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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi.

I have a fox fork f rlc 100, 2008. After 2500km and not so many rains, mainly dry weather, the seals are starting to leak more oil than normal. I mean, when it was new the stanchios were covered by a film of oil, now they are covered with a little film of oil, and also the base of the seals collect oil, to the point of having like a "little lake" of two or three drops of suspension oil.

Is that normal?. That only happends after a 3-4 hours hard racing or training ride.

After the oil change (I replaced the stock oil with Putoline 7wt) it does it more frecuently and in more quanty than before. Also, I don`t think it could be the oil because it hasn`t any seal swelling or seal"----" propertys...

Any thoughs?

thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Should I expect a change in performance of the fork with this "excessive" amount of oil coming oout?. I don`t want to damage anything inside because of running it without enough suspension oil.

Thanks guys!
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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The reason it happens is because fox doesn't really use oil seals. Oil seals are usually held in by a c-clip or some other type of retaining device. They are below the dust-seal and seperate. This is what RS and Marzocchi have used for years, as well as what every MX fork has. With this type of seal the more pressure that builds up inside the fork, the harder the seal gets pressed against the stanchion, so it usually works pretty well.

For some reason Fox wanted to be different and use an "all in one" approach. There is no dedicated oil seal, the seal that is visible is supposed to hold in the oil and operate as the "dust seal". There isn't much holding the seals in, at least compared to the amount of force a traditional system puts up with.

Enduro seals are better than the stock seals, but it's still an imperfect solution given how fox chose to try and seal their forks.

PUSH will machine a grove in the fork to allow proper oil seals to be installed, it's part of their service and if you really like the fork, it may be a good idea.

As long as you refill a little suspension oil, you won't notice a performance decrease, but you have to know how much may have leaked out. If you lose damping (the fork compresses or extends way too fast) you need more oil in the damping-leg. You dno't want the fork to run "dry", but that's unlikely if it's just a little bit of oil that is seeping out. The worst thing that can possibly happen is that it will dribble oil down onto the brake pads or rotor, contaminating your pads and requiring you to clean the rotor and buy new pads. It would also bring your front brake performance to zero, so if it happened on a ride or suddenly it could be dangerous. It depends on how much is leaking and exactly how.
 

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Jayem has it right. The Fox "wipers" are designed to keep big chunks of dirt out and control the amount of oil that leaks out. In the case of the 36 I have, if the foam is not there to first wipe the stanchion as it makes its way to the seal, it will have a bigger leak.

There is a pitfall if you have more than normal weepage that's only supposed to slick the stanchions: dirt can be introduced into the seal and when it packs, it will scrape against the stanchion and wear it prematurely.

Running it excessively low can also cause premature bushing and stanchion wear, obviously. If it's a large amount of oil, I'd still be concerned with dirt sticking and being packed into the seal.

I'd start from scratch and get enduros or get the mod from Push for the RS seals. I've long liked these forks, including my own, but even when everything about them was right, it always amazed me how wrong the seals were. One can truly make those forks like a zoke with nice oil baths, but the fact that they are designed to weep oil and the seals need to be constantly cleaned makes them not so.

In fact, there was a post about a rider with a 36 in the Alps for part of a year. In that time, with such small baths in the 36, I can't imagine he had much oil left due to how much weeps. Of course, he was told he needs new bushings and stanchions.
 

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Jayem said:
The reason it happens is because fox doesn't really use oil seals. Oil seals are usually held in by a c-clip or some other type of retaining device. They are below the dust-seal and seperate. This is what RS and Marzocchi have used for years, as well as what every MX fork has. With this type of seal the more pressure that builds up inside the fork, the harder the seal gets pressed against the stanchion, so it usually works pretty well.

For some reason Fox wanted to be different and use an "all in one" approach. There is no dedicated oil seal, the seal that is visible is supposed to hold in the oil and operate as the "dust seal". There isn't much holding the seals in, at least compared to the amount of force a traditional system puts up with.

Enduro seals are better than the stock seals, but it's still an imperfect solution given how fox chose to try and seal their forks.

PUSH will machine a grove in the fork to allow proper oil seals to be installed, it's part of their service and if you really like the fork, it may be a good idea.

