Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I think I've been forked

My fork showed up yesterday, via UPS. I didn't actually find it until later in the evening, since the delivery man left it next to the front steps in the flower bed. Since I came home after dark, it was a bit hard to see in the shadows.

I was very happy to see it since it means when my saw guide shows up, I can cut the steerer tube cut down and install my headset. I'm ready to see the frame come to life!

I opened the box and inspected my prize. Everything seemed to look fine, until I looked at the rebound control lever at the bottom of the fork.

Fluid. I noticed fluid leaking around the rebound contol knob. I pulled out the knob and removed the bolt going into the shock tube. It appeared the fluid leaked from the inside of the shock tube where the rebound control shaft fits into a hex recess in the bottom of the bolt hole. The shock tube bolt is hollow since the rebound control shaft has to pass through it. The fluid traveled through the bolt into the rebound control knob, which is held in place by an O-ring. The fluid leaked past the O-ring onto the knob and the fork.

It's not a gusher, more of a seepage. However, it shouldn't leak at all and the seller didn't indicate there were any problems. When I wrote the seller about the issue, the seller suggested tightening the bolt. That's fine, but the bolt is hollow so tightening it really doesn't seem like it will fix the problem. Of course, the shock wasn't leaking when the seller shipped it.

So now what? The sellers eBay page indicates they won't take returns, and the item is used so no warranty work. The fork does seem to work OK, but I don't want all the fluid to leak out and totally ruin it. I guess I could complain to eBay, but it all seems like a huge hassle.

BTW, I did a Google search on 'leaking Rock Shox Dart 3 forks', and found several reviews written by folks who had the exact same problem...leaking around the rebound control knob. My suspicion is that this particular fork was prone to leaking (and several other problems) so folks just swapped them out for a higher end model, then pawned them off on unsuspecting suckers like myself looking for a smokin' deal on eBay. I've always had good experiences with eBay, but I'm sure the averages were bound to catch up with me. Live and learn, Caveat Emptor!

I had a brain fart, however. I could hit the hardware store to find a bolt the same size as the shock tube/rebound control bolt and similar in length. I could adjust the rebound control where I want, and replace the hollow bolt with the solid one, using some teflon tape on the threads. I'll lose the easy rebound adjustability, but it shouldn't continue leaking. Then I'll just ride it as long as possible to get my money's worth out of it. Maybe it'll work just fine, and I figure for the buck or so it'll cost me for the bolt it's worth a try.

It's better to be forked than screwed, I guess :>))


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