Think about it for a minute….he isn't having a problem in the front….why, because there is not a heat issue except on the rears…..The radiant heat from the exhaust dry them out quickly and they are more prone to dirt and water intrusion because of the location….I have had 6 of my rear O-Rings fail. Meaning, they have degraded and allowed dirt and water into the spherical bearing area or have actually popped out past the bushing and in several cases, gotten pinched/cut. I deal a lot with different rubber compounds in my line of work so I know the differences between the different types of rubber materials and there characteristics. With that said, I have done some research and have been evaluating 3 different compounds of O-Rings on 3 different Mavericks:thinking of this problem i wonder if i made thick washers and drilled out the mounting holes then used a fullsize bolt in the eye of the shock. The ball would still move and the o-rings would still keep out the dirt. hmmmm
1. Nitrile (Buna-N) O-rings - These are 70-durometer (black in color) Nitrile O-rings. Able to withstand temperatures ranging from -30 to +200°F. These are basically the stock O-rings and are your basic Nitrile rubber material. There are 2 factors you really need to consider when using this material. One is the temperature range. At only +200°F, you are pushing these to their operating limits and at the upper range they will become very soft and actually absorbent allowing water and mud to be wicked into the rubber and into the inner spherical bearing area. The second factor is this compounds lack of compatibility to most of the chemicals and additives found in many of the greases and lubricants available today. They will break down quickly and lose there elasticity and become softer or even dry and brittle rendering them ineffective against stopping water and contaminants from entering the bearing area. You most likely notice the black color of your grease when you remove the shock for servicing. This is actually the rubber breaking down and dissolving into the grease (not good).
2. Silicone O-rings - These are also 70-durometer (red in color) Silicone O-rings. Able to withstand temperatures ranging from -80 to +300°F. These are a major step up from the standard Nitrile rubber O-rings. They offer 260% lower and 150% higher temperature range than the Nitrile O-rings. This is especially important on the rear shocks due to the excessive heat they are subjected too. Although more compatible than Nitrile rubber, there are still a few lubricants that they are not compatible with so I would recommend a good quality marine grade wheel bearing/hub grease.
3. Fluorocarbon (*Viton®) O-rings - These are 75-durometer Fluorocarbon (FKM) or better known as Viton® O-rings. (Black or brown in color) They offer excellent resistance to chemicals and a wider range of temperatures. These are suitable for applications ranging from -10 to 450°F. These are also a major step up from the standard Nitrile rubber O-rings. They can withstand 225% higher temperatures than the Nitrile O-rings and 150% higher than the Silicone O-rings. They do not do as well in extreme cold conditions so if you intend to ride in the winter months at temperatures below 0°F these may not be the O-rings for you. The Viton® rubber is compatible with just about every lubricant that I can find.
As I mentioned, I have been evaluating these 3 different materials on my Maverick as well as 2 others in my area. The Nitrile rubber O-rings (same as OEM) begin to degrade almost immediately and show signs of failure within 100 miles of service. Both the Silicone Viton® O-rings have held up fine and are currently at 450+ miles of service and counting. My conclusion thus far is that the best all around material based on price and effectiveness is the Silicone O-rings. The reason is they are about 5X cheaper than the Viton® O-rings and are more than capable of withstanding the temperatures they are subjected to on the rear of the Maverick at +300°F and can also be used in extreme cold temperatures as well without becoming hard and losing its pliability.
Can Am wants $9.99 each for the Nitrile rubber O-rings! That is $40 per shock or $160 for all 4 shocks. In order to do the evaluation, I had to but these in bulk quantities so needless to say I have lots of extras. I have inventory of all 3 types and will be selling them to anyone who might be interested. Here are the prices for each:
1. Nitrile (Buna-N) O-rings - $3.25 per shock (4ea) or $12 for all 4 shocks (16ea)
2. Silicone O-rings - $5.25 per shock (4ea) or $19 for all 4 shocks (16ea)
3. Fluorocarbon (*Viton®) O-rings - $12.95 per shock (4ea) or $45 for all 4 shocks (16ea)
Shoot me a PM if you would be interested in picking some of these up.
OEM Nitrile rubber O-ring after 75 miles
Silicone O-ring after 225 miles