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Still have issue with front brake handle hard to pull. Cleaned calipers, pin that shoes ride on, and started bleeding brakes yesterday with no success. Handle still hard to pull when brake bleeder open. Started thinking I needed a master cylinder rebuild. Called dealer to get a price and happened to talk to service guy. He tells me right off I need an abs module replacement. He said when I pushed the pistons back to put the new pads on I pushed trash back into the abs module, locking it up. This tells me the fluid has not been changed regularly, like every 2 years. It's 6 years old now. This is a $900 dollar job if not more. Called the Harley shop I get my tires put on at, and he says its a dealer item and the program he's been trying to buy is very expensive so he could try and do it in his shop and save guys some money. He said HD has me by the balls on this one. Not happy at all about this. So much for wrenching on your own bike so you know everything is done right!
 

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My buddy had a fully locked up ABS unit. Bought the block from HD and changed it out. Bleed the brakes with a vacuum pump. All is good. He did not replace the electronics just the block with the pistons in it. It was just over $300 with my discount from my local dealer. They took his vin number and because of the abs class action lawsuit against the motor company he may get his money back. If you can change pads you can do this job and save yourself a lot of cash.


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I don't know. I do a lot of youtubing to do it yourself projects. I need to research this a little more.
Thanks Tourhog.
 

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So, you pushed trash back into the ABS module and you are mad at HD? Or, are you mad at them because supposedly only the dealer can do the work?

How many miles in the bike? The most miles I have put on one bike is 60,000 miles and never needed to replace brake pads.

I use a vacuum pump to change the brake and clutch fluids.

I would try flushing the system before performing the repair or replacement of parts.

I guess the lesson learned here is to keep up with maintenance, and replace fluid before changing pads.
 

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6 years old and appears to not have been maintained . Not an HD issue but the last owner issue. The ABS system requires a little more knowledge when messing with the brakes than one with out If you got air in the system it may need to be reset by the dealer.
I would not put a lot of stock in the brake fluid damaging ABS, when you put pads in. At least not until it was check by someone that knows the systems and has the tools.
 

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So, you pushed trash back into the ABS module and you are mad at HD? Or, are you mad at them because supposedly only the dealer can do the work?

How many miles in the bike? The most miles I have put on one bike is 60,000 miles and never needed to replace brake pads.

I use a vacuum pump to change the brake and clutch fluids.

I would try flushing the system before performing the repair or replacement of parts.
wow 60,000 miles and never replaced the brake pads, i change the rear pads every time i change the rear tire, you must be coasting to a stop or dragging you feet like fred flintstone.
 

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wow 60,000 miles and never replaced the brake pads, i change the rear pads every time i change the rear tire, you must be coasting to a stop or dragging you feet like fred flintstone.
I coast and engine brake. Never was one to race up to a light to just grab the brakes.

My last truck went 180,000 miles and still had 50% of the brakes left.

I also Don't deal with much traffic.

My 26 mile drive to work has one stop sign and 5 traffic lights. No interstates.
 

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I have to go along with "Tourhog" the part that goes bad is connected to the electronic
part, the module is 2 pieces. Unfortunately I failed to service my brakes and had the same problem. I didn't have time to do mine. My "Indy" bought the part and charged me just over $300, of course HD wanted a lot more.
 

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Abs.....

.....Man that sucks.....Gonna follow this thread......:nerd:

Interesting........

I HATE ABS brakes! My truck don't have 'em......Never rode a scoot with 'em and hopefully won't EVER have too......

Don't understand why manufacturers continue to shove these technologies In the public's face.......

Don't get me started on autonomous cars & heavy trucks......

Good luck brother.....
 

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Don't know what your set up is but I was having similar issues and did all that you described to no avail. It ended up being a collapsed/pinched brake line under the gas tank. Go figure. Well I pretty much had a new brake system before I figured out what is was. It's worth a check. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So, you pushed trash back into the ABS module and you are mad at HD? Or, are you mad at them because supposedly only the dealer can do the work?

How many miles in the bike? The most miles I have put on one bike is 60,000 miles and never needed to replace brake pads.

I use a vacuum pump to change the brake and clutch fluids.

I would try flushing the system before performing the repair or replacement of parts.

I guess the lesson learned here is to keep up with maintenance, and replace fluid before changing pads.
Bought the bike used. Do not have the money for new. No maintenance record at dealer that sold bike to original owner. Brake pads were down to metal. Try to wrench as much myself to save some money. Had a honda before this and did all maintenance. Have done numerous brake pad replacement on all my cars and never run across this problem. Turns out Dot 4 fluid is very hydroscopic. Needs flushing every 2 years and mine looks original. You could say I'm mad at Harley for designing a system that is out of the normal for maintaining brakes. I know now to flush and flush often. Thanks for your encouraging words.
P.S. Its a 2011 and has 30k miles.
 

