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I bought a haynes service manual but cannot find anywhere in the book where it tell you how to adjust the front brake lever? Seems it needs to be adjusted cause the there's quite a bit of travel in the lever. Any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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Thanks...probably why I didn't find anything in the book! I'll do some bleeding...thanks for the info!
 

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Looking over my 2001 HD service manual and, there is no real adjustment for the brake lever itself.
If you feel you have excessive front brake lever travel, it is more than likely a result of something that needs attention in the front braking system.

Worn pads
Low brake fluid
Air in lines
Master Cylinder problem
Flex brake line/hose problem
 

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I have an 01 Road King Classic and had the same problem. The dealer told me I had a safety problem and should rebuild the master cylinder (HD Hundred Dollars). Told them to do it and when I went to pick up the bike the hand brake lever still pulled all the way back to throttle grip.....and there was brake fluid all over my front fender and elsewhere on my bike. Needless to say, I got real shitty with them folks real fast and told them they better clean my bike and fix the problem they charged me for. Next day the problem was fixed. They said they had to bleed and bleed the lines (so it probably wasn't the master cylinder anyway). I'm hearing 01's seem to have that problem. A mechanic from another dealer told me if I have the problem again, take a rubber band and put it around the lever and grip (not to tight) but enough to keep pressure on it and let it sit for 24 hours. He said that if there is air in the line, sometimes it will bleed itself using the rubber band. I don't know if that would work for you but worth a try.
 

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I started with the Haynes manual also and real quick popped the cash for the Harley manual. It's much better and well worth the money. Jim

harley4u said:
I bought a haynes service manual but cannot find anywhere in the book where it tell you how to adjust the front brake lever? Seems it needs to be adjusted cause the there's quite a bit of travel in the lever. Any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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inkonyou said:
I have an 01 Road King Classic and had the same problem. The dealer told me I had a safety problem and should rebuild the master cylinder (HD Hundred Dollars). Told them to do it and when I went to pick up the bike the hand brake lever still pulled all the way back to throttle grip.....and there was brake fluid all over my front fender and elsewhere on my bike. Needless to say, I got real shitty with them folks real fast and told them they better clean my bike and fix the problem they charged me for. Next day the problem was fixed. They said they had to bleed and bleed the lines (so it probably wasn't the master cylinder anyway). I'm hearing 01's seem to have that problem. A mechanic from another dealer told me if I have the problem again, take a rubber band and put it around the lever and grip (not to tight) but enough to keep pressure on it and let it sit for 24 hours. He said that if there is air in the line, sometimes it will bleed itself using the rubber band. I don't know if that would work for you but worth a try.
Your dealer shanked you if he charged a hundred bucks to rebuilt a mastercylinder..............A "rebuild kit" is about 10 bucks and takes about 10 minutes to install. Not only that, your dealer could have suggested that you buy a used mastercyliner off of eBay for a few bucks, because the world is full of discarded black mastercylinder's that have been swapped for chrome ones.

Irregardless, you are correct the problem wasn't your mastercylinder in the first place. Spongy brakes and the lever pulling in too far are a common complaint on dual disk systems. It seems that an air bubble is often chased back and forth between the calipers when you bleed 'em the old fashioned way. A MityVac tool is the best way to bleed 'em correctly. A good dealership service department should have a 30 buck MityVac to do the job right.
 

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Bikes with dual calipers (touring bikes), often have another problem, even easier to fix.

The outside of the piston (in the caliper, that pushes the pad outwards) gets gunked up from brake dust and road grime. It starts to "fight" the rubber o-ring that is supposed to pull it back in.

At our shop, here's what we do.... 1) take off one of the calipers 2) squeeze the lever until the pads press against each other 3) spray the outside of the pistons with brake cleaner, get a rag in there and clean them really well 4) pry the pads back apart gently 5) reinstall that caliper and repeat for the other side.

We get this complain often, and you'll be shocked what a difference you'll feel in the caliper.

Single caliper bikes don't seem to have this problem as often, possibly due to having more pressure available for the single caliper?
 

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Chopper Dude is dead on!!!

Chopper Dude has it dead on!!!
After 6 months of bleeding...and I mean via power bleeders...refilling from the caliper on up to the master cyclinder...and everything in between..including a trip to the dealer..and a hundred bucks to tell me they power bled them...and still the same thing!!!! here is what I found...I decided to take the calipers of and apart...I dhot about 30-40psi in to slowly blow out the pistons....BUT it took nearly 90psi to get them to move...after I got them out...I cleaned and checked the orings and cylinders...put back together...and bingo!!! working as designed...seems on mine...when I first hit the lever...it would almost go clear to the grip....then I would pump them up..and they were fine....but after a ninute...back to the same thing...what was happening. was this...the pistons were stuck to the orings...and when the presure was off, the orings were acting as speings or rubberbands pulling the pistons back into the caliper...so when I hit the lever...the pistons had a long way to traverl before they hit the pads and rotor..BUT when I pumped them up I was pushing them out to the pads and rotor...and things were fine..until the presure released and they were sucked back into the caliper.....give it a shot...and good luck!!!!! chances are thats what is wrong..
 