As long as you refill a little suspension oil, you won't notice a performance decrease, but you have to know how much may have leaked out. If you lose damping (the fork compresses or extends way too fast) you need more oil in the damping-leg. You dno't want the fork to run "dry", but that's unlikely if it's just a little bit of oil that is seeping out. The worst thing that can possibly happen is that it will dribble oil down onto the brake pads or rotor, contaminating your pads and requiring you to clean the rotor and buy new pads. It would also bring your front brake performance to zero, so if it happened on a ride or suddenly it could be dangerous. It depends on how much is leaking and exactly how.
RS used to use a seperate oil and dust seal but they have been all in one seals with a foam wiper for a while now too but theirs still seals oil better than fox's. I think they just use more pressure, and they are a pain to install (super tight) so thats why they dont use a retaining clip cause the force necessary to get them out is less then the friction on the stanchions, so they stay in unless you get an air leak from the air spring into the stanchions then it will blow out rather quickly : )
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Jesse Hill said:
RS used to use a seperate oil and dust seal but they have been all in one seals with a foam wiper for a while now too but theirs still seals oil better than fox's.
It depends on the fork, some still are that way, and not all of the old RS seals were always the best, but those were not the main points.

It must be weight though, it's a lighter setup to do it that way. It's a dumb place to save weight though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks a lot to all of the people who gave me the real technical explanation. Well, I already buyed the enduro seals, I`m just waiting for the person who I sent them comes to my country...until then I will keep riding the fork to see if it progress in a good way. I have removed the seals and cleaned everything inside (using the dust wiper seal lubrication procedure described in the fox technical manual), I will like to get those stock seals working but if they are so crappy I think the best long term solution is replacing them.

The other concern is the "running dry" thing...but I think that if it has lost 5cc or 10cc is too much. I think that man at the Alps having to replace almost the entire fork was running REALLY dry?...How much oil could you loose until performance is compromised and fork damaged?

thanks guys!
 

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It's pretty amazing and such small things as the seals can become massive shortcomings in otherwise fantastic forks. The seals only have a priority to keeping large chunks of stuff out, but don't forget that large chunks are made of smaller particles and the tiny particles are the ones that get by.

The only priority of these seals is to keep those large chunks out, making low friction the advantage of this huge tradeoff. To be honest, if you keep your fork lubed, turn it upside down sometimes, and grease the seals, one would be hard-pressed to notice a difference. Once my enduros broke in, I barely even notice the fork, and that's a good thing. I don't want to have to add oil all the time, worry about the bath running dry, or grit ruining the stanchions.

A parallel is the WTB Laser Disc Lite hub. The hub, and it's counterparts from American Classic and other relabeled makes, is designed with nothing more in the priority than fast spinning. Thusly, the pawls are cam activated and don't trace the ratchet ring and only a piece of wire contacts the cam. Additionally, the hubs are NOT SEALED. They have some poorly fitting caps on the ends of the axles, but in the explanation given to me by WTB, they said the hub was designed only with fast rolling as a priority and if you expected to get a hub that was maintenance free like many others, then it was the wrong selection. They claimed most of the failures they've seen are due to lack of maintenance. So they sacrificed durability and maintenance for smooth rolling (odd, since the Hopes and the DT's I have roll fantastic). Not a valid tradeoff, IMO.

Make sure to grease the seals really well and put a glob of grease under the dust seal when you get it for constant direct lube between oil changes. Every few months, it's good to clean around the Enduro's dust seal first, then pop it off and grease the pocket underneath. Keeps things protected and running smoothly.
 

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Jerk_Chicken said:
It's pretty amazing and such small things as the seals can become massive shortcomings in otherwise fantastic forks. The seals only have a priority to keeping large chunks of stuff out, but don't forget that large chunks are made of smaller particles and the tiny particles are the ones that get by.

The only priority of these seals is to keep those large chunks out, making low friction the advantage of this huge tradeoff. To be honest, if you keep your fork lubed, turn it upside down sometimes, and grease the seals, one would be hard-pressed to notice a difference. Once my enduros broke in, I barely even notice the fork, and that's a good thing. I don't want to have to add oil all the time, worry about the bath running dry, or grit ruining the stanchions.

A parallel is the WTB Laser Disc Lite hub. The hub, and it's counterparts from American Classic and other relabeled makes, is designed with nothing more in the priority than fast spinning. Thusly, the pawls are cam activated and don't trace the ratchet ring and only a piece of wire contacts the cam. Additionally, the hubs are NOT SEALED. They have some poorly fitting caps on the ends of the axles, but in the explanation given to me by WTB, they said the hub was designed only with fast rolling as a priority and if you expected to get a hub that was maintenance free like many others, then it was the wrong selection. They claimed most of the failures they've seen are due to lack of maintenance. So they sacrificed durability and maintenance for smooth rolling (odd, since the Hopes and the DT's I have roll fantastic). Not a valid tradeoff, IMO.

