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1995 R100RT: Need advice on Fork Seals, Progressive Springs, Gaiters & Steering Head Bearings  

Joe Hall
(@joe-hall)
Active Member Expired Membership

My recently acquired R100RT has leaking fork seals, which contaminated the brake pads. It also has a bit of head shake if I take my hands off the bars at 35-45 MPH, and dives way too much for me when braking hard. So I plan to do the job once and do it right: replace fork seals; install Progressive springs; replace brake pads (with Galfer HH); remove the fairing-to-fork seals and install gaiters; inspect, clean and adjust the steering head bearings, and check for stiction at the axle. With only 26,000 miles on the bike, I am hoping it won't need new steering bearings, but will replace them if needed. 

To prepare for the job I have gathered: 11 rib gaiters & clamps, Progressive springs, All Balls fork seals, brake pads, 

Still need to order: ACDelo P-80 Emulsion rubber lube, and Loc-Tite 518 Gasket Maker (if y'all say I need to). Also need to order the roll pins to vent the gators (anyone have a part number or size?) I also plan to use either 7.5 wt. fork oil or Valvoline power steering fluid (depending on your recommendations).  

QUESTIONS: Is there anything else I need to order in preparation? 

Can someone please walk me through the processes of the above, especially disassembly and reassembly regarding the fork seals? Also, correct amount of fork oil, and how to measure? Over the decades I have worked on a few Harleys' forks, and installed Progressive springs in a few Airheads, back in the day when I rode them, but the newest one was 1982. I know this 1995 RT likely has several key differences I need to know, going in. Plus it's been a few decades since I worked on a BMW front end. 

Thanks in advance.

Joe Hall

   

Quote
Topic starter Posted : 11/02/2020 10:40
Scot Marburger
(@8166)
Member Moderator

You'll find several articles relating to those topics up at my gunsmoke.com site, especially in the section on my '95 R100RT.

As far as recommendations go, I've been very happy with Wilburs fork springs and rear shock, which Ted Porter set up to work together. I've also installed a stiffer top clamp; if I had it to do over I'd get one from Oshmo.

The steering head bearings can be sourced from a bearing supply house at considerable savings over the BMW dealer, but I purchased BMW gaiters and am happy with the way they work. I've only used AllBalls bearings on one bike, and don't have enough miles on them yet to say anything about durability.You'll likely end up adjusting the steering head bearings multiple times, as they settle into the races they get loose and need tightening again. The head shake at that speed is caused by steering head bearings that are either too loose or are Brinelled. Once you get it apart you'll know, but even at that low mileage if they've been ridden loose for much time at all, the bearings will need replacing.

If you remove the center fairing panel and front wheel, you can drop the forks as a unit. But since you're replacing fork seals, there's not much advantage in doing that, and the fork legs are easier to handle one at a time.

What you going to use the Gasket Maker on? I've standardized on 3Bond products for cylinder bases and such, but don't recall any applications for it on the front end. Same with the rubber lube.

 

Hope that helps, and good luck with your repairs.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 11/06/2020 12:58
Joe Hall liked
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator

My experience has been that the bearings are in good shape, but the grease itself has oxidized and solidified over time. And by the term "the grease" I mean all the grease in every location. It shows up first in the head post bearings because that confines the steering and keeps the bike from self-correcting as you roll down the road. But the same thing is happening in your wheel bearings, swing arm bearings, and steering dampener adjustment mechanism.

The swing arm is easy. All you need to do is use the correct grease gun nozzle and pump in new grease. The head post is a little more work since the triple tree has to be slid down and bearings washed in-place. But you can remove the front wheel, central part of the fairing and fork crown, then access both top and bottom bearings.

 

This will take you about 4 hours if you have all the tools ready. The hard part is finding some water-proof grease that is extremely tenacious. That is, you don't want to have the grease washed out by rain or running out on hot days.

This has been covered twice in the last year with additional info. Use the SEARCH function.

Hope this helps.

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 11/06/2020 16:29
Joe Hall liked
Joe Hall
(@joe-hall)
Active Member Expired Membership

@8166 I stumbled onto your gunsmoke site a few months ago, and consider it a treasure trove, especially since I now have a 95 R100RT. Your site is saved to favorites, and I have perused every section. Mine is an early 95 RT, born in December 1994 (VIN last four is 301). It has the screw in fork spring retainers, whereas yours has the later type held in place by circles. Other than that, they both seem identical. 

Mine came with an RDL, with backrest, and it fits as if it were custom made for me. You bought a 24" (actual 23.5") Slipstreamer windshield for yours, whereas mine has a 22" (21.5") Slpstreamer, which also fits as if it were made for me. I like to look over the shield, and can easily do so if I sit straight up. 

As for the forks, I now have everything needed except the gaiters. I ordered those from Porter a couple of weeks ago, but they seem hopelessly lost in shipment. I shoulda known to avoid USPS shipping, as I have had terrible luck with them over the last year. I am about to give up and just get them from Bob's, but he does not list the 11 rib version, which is what I want. 

Thanks much for answering here, and for your excellent gunsmoke site! 

Joe Hall

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 11/09/2020 08:05
Scot Marburger
(@8166)
Member Moderator

You sound ready to launch into that project, Joe. Please let us know how it goes, OK?

Thanks for the kind words about gunsmoke. It's my electronic memory, needed more every day as CRS seems to advance more rapidly with each passing month. 🤣 

For the record, I replaced the stock windshield with a Clearview. Last year while crossing the Tehachape Mountains in very strong wind, the bottom part of the shield broke out of its mounts, sliding up my arms until it was caught by my body. I was doing 75 or so at the time, and I literally had my hands full getting the bike pulled to the side of the road safely. I'm not a litter bug, but I also didn't have anything else I could do with that worthless piece of plastic, so it got sailed off down the embankment to where it couldn't do any further damage. It was a cold and noisy ride home, but at least I got there in one piece.

