Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

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Stan Zukowski
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Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby Stan Zukowski » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:35 pm

Last week I was riding on the highway on a very hot day (100+) and the front brakes seized up in slow traffic and brought the bike pretty much to a halt. Could barely push it with the engine off and in neutral.

I managed to get it over to the side under an overpass in the shade, figuring I'd have to call AAA. But I waited about 15 minutes and went back. I tried to push the bike again (still in neutral) and it rolled free, so I thought it must have been the heat, and now it had magically fixed itself :?

Then I squeezed the front brake ~ and it went all the way to the grip with no resistance whatsoever.

Not knowing much about the inner workings of the Brembo (which I hope to now rectify), I squeezed it again several times and it gradually got more resistance until it was working "normally" or so I thought.

Rode it home with no apparent problems, but I have noticed over the past week that the "action" of the lever is very short compared to before ~ hardly any pull at all before it engages.

Today was a wrenching day, so after I serviced the rear brake, I decided to take a look at the front brake too. I pulled out the cotter pins and the rods that hold the pads in. Then I took off the metal top cover and saw that the brakes pads were flush up against the disk.

Now, assuming this isn't normal (is it?) it certainly answers the question of why the lever action is so short.

Question 1: Have I been riding with the brakes on, effectively?

I pulled out the pads, which you can see in the photo below. It's a little blurry but you can still see how thick they are.

Question 2: Do they have enough pad left on them?

So I pushed the four circular push rods (or whatever you call them) back into the brakes arms.

Question 3: Was that a bad thing?

Then I replaced the pads, put it all back together and squeezed the brake lever. Again, all the way to the grip with no resistance, and again, with each squeeze, the brake pads moved closer to the disk. But they never "return" to a position away from the disk ~ they stay flush up against the disk.

Question 4: Now what do I do?

Thanks for any help!

~stan
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby Stan Zukowski » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:38 pm

Also, I checked brake fluid and it's clean and at the right height in the master cylinder.
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby Albuquralque » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:42 pm

On a disc brake system the pads lightly stay in contact with the rotor (they never fully retract). You will have to bleed you brake system after you replaced the pads. Do a search for bleeding brakes and you will get the info you need to bleed them.
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby ReCycled » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:48 pm

It's difficult to judge scale on pics... If the pad was down to 1/8" then they were due for replacement.

It's time to replace your brke fluid anyway so bleed then till they run clean.
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby Stan Zukowski » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:47 pm

Coluralado wrote:On a disc brake system the pads lightly stay in contact with the rotor (they never fully retract).


Okay, that answers my biggest question.

I measured the brake pads and they are just over 1/8 inch, so I'll order another pair. But I need to bleed the breaks on my Suzuki anyway, so I'll do the Ural at the same time.

Thanks for everyone's the input!

~stan
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby Ivan Rider » Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:09 pm

Coluralado wrote:On a disc brake system the pads lightly stay in contact with the rotor (they never fully retract). You will have to bleed you brake system after you replaced the pads. Do a search for bleeding brakes and you will get the info you need to bleed them.


Unless you opened the hydrolic system there is no need to bleed the brakes because you changed the pads. Everything you have discribed sounds normal except the intital lockup. Disc brakes will over heat if you've been resting you hand on the lever too much, (as in slightly appling them) . This can heat the fluid and expand it in the system causing what you discribed. Another cause of the heat can be pistons not retracting into the caliper because of rust. BTDT too.
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby Stan Zukowski » Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:27 pm

Ivan Rider wrote:
Coluralado wrote:Another cause of the heat can be pistons not retracting into the caliper because of rust. BTDT too.


They're not rusty that I can tell short of disassembling them. Is it good or bad to apply some sort of lubricant to the pistons? Or would that be putting slippery stuff too close to the brake surface?
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby sewerat » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:11 pm

It won't hurt to give your caliper pucks a good cleaning with brake clean and a tooth brush. You can take the pads out and then apply the brakes to push the pucks out, but be careful as they can fall right out and then need to rebuild the caliper and bleed entire system. What I do is apply the brakes just enough to move the pucks out far enough to see that they have moved out beyond their normal position, then apply some brake clean and scrub down the pistons(pucks) then when you are all done, push them all the way back in and give the whole thing a good spray and scrub. Now when you re-install the pads, MAKE SURE YOU APPLY THE FRONT BRAKE UNTIL YOU HAVE PRESSURE. before you move the bike. Very important.