Make sure to grease the seals really well and put a glob of grease under the dust seal when you get it for constant direct lube between oil changes. Every few months, it's good to clean around the Enduro's dust seal first, then pop it off and grease the pocket underneath. Keeps things protected and running smoothly.
Hey Jerk, I was talking with Fox and they specifically mentioned that the enduro seals are not recommended and that they will eat away the stanchions at a rapid rate. I have had enduros on my TALAS for maybe 2 months and they blame my stanchion wear on just those two months. Personally, I think that is BS and believe that FOX puts out crappy stuff that is way over rated. I still think the original Bombers (Z1, Z2, etc) were the best forks ever made. Worked great and are indestructible.
 

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I think it's BS as well. I spoke to Fox, I spoke to Chris2fur at Enduro about this as well. If they do wear the stanchions, then Fox should make the coatings harder, simply put. There are plenty of people on stock seals that have worn through the coatings, something nearly absent with Zoke or other companies using better sealing systems.

To prevent possible wear, as I mentioned, it's important to put some grease underneath the dust cap. Since the dust cap fits fairly snug, it only allows a small amount of this grease in an nearly imperceptible amount to coat the stanchion. Over long rides, one might note the dust rings as further evidence. It's something along the lines of when one degreases the stanchions and they are not slick to the touch with a finger, slipping and sticking. If one puts just a bit of oil on, and wipes it off as much as they can, the stanchion surface allows your finger to glide.

As I said, Fox has plenty of problems with stanchions wearing with stock seals, and I believe this happens due to problems I've mentioned in this thread, as well as others. It's nice to have that controlled weepage to slick the stanchions, but in practice, it really doesn't help with the wear.

As far as crappy stuff, I won't say you're right or wrong, but I do like their stuff, find the company people arrogant, lazy, and deceptive. Overrated, perhaps, but I actually like my 36 quite a bit, but as I said, they make good stuff, then have shortcomings in some areas that turn out to be bigger ones due to secondary issues they cause. It took me one year to learn about tuning and tinkering with my 36 RC2 TALAS to give full travel and understand why the TALAS II sucked. At Eurobike, I spoke to the Fox techs from the US at Toxiholics, and believe me, they were with industry friends, so I'm not going to bash them for no reason, but the guy I spoke to was completely clueless and acted more like a QVC spokesman in trying to sell me a Talas III. I spoke to him of how my fork stuck down ONCE, and never did it again. He then immediately went to sell me a TIII unit, citing how much better it is. Every year everything is better for them, isn't it? Every year they talk about how they sorted out TALAS, how they fixed the Bottom OUt control, how they improved mid-stroke, and next year, marking my words, it will be more of the same things they fixed. And people believe it. First lie is that the 08 has incredible BO control that in fact, limits travel. Then the TALAS system isn't even linear, as the name implies, as there is too severe ramping at the end of the stroke to get full travel, even with no Bottom out on the RC2 side. The resolution was to remove the IFP air because that was charged too high and became a secondary chamber too progressive on its own, preventing full travel. Waiting and removing this air charge rewarded me with a fork that truly does feel like a coil, and even moreso than the Zoke Coil/low pressure air assist models, like my Z1. I've never had a fork this linear and it feels fantastic. Now low and behold, Fox has now removed all of that and made the TALASIII slightly progressive and now there's no bottom out assembly? That's why I'm skeptical and why I call them deceptive and I recommend people get 08's NOS closeouts, either as Vans or TALAS models (Floats don't have BO assemblies in the damper). Let the air out of the TALAS IFP and you now have what they did on the 08, effectively, no need for an IFP tool, and your BO assembly on the damper side is set to high from the factory. The fork will now not wallow through travel and then turn into a brick in the last 40%.

I don't want to sound like an old fart, since I'm not, but Zoke had it right. I consider the Z1 Light RC2/Z1 Anniversary the culmination of everything they could do right, and extend this to the 06-07 66 models and the RC2x. The newer models promise more, but fail in execution and I keep hearing rumors off forum to wait one more year, which was confirmed on board by someone who has another inside contact.

RS- I could have had problems had I gotten one, but I don't know. At least they go out of their way to make good for the customer, while Fox pretends they are privileged and you must pay to get helped.

Maggie is good, though the US side doesn't seize and push their forks, especially the Wotan. I mentioned this to execs at Magura Germany at Eurobike and they sat down with me and heard my opinion on the US market for their forks.

Manitou- I hope they can come back in a few years. I haven't been a fan in the past, though I wasn't an RS fan either, and look at the turnaround SRAM made with them.

Sorry for the rant! I believe the Enduro accelerated wear is BS.
 

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Jerk_Chicken said:
I think it's BS as well. I spoke to Fox, I spoke to Chris2fur at Enduro about this as well. If they do wear the stanchions, then Fox should make the coatings harder, simply put. There are plenty of people on stock seals that have worn through the coatings, something nearly absent with Zoke or other companies using better sealing systems.

