Question about 2005 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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Rear breaks do not work, I push down on the pedal and nothing. I opened the zurk and fluid is pumping through the master cylinderfluid level within rang, has dot 5 fluid. Could it just be I need new break pads?

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You could simply have air in the system. First, look on the top of your rear brake master cylinder reservior. It should tell you which brake fluid to use in your system. DO NOT MIX DOT 5 WITH EITHER DOT 4OR DOT 3. They are incompatible and will form into little balls of gummy mess in your master cylinder. Fill the master cylinder to the top and temporarily put top back on the reservior

Now, you must do this procedure EXACTLY in this manner. Fist depress the foot brake pedal. Second, open the bleeder valve and allow any air and brake fluid to escape. Third, close bleeