FOX service: Can't remove lower Seals (black, below foam rings) Tips?!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    FOX service: Can't remove lower Seals (black, below foam rings) Tips?!

    I have a set of 2007 Fox 29er RLC's and was going to change out the seals for Enduros. I've done this in the past on a 26er fork with no problems. This time though the lower black seals, the ones on top of the bushings, just won't budge. Does anyone have any handy tips on how to remove them?

    As a side note is it normal for PUSH to leave out the foam rings when they fettle your fork?

    TIA.

  2. #2
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    FOX service: Can't remove lower Seals (black, below foam rings) Tips?!

    Warm them up real good with a hair dryer (top of the lowers, too). The oil seals will become softer and easier to remove.
    "This isn't the ******* comedy hour. Sober up and do it right."

  3. #3
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    Possibly. I bought a used bike, with a 2011 Talas 32, and one foam ring was missing. It was pushed for its last service, I thought it was rather odd for a 160 dollar rebuild to be incorrect.

    Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Gosh no luck so far. I hairdryered those suckers until I could barely touch them but still no joy. I've sprayed another round of penetrating fluids onto them while still hot so I'll have another go later. Honestly though I suspect they've been glued in somehow. The rubber is coming out in pieces but the metal ring internal to the seal just won't budge.

    As another aside San Dimas InCycle needs to find some mechanics that actually have looked inside a Fox fork - I was told that only Marzocchis have oil seals below the foam rings and that the 'black rings' in mine shouldn't be there?!

    Anyone know a >good< Fox tech in the San Gabriel Valley region?

  5. #5
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    FOX service: Can't remove lower Seals (black, below foam rings) Tips?!

    Pictures might be helpful.
    "This isn't the ******* comedy hour. Sober up and do it right."

  6. #6
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    Take pictures and email Fox or Push, they can give you an answer

  7. #7
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    pictures of the problem

    Here you go for pictures:

    FOX service: Can't remove lower Seals (black, below foam rings) Tips?!-fox-fork-seals.jpg

  8. #8
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    That looks wrong. I dont think they belong.

    Have you tried getting a gasket pick behind it to push it in?

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    Yup I've tried getting a pick behind it but the seals have a metal ring inside them to help them maintain their shape that prevents any pick-like tool from down and behind them. It's looking more and more like this lower is going to have an appointment with a drill press in the near future.

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    http://forums.mtbr.com/shocks-suspen...-582186-5.html

    Check out the page above.

    It looks like an enduro lower oil seal. The page I linked showed using heat and a DH tire lever. (basically a shaped pry bar, for your purposes) Note the picture is of a dust wiper, but the same method will do for the oil seal.

    This is how I remove wipers, the ones in my Rebas where a b&&&&.

  11. #11
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    FOX service: Can't remove lower Seals (black, below foam rings) Tips?!

    Quote Originally Posted by FastBanana View Post
    http://forums.mtbr.com/shocks-suspen...-582186-5.html

    Check out the page above.

    It looks like an enduro lower oil seal. The page I linked showed using heat and a DH tire lever. (basically a shaped pry bar, for your purposes) Note the picture is of a dust wiper, but the same method will do for the oil seal.

    This is how I remove wipers, the ones in my Rebas where a b&&&&.
    The enduro oil seals I have seen do not have an outer metallic ring as described by the OP. And, the oil seal pictured looks as if it is smooth on the stanchion side. This is also unlike the enduro oil seals I have seen (which have distinct wiper ridges).
    "This isn't the ******* comedy hour. Sober up and do it right."

  12. #12
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    Well, then I don't have clue what those are. Maybe a rockshox oil seal someone crammed in there?

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  13. #13
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    The point is, you want them out, eh? I use the Pedro's DH tire lever to pop seals/wipers out all the time. That sucker should work no problem. Maybe a blind bearing puller will grab them enough from the inside to get them out.

    Good luck. Report back.

    mk
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  14. #14
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    If the fork was originally serviced by us then yes the foam ring is replaced by an oil seal. All normal there. You can use a DH tire lever or a 18mm open end wrench to pry them out. You don't need to heat the lower.

    Darren

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    I have TALAS that yall did. One side had a foam ring, one didn't. I don't recall and oil seal on either side. Ill have to open it back up to see of I just didn't see them

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    Thanks everyone for the great replies. So far no joy though. Tried the DH tire levers and larger open ended wrenches no no avail. I'm bending tools but the seals just stay put. I'll keep at it but I fear I'm going to damage the lowers before I get them out. Anyone got a pair of lowers for sale?!

