How to Change Fork Seals on a Yamaha V Star 1100

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Keeping your V Star 1100 in its peak operating condition requires much more than an oil change every now and then. A watchful eye must be kept on the motorcycle's fork, which relies on an oil-damping system to compensate for changes in the road's surface. Although the V Star's fork is fairly durable, the seals that keep the oil within the fork legs are susceptible to wear over time. A slick, oily film on the fork's tubes is the first sign of trouble. If you spot a leak, don't ride your motorcycle until the fork seals have been replaced.

Things You'll Need

  • Service lift or jack
  • 10-, 12-, 17- and 22-mm sockets
  • Socket wrench
  • 6- and 8-mm Allen wrenches
  • Soft-jawed vise
  • Container
  • Flat screwdriver
  • 10W fork oil
  • Fork seals
  • Support the motorcycle on a service lift or jack. Remove the front brake caliper from the lower fork legs using a 12-mm socket and a socket wrench. Loosen the pinch bolt of the bottom of the right lower fork leg with a 12-mm socket wrench. Unscrew the front axle with a 17-mm socket, then pull it out from the front fork and wheel. Roll the wheel away from the motorcycle. Unscrew the front fender's bolts with a 10-mm socket, then remove the fender from the fork legs.

  • Remove one fork leg at a time. Loosen the pinch bolts on the upper and lower fork clamps using a 6-mm Allen wrench. Loosen the bolt on the rear of the forward turn signal assembly, positioned on the upper fork tube and just above the lower fork clamp, using a 10-mm socket. Pull the fork leg out from the bottom of the fork clamps and place it in a soft-jawed vise, facing the fork's top cap upward.

  • Unscrew the top cap from the upper fork tube using a 22-mm socket. Maintain a downward pressure on the the top cap to prevent it from being flung outward by the fork's internal spring. Remove the top cap and pull the cap's washer, the fork spring and the spring seat out of the upper fork tube.

  • Remove the fork leg from your vise. Hold the top of the fork tube over a container and pour out the fork's oil supply. Pump the fork tube repeatedly to force out any trapped oil. Place the lower fork leg horizontally into your vise.

  • Slide the fork spring into the fork tube, then loosely screw the top cap into place with a 22-mm socket. Push the fork tube into the lower fork leg and hold it in place. Unscrew the damper rod bolt, positioned at the bottom of the fork leg, using an 8-mm Allen wrench. Release the fork tube and remove the top cap and spring.

  • Pull the rubber dust boot off of the top of the lower fork leg and slide it off of the upper fork tube. Pry out the oil seal circlip from the top of the fork leg with a flat screwdriver. Remove the fork tube from the lower fork leg, using a back-and-forth motion to pull the tube, fork seal and damping rod out of the fork leg. Pull the seal off of the fork tube.

  • Coat the bottom of the fork tube with fresh 10W fork oil, then slide it into the lower fork leg. Reinsert the fork spring into the fork tube, then loosely screw the top cap into place with a 22-mm socket. Push the fork tube into the lower fork leg and hold it in place. Screw the damper rod bolt into the bottom of the fork leg using an 8-mm Allen wrench. Release the fork tube and remove the top cap.

  • Coat a new fork seal with 10W fork oil and slide it down the fork tube. Seat the fork seal with a seal driver, then slip the seal's circlip into place. Slide the rubber dust boot down the fork tube and onto the top of the lower fork leg.

  • Remove the fork leg from your vise, then pour up to 15.5 fluid oz. of 10W fork oil into the top of the fork tube. Screw the top cap into place with a 22-mm socket. Slide the fork tube up and through the motorcycle's fork clamps. Tighten the fork clamp pinch bolts with a 6-mm Allen wrench. Tighten the froward turn signal assembly's bolt with a 10-mm socket.

  • Replace the remaining fork's seal following the method shown above. Reinstall the fork leg. Reassemble the front wheel, brake calipers and fender in the reverse order of removal.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid riding your V Star 1100 if it has a leaking fork seal. Fork oil is extremely slick and can drip onto the front wheel, potentially leading to a loss of control.

References

  • "The Professional Motorcycle Repair Program"; Professional Career Development Institute; 1995
  • "Yamaha XVS1100(A)Y Service Manual"; Yamaha Motor Corp.; 2003
  • "Yamaha XVS1100(L) Service Manual"; Yamaha Motor Corp.; 1999
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