Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit


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Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:12 am



I've noticed a pulsing vibration on my 1500, around 50-55 mph for a while. Last night, I noticed that when I apply my front (hand) brake, the vibration goes away. Applying the foot brake does not affect the vibration. So I knew it was something going on with my right front caliper.

I pulled the rotor cover off, and noticed that both the anti-dive bracket had some free play (which I expect, as it is on needle bearings), as well as the caliper had some free play against the anti-dive bracket. I don't know if this is normal or not. The left side has a similar amount of free play. Can anyone else see if this is the same on their 1500? Here's a video showing the amount of free play:





I don't know if this free play is responsible for the vibration or not, but I suspect it might be.



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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:23 am

I'll look tonight on my 88 and post the results.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby Ericson38 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:53 am

I'll do the same.

Mine has no vibration at 70 K miles.

Right now enjoying the honeymoon phase (no defects of note except for some burned out annunciator bulbs on the cruise control side of the handle bar switches).

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby Oldsmores » Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:10 pm

I have a similar vibration coming from the right front caliper on my '84 GL1200A. It's more annoying than anything else, but I haven't been able to figure out what the issue is or how to stop it. I've had the caliper off a couple of times, and the pads are only a year old. If anybody can tell me how to MAKE IT STOP I'll be in your debt!

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:04 pm

Here's the measurements from my front caliper.I do have less wobble than yours,on the caliper,but by half as much.It looks like the pins are a bit sloppy.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:05 am

Thanks - I'm going to measure mine to see how it matches up with yours - but won't get a chance to do it until early next week, as I'm heading out for a few days.

I may try to put a temporary shim in there, to kill the free play and see if it kills the vibration. If it doesn't, then perhaps I'm looking at a bearing vibration that's masked by applying the brake. Bearings were fine when I had the wheel off this winter, but you never know...

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:26 am

Keep us posted.Ya never know when one of us may have the same symptoms.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby Ericson38 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:41 am

Nice set of measurements Virgil....I can't add quantifiable measurements to that.

To the Wing Admin-how many miles on bike and front tire (just curious)?

Charlie

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby dingdong » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:55 am

I would clean and lube the caliper/anti-dive units. From the sound I hear the pins, bolts and bearings are dry.
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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:46 am

Ericson38 wrote:Nice set of measurements Virgil....I can't add quantifiable measurements to that.

To the Wing Admin-how many miles on bike and front tire (just curious)?


Bike now has 63,700 miles, and the front (and rear) tires have about 500 miles on them. So do the brakes.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:47 am

dingdong wrote:I would clean and lube the caliper/anti-dive units. From the sound I hear the pins, bolts and bearings are dry.


I just replaced the brakes this winter (500 miles ago), and at the time I had the calipers off, I cleaned and lubed the caliper pins and anti-dive needle bearings, so they should all be good.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby Sempai » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:34 pm

This thread caught my attention, not because I'm experiencing this problem, only for my own experience in troubleshooting this sort of problem in the future. I have a question for you. I understand the vibration goes away while you apply the brakes, question I have is this:
Does the vibration occur at that speed range A. when you are accelerating on the throttle?
B. when you are cruising at that speed?
C. when you are decelerating through that speed, without the brakes?
D. indefinitely at that speed, regardless of acceleration, deceleration, constant cruise?
Keep the rubber side down.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:37 pm

Sempai wrote:This thread caught my attention, not because I'm experiencing this problem, only for my own experience in troubleshooting this sort of problem in the future. I have a question for you. I understand the vibration goes away while you apply the brakes, question I have is this:
Does the vibration occur at that speed range
A. when you are accelerating on the throttle?
B. when you are cruising at that speed?
C. when you are decelerating through that speed, without the brakes?
D. indefinitely at that speed, regardless of acceleration, deceleration, constant cruise?


a) yes
b) yes
c) yes
d) yes

It happens still if I disengage the clutch and allow the engine to return to idle, while still moving at 50-55 mph, so it is independent of engine/driveline speed. It's entirely front wheel, I can feel it through the handlebars, but not through the frame. A very gentle touch on the front brake (not enough to actually start braking) stops the vibration. That's what started me pointed in the direction of the caliper in the first place.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby Sempai » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:41 pm

From reading this thread, I'd say you have a warped rotor. If you care to experiment, flip flop your front brake rotors from side to side. You may experience some minor difficulty reinstalling the calipers, pushing the pistons back will help with this. Take the bike for a ride and see if the brake LEVER still eliminates the vibration, or if the 'fix' moves to the brake PEDAL. If the 'fix' has indeed moved to the pedal, then you have two options: replace that rotor, or see if someone will turn it for you. Good luck.
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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby Ericson38 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:28 pm

Sounds like a real good candidate...