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After chasing down a nagging front brake problem for a while, I was left with nothing to do but either pay the dealer for some sort of "power bleed" procedure (which I'm sure they would have screwed up) or start looking at the calipers. I was pretty confident that the system was air free and after reading this thread took the calipers off. Bingo! Some of the pistons weren't even coming out of the caliper even after pumping the brake lever. Some would come out and then creep right back in like there was vacum sucking them back. Anyway, I wanted to thank you guys for the tip- I'm off to buy rebuild kits. Vic
 

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VMAN said:
After chasing down a nagging front brake problem for a while, I was left with nothing to do but either pay the dealer for some sort of "power bleed" procedure (which I'm sure they would have screwed up) or start looking at the calipers. I was pretty confident that the system was air free and after reading this thread took the calipers off. Bingo! Some of the pistons weren't even coming out of the caliper even after pumping the brake lever. Some would come out and then creep right back in like there was vacum sucking them back. Anyway, I wanted to thank you guys for the tip- I'm off to buy rebuild kits. Vic
Before you spend money on a rebuild kit, I'd just try to clean the piston, as indicated in my previous post. While you have the pistons protruding out of the caliper, spray them down with some brake cleaner... use a rag and get in there (maybe an old toothbrush would work?) and wipe them down.

Usually all it takes us is a little spray and a rag, and we change a spongy brake back into a rock hard one !!
 

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This is EXACTLY what my '03 RK did and the dealer replaced the front calipers (under warranty) which fixed the problem. My '04 EG is now doing this and is in the shop right now for this and another problem. I'm gonna show them this thread and see what they say. Maybe save us both some $$. Thanks for the info. -Frank :)
 

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When I took my caliper off and pumped up the lever 1 piston wouldn't come out of the caliper much at all- just about a 1/16" and then go back in. The others came out enough (until the pads touched) where I probably could have got in there to clean them. The same happened with the other caliper- seemed like each one had one real badly sticking piston. That's when I said "screw it" and yanked everything apart. The sticky ones took mega air psi and WD-40 to finally get out of the bores. The kits were only 13 bucks each anyway so...
Anyways the prob is definitely fixed.
One question though to anyone who might know- any truth to what was told to inkonyou about the rubber band on the lever deal? Will any air actually bleed itself out through the M cyl by using this method? Thanx again fellas,
Vic
 

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CHopperdude is dead on. I just went through this about a month or so ago and his post to my question solved the problem. LISTEN TO HIM!!!
 

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VMAN said:
One question though to anyone who might know- any truth to what was told to inkonyou about the rubber band on the lever deal? Will any air actually bleed itself out through the M cyl by using this method? Thanx again fellas,
Vic
I heard of this recently myself. Only had the chance to try it once and it did seem to help in that case. I'd need to try it a few more times to see if there was consistency in improvement or not. Certainly is an easy thing to try if you're having a problem though, can't see that it would hurt anything.
 

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That's what I figured, Hey it can't hurt. Maybe by putting a little pressure on the lever it opens the return port in the master cyl. allowing air to rise to the top and escape?
 

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Dumb comment

Your dealer shanked you if he charged a hundred bucks to rebuilt a mastercylinder..............A "rebuild kit" is about 10 bucks and takes about 10 minutes to install. Not only that, your dealer could have suggested that you buy a used mastercyliner off of eBay for a few bucks, because the world is full of discarded black mastercylinder's that have been swapped for chrome ones.

Irregardless, you are correct the problem wasn't your mastercylinder in the first place. Spongy brakes and the lever pulling in too far are a common complaint on dual disk systems. It seems that an air bubble is often chased back and forth between the calipers when you bleed 'em the old fashioned way. A MityVac tool is the best way to bleed 'em correctly. A good dealership service department should have a 30 buck MityVac to do the job right.
Dealers won't install used parts or aftermarket parts! You want a hack job, go to an independent shop.
 

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Look for movement in the calipers as you apply the lever. If there is excessive movement, you'll have a long lever pull. Sometimes just pushing the pistons back and then pumping the lever will correct this. If it does, then you should plan on rebuilding the calipers in the near future. And some times it's an issue with the piston seals or mounting bushings. If all that's good, then try bleeding it. For best results, be sure to level the master cylinder when you do it. Some times that will require loosening the bars and/or cylinder.

If you have slack in the lever at the beginning of the pull, then take the lever off and look to see if the lever or cylinder plunger has excessive wear.

And just to make things complicated, sometimes you'll find a cylinder that is not matched to the calipers installed. As in single disk master on a dual caliper system. That would be an issue for a "new to you" scooter, or one that recently had a cylinder replaced.
 

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@ChopperDude
Bikes with dual calipers (touring bikes), often have another problem, even easier to fix.

The outside of the piston (in the caliper, that pushes the pad outwards) gets gunked up from brake dust and road grime. It starts to "fight" the rubber o-ring that is supposed to pull it back in.

At our shop, here's what we do.... 1) take off one of the calipers 2) squeeze the lever until the pads press against each other 3) spray the outside of the pistons with brake cleaner, get a rag in there and clean them really well 4) pry the pads back apart gently 5) reinstall that caliper and repeat for the other side.

We get this complain often, and you'll be shocked what a difference you'll feel in the caliper.

Single caliper bikes don't seem to have this problem as often, possibly due to having more pressure available for the single caliper?
I know this is an older post... I just got a 04 Road King Custom dual caliper. Soft braking and lever pulls almost to the grip before braking much. I noticed that it's making a noise that I initially assumed was the pads making light contact with the discs. BUT it goes away when I just barely pull the brake and no braking happening. The noise sounds almost like a hissing air hose. Ever encounter that?
 
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