To prevent possible wear, as I mentioned, it's important to put some grease underneath the dust cap. Since the dust cap fits fairly snug, it only allows a small amount of this grease in an nearly imperceptible amount to coat the stanchion. Over long rides, one might note the dust rings as further evidence. It's something along the lines of when one degreases the stanchions and they are not slick to the touch with a finger, slipping and sticking. If one puts just a bit of oil on, and wipes it off as much as they can, the stanchion surface allows your finger to glide.

As I said, Fox has plenty of problems with stanchions wearing with stock seals, and I believe this happens due to problems I've mentioned in this thread, as well as others. It's nice to have that controlled weepage to slick the stanchions, but in practice, it really doesn't help with the wear.

As far as crappy stuff, I won't say you're right or wrong, but I do like their stuff, find the company people arrogant, lazy, and deceptive. Overrated, perhaps, but I actually like my 36 quite a bit, but as I said, they make good stuff, then have shortcomings in some areas that turn out to be bigger ones due to secondary issues they cause. It took me one year to learn about tuning and tinkering with my 36 RC2 TALAS to give full travel and understand why the TALAS II sucked. At Eurobike, I spoke to the Fox techs from the US at Toxiholics, and believe me, they were with industry friends, so I'm not going to bash them for no reason, but the guy I spoke to was completely clueless and acted more like a QVC spokesman in trying to sell me a Talas III. I spoke to him of how my fork stuck down ONCE, and never did it again. He then immediately went to sell me a TIII unit, citing how much better it is. Every year everything is better for them, isn't it? Every year they talk about how they sorted out TALAS, how they fixed the Bottom OUt control, how they improved mid-stroke, and next year, marking my words, it will be more of the same things they fixed. And people believe it. First lie is that the 08 has incredible BO control that in fact, limits travel. Then the TALAS system isn't even linear, as the name implies, as there is too severe ramping at the end of the stroke to get full travel, even with no Bottom out on the RC2 side. The resolution was to remove the IFP air because that was charged too high and became a secondary chamber too progressive on its own, preventing full travel. Waiting and removing this air charge rewarded me with a fork that truly does feel like a coil, and even moreso than the Zoke Coil/low pressure air assist models, like my Z1. I've never had a fork this linear and it feels fantastic. Now low and behold, Fox has now removed all of that and made the TALASIII slightly progressive and now there's no bottom out assembly? That's why I'm skeptical and why I call them deceptive and I recommend people get 08's NOS closeouts, either as Vans or TALAS models (Floats don't have BO assemblies in the damper). Let the air out of the TALAS IFP and you now have what they did on the 08, effectively, no need for an IFP tool, and your BO assembly on the damper side is set to high from the factory. The fork will now not wallow through travel and then turn into a brick in the last 40%.

I don't want to sound like an old fart, since I'm not, but Zoke had it right. I consider the Z1 Light RC2/Z1 Anniversary the culmination of everything they could do right, and extend this to the 06-07 66 models and the RC2x. The newer models promise more, but fail in execution and I keep hearing rumors off forum to wait one more year, which was confirmed on board by someone who has another inside contact.

RS- I could have had problems had I gotten one, but I don't know. At least they go out of their way to make good for the customer, while Fox pretends they are privileged and you must pay to get helped.

Maggie is good, though the US side doesn't seize and push their forks, especially the Wotan. I mentioned this to execs at Magura Germany at Eurobike and they sat down with me and heard my opinion on the US market for their forks.

Manitou- I hope they can come back in a few years. I haven't been a fan in the past, though I wasn't an RS fan either, and look at the turnaround SRAM made with them.

Sorry for the rant! I believe the Enduro accelerated wear is BS.
I agree with most of what you have said. What I don't get is why and how the MTB community allows FOX to push this crap year after year. And yes, I find them to be the most arrogant SOB's when it comes to customer service.

I have a TALAS RLC with the TALAS II system. Fox has also highly recommended that I upgrade to the TALAS III system. Supposedly, according to FOX, the TALAS II system is highly finicky and hard to rebuild when it has problems. Hence their recommendation to not rebuild the TALAS II but move to the TALAS III - for over $200! Personally I wonder how much better it will be.

I can guaranty that my next fork will not be a FOX unit. I have used Manitou forks (only TPC) in the past and with some modification of the shim stack, these forks can give an amazing ride. Hell, I am thinking of dumping my Pushed RP23 and getting a Manitou Swinger 6 way and sending it to Avalanche to have it modified.

I have friends who have Rock Shox pikes and revolutions and they feels real nice as well.
 
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