Question about 2004 Harley Davidson FLHT - FLHTI Electra Glide Standard

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2004 electra glide classic front brakes locking up.tried another master cylinder and replaced fluid with new.what else could be causing it.

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  • turddoc101 Apr 25, 2010

    while riding ,if i use the front brakes they slowly lock up like the fluid cannot return to the master cylinder.

  • abolod5 May 11, 2010

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By "locked up", I'm assuming that once you release the front brake lever, the bike will not roll. As with all disc brakes, the brake pads do not withdraw away from the disc. They maintain light pressure on the disc to keep it clean and dry. When you pull the lever, they apply stopping force. When you relaese the lever the force is releaved but the pads still stay in contact with disc lightly and the wheel will turn.

If you've tired another master cylinder and the brakes are still locking up, there is something wrong with either the hose or the caliper itself. Usually, it's the caliper. You must take the caliper off and use compressed air to get the piston out. You must be very careful while doing this. If you must use high air pressure, the piston will come out of the caliper with extreme force. I use a small air pressure regulator to slowly increase the pressure starting at about five psi.

If you get to 25 psi or better, things can get dangerous. At this point, I quit using air pressure and go to a grease gun. By taking the end off the end of the hose on the grease gun, it will screw right into the place where the brake line goes most of the time. Now pump the grease in until the piston pops out. It's a nasty job but a lot safer than the air pressure method. Clean the caliper up completely free of grease. Use a wheel cylinder hone to hone the inside of the caliper's piston bore. Pay particular attention to the groove where the caliper top seal goes in. Lubritcate the piston and the inside of the piston bore of the caliper with the proper type of clean brake fluid and press the piston into the bore. The caliper is now ready to reinstall. Make sure you are using the proper type of brake fluid. Harley changed back to DOT 4 brake fluid but I can't remember what year. It should be on the top of the master cylinder cover. Do not mix DOT4 and DOT 5.

I have on a few occasions seen a rubber brake hose that would not allow the brekes to release. They get damaged on the inside. The very high pressure present when you apply the brakes can get past an obstrucion on the inside of the hose. But, once you release the pressure, as the pressure lowers, it gets to a point where it cannot get past the obstruction and thus holds this amount of pressure on the caliper. Replace the brake hose.

Make sure you bleed all the air out of the system. If you leave any in there, as the air heats up, it expands and applies pressure to the brakes and makes them drag. Alweys test the brakes before riidng the bike. Improperly serviced brakes can cause serious injury or death. Good Luck, Steve

Posted on Apr 25, 2010

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Installed new brake pads on front of 2004 FLHTCUI AND ROTORS are very hot. Followed instructions in ser man. What's weong


Hi Larry, and the usual suspects are:
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This nub on the switch is what the front brake lever pushes against when it is released, causing the brake light to go out.

You'll need to open up the switch housing, unsolder the old switch, and solder in a new one.

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You have one of two possible problems. The first being the master cylinder plunger may not be returning back far enough to relieve the pressure on the rear brake system. Check to make sure you have at least a little bit of free travel in the pedal, about a half inch. Also, in the very bottom of the master cylinder reservoir, there are two holes. A large hole and a small hole of about 0.030". Make sure the small hole is not blocked. Do not drill the hole larger. The other problem is that the rubber brake hose could be damaged due to it being bent to a too tight radius when the brake job was done. The brake hose has multiple layers and the inside layer may have broke loose. This allows the high pressure fluid when the pedal is depressed to pass but not let the low pressure pass back to the master cylinder when the pedal is released. Install a new hose. I hope this helps.

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You've probably got a bit of wear in the pin and lever causing this. Check it see if this is the cause.

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1 Answer

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1 Answer

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Check the master cylinder to see if the reservior is full. If not, fill with the proper type brake fluid. Then, bleed the master cylinder by loosening the banjo bolt at the end of the master cylinder, pull the lever and hold it, tighten the banjo bolt. Do this until all air is out of the master cylinder. If you still have the free play, a rebuild is required.

If your 2003 model is like the earllier models (I have rebuilt a late model like yours), take the large pivot pin out and the lever will come off. On some master cylinders, there is a snap ring that holds the internals in the master cylinder, on others, there aren't, but you must get the old internals out. Inspect the bore and hone if necessary to smooth the bore. If the bore is badly pitted, replace the assembly. Install new internals and put the lever back on. Fill with the proper brake fluid. Bleed the system of air. Warning, the brake fluid may ruin your paint if it gets on it.

Good Luck,
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