Rusty Forks (not spoons)

It’s cool living blocks from the ocean, except for all that salty air rusting away anything in its path.

I replaced my front forks on my Kawasaki Ninja 500R about 10 months ago, and they were pitting again.  I read a bunch of info on forums on how people are solving this, and decided to give it a shot myself.  I’m not going to cover the standard steps to remove the front forks, as there are plenty of other places to find that.  Clymers manuals will work, or this place:

Rusty Fork
look at those nasty things
Looks pretty funny without a front wheel

Before you get started you’re going to need a 12mm Allen Wrench.  No problem, right? Just head down to the local hardware store.  Wrong.  Okay, maybe the auto parts store.  Also wrong.  None of those bastards had it, so order it in advance from McMaster (71285A196), or call ahead of time.

First I sanded down the pitted spots using 800 grit sandpaper (McMaster PN: 4611A315). Then a bit with 1200 grit (McMaster PN: 4611A313).

After Sanding
Rust gone, pits remain

I wiped it down a bit with a towel and decided to try my luck with some metal epoxy.  This stuff is epoxy, but with metal in it.  In my case, aluminum.  Not sure on which is best, but mine was certainly the cheapest.   It also sets up in 7 minutes and is fully machinable / sandable in 2 hours.  Pick some up here: 7500A4.

Aluminum Epoxy

Spread the two part epoxy on something and then dab it on the pitted spots.  Then I used a piece of cardboard to smooth it over and remove the excess.   I should have removed more excess as you can see in this picture:

After applying (too much) epoxy

After a couple hours, get ready to sand.  I used some 600 grit to move it a bit faster (McMaster PN:  4611A314).

After drying
Halfway through sanding
Finished sanding. Nice and cleeeaaan
Finished, another view

Finally, I coated it with an anti-rust coating that you can pick up here: 1370K34.  It’s fairly cheap and seems to leave a waxy finish protecting it from rust.

No more rusty forks

That’s it!  I’ll update you in 6 months how this has held up.  Happy riding.