Now if you feel you need to lube the pistons only use a bit of brake fluid to just help push them back in.
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby Stan Zukowski » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:04 pm

sewerat wrote:It won't hurt to give your caliper pucks a good cleaning with brake clean and a tooth brush. You can take the pads out and then apply the brakes to push the pucks out, but be careful as they can fall right out and then need to rebuild the caliper and bleed entire system. What I do is apply the brakes just enough to move the pucks out far enough to see that they have moved out beyond their normal position, then apply some brake clean and scrub down the pistons(pucks) then when you are all done, push them all the way back in and give the whole thing a good spray and scrub. Now when you re-install the pads, MAKE SURE YOU APPLY THE FRONT BRAKE UNTIL YOU HAVE PRESSURE. before you move the bike. Very important.

Now if you feel you need to lube the pistons only use a bit of brake fluid to just help push them back in.


That makes perfect sense. I saw a brand new pair of brake pads at the bike shop yesterday and yes, mine are definitely worn down when I see them side by side. I'm going to buy a new pair this week or next and then bleed the brakes as they haven't been bled since I bought the bike three years ago :shock:

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby LRP » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:07 pm

Stan,

You had a good example of why you should renew your brake fluid on a regular basis.
Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. The water settles in the lowest part of the
hydraulic system, which is the brake caliper. On a hot day, the temperature of the brake fluid
can rise above 212 degrees when you use the brakes. That causes the water in the brake
caliper to flash to steam. As the steam expands, it forces the brake pistons and pads out,
applying the brake, sometimes locking them up. When the brake fluid cools down, the steam
condenses and you are left with some air in the system, which is why the brake lever moves,
but doesn't apply the brakes.

Flush the system with new fluid and bleed the air out and you will be fine.

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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby Stan Zukowski » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:15 pm

LRP wrote:You had a good example of why you should renew your brake fluid on a regular basis.


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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby ReCycled » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:35 pm

Dick explained elegantly what I mentioned six posts back, it's time to change the fluid anyway.

I do have a small hand pump vacuum that makes it easier if you'd like to wait 'til the weekend?









Of course you haven't asked what type of fluid to use yet...and the owner's manual does not jibe with the master cylinder :puzzled:
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby Stan Zukowski » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:04 am

ReCycled wrote:Dick explained elegantly what I mentioned six posts back, it's time to change the fluid anyway.


:p Well, I already knew I had to bleed the brakes, just didn't know cause/effect of the overheating. I was mainly asking about the operation of the pads, whether it was normal to have them resting against the disk, and whether the pads needed replacing.

I bought a vacuum bleeder for the Suzuki, fortunately. Still in package. But I'll bite on the fluid type -- I was going to follow the user manual....DOT 3? 4?

I do have a small hand pump vacuum that makes it easier if you'd like to wait 'til the weekend?


Is that an offer of help? If so I gladly accept!! If not, then it's on your head if I die in a fiery crash rear-ending a septic truck! :) Actually they're working fine for now if it's not 100 degrees out. But it needs to be done asap for sure, and reading how to do it is no substitute for seeing it done right.

It's supposed to rain this weekend, but I'd be happy to ride to your place, or trailer it.
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby ARozanski » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:57 am

What is this 'brake fluid' you speak of? :P

While it probably is the water causing your initial lock up, another cause can be an internally collapsed brake hose. They degrade on the inside, choking off the fluid and acting as a one way valve. If you have this problem again after bleeding, I'd suggest looking at the brake hoses.

Also, when bleeding, make sure the bleeder screw is at the highest point possible, even with the vacuum, you will be able to remove any air that much easier. I had to remove the caliper and turn it upside down on my friend's Aprilia rear brake to get it to bleed out properly.
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Re: Problem with Brembo front brake 2007 Tourist

Postby ReCycled » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:46 pm

The manual is correct, the master cylinder lid is slightly misleading. Types 3 and 4 are glycol based and compatible so you are safe with either. Type 5 is silicone based and not compatible with what is in there. Most importantly, get a new sealed container as it will absorb moisture sitting in the garage anyway. You might as well get enough for both bikes and use it while it's fresh, the Suzi probably calls for type 3 so maybe that's your answer

My offer to help was mostly because of the vacuum pump, but if you need moral support or want to go on a test ride then I'm free Sunday. Of course, I'll be following you if we test ride :D
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