  17. #17
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    Wow. Maybe send it off? Getting it done by a pro would be cheaper than trashing or replacing the lowers.

  18. #18
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    Just kidding.

  19. #19
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    Did you ever get these off? I just stipped fork for paint. It had these, I have to use a large flathead for a prybar, too good amount of force but they came out

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  20. #20
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    I've had similar problems in the past removing seals. My solution has been to tape the head of a large flat head screwdriver and use it as a lever underneath the seal with a rag to protect the lower. It usually requires a significant amount of force being applied to the point that I'm pretty sure I'm going to deform the lower.

  21. #21
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    So, the guys at the shop that said that the black oil seal shouldn't be there did know what the stock Fox setup is. Maybe a retraction of your statement is in order??

  22. #22
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    Woah you need to cool your heels there! The correct fox set up is: seals, foam rings, dust guards. Push may omit replacing the foam rings but any fork in the world that has oil in the leg/s needs a frickin' seal. The wrench spinner at In Cycle was insisting that foam rings and dust seals were the norm. Wrong, wrong, wrongski. I've pulled numerous Fox's to pieces in the past but this was the first that had been 'improved' by Push. After some research it looks like one of the early one's where they used Rockshox parts for servicing and had to machine out the lowers to get everything to fit - not quite enough in this case it would seem. In the end I found a super cheap NOS replacement lower so I've just trashed the Pushed part and will now live happily ever after.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by nichbooth View Post
    Woah you need to cool your heels there! The correct fox set up is: seals, foam rings, dust guards. Push may omit replacing the foam rings but any fork in the world that has oil in the leg/s needs a frickin' seal. The wrench spinner at In Cycle was insisting that foam rings and dust seals were the norm. Wrong, wrong, wrongski. I've pulled numerous Fox's to pieces in the past but this was the first that had been 'improved' by Push. After some research it looks like one of the early one's where they used Rockshox parts for servicing and had to machine out the lowers to get everything to fit - not quite enough in this case it would seem. In the end I found a super cheap NOS replacement lower so I've just trashed the Pushed part and will now live happily ever after.
    Thats not entirely accurate.

    Depending on the fork, the wipers on Fox forks act as both. Some models have them, some don't. I can't remember what the specifics where, but I read it from a mega thread about Enduro seals in which a "enduroforkseals.com" rep was posting in.

    So you never got it out? I would go all out with a pry bar before trashing the lowers.

  24. #24
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    I have removed many stuck oil seals. Yes, the pic is of an oil seal. Yes, they all have a metal band around which the seal is constructed. Somebody already mentioned heat. However, the type of penetrating heat to remove a stuck seal is not best applied with a heat gun. The heat gun will get some parts too hot while not penetrating the seal material. Instead, heat a large pot of water to boiling on the stove top. Then turn off the heat to stop the boil. Submerge the seal head so the seal is about 2 inches below the water and leave for a full minute or so. Now, remove the lowers from the water and use a Pedro's DH tire lever to pry it out. It will come out after this heat treatment. Heat up the remaining seal head and do the same.

  25. #25
    OMZ
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    That's a bummer someone crammed some unnecessary oil seals in your Fox fork.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastBanana View Post
    Thats not entirely accurate.

    Depending on the fork, the wipers on Fox forks act as both.
    Every fox fork that I've had had this exact setup. Thus the oil ring on your stanchions that Fox says is normal for lubrication. I'm not saying that it is the best setup, but normal for some fox forks.

  27. #27
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    Mine was also pushed and I managed to get it out with a pair of wirecutters. I pinched the metal seal and twisted, then used a pair of needle nose pliers to extract it. It was a huge pain.

  28. #28
    eri
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris2fur View Post
    I have removed many stuck oil seals. Yes, the pic is of an oil seal. Yes, they all have a metal band around which the seal is constructed. Somebody already mentioned heat. However, the type of penetrating heat to remove a stuck seal is not best applied with a heat gun. The heat gun will get some parts too hot while not penetrating the seal material. Instead, heat a large pot of water to boiling on the stove top. Then turn off the heat to stop the boil. Submerge the seal head so the seal is about 2 inches below the water and leave for a full minute or so. Now, remove the lowers from the water and use a Pedro's DH tire lever to pry it out. It will come out after this heat treatment. Heat up the remaining seal head and do the same.
    +1,000,000

    Bit of stiction in fork, lots of wet riding, decided to do a mid-winter lowers clean and re-oil on my 2015 fox float 32. Intended to reuse the seals, just grease and new oil.