The Clearview has since been replaced by a Parabellum, which uses its own mount and much more substantial fasteners. I've not herd of the Slipstreamer, but the Parabellum came highly recommended and so far has worked out fine.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 11/09/2020 10:22
Joe Hall
(@joe-hall)
Active Member Expired Membership

@8166

Not sure who made my windshield now. I took a pic to the trademark label, and do not recognize it. It looks identical to yours, albeit starting to peel and flake. Here's a pic of the trademark.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 11/09/2020 15:46
Scot Marburger
(@8166)
Member Moderator

That's the National Cycle logo.

http://www.nationalcycle.com/

ReplyQuote
Posted : 11/22/2020 13:55
Joe Hall liked
James Bussell
(@10385)
Eminent Member Expired Membership

I was thinking the R100 came with thirteen rib gaiters...(either will work)...

This post was modified 2 months ago by James Bussell
ReplyQuote
Posted : 11/29/2020 09:30
James Bussell
(@10385)
Eminent Member Expired Membership

I second guessed myself and looked it up and it is ass backwards...the earlier airheads came with thirteen ribs, and later came with eleven...(sigh) wrong again... 🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted : 11/30/2020 09:17
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator
Posted by: @10385

I second guessed myself and looked it up and it is ass backwards...the earlier airheads came with thirteen ribs, and later came with eleven...(sigh) wrong again... 🙂

Hold on there, mister !

Making mistakes is MY job. I'll be the one to make all the mistakes on this forum. 

😋 

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

ReplyQuote
Posted : 12/01/2020 06:56
Joe Hall
(@joe-hall)
Active Member Expired Membership

I wanna thank everyone who contributed to this thread. I read and re-read each post, watched several YT videos, and poked around on other forums. Then, I tackled the front end yesterday, and it seemed as if I'd recently done it all before, thanks to y'all and some other folks. I found the steering head bearings still good, so just cleaned and lubed them. I had Ted's BMW gaiters, and Ranchos on hand, and wound up using the Ranchos; they fit better, and easier to work with due to being more pliable. When I say fit better, I mean they are skinnier (outer OD), so have a bit more clearance from the cavity in the fairing.

Of course mission creep has set in, while I'm at it might as well: install an Omega 600 watt alternator; install a good used Bosch starter (the Valero is making weird sounds after I release the button); install a 35L tail trunk from a 1991 KLT; space the handlebars up and back a bit more (already installed bar-backs). As of today, I am at a standstill, awaiting more parts. Once parts are in, I estimate another 6-8 hours and she'll be back on the road. I also need to install new tires, front and rear, so maybe 8-10 hours.

I usually ride year round here in the mild Kentucky climate, but need electric clothing head to foot when temps drop much below 50. The Omega was painful, but really the only way to go. I never had any problems out of a Bosch starter, so decided to just get away from the Valero and go with what I know works. Used Bosch starters are common as house flies on eBay, so keeping my fingers crossed when this one shows up in the mail.  

Thanks Again Folks!

Joe H

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 12/02/2020 14:52
Joe Hall
(@joe-hall)
Active Member Expired Membership

My 1995 RT does, indeed, have the snap ring retainers for the fork springs. To remove the old springs and install new Progressives, I found it easy to use a long screwdriver and press the retainer down with my chest and hold it there, while removing the snap ring with a pick. I folded a shop towel several times to use as a cushion between my chest and the screwdriver handle. Wouldn't wanna do that everyday but it worked OK, and no soreness today.  

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Topic starter Posted : 12/02/2020 15:46
Joe Hall
(@joe-hall)
Active Member Expired Membership

I wrapped up the front end rebuild today, though not really a major rebuild as much as catching up routine maintenance, I suppose. The steering head bearings were OK, and just needed cleanup and repacking; for gaiters, I wound up using the Rancho RS1952s. The brake pads were soiled, so they were replaced with Galfer's HH sintered. Also replaced the front tire, mainly to get rid of the Kenda, which was about 2/3rds worn out anyway. I replaced it with an AM26 MKII, and 100/90 size instead of the, "correct" 90/90. I have not taken the bike off the lift yet, due to other ongoing work, but looking forward to suspension improvement when I do. 

Kenda was a bad experience. Both front and rear tires had less than 100 miles when I bought the bike; the rear was down to the cord 3500 miles later (see attached pic), and the front was 2/3rds worn out. I replaced the rear with a Bridgestone Spitfire, but next time will likely opt for a BT45. 

I have also installed the Omega 600 watt kit, and was impressed with how well thought out it was, and ease of installation. I also removed the entire PAS, but waiting on a left side fuel petcock to arrive from Ted Porter. Also waiting on a new Valejo starter from Moto Electric. Trying to address everything in one fell swoop so, hopefully, when the bike comes off the lift it won't need anything but riding for awhile.    

This post was modified 2 months ago by Joe Hall
ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 12/10/2020 21:31
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator

1. Remember that modern tires run 10-15% higher air pressures than what your original owner's manual or various stickers on the bike might be telling you. I got terrible mileage from modern tires until I started using the higher pressures they required.

2. The Airhead head post bearings aren't like other bikes. The presence of tapered roller bearings calls for a pre-load that bikes with ball bearings don't use. And you'll want to check that again after 100 miles.

Hope this helps.

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

ReplyQuote
Posted : 12/11/2020 07:48
Joe Hall liked

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