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Old 11-10-2004, 12:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Why So Many Warped Rotors

I own a 2000 FLHRCI (Road King) with 55,000 miles on it. I have gone through three sets of HD rotors. I could feel the chatter in the brake lever after about 10,000 miles with this last set. I have checked and the wheel is centered between the forks. The pads do not wear evenly between the left side and the right side, nor do they wear evenly mounted in the same caliper. I am getting about 25,000 miles on a set of HD brake pads. I have a feeling there is a problem with the pistons in the calipers sticking. When the bike is up on the stand and I rotate the front wheel it only travels about a revalution and a half, maybe two revalutions.... I know they started making the rotors thinner in 2000 but this is the sh_ _'s.
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Old 11-10-2004, 12:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Tim Claveria, have you rebuilt the calipers, new seals etc. ?
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Old 11-10-2004, 01:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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no, however I think that is the problem. What do you think?
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Old 11-10-2004, 01:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The square seals in the calipers are what pull the brake pistons back from the rotors. At your mileage (I'm OC, AR) I would rebuild the calipers and the master cylinders, Safety 1st.
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Old 11-10-2004, 02:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Tim, you are right about the pistons sticking. If you notice you probably also have a spongy front brake also. The pistons tend to stick from dirt etc and then one side of the pads will come out further than the other. Pull the calipers, with 55k I would buy a seal kit. Rebuild the calipers and lube and clean them very well. Make sure you seat all the pistons even them pump them up. Lots of times you can just pull the calipers, spray them clean, spray them with lube, press back the pads on both sides even, re- install and most of that sponge feeling will dissapear.
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Old 11-10-2004, 09:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Jeff S.......what do you use to clean them with and what type of "lube" is used? Thanks for the help.
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Old 11-10-2004, 10:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Harley sells the seal kit. It comes with all seals (square, wiper and crossover o-ring) and lube.

Once you take the caliper off the bike, remove pins and pads (as per SM).

Place 2 small squares of carpet (carpet side ficing each other) between the pistons.

Place air hose, with rubber tip, in the hole where the banjo bolt was.

Shoot 15 lbs of air pressure in caliper. (Wear goggles)

Once all 4 pistons have engaged the carpet, remove carpet.

Disassemble caliper into 2 halves.

Wiggle pistons out of the bore. Yours will be tight. Do not use bare metal pliers on the bore!

Once out, remove the wiper and square seal with a toothpick. Again, the goal is not to scratch the bores or pistons.

Clean with brake cleaner.

Lube clean pistons and bores.

Insert seal and wiper. Lube bore again.

Insert piston by hand.

replace crossover o-ring.

Put back together.
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Old 11-11-2004, 03:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If I am just cleaning and lubing from the outside, I use contact cleaner, then I spray the exposed part of the piston very well with tri flow. Sometimes I do it several times.
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Old 11-11-2004, 11:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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A/M Rotors

Hi, if you are out of warranty, you might want to consider some different aftermarket rotors. I changed to some stainless steel ones on my Shovelhead a long time ago and they are still straight. Guess you may have a caliper issue too, though.

There are some better rotors on the market than the originals.

Last edited by newultraclassic; 11-11-2004 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 11-12-2004, 10:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have taken my bike in for a new front tire with no problems with the rotors. When I got the bike back after the tire install the front rotors were warped. It was the way the bead of the tire is broken from the rim with the machine most shops use. They have to be careful that the rotor is not touching the side of the tire changer. I have read on other posts of people removing their front discs each time they get a new front tire installed.
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Old 11-12-2004, 10:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Claveria
I own a 2000 FLHRCI (Road King).... I am getting about 25,000 miles on a set of HD brake pads. I have a feeling there is a problem with the pistons in the calipers sticking. When the bike is up on the stand and I rotate the front wheel it only travels about a revalution and a half, maybe two revalutions.... I know they started making the rotors thinner in 2000 but this is the sh_ _'s.
Doesn't anyone else find it odd that he's getting that many miles out of those crappy harley davidson pads? My first set didn't last 10,000 miles. I replaced with Lyndall racing brakes gold pads and they lasted 16-17,000 and they are superb quality. I would think if he's running the stock pads 25,000 miles he's rubbing more than pad material on his rotors...which would cause warping and additional heat which leads to a spongy lever feel. If I'm wrong Tim I mean no offense about your ability to judge your maintenance needs or anything...I just wanted to bring up all possibilities and like I said your mileage per set of pads seems extraordinary.
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Old 11-15-2004, 10:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Just had one of the calipers on my 04 Road King rebuilt. Bike has 5,000 miles on it.

I noticed one of my rotors was getting a lot hotter than the other side. One evening the front brakes started making a strange noise. While I was checking things I noticed the temperature difference between the rotors. A friend mentioned how the rotors are known to warp, but I thought I would feel pulsating when I pressed the brake.

I did notice the brakes feel much firmed after the caliper rebuild.

Sounds like another known HD problem that we have to live with.
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Old 11-18-2004, 03:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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There is nothing wrong with the rotors. What happens is the shops in a hurry are not torquing the axle nut to spec. If you don't believe this put your bike on lift. Assemble and torque the front wheel to HD specs. Spin the wheel and see if it spins freely. Then overtighten the axle nut and spin the wheel. My experience has shown me the wheel will bind and the calipers will drag on the rotor.
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Old 11-18-2004, 08:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Mfn,

I just bought a new duece, and the dealer (stealer?) told me that it is normal for the front rotor to bind slightly when you spin the wheel on the lift. (?)

Is that what you are talking about?
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Old 11-27-2004, 06:11 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deucedog
Mfn,

I just bought a new duece, and the dealer (stealer?) told me that it is normal for the front rotor to bind slightly when you spin the wheel on the lift. (?)

Is that what you are talking about?
If you have a warped $ss rotor, get a dial indicator, mount it to the fork and find the high spot. Take a rubber headed mallet and wack it. Not to hard! If you keep at it you can get the warp out of it in short time. Did this to my 2000 Ultra and took care of the warped rotor. I did this last winter, been good all summer!

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