    Separated lowers but had heck of a time removing the seals. Usually I gently coerce them out with the smooth end of a socket wrench but these laughed at that.

    Finally went and got my hair drier and a big wood dowel, pried at one. The seal tore out and left the metal/plastic ring inside. It looked a lot like the seal had been glued in place.

    I called the place that did the rebuild, they said no, they don't glue them, they grease them. They said the 2015 can be really tight, that sometimes there's plastic left behind that they need to sand away.

    I have way too much material to consider sanding. Went looking for opinions on interweb and found this thread.

    Followed RWC's instructions:
    boil water in deep pot (I used my canning pot, 9 inches of water)
    turn off heat
    put lower into water, seal side down and soak seals in water for a full minute
    remove and pry base of seal gently with open end wrench (I used a long 9/16)
    whoa! That deep heat was perfect, the untorn seal came right out.
    Went at the plastic/metal ring thing on the other side and it also came out easily.

    Thank you so much RWC, great technique!

    Luckily I had replacement seals handy but sad as I intended to reuse the ones in the fork. Live and learn.
    the truth is always a gift because it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome - Grace Choi

  29. #29
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    Interesting to hear that trick, and better yet that it worked.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by eri View Post
    Followed RWC's instructions:
    boil water in deep pot (I used my canning pot, 9 inches of water)
    turn off heat
    put lower into water, seal side down and soak seals in water for a full minute
    remove and pry base of seal gently with open end wrench (I used a long 9/16)
    whoa! That deep heat was perfect, the untorn seal came right out.
    Went at the plastic/metal ring thing on the other side and it also came out easily.

    Thank you so much RWC, great technique!
    Great! Glad you found this thread!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris2fur View Post
    Instead, heat a large pot of water to boiling on the stove top. Then turn off the heat to stop the boil. Submerge the seal head so the seal is about 2 inches below the water and leave for a full minute or so.
    Golden! This advice saved me a huge headache. Thanks!

  32. #32
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    Big thanks to Chris2fur for the pot of water trick, that worked really well! I have a 2017 Fox 34 and this was my first lower service (didn't know any better, 125 hours of riding on it). I tried removing my seals without knowing the water trick, and they ripped apart, leaving the inner portion seemingly glued to the lowers. The just-boiling water worked great and they came out with careful but strong effort prying with a 14mm open end wrench (taped to protect the fork).

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris2fur View Post
    I have removed many stuck oil seals. Yes, the pic is of an oil seal. Yes, they all have a metal band around which the seal is constructed. Somebody already mentioned heat. However, the type of penetrating heat to remove a stuck seal is not best applied with a heat gun. The heat gun will get some parts too hot while not penetrating the seal material. Instead, heat a large pot of water to boiling on the stove top. Then turn off the heat to stop the boil. Submerge the seal head so the seal is about 2 inches below the water and leave for a full minute or so. Now, remove the lowers from the water and use a Pedro's DH tire lever to pry it out. It will come out after this heat treatment. Heat up the remaining seal head and do the same.

    Thank you! This saved my day on my PIKE.
    If you are going to try the same, I taped all my decals just to be on the safe side.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Culwen View Post
    Thank you! This saved my day on my PIKE.
    If you are going to try the same, I taped all my decals just to be on the safe side.
    Glad this has been helpful!

  35. #35
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    Huge thanks to Chris2fur. I picked up a 2013 SID World Cup that had never seen a service--the seals were so stuck that I thought that the former owner had epoxied the seals to keep air from leaking.

    After almost 5 hours of struggling to remove the seals using pry tool, dremel, and exacto knife, I threw the lowers into a pot of boiling water and heard a subtle pop about 15 minutes later. That sound must've been separation, since the steel band and aluminum lowers have different coefficients of thermal expansion. The seals were extracted in seconds after that.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzylog1c View Post
    Huge thanks to Chris2fur. I picked up a 2013 SID World Cup that had never seen a service--the seals were so stuck that I thought that the former owner had epoxied the seals to keep air from leaking.

    After almost 5 hours of struggling to remove the seals using pry tool, dremel, and exacto knife, I threw the lowers into a pot of boiling water and heard a subtle pop about 15 minutes later. That sound must've been separation, since the steel band and aluminum lowers have different coefficients of thermal expansion. The seals were extracted in seconds after that.

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