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Bought the bike used. Do not have the money for new. No maintenance record at dealer that sold bike to original owner. Brake pads were down to metal. Try to wrench as much myself to save some money. Had a honda before this and did all maintenance. Have done numerous brake pad replacement on all my cars and never run across this problem. Turns out Dot 4 fluid is very hydroscopic. Needs flushing every 2 years and mine looks original. You could say I'm mad at Harley for designing a system that is out of the normal for maintaining brakes. I know now to flush and flush often. Thanks for your encouraging words.
P.S. Its a 2011 and has 30k miles.

Buying used is always a gamble. If you bought from a dealer, shame on them for not going over the bike to make sure it is safe. If you bought from an individual , well then, live and learn.

I would still try and flush the system with a vacuum pump. Inspect all the lines, etc.

Most cruiser riders I know don't use the front brakes and these bikes have good engine braking. I would still ride it if the flushing and inspection don't work until I had the money for the repair.
 

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I thought I'd throw in my two cents on a few things...

Engine Braking: I used to do that a lot when I was young - until I realized I was using a $$$ clutch to save a $ set of brake pads. Use the brakes. That's what they're there for.

Pushing bad fluid back into the ABS unit: I usually do my own work. Even when I know how to do a job, I still go check out other people's YouTube videos to see if they have a few tricks I can use.

One trick I saw recently was to crack open the bleeder before pushing the caliper pistons back. The guy did this on a car so it may be tricky on a bike (I haven't tried this myself, yet), but the goal is to push the fluid in the caliper out the bleeder valve rather than back into the brake line. Be sure to do at least a little bleeding afterward because you are running the risk of sucking air back into the caliper this way.

Never let the master cylinder reservoir get even close to empty! (got that tip from Mr. Obvious)

I'm really anal about having good brake fluid in the system. I completely flush the brake fluid clean at every brake job on every vehicle I own.

Bleeding ABS bikes: Have the dealer do it if you've opened up the system (replaced lines, ABS block, etc.). I just put on apes and had to put on a longer brake line. I took it to the local dealership and had them do the rear too (since I was already paying for an hour of labor). Total cost was just under $100. I got it done on a Saturday morning while I waited for it.

Morning commute: For a few years, I had a 20 mile commute with only one stop sign at a 4-way stop intersection. Now, it's two flights of stairs to my office in my basement! Top that, b*tches!

ABS: I can't understand why anyone would be negative about ABS. 99.99% of the time, you'd never know it was there. As for that 0.01% time... If it doesn't save your ass, you were gonna run into that thing anyway (or go down trying not to).
 

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I don't have ABS on my bike but it seems that if there was bad fluid in the calipers then there would be bad fluid in the entire system so how can you push bad fluid into a system that already has bad fluid in it. As for engine braking I do it all the time and it isn't hard on the clutch plates if the clutch is adjusted properly. Most of my stops are controlled no panic stops because I look ahead and plan my stops so engine brake and rear brake is what is used the most on my bike, I have to replace the rear pads every rear tire change but I only had to replace the front brake pads 1 time in over a 100,000 miles and they didn't need replacing when I did replace them. You can't get mad at HD but maybe you could be mad at the dealer you bought the bike from (if you bought the bike from a dealer) because they sold you a unsafe bike. Looks like you may have to bite the bullet on this one and get things fixed right, it's tough having to pay out the cash but a good working brake system is kind of important IMO.
 

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No one cares if a bike has abs or not until either, it breaks, or your using them in a power stop.
All abs brake systems use a Dot 4 type fluid. It's got to do with absorbing water rather then displacing water. That's also why the frequency of changing the fluid went from 5 yrs with Dot 5 type fluid down to 2 yrs on abs type systems.
Only thing that boggles my mind is , I'm going on 12yrs on my Silverado brakes with -out touching a thing ,and they work great.
 

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I don't have ABS on my bike but it seems that if there was bad fluid in the calipers then there would be bad fluid in the entire system so how can you push bad fluid into a system that already has bad fluid in it.
The reasoning is that the fluid in the caliper piston is exposed to much higher temperatures than the fluid in the lines would be. In firewalker's case, I agree the fluid in the entire system is bad.

You can't get mad at HD but maybe you could be mad at the dealer you bought the bike from (if you bought the bike from a dealer) because they sold you a unsafe bike.

...a good working brake system is kind of important IMO.
I think you're spot on with that!
 

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Blaming the machine or the manufacturer for improper owner maintenance is Harley Davidson tradition...it goes back to the 70's.

I'm sorry you're having problems, but it's not the bikes fault.
 

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Interesting thread. I'm curious as to why some folks avoid using the front brakes. IMO there are 2 discs up front for a reason. I down-shift as appropriate for the situation. I use the rear brake mostly in slow maneuvers like u-turns & parking lots. But, I would say I use the front binders the most. Just did an all day course with local PD motors & the braking section was using front brakes only.
 
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