Front brakes sticking


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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aznyaz
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Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100I

Front brakes sticking

Post by aznyaz »



I've read a bunch of threads on this topic and have just begun to try things out.

The only thing I've done so far is open the bleeders to see if this would relieve the pressure on my brakes and it didn't do anything. So, if I've read earlier threads correctly, with no pressure relief is this an indication that my calipers are seizing? I used a caliper expander to push the piston into the caliper body and they seemed kind of tight. Does this sound like they're in need of a rebuild?

I have not yet checked the master cylinder but will get to that soon.

Thanks in advance.

MJ


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WingAdmin
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by WingAdmin »

If you open the bleeder and the brakes are still locked on, then yes, that points to the caliper being the (or part of) the issue. On my 1100, when this happened to my rear brake, I found that the rear caliper needed to be rebuilt - the pistons wouldn't retract. I pulled it apart, cleaned it, rebuilt it with a rebuild kit, and it worked great. I put it back on, and 20 miles later, I was burning up brake pads again with a locked caliper. I opened the bleeder and let pressure out, which unlocked the brakes. I rode it home without using the rear brake again, and it turned out that the return port in the rear master cylinder was blocked. Pulled the master off and rebuilt it, then all the problems went away.
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aznyaz
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by aznyaz »

Thanks Admin, just want to know I'm heading in the right direction. I haven't checked the return port yet on the front master cylinder but that will be next. Is there a way to do that without draining it/tearing it apart? I have the perfect tool for checking it and cleaning it out: old guitar strings.
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by WingAdmin »

You can try removing the cover, either siphoning out or sucking out the fluid with a syringe (or use a clean lint-free shop cloth to soak it up), and get to it that way.
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aznyaz
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by aznyaz »

Thanks again, Admin!!
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aznyaz
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by aznyaz »

I was just looking at the PartsNMore site to get an idea on what I'll need if I have to re-build my calipers and noticed that the front brake pads they supply for an 81 GL 1100I look nothing like mine but the ones they show for rear brakes are what I have on the front. What's up with that? I've noticed that all my calipers look the same except the right front is handed differently from the left front and rear, so am I correct in assuming that the pads for calipers are all the same?
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aznyaz
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by aznyaz »

I checked my calipers individually with an expander to see if my pistons were retracting when I would apply pressure to the brakes and let it go. Both pistons retracted but when I installed the right side caliper it would not retract completely when the caliper bolts were torqued to the required tightness. The wheel still spins but there is slight pressure on the rotor. I just got back from a 95 mile run with moderate to light brake use. The rotor is noticably hotter than the left one but not seriously hot, no smoking or smell. It also appears that the master cylinder is working properly because I could see brake fluid movement just above the return port when I would release the brake.

What could be causing the caliper to do this when I torque it down?

BTW, I answered my own question regarding the brake pads and they're all the same according to the parts manual.
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by wjnfirearms »

What you describe with the uneven caliper pressure could be caused by a narrowing of the internal channel of the brake line. As you force fluid back to the master cylinder, the channel is narrowed and causes resistance. Old flexible lines are prime candidates for this. From the outside, it looks just fine. Inside where you cannot see is where the issue lies.

I had a similar problem with my 1000 and it was the return in the master cylinder being contaminated. It took several flushes to clear out the problem. Just one or two may not be enough, so I'd still do this again even though it is possible that you need new brake lines. Just because you see fluid movement doesn't mean that the return is completely clear of contaminants.
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aznyaz
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by aznyaz »

Thanks, I'll check that. I haven't yet done a flush of the system, and the fluid in there was pretty clean too. But, as I described above, I could see that both pistons would retract when I applied pressure to the brakes and released them. I then installed the left caliper and torqued it down but kept the right one off, did the same test and both pistons retracted. I could tell the left was retracting because the wheel would spin after releasing the brake. I installed the right caliper, torqued it down and did the same test and the right caliper would drag. I tried something else though at this point. I loosened the caliper blots on the right side but left them in place to keep the caliper stable and did my test again but this time the right caliper piston would retract fully to allow the wheel to spin freely. This is where I get confused. Why would the caliper drag after torqueing it down but not when loosened?

Looking for input.

MJ
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by WingAdmin »

It could also be the calipers are filled with gunk and need to be rebuilt and cleaned out. There might not be enough resistance when testing, but bolted on, enough uneven pressure on the pistons to cause them to bind up.
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aznyaz
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by aznyaz »

I'm sure they would benefit from a re-build. If I can't get them to work right I will do that. I'm not convinced that the problem is with the caliper binding. I'm just confused as to why the piston will retract when the caliper is off the bracket or installed but not fully torqued down. Could it be the caliper pins? I just looked at the parts manual, and I've noticed this when I had the calipers off. There are 2 different pins. Are they interchangeable or are they intended for dedicated holes in the bracket? I cleaned the caliper(s) and bracket(s) up and lubed the pins with high temp grease, too.
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by The Wolf »

If your bike is a 1981 you probably should replace the flexible brake line too in addition to the caliper rebuild. I have an 83 Interstate and my back brakes were sticking and after doing the master and caliper the final fix was replacing the rubber brake line- I also replaced the other 2 brakes line to! Much better with the brakes! I went to a hydraulic shop and they made all 3 lines for $77. sS coated lines.
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by Flydutch070856 »

Also suddenly suffering from binding front breaks (quite badly) only a ride of 3 miles using the front break and I could not get the bike to move. Out of gear and it stopped on it own like fast. Being on the road I loosened the banjo where the brake line enter the reservoir/handle assembly and let some fluid out (Squirted out) and then the brakes came loose. To me this means it not the callipers or master cylinder as then it would not release the brakes opening it at the reservoir. Still rather confused, any ideas what's going on guys.
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by DenverWinger »

In the bottom of the reservoir is a tiny "fluid return" hole, this sometimes can get plugged, holding pressure in the calipers.

You can poke out the obstruction with a piece of stiff wire.

That said, this suggests at minimum it's probably a good time to flush out the fluid in your brake system with nice new fluid.
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by Flydutch070856 »

Hi all,
Not really a reply to my own post but rather an addition. I bought the bike recently and went through all things. I did 3 things at the front brakes. 1)-I added some brake fluid as I thought it to be low. Can an accidental overfill causing the brakes to bind as the return flow get restricted as the fluid get hit during a ride. 2)-I removed and reinstalled the front callipers as I needed to remove the wheel in order the replace the speedo gear (Not disconnected lines or pads). 3)- Changed the handle bar angle which tilts the reservoirs forward. can this also cause binding as it perhaps blocks something. Bear with me people as I am new on this bike.
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by Flydutch070856 »

Hi Denverwinger (Mark)
I will go and have a look at that return hole and see what's up.
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by Maz »

Another possibility is that the rubber brake pipe is collapsing internally. As the rubber deteriorates, it can cause the loose 'bits' to act as a non-return valve, trapping pressurised fluid in the calipers.

Maz
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Re: Front brakes sticking

Post by WingAdmin »

Maz wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:31 am Another possibility is that the rubber brake pipe is collapsing internally. As the rubber deteriorates, it can cause the loose 'bits' to act as a non-return valve, trapping pressurised fluid in the calipers.

Maz
If opening the banjo bolt at the reservoir end did not release the brakes, but opening the banjo bolt at the caliper end did, then the problem is likely the hoses as mentioned here. If either banjo bolt releases the brakes, then the problem is likely the blocked return port in the master cylinder reservoir.


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