I didn't know these bikes were susceptible to brake rotor warpage....not like my wife's cast iron rotor town car for sure.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:49 pm

Hm, you know, I never even thought of that. That would explain a lot of things. When I get home I'm going to measure it for runout and thickness just to be sure.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby peppilepew » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:57 am

I would take a bungee cord and pull the caliper fully upward. This will lock the caliper in place. If the vibration is still present then the problem is elsewhere. Mine has a similar vibration. I think like said above a slightly warped rotor would do it.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:06 am

Now that I think about it - if the rotor was warped, the vibration felt would INCREASE with the application of brakes, as the vibration from the rotor would then be conducted directly from the clamped caliper into the fork. When I apply the brake on that caliper, the vibration disappears entirely.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby Sempai » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:10 am

peppilepew wrote:I would take a bungee cord and pull the caliper fully upward. This will lock the caliper in place. If the vibration is still present then the problem is elsewhere. Mine has a similar vibration. I think like said above a slightly warped rotor would do it.

I think I'd have to disagree with the bungee cord test. If you are dealing with a warped rotor, the vibration is certainly due to the caliper's lateral movement on said rotor. Eliminating the caliper's capacity to move up and down is not likely to improve your chances of determining whether or not the rotor is at fault. Following this line of thought, and the only true test would be to
REMOVE the caliper and bungee the whole unit up while you go for a test ride, it I wouldn't recommend trying it. You may have some luck doing this:
Get the bike up on the center stand. Put a car jack under the engine case and jack it up until the front wheel spins freely. Spin said wheel, the give it all you got. Have a close look at the caliper, and looking for lateral movement, and sometimes you can HEAR the caliper running back n forth on the slide pins. Keep in mind that you are not likely to be able to spin it up to the 50+ mph that would be required to feel the vibration you'd described earlier in this thread.
If this procedure fails to satisfy your curiosity, swap the front rotors from side to side, and be sure to keep their Outside facing out. Swapping them will change the effect you get when you pull the brake lever.
By the way, if you do remove the caliper and go for a ride, it DO NOT PULL THE BRAKE LEVER.
Keep the rubber side down.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby Sempai » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:18 am

WingAdmin wrote:Now that I think about it - if the rotor was warped, the vibration felt would INCREASE with the application of brakes, as the vibration from the rotor would then be conducted directly from the clamped caliper into the fork. When I apply the brake on that caliper, the vibration disappears entirely.

This is a common thought. Fact of this matter though, is that the vibration is eliminated when, and only when you apply the front brake. Ergo, you have a brake issue. What you are failing to realize in this particular case is that when the brake is not applied, so the caliper is moving generously about the slide pins, and when the brake is applied, that wild movement is being restricted enough to smooth out the ride. Your rotor doesn't have to be SO warped, it may be just a tiny bit warped. I think I'd try swapping them from side to side if I couldn't SEE any lateral movement from spinning the wheel while Ihad it off the ground.
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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby peppilepew » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:50 pm

A rotor with high spots is quite different than a warped rotor. The difference like Sempai said is that free travel movement of the caliper would cancel out any potential pulsation while you would still feel pulsation to a higher degree when you have a high or low spot. Sempai may very well be right. Removing the caliper may be the easiest way to determine the problem.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby Sempai » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:04 pm

peppilepew wrote:Sempai may very well be right. Removing the caliper may be the easiest way to determine the problem.

I feel I need to reiterate on this point. I may very well be right, but riding the bike with a caliper hanging off the side is likely to end in damage to one thing or another. I'd be more likely to encourage you to swap the rotors from side to side. Make sure to keep their outsides facing out. IF you do have a warped rotor issue, the smoothness you gain from pulling the brake lever will likely have changed to pressing the brake pedal. Another option would be to jack the front wheel off the ground and spin it up to your 50+mph window...but again, I'd seriously dissuade anyone from doing that in their garage without specialized equipment...it is doable, but I do NOT want to see you post another thread in here because you spun up the wheel using your the drive wheel from your son's dirtbike and the Wing suddenly vibrated off its centerstand and scampered into the back of your wife's Corvette...please don't shoot me down for this comment, I'm was just using my imagination about some things that might go wrong and that's what came out!
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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:29 am

Sempai wrote:This is a common thought. Fact of this matter though, is that the vibration is eliminated when, and only when you apply the front brake. Ergo, you have a brake issue.


Not necessarily - I've seen where a wheel bearing was causing vibration, and the application of brakes applied enough force to the wheel bearing that the vibration disappeared.

I think my first step is going to be to measure the rotor for thickness and runout.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby FM-USA » Wed May 02, 2012 9:44 pm

Have you considered there might be a very small amount of air in the break line?
It could be miniscule enough to put a very slight pressure on the rotors thick spots but not enough to lock it up.
It's very rare to have a rotor with perfect consistent thickness all the way around.

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Re: Vibration at speed - right front caliper the culprit

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 03, 2012 10:21 am

FM-USA wrote:Have you considered there might be a very small amount of air in the break line?
It could be miniscule enough to put a very slight pressure on the rotors thick spots but not enough to lock it up.
It's very rare to have a rotor with perfect consistent thickness all the way around.

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I flushed and bled the brakes when I changed the pads a few weeks ago. But good thinking nonetheless. I could certainly bleed them again.




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