanchions are getting scratched, it's because they hit something, not from the seals. If your stanchions are getting worn down, then change your oil more often as Fox's like to eat their stanchions and the dirt in the oil accelerates this.

    Fox will immediately blame aftermarket seals if the stanchions wear, totally disregarding the fact it happens much more frequently with their stock seals.

    Enduro simply do a better job keeping the oil in and the dirt out, which is always a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNeiles
    Why is everyone having problems with Fox seals?
    Because Fox seals don't seal very well. They let the oil out and the dirt in. This is bad because as you lose oil you lose lubrication, which is compounded by the abrasive dirt which the seals let in being suspended in what oil is left.

    Consider yourself luck if the Fox seals are working for you.

  18. #18
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    I hate to disagree, but I think the people with Enduro seals that have had problems with Fox seal complain on this site. There are hundreds of thousands of happy Fox riders out there with no problems.
    I just see it as this, Why have all your fox parts from fox but the seals? They make great products and I think they can make good seals too. I have some buddies that had enduro seals and ended up over the years wearing down the stantions to the point oil was leaking past them and they were toast. IMO stick with the Fox product.

    To each his own!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNeiles
    I hate to disagree, but I think the people with Enduro seals that have had problems with Fox seal complain on this site. There are hundreds of thousands of happy Fox riders out there with no problems.
    I think it's a combination of people getting lucky, people just installing new Fox seals regularly, people not riding enough, or people not knowing about Enduro seals.

    I think there are a lot more people using Enduros than you realize. My friends who had problem with oil loss on their Fox forks are now using Enduros with zero issues. More and more people are switching over them as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNeiles
    I just see it as this, Why have all your fox parts from fox but the seals? They make great products and I think they can make good seals too.
    Because no one is perfect, including Fox? Yes, I think they make an excellent product, but the seals have always been their weak point. Fortunately, we now have a way to fix it.

    Why would a market even exist for them if they were so great? There's not much market for Zoke or RS after market seals (they both have good stock products).

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNeiles
    I have some buddies that had enduro seals and ended up over the years wearing down the stantions to the point oil was leaking past them and they were toast.
    I think immediately pointing the finger at the Enduro seals after years of use is poor form, when so many other things likely caused it like neglected maintenance or a preexisting condition. The fact is, a LOT of stanchions (with a "ch", not a "t") get worn through on stock Fox seals.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNeiles
    Sorry for starting this $hit storm bad mechanic

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic


    Because Fox seals don't seal very well. They let the oil out and the dirt in.

    I'd say that's half true. The Fox seal/wiper assemblies do allow a substantial amount of oil to escape, but this escaping oil usually takes any dirt with it. It also ensures there is a small amount of oil on the stanchions at all times to keep the outer scraper lip wet and effective. It's actually a pretty good design, and I've noticed my Fox forks stay very clean on the insides between oil changes.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zanetti
    I'd say that's half true. The Fox seal/wiper assemblies do allow a substantial amount of oil to escape, but this escaping oil usually takes any dirt with it. It also ensures there is a small amount of oil on the stanchions at all times to keep the outer scraper lip wet and effective. It's actually a pretty good design, and I've noticed my Fox forks stay very clean on the insides between oil changes.
    If the clean oil can get out, then the dirty oil can get in. It's not a one way valve. I've found the oil to be significantly cleaner in forks after getting rid of the Fox seals.

    The wiper lip shouldn't need to be wet to be effective. RS and Zoke don't need it with their excellent seals.

    The Fox seals are designed to be nearly frictionless, which they are, but are compromised in other ways because of it.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zanetti
    and I've noticed my Fox forks stay very clean on the insides between oil changes.

