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If that area is where the seal will ride, it will eat your fork seal and destroy rather quickly and cause a leak in your forks.
If you just bought it, I would return it. No need to look for NOS fork tubes, go to Forks By Frank. They make exact replacements. I've used them and have been happy with them.

Rob
 

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If you cant return the tubes - try polishing off the rust with metal polish and / or very fine scotch brite pad -- test an area at the top of the tubes first to make sure your cleaning weapons dont scratch the finish - run your finger nail across the cleaned areas - if you cant feel anything - you may be OK - but as Rob says ; any obvious pitting will damage the seal and cause oil leakage
 

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Hi Jeff,
NOS stanchion tube for a ‘68
Mmmm ... if it's hard-chromed, at best, it's a Triumph replacement - Triumph didn't chrome stanchions 'til '70-on (at worst obviously it's pattern :().

slight rust and pitting.
something that I should be concerned about?
If that area is where the seal will ride, it will eat your fork seal and destroy rather quickly and cause a leak in your forks.
+1.

try polishing off the rust with metal polish and / or very fine scotch brite pad
Fwiw, I use wire brushes with fine brass bristles (when I started using 'em, shoe shops sold 'em for cleaning suede; nowadays I can buy 'em in hardware and tool shops, just be careful not to buy brass-plated steel wire :(). Being soft, the bristles collapse quite quickly so I tend to have a small collection in various stages from new-ish to knackered. Brass bristles don't even damage decorative chrome so won't damage either hard-chrome or an unchromed surface.

obvious pitting will damage the seal and cause oil leakage
Ime, an actual "pit" - remaining in the stanchion surface after any rust or bubbled chrome has been removed - does allow oil leakage but won't actually damage the seal. Reason fork oil leaks is: when the suspension's compressing, once the seal's passed over the pit, oil is over the surface of the stanchion; when the suspension extends, the seal scrapes the oil off the stanchion surface but can't get into the pit, oil remaining in the pit 'leaks' after the seal has passed over it. :(

If you can't return the stanchion - and having it stripped, rechromed and reground is too expensive - and old dodge here in GB is: degrease and clean the pit(s) very, very thoroughly, mix up some 2-part epoxy glue ("Araldite" is one here in GB) and smear it into the pit(s), allow it to dry completely then sand the stanchion surface gently 'til the dried glue around the pit(s) has been removed. The pit(s) should remain filled with the glue so shouldn't fill with fork oil, the seal should slide as easily over the glue as it does over the rest of the stanchion's surface. (y)

Fwiw, I cover stanchions with beeswax polish intended for wooden furniture, I use a liquid that can be painted on liberally with a paintbrush. No worries if I'm not sure about areas where a seal will travel; first time the seal will simply push off the dried polish; where the seal doesn't travel (i.e. between the yokes and the small section below the bottom yoke), the polish remaining on the stanchion protects the chromed or unchromed surface. (y)

Hth.

Regards,
 

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One plus to using true brass brushes for gentle cleaning. I have one like StuartMac spoke of for brushing suede shoes. I also find long bristled style more like a toothbrush in the welding supply section of area farm stores. They are indeed gentle on chrome. I saved the small wire grill of my 69 Bonneville front brake using one. 15 minutes of work saved $40.00!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If that area is where the seal will ride, it will eat your fork seal and destroy rather quickly and cause a leak in your forks.
If you just bought it, I would return it. No need to look for NOS fork tubes, go to Forks By Frank. They make exact replacements. I've used them and have been happy with them.

Rob
Unfortunately I bought it years ago and I can't remember if that was the condition I purchased it in or due to improper storage. I have three others that are in tip top shape, and I purchased a spray on rust-inhibitor to protect them until I begin the rebuild process.

Thanks for the tip about Forks By Frank. Do his forks have the same tapering as the originals at top?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Jeff,

Mmmm ... if it's hard-chromed, at best, it's a Triumph replacement - Triumph didn't chrome stanchions 'til '70-on (at worst obviously it's pattern :().



+1.


Fwiw, I use wire brushes with fine brass bristles (when I started using 'em, shoe shops sold 'em for cleaning suede; nowadays I can buy 'em in hardware and tool shops, just be careful not to buy brass-plated steel wire :(). Being soft, the bristles collapse quite quickly so I tend to have a small collection in various stages from new-ish to knackered. Brass bristles don't even damage decorative chrome so won't damage either hard-chrome or an unchromed surface.


