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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having my fork seals replaced on my recently purchased 1997 VN750 due to the dust covers rotting/ cracking. I was told by one mechanic (I'll call him Tom) that I should just ride and never mess with them until I get an oil leak. Another mechanic, (Jim) stated that I can do that if I want to but he wouldn't recommend it. He further explained that since the bike is a 97 and the dust covers are rotting/ cracking it's very likely the fork has never been properly maintained or worked on. He is a licensed DMV Inspection/ repair shop and also stated that the forks should be done every 5K miles in order to keep them in excellent working order. He is charging me $47.00 for parts, (which I guess are the seals, dust covers and oil) and $120.00 for labor.

In addition to the fork work he is going to "go through the whole bike" to make sure it's functioning properly. He said he would check the electrical system & recharging system, cooling system, emissions, idle, engine, axles, frame, controls, brakes, etc, etc. This is my 1st bike and I'm not very familiar with repair/ maintenance costs. I don't mind him being reasonably profitable. Having said that, am I paying a fair price?
 

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HAWK
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2,576 Posts
Every 5K is a little much.
IF your dust seals are cracking then your seals are probability original. If they are not leaking then you don't have to do anything but they will start leaking eventually.
Here is a how to fork seals.
http://bulldogsbike.com/forkseals.htm
If you just want to change the fluid just take the caps off and drain out the olsd from the screw on the bottom.
not really to hard if you are mechanically inclined.
The price is not to bad if you want to pay for it.
 

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I tend to be a bit pessimistic, and can't help but wonder if him "going over the bike" isn't gonna reveal something else he recommends needs doing at your expense.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your input guys. I was wondering. I do agree every 5K is a little too much maintenance. However, wouldn't it make sense for me to have it done at 14,400 miles if it was never done in the last 13 years? I am going to watch him perform the job so that I can learn how to do it AND be present for the "making sure it's in tip top shape" inspections, because I too am very skeptical. Lastly, if he happens to discover any deficiencies I am absolutely going to get 2nd & 3rd opinions from other shops before having anything else done.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ccspinner - the link you posted was great. Very nice pics and instructions. Having seen what those guys went through for 4 hours, I'd much rather pay an expert at this point and rest assured that I wont have left over, missing or broken parts. I also don't have anyone to help me out, so this time I think I'll sit this one out and pay to watch. Thanks
 

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Ccspinner - the link you posted was great. Very nice pics and instructions. Having seen what those guys went through for 4 hours, I'd much rather pay an expert at this point and rest assured that I wont have left over, missing or broken parts. I also don't have anyone to help me out, so this time I think I'll sit this one out and pay to watch. Thanks
Sorry to burst your bubble, but IMO, the ONLY WAY to "rest assured that I wont have left over, missing or broken parts" is to do it yourself. I used to do minor vehicle maintenance on cages and saw some really screwed up work done by "professionals".

This guy may be quite competent, but there are plenty of stories here about those that aren't. One guy had a problem that several shops, including at least one dealership, gave varying diagnosis for. An independent bike mechanic finally discovered a part had been improperly installed at the factory!

If you get a service manual, follow the instructions and pictures, and/or find a tutorial here on the forum, unless you have two left hands and are illiterate, you should be able to work on just about anything on the bike.
 

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Columbus, Ohio
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523 Posts
I think the 15k is BS. If you are the sort who normally would pay for work, his price is not that bad, especially if his "thorough checkout" is real. If you stand there and watch the whole thing, and he shows you what he finds to be wrong, complete with bad parts, it sounds like a deal to me. If you are handy, but can afford it, it still sounds ok. Shop rates should be between $70 and $100 (guessing, here) so he is charging a couple hours for a several hour job. And you will stand there to make sure it is a several hour job (if he allows it).
Some guys will work all day on their bikes to save a little money. Some guys don't have a choice.
 

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Undercover Sportbiker
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I think that the $120 price seems fair. But having done fork seals, I can say for certain I would never pay someone else to do it. While it may *seem* complicated, it's actually laughably simple. Even more so if you have an extra set of hands to help. The #1 trick is to loosen everything (break the bolts loose) ***before*** you take the forks off the bike.
 
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