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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
anything difficult or tips about changing pads. decided to go with OEM and do it myself.

quickster

I didnt any post on changing pads
 

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this is how i do it. brake calipers off of bike,take out old pads, loosen the master cylinder cover, 6" c clamp to push the caliper piston in so the new pads have room to go over the rotor.not too fast with this.put in brake pads and reassemble caliper to bike, if there isn't enough room the piston has to be squeezed more.tighten master cylinder cover,pump the brake lever or pedel until the piston is pumped back to where it's suppose to be. you shouldn't have to bleed the brakes but make sure you have brakes befor you take it on the road. if you ever changed brake pads on a cage,it's done the same way.
 

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Unbolt the caliper, place a LARGE flat bladed screw driver between the pads, twist the screw driver to push the piston in back into the caliper, you can shim it a bit if needed. Remove/replace the pads, torque all bolts to spec.
 

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Many thimes you can change pads without removing the caliper. Might be a tad easier and less stressful for a first timer. Follow similar steps listed above
 

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As a tech, I don't remove the caliper. Slide in a very thin putty knife type blade, pry the pads so as to make the pistons go back in. Repeat on opposite side. May take several repeat passes.

Pull the pins, pads will fall out. Make sure they don't hit something on the way down (chrome wheel, etc.). Insure new pads are oriented correctly (read the directions), and slide the new pads in. If they won't slide in (piston not in far enough), stick the old pad back up in there and pry some more until it will. Repeat for other side. It helps to have a punch to stick in the caliper pin hole to align the hole in the pads.

Once you've done it a few times, it's a 10 minute job, tops.
 

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ChopperDude said:
As a tech, I don't remove the caliper. Slide in a very thin putty knife type blade, pry the pads so as to make the pistons go back in. Repeat on opposite side. May take several repeat passes.

Pull the pins, pads will fall out. Make sure they don't hit something on the way down (chrome wheel, etc.). Insure new pads are oriented correctly (read the directions), and slide the new pads in. If they won't slide in (piston not in far enough), stick the old pad back up in there and pry some more until it will. Repeat for other side. It helps to have a punch to stick in the caliper pin hole to align the hole in the pads.

Once you've done it a few times, it's a 10 minute job, tops.
As a customer I would expect that the calipers be cleaned thoroughly as they don't have dust covers on the pistons. Allowing build up of brake dust will lead to corrosion.

Another tip would be to get Lyndall brake pads, if you look at the ones that come off you will see that one of the pistons does not make full contact with the pad. Lyndall makes one that extends a little to get full coverage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the tips......

I will difinitely want to clean out the brake dust. Any special grease for the pins. Would I want to use locktite on the pin threads.I dont want to remove the calipers. Since I will be pushing the caliper pistons in do I need to remove the reservoir covers.

quickster
 

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vafatboy said:
As a customer I would expect that the calipers be cleaned thoroughly as they don't have dust covers on the pistons. Allowing build up of brake dust will lead to corrosion.
I've found that customers expect a lot of stuff that's not going to get done. If you look in the Service Manual, it gives instructions on changing out the pads. It does not mention removing the calipers for either the front or rear caliper, much less "cleaning the calipers thoroughly". This was never taught (or mentioned) at MMI, plus I just came back from HD Chassis service school, taught by HD instructors, and we changed pads in there as part of the class. Nope, no mention of removing calipers to clean them.

Not trying to be a prick, just didn't like the sound of your post, as if I was a "bad technician" for simply doing it the way it is documented, as well as being taught in HD approved classes.
 

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quickster said:
I will difinitely want to clean out the brake dust. Any special grease for the pins. Would I want to use locktite on the pin threads.I dont want to remove the calipers. Since I will be pushing the caliper pistons in do I need to remove the reservoir covers.

quickster
Harley used grease on the brake pad pins on the previous version of brake calipers (pre Twin Cam), but I've never seen grease mentioned for the current style. I usually clean the pins well with a Scotch Brite pad or something. Also, would NOT use locktite on the pin threads.

Service Manual does instruct to remove reservoir covers, be careful if your bike uses Dot 4 cause if any sloshes out, it can damage paint.
 

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ChopperDude said:
I've found that customers expect a lot of stuff that's not going to get done. If you look in the Service Manual, it gives instructions on changing out the pads. It does not mention removing the calipers for either the front or rear caliper, much less "cleaning the calipers thoroughly". This was never taught (or mentioned) at MMI, plus I just came back from HD Chassis service school, taught by HD instructors, and we changed pads in there as part of the class. Nope, no mention of removing calipers to clean them.

Not trying to be a prick, just didn't like the sound of your post, as if I was a "bad technician" for simply doing it the way it is documented, as well as being taught in HD approved classes.
Fair enough.

I got my info from Lyndall. I was having an uneven wear problem and some brake noise, so I called them. It was the first time I used their pads and wondered if the brake in of the pads had been done incorrectly. The tech stayed on the phone with me while he asked me to do a couple of things.

One was retract the pistons and remove the pads. Then he had me gently work the brake. He asked if the pistons were coming out at the same rate or were they "walking" out one a little and then the other. They were walking out unevenly.

He stayed on the phone while I cleaned the pistons and calipers. When done the pistons came out at the same rate.

Maybe HD should revise the manual.

Maybe the guy on the phone was full of it.

Maybe I'll clean my calipers with every brake job.

If you got time on the next brake job see if what I've been told is BS or the real deal.

