We have heard from a few people recently who are looking to tackle a fork seal replacement while they are stuck at home. This is a great task to take on at home because the entire job can be accomplished with basic garage tools with one exception. The fork seal is a press fit into the fork tube and is commonly installed with a tool called a “fork seal driver.” Most of us usually don’t have a fork seal driver available at home so we need to come up with something. Some are successful with careful use of a screwdriver, but you can very easily damage the new seal or the fork itself that way. The good news is that you can build a home-made fork seal driver with some common garage supplies.
The best material for this job is something soft enough to not damage the steel or aluminum of the fork but hard enough to firmly seat the fork seal. PVC pipe is a great material for the job and most folks have a little of it floating around. You will also need a saw to cut the material, but any hacksaw or wood saw will do.
How to build a fork seal driver:
- Get a piece of PVC pipe that is roughly the same diameter as your fork seal.
- Use the saw to cut the PCV pipe to about 3 inches long.
- Cut the 3” section into two ‘half-pipe’ strips so it can be assembled over the fork leg.
Now you can use a hammer with a piece of wood or brass drift to seat the fork seal firmly by tapping on the PVC fork seal driver. The PVC and wood will keep the hammer away from the fork parts and the seal itself free from damage.
NOTE – if your PVC pipe is much larger or smaller than your fork seal diameter you can cut it into many more than two strips and use a hose clamp or two to hold the pieces together around the fork tube when you are driving the fork seal into place.