    me too.
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  23. #23
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    It is IMPOSSIBLE for any seals to wear down or scratch a stanchion. normally common sense would tell us that, unfortunately some people lack common sense. seals are made of rubber (soft), stanchions are made of annodized aluminum (very hard). rubber CANNOT scratch annodized aluminum. if stanchions are getting worn or scratched, it is because of something other than the seals. if your mechanic tells you it is because of your seals, find a new mechanic.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by unclekittykiller
    It is IMPOSSIBLE for any seals to wear down or scratch a stanchion. normally common sense would tell us that, unfortunately some people lack common sense. seals are made of rubber (soft), stanchions are made of annodized aluminum (very hard). rubber CANNOT scratch annodized aluminum. if stanchions are getting worn or scratched, it is because of something other than the seals. if your mechanic tells you it is because of your seals, find a new mechanic.
    That is true, but dirt and lack of maintaince "could" cause "microscopic" scratches in stanchions. Thanks for your sarcasm, common sense tells me your a dick! : Thats all I have today for your sarcasm. Have a great day.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNeiles
    I hate to disagree, but I think the people with Enduro seals that have had problems with Fox seal complain on this site. There are hundreds of thousands of happy Fox riders out there with no problems.
    I just see it as this, Why have all your fox parts from fox but the seals? They make great products and I think they can make good seals too. I have some buddies that had enduro seals and ended up over the years wearing down the stantions to the point oil was leaking past them and they were toast. IMO stick with the Fox product.

    To each his own!!

    Sorry for starting this $hit storm bad mechanic

    Sorry the more you ride the more you wear things out.

    Most people don't ride very much at all so they don't tend to wear things out...

    My Fox seals went in about 6 months...

    My Enduro seals lasted close to 2 years...just put the second set in now....

    So you think I should stick with the Fox seals and change them out twice a year????

    Let's see that would mean I would have taken the fork apart what 6 times by now, no thanks.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNeiles
    That is true, but dirt and lack of maintaince "could" cause "microscopic" scratches in stanchions. Thanks for your sarcasm, common sense tells me your a dick! : Thats all I have today for your sarcasm. Have a great day.
    So I'm a dick because you are stupid? Great logic a$$hole. in your dumba$$ example, lack of maintenance is the issue, not the Enduro seals.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zanetti
    I'd say that's half true. The Fox seal/wiper assemblies do allow a substantial amount of oil to escape, but this escaping oil usually takes any dirt with it. It also ensures there is a small amount of oil on the stanchions at all times to keep the outer scraper lip wet and effective. It's actually a pretty good design, and I've noticed my Fox forks stay very clean on the insides between oil changes.
    I challenge anyone to find ANY other hydraulic application that fails to use an oil seal. Any application you want...moto, auto, industrial. Overly loose wipers and an oil soaked sanding sponge are NOT the way to correctly seal a fork.

    I would also challenge anyone to find another fork brand that has the same incidence of stanchion wear. This is practically unheard of with the other main fork mfg (other than insitances of completely worn bushings) yet it is relatively common with all models of fox forks.

    If you want to look at any other Fox product, you will find proper seals, the same sealing standard that has been proven and used for many many years in all applications..

    ....oil -> oil seal -> air space -> outer wiper -> atmosphere... with a good thin seal grease applied to the air space between the seal and wiper.


    Ever wonder why Push replaces the entire seal system (with the exact system described above) on all Fox forks they service?

    PS, if you dont want to go with Enduro (I am not totally sold on the PU wiper), a hydraulic distibutor should be able to source proper (NOK brand would be my choice) seals and wipers to make a correct system. I have not done this for Fox so I dont know part #s but have done this with other (poorly though out) forks with no proper seal.

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    Everyone talks about RS excellent seals I have had a 09 and 2010 revelations and both forks seals leaked profusely.I am talking running down both legs. I will say I had a 09 fox 150mm qr talas and the seals did not leave any residue at all. I now have a 2010 talas fit and the seals wet the stanctions but not to nearly the extent of the revelation seals. I am not saying that fox is the bestthis is just my experience. Kind of crazy the amount of money spent on forks with leaky seals,no oil,crappy quality control.

  29. #29
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    RS does not use true seals in ALL their forks. Unfortunatly the REV is one of the models that uses only dust wipers and foam wipers like Fox. RS part #11.4310.290.000 T Tora/Recon/Revelation/Argyle Dust Seal/Foam Ring Kit is the description from RS. This is why you have seem leaking with this fork.

    I dont know if this is done for cost savings(it is done on the low end forks), or if RS thinks that a wiper is OK for less aggressive use (it is done on some XC forks), or the non-sealed forks are simply repackaged items from old and have not seen real re-design.

    Then there are the odd in-betweens like the pike. If you buy 'pike' seals, they come with a wiper, a seal, AND a foam ring (IIRC all three parts are in the fork stock). There is absolutely zero reason to have a foam ring in this fork with both a seal and wiper. But to save $$ this is the same 'seal' kit for all forks with the same sized stanchion...so some forks get wiper and foam, some get wiper and seal. I STRONGLY suspect that the foam ring is in the pike simply because it is an archival piece, not because a design engineer actually wants it to be there.