It appears I jumped to a conclusion. If the manual doesn't call for it and you haven't been taught it, then it wouldn't be expected.

However that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

Later,
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Dudes,..............

Thanks for ALL of your responses. Look forward to changing the pads, heard a lot about the Lyndall but will probably stick with the HD OEM.

quickster
 

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ChopperDude said:
I've found that customers expect a lot of stuff that's not going to get done. If you look in the Service Manual, it gives instructions on changing out the pads. It does not mention removing the calipers for either the front or rear caliper, much less "cleaning the calipers thoroughly". This was never taught (or mentioned) at MMI, plus I just came back from HD Chassis service school, taught by HD instructors, and we changed pads in there as part of the class. Nope, no mention of removing calipers to clean them.

Not trying to be a prick, just didn't like the sound of your post, as if I was a "bad technician" for simply doing it the way it is documented, as well as being taught in HD approved classes.
I concur with the earlier post...frankly I expect WAY more than I get at the dealer...wonder why we all wanna "do it yourself"...brake dust combined with moisture will lead to corrosion/pitting of the piston...ask manufacturers other than MoCo, just because the factory doesn't "suggest" it is no reason to take half measures...
 

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vafatboy said:
Fair enough.

He stayed on the phone while I cleaned the pistons and calipers. When done the pistons came out at the same rate.

Maybe HD should revise the manual.

Maybe I'll clean my calipers with every brake job.

If you got time on the next brake job see if what I've been told is BS or the real deal.

It appears I jumped to a conclusion. If the manual doesn't call for it and you haven't been taught it, then it wouldn't be expected.

However that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

Later,
To an extent, you're right. It was a question that I asked in school, and they said "nah, it's okay". But I've found on bikes with dual front calipers, that after a few years of riding, a piston can sometimes get stuck, and taking the caliper off and spraying some cleaner in there will fix things.

I guess the question is: is it NECESSARY every time pads are changed? I've seen lots of bikes with 20,000 miles or more (pads have been changed at least once or twice by us), and there not be any sticking pistons.

Many of us techs get paid on a job basis. We get very little time to replace pads. If I took the extra time to pull the rear axle (on many softails, exhaust is in the way and extends time), to remove the caliper and clean it for "just in case"... it would more than double how long it takes to do the job. Maybe even triple the time. I can change a set of rear pads in probably 5 minutes. Jacking the bike up, pulling exhaust, pulling the axle so the caliper will come out, finagling the caliper out of its place (the toughest part of a tire change job), then cleaning the caliper. I can see that taking an easy 20 minutes.

Plus, I've very seldom seen the problem on rear calipers, or even a bike with a single front rotor. Note that I am NOT saying it won't happen in either of those cases, but where I've seen it the most is on touring bikes with dual front rotors.

And then... we'd do the cleaning the next time it was mentioned to us by the customer (complaint is usually soft front lever).

As a matter of fact, today I brought this question up to the other techs, and they said they don't do it, nor would they (unless HD said to do it, and changed their flat rate times for pad changes.)

So yeah... in your case it's a good thing you can do your own work, so you can give it the extra love and care you like. People are always going to treat their bike with way more love and care than others would.
And while many of us techs do try to go the extra mile and do the right thing by the customer, with some things, it's not going to get done in a dealership environment.

I've only got 10,000 miles on my EG Classic, and haven't even changed pads once. When I change the rear, I won't be doing any cleaning. When I change the front, I may just because I'll be at home and have all the time I want, and no Service Manager breathing down my neck wanting me to be done with the job so he can make more money by getting another bike on my lift.

Peace out, man
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Chopperdude......

Not wanting to remove the calipers I was hoping i could clean by using the air compressor to blow them out a few times and spraying with brake clean and maybe blowing out again. Note being careful of the brake dust. I got one of those "Fix My Hog" DVD's for the Softail models and they seem helpful if you agree with their procedures.

quickster
 

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Chopperdude -

Nice posts. Appreciate knowing I don't have to pull the calipers too. Thanks.


GC
 

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quickster said:
Not wanting to remove the calipers I was hoping i could clean by using the air compressor to blow them out a few times and spraying with brake clean and maybe blowing out again. Note being careful of the brake dust. I got one of those "Fix My Hog" DVD's for the Softail models and they seem helpful if you agree with their procedures.

quickster
Hey quickster (and FXDRYDER too).... glad you're picking up some info here. As far as removing the calipers... FRONT calipers are extremely easy to remove. Just the two bolts hold it on, and then you can slide it back and off. Maybe break the pad pins loose first cause they'll be hard to loosen with the caliper in your hand. Then you can pump the lever, and you can watch and insure all pistons move out together.

As vafatboy was saying, cleaning the outside of the pistons before you go pushing them back up in the bores certainly isn't a bad idea, and since you're not "under the gun" in a time crunch, doesn't hurt.

My only point was that as techs, taking the extra time to do that isn't going to happen, due to the time constraints we have. Also, I've seen LOTS of brake pads changed, and there was no issue later on. But if your bike were to get a stuck piston, it causes your pads to wear out prematurely, as one end of the pad doesn't move, the other moves twice as far, faster. (Hard to explain.) So since you're doing it yourself, pulling the caliper is easy.

But the rear is the real pain in the butt, because the caliper is held on by the rear axle which must be pulled, and is MUCH tougher to get out and clean.

Anyway, I won't belabor this point any longer. Just glad to see people wanting to learn and do stuff on their own. I'm the same way with my car as my bike... I don't want anyone else touching it but me if I can help it.
 
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