Question about 2003 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Hugger

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My harley davidsons front brake pads slightly rubs against my rotor. when i slightly apply the brake it stops. Can anyone tell me whats wrong if anything? I posted this question a few days ago and i was told everything from its normal to my rotor may be slightly warped. If it is my rotor what would be the best way to know it and how can i tell if its flat or warped? Bike is 9 years old but only has a thousand miles on it.

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Ok, on disc brakes, the pads always have slight pressure on the pads. When I say slight, that's exactly what I mean. The pads slight pressure on the rotor is designed to keep the rotor and the pad clean and free of water. Thus good braking in wet conditions. There are no springs or anything to 'pull' the pad back away from the rotor.

Now, as for warpage. Since the disc brake rotor on a motorcycle is a very thin design, a bit of warpage is not uncommon. The only way to accurately check for warpage is to check the rotor with a dial indicator. Your local shop can do this for you but as long as you're not getting a "surging" feeling when you apply the brakes, you're fine.

From what you have described in your post, there's probably nothing wrong with your brakes. If you have any doubt however, you need to have an experienced mechanic check the brakes on your bike. Defective brakes can cause serious injury or death. Do not ride a bike that you are not certain of the servicability of the brakes.

Good Luck
Steve

Posted on May 09, 2010

Testimonial: "thank you so very much for helping me. I feel a little better about it now. I just wish it wasnt making that rubbing noise. Is there an easy inexpensive way to make it go away?"

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This could also be the quad ring in the cal. it self not fully returning the piston to it's position. However to check your rotor for warpage you will need a dial-inticator with a magnet base place the base on the axle and dial needle on rotor and zero it out turn the wheel and watch the needle max runout is .008 thousandths or you could use a striaght edge and feeler gauge, but you will have to remove the wheel

Posted on May 09, 2010

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Remove the caliper and the pads, Lightly sand the pads and clean the rotor with brake parts cleaner. If this doesn't stop the noise, the only thing I can tell you to do is change to "organic" pads. They don't last as long or stop as well but usually they are quiet.

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To bleed the brake, make sure the master cylinder is full of the correct type of brake fluid. It will tell you the type of fluid to use on the master cylinder top. Now, to bleed brakes the steps must be done it this order. Apply the brakes by squeezing and holding the lever. Open one of the bleeder valves and allow the fluid and any air to bleed out. The lever will go to the handlebars. Close the brake bleeder valve. Release the lever and allow the master cylinder to refill. Check the level in the master cylinder. Now repeat the process on the other brake caliper. You may have to go back and do this a couple of times one each caliper. Just make sure you don't allow the master cylinder to run dry. Now, your front rotors will run a bit warm because the pads do stay in contact with them all the time. This is one advantage of disc brakes, the pads keep the rotors clean and dry all the time meaning you have good brakes all the time with them. The old drum brake would get water in them when riding in the rain and you basically didn't have any brakes until the brake shoes dried the water out.

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