    I can tell you that the 'NEW' RS forks (Lyric, Totem, Boxxer since 05, etc) forks all have a true seperate oil seal and wiper and NO foam ring. They are obviously designing things in this direction and feel this is the correct way for at least some applications (maybe high enough $$, maybe high enough use??). I dont know.

    I do know that a proper seal and wiper system will not add noticable friction(see 05 and prior Marz) and is FAR superior in both keeping oil in, and dirt out than a simple wiper with foam/grit ring.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by davep
    I challenge anyone to find ANY other hydraulic application that fails to use an oil seal. Any application you want...moto, auto, industrial. Overly loose wipers and an oil soaked sanding sponge are NOT the way to correctly seal a fork.

    I would also challenge anyone to find another fork brand that has the same incidence of stanchion wear. This is practically unheard of with the other main fork mfg (other than insitances of completely worn bushings) yet it is relatively common with all models of fox forks.

    If you want to look at any other Fox product, you will find proper seals, the same sealing standard that has been proven and used for many many years in all applications..
    Rock Shox and Manitou have used similar seal/wiper assemblies for the past ten years.They're not the best dynamic sealing solution out there, but they do work well when maintained properly.

    When the hard anodizing wears off a stanchion tube, the seals and wipers are never to blame, it's always due to a lack of maintenance. The porous nature of the stanchion coating means micron sized abrasive particles will always hide in the pores, glide effortlessly past the wipers and seals, and then get flushed out when immersed in the oil bath. This is why frequent oil changes and interior cleaning are the only way to prolong stanchion and bushing life. *Upgrade* seal kits don't cause stanchion wear, but they can contribute to it because they give the fork owner a false sense of security that crud is being kept out because it appears the oil is being kept in. The harm comes from the particles you can't see.

    I'd rather have the low stiction, free running seal/wipers installed, because with a hard anno stanchion, you're going to have to do the maintenance anyway.

  31. #31
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    So long as you do regular maintenance, which you need to regardless, the Enduro seals will keep the oil cleaner between services due to the better sealing. Less crap in the oil means less wear between services.

    Better seals also mean the oil doesn't escape. Therefore, you have more oil so less amount of contamination per ml. You also don't risk running low on oil before your next service.

    It's amazing to me that people are actually arguing against better seals.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    Word. This is why I always recommend people rebuild their new Fox fork straight from the box. However, I've also found Rock Shox forks to be low on oil, and in one I even found a huge thing of grease instead of oil on the air piston, so I think it's less of a Fox specific problem, and more of an industry wide problem.
    Funny you mention this - I just printed up the 2010 Rockshox Tech manual and noticed that several air forks(mainly looked at the ones I own - 09 SID WC & 09 Reba team) call for only grease in the upper tube of the air side. Where the 2009 RS tech manual calls for oil - gives the oil wt. & oil volume.

    I emailed SRAM and they said only coil forks should contain only grease in the air side...so apparantly there is a mistake in the oil chart of the 2010 manual.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    So long as you do regular maintenance, which you need to regardless, the Enduro seals will keep the oil cleaner between services due to the better sealing. Less crap in the oil means less wear between services.

    Better seals also mean the oil doesn't escape. Therefore, you have more oil so less amount of contamination per ml. You also don't risk running low on oil before your next service.

    It's amazing to me that people are actually arguing against better seals.

    Probably beacuse there is no absolute proof that *upgrade* seal kits are actually better. Have you sent a variety of used fork oil samples out to Blackstone Labs to confirm that there is a measureable difference in oil contamination?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zanetti
    Probably beacuse there is no absolute proof that *upgrade* seal kits are actually better. Have you sent a variety of used fork oil samples out to Blackstone Labs to confirm that there is a measureable difference in oil contamination?
    Don't be pedantic.

    I can see with my eyes the oil with Fox seals is coming out dirty, and with Enduro seals it's coming out virtually clean; this is with the same service interval. This is with a good sampling of Fox forks.

    I can also see with my eyes that Enduro seals keep the oil in, while the Fox seals don't.

    I can also see with my eyes that Enduros use a dedicated oil seal and a dedicated wiper, which is the proper way to seal a hydraulic system, not Fox's all-in-one job.

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