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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Rear brake is weak

I'm needing some assistance from brains better then mine. A simple rear brake rebuild and pad replacement is no longer simple.

I have a 2001 FLTRSEI2 with 39,000 miles on it. I went out for a ride one day, got to the end of my street and discovered I had no rear brake. Further investigation showed I had let my rear pads get overly thin and had pushed the pistons out a little far and a small amount of brake fluid had apparently seeped past a piston seal. No big deal. Purchased new pads and rebuild kit for the caliper.

Pulled the rear wheel, removed and cleaned the caliper, installed rebuild kit and new pads, reinstalled everything, bled rear brake via the tied and true method of cracking/tightening the bleeder while having my daughter push the brake pedal. Did this until no air. Double checked reservoir level and added a little fluid to bring it to appropriate level. Tested brake with bike on lift. Caliper engaged but felt a bit spongy. Took it for a test ride and confirmed that the rear brake felt weak.

At this point I decided to use a Mity-Vac and replace the fluid (it was a little dark). I am using DOT 5 per the manual. At this point I noticed the Mity-Vac did not appear to be drawing enough vacuum from the rear caliper bleeder valve to draw fluid from the system. I tried sucking on the hose to draw a vacuum and could feel bubbles in the system. It was that same sensation you get when sucking on a straw from a nearly empty cup. I also noticed a lot of air in the line. So I tried the pedal-push-break-bleeder-valve process again and now I cannot build sufficient brake pressure to push fluid through the bleeder valve. The fluid level is good and the pistons will engage and the brake stops the rear wheel albeit weakly.

There are no leaks from the line, caliper, or master cylinder. I pulled the cap off the master cylinder and watched for fluid level change when pushing the brake lever. I was told if the level changed it indicated that the fluid was bypassing the piston and the master cylinder would need rebuilt or replaced. There was no change in fluid level.

Sorry for the book but I wanted to cover everything I've done to this point. I'm at a loss to explain what is happening. Any ideas would be welcome.

Thanks!

Eric "JoeSquid"
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Follow up:

Today I borrowed a friend's vaccuum pump and tried vaccuum bleeding my rear brake again. There was a lot of air in the line and I never got a solid flow of brake fluid from the bleeder valve.

I decided to see if the air was coming from the caliper or from the brake line and master cyclinder. I removed the banjo fitting from the rear caliper, and put two flat rubber seals over each side of the banjo fitting, effectively "sandwiching" the banjo fitting between the rubber. I clamped the rubber pieces in place with a pair of vice grips to try and seal off the banjo fitting. I depressed the rear brake pedal. A little fluid seeped by my makeshift seal but the pedal was definitely firmer than before. So I guess the problem is in the caliper. What I don't understand is how can I have air getting into the system from the caliper but not have a fluid leak in the caliper?

Any ideas before I remove the rear wheel and break down the caliper (again)?

Eric "JoeSquid"
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 11:28 AM
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Maybe when you rebuilt the calipr one of the seals got twisted?

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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As much as I don't relish yanking the rear wheel off again, you may have a point......sigh.....thanks for the input. Guess I'll break down the wheel and caliper tonight.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 06:44 PM
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Why are you talking off the wheel to remove the caliber ? Once you have the caliber back on, remove the brake line and induce compressed air into the caliber to move the piston out in the caliber. Sometimes if the piston's all the way depressed, it will produce an air lock and won't let enough fluid in. Also like mentioned before, make sure you didn't twist the rubber seal in the caliber.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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Big Gary,
I have an '01 SE Road Glide. The rear caliper in mounted on the rear wheel shaft. I have to pull the wheel in order to remove it. Of course, if you have a really neat trick that gets me around that in the future (since I've already pulled the wheel) I'm all ears.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joesquid View Post
Big Gary,
I have an '01 SE Road Glide. The rear caliper in mounted on the rear wheel shaft. I have to pull the wheel in order to remove it. Of course, if you have a really neat trick that gets me around that in the future (since I've already pulled the wheel) I'm all ears.
Okay, sorry no tricks on that .I bet that makes changing pads a bitch.
Did you get the system bled ?

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 11:39 AM
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Okay, sorry no tricks on that .I bet that makes changing pads a bitch.
Did you get the system bled ?
Thinking the pads, even though they'll test you, don't require caliber removal. You pry the pistons back. If it were mine...I'd place a block of wood between, or old pad, and burp (upside-down ) before placingthe caliber back.

Last edited by reds4; 04-26-2016 at 11:41 AM.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reds4 View Post
Thinking the pads, even though they'll test you, don't require caliber removal. You pry the pistons back. If it were mine...I'd place a block of wood between, or old pad, and burp (upside-down ) before placingthe caliber back.
I had to do this for my F150.. Had the same issue.. Turning over the caliper makes everything better while bleeding, sometimes.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-29-2016, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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I pulled the caliper and attempted to use compressed air to pop the pistons out. Only one came out. The other three stayed in place. I tried connecting the caliper back to the brake line and slowly work them out with brake fluid pressure. I couldn't build enough pressure to move anything. I want to get all of the pistons out to check all of the new seals I put in. I'm out of ideas.
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