Ime, an actual "pit" - remaining in the stanchion surface after any rust or bubbled chrome has been removed - does allow oil leakage but won't actually damage the seal. Reason fork oil leaks is: when the suspension's compressing, once the seal's passed over the pit, oil is over the surface of the stanchion; when the suspension extends, the seal scrapes the oil off the stanchion surface but can't get into the pit, oil remaining in the pit 'leaks' after the seal has passed over it. :(

If you can't return the stanchion - and having it stripped, rechromed and reground is too expensive - and old dodge here in GB is: degrease and clean the pit(s) very, very thoroughly, mix up some 2-part epoxy glue ("Araldite" is one here in GB) and smear it into the pit(s), allow it to dry completely then sand the stanchion surface gently 'til the dried glue around the pit(s) has been removed. The pit(s) should remain filled with the glue so shouldn't fill with fork oil, the seal should slide as easily over the glue as it does over the rest of the stanchion's surface. (y)

Fwiw, I cover stanchions with beeswax polish intended for wooden furniture, I use a liquid that can be painted on liberally with a paintbrush. No worries if I'm not sure about areas where a seal will travel; first time the seal will simply push off the dried polish; where the seal doesn't travel (i.e. between the yokes and the small section below the bottom yoke), the polish remaining on the stanchion protects the chromed or unchromed surface. (y)

Hth.

Regards,
I would have hoped that the factory would have chosen stainless steel over hardened chrome, but perhaps it does not have the tensile strength of regular steel? What type of material/finish would a factory NOS stanchion tube have, and how to I know if it is hard-chromed or some other material?

Regarding the fingernail test, I can already feel a slight drag so I am not optimistic that a fine brass bristle brush will be of much help but will try that along with a fine Scotch-Brite pad. I made a pass with 0000 Steel Wool and that did not seem to help much.

Excellent tip about the epoxy and beeswax, Stu. Unfortunately I already purchased a can of LPS 3 Premier Rust Inhibitor which was going to be my rust-protection plan. Do you think I can also leave the forks covered with this post-installation?
 

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Hi Jeff,
would have hoped that the factory would have chosen stainless steel over hardened chrome,
Fifty-odd years ago, stainless metallurgy wasn't anything like as well-developed as it is now. Otoh, for much longer, hard-chrome plating was and still is a common low-friction, hard-wearing, corrosion-resistant industrial bearing surface - the roller and ball bearings and tracks in the engine and wheels will have varieties of it; the original Girling rear suspension units inners were hard-chromed long before Meriden started hard-chroming fork stanchions.

What type of material/finish would a factory NOS stanchion tube have,
Pre-'70, unplated steel (probably because Meriden reasoned the stanchion rusting was obscured by parts like gaiters, headlamp mountings, etc.). '70-on, hard-chromed steel.

fingernail test, I can already feel a slight drag so I am not optimistic that a fine brass bristle brush will be of much help
As I say, used with the necessary force, the bristles will collapse into a self-supporting mass; once that happens, the mass will remove exposed rust quickly, you'll know with only a few minutes scrubbing whether it'll remove hard-chrome bubbled by rust underneath or you'll have to get more medieval with that. Brass brush in this state is a good start because it won't mark or otherwise damage good hard-chrome no matter how much force you use.

0000 Steel Wool
Fwiw, I avoid steel wool, both on hard and rusty decorative chrome; the "wool" is bare steel, any shards that stick in the cleaned surface will rust. 😖

Excellent tip about the epoxy and beeswax,
LPS 3 Premier Rust Inhibitor which was going to be my rust-protection plan. Do you think I can also leave the forks covered with this post-installation?
Check how fork seals might react if they come in contact? Apart from that, see how it goes? If it doesn't work as well as hoped, you've another option. (y)

Hth,

Regards,
 

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Hi DU75389, Try rubbing them with wadded up aluminum foil. Followed by very fine scotch brite pad & oil. Clean well & see what you have.

Leak proof seals are sold for your early forks as well as the T140 type. I've not personally used them. But have on T140 with tubes that looked much worse from what I see in photo. Didn't leak. All you have to loose is time & some seals if they leak. But clean them & see what you get, then decide.

I don't know about stainless legs. Stainless doesn't work out so well as a bearing/sliding surface for the most part.
Don
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi DU75389, Try rubbing them with wadded up aluminum foil. Followed by very fine scotch brite pad & oil. Clean well & see what you have.

Leak proof seals are sold for your early forks as well as the T140 type. I've not personally used them. But have on T140 with tubes that looked much worse from what I see in photo. Didn't leak. All you have to loose is time & some seals if they leak. But clean them & see what you get, then decide.

I don't know about stainless legs. Stainless doesn't work out so well as a bearing/sliding surface for the most part.
Don
Hey Don, What does the aluminum foil accomplish that the brass bristle or scotch brite pad does not?
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Whats the usual travel on these tubes, from how far below the triple tree to the bottom?
 

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I've used JB Weld successfully to clean up forks prior to fitting no leak seals. Wipe it on sand off. Did a fine job on the 650.
 

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Unfortunately I bought it years ago and I can't remember if that was the condition I purchased it in or due to improper storage. I have three others that are in tip top shape, and I purchased a spray on rust-inhibitor to protect them until I begin the rebuild process.

Thanks for the tip about Forks By Frank. Do his forks have the same tapering as the originals at top?
i have franks forks on my 500, they are tapered and have functioning oil damping. Very well made in fact!
 

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Hi DU75389, I don't know how aluminum foil works. But it does. It pulls rust off. Maybe fills pits with aluminum to a degree?? Try it & see what happens. I learned about on youtube. You know how things pop up. I wasn't doing search for that, but polishing alloy.

I've used on on rusted, pitted Triumph chrome many times. Obviously there is a limit to what it can do, but I'm always surprised on how well it can work. I've used it on original T140 forks several times.

Used on like chrome headlight or fenders, go easy. Change it often or it will scratch the chrome. Simply jaw dropping how it can bring lightly rusted chrome back. Makes heavily rusted chrome look as good as it can get.

I'm always surprised at how well Leak Proof seals work on worn, pitted, grooved T140 forks. Leak Proof seals have a double wiping lip about 1/8" apart. Maybe that's the key?? I've never used them on dry frame forks. I've actually never had dry frame forks apart other than my Tiger Cub. That was nearly 40 years ago.

I've going to try Stuart's idea of using furniture polish on old chrome to protect it. I've just used car wax for automotive paint.

I've not seen any type oil or grease that damaged Leak Proof seals. I've used normal wheel bearing grease & moly grease, ATF & fork oil. All worked good.
Don
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I've used JB Weld successfully to clean up forks prior to fitting no leak seals. Wipe it on sand off. Did a fine job on the 650.
I have a hard time understanding how you can sand hardened chrome without scratching it and that those scratches cannot somehow be harmful to the oil seal. What am I missing?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi DU75389, I don't know how aluminum foil works. But it does. It pulls rust off. Maybe fills pits with aluminum to a degree?? Try it & see what happens. I learned about on youtube. You know how things pop up. I wasn't doing search for that, but polishing alloy.

I've used on on rusted, pitted Triumph chrome many times. Obviously there is a limit to what it can do, but I'm always surprised on how well it can work. I've used it on original T140 forks several times.

Used on like chrome headlight or fenders, go easy. Change it often or it will scratch the chrome. Simply jaw dropping how it can bring lightly rusted chrome back. Makes heavily rusted chrome look as good as it can get.

I'm always surprised at how well Leak Proof seals work on worn, pitted, grooved T140 forks. Leak Proof seals have a double wiping lip about 1/8" apart. Maybe that's the key?? I've never used them on dry frame forks. I've actually never had dry frame forks apart other than my Tiger Cub. That was nearly 40 years ago.

I've going to try Stuart's idea of using furniture polish on old chrome to protect it. I've just used car wax for automotive paint.

I've not seen any type oil or grease that damaged Leak Proof seals. I've used normal wheel bearing grease & moly grease, ATF & fork oil. All worked good.
Don
Any idea where those leak-free seals can be sourced?
 

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Hi DU75389, You can buy direct from Leak Proof. Or use their part # & search else where. I've only used the classic version, never the low friction. But I've only put them in T140 forks so far. Verify Triumph # to make sure you get correct leak proof.

Leak Proof Fork Seals.

I saw a post from you & it disappeared. Regarding sanding chrome tubes. The chrome is not like highly polished like a head light shell. They are more like fine ground. Sanding can sort of replicate this. Post some very clear detailed photos of tubes after you remove rust. That will give a lot more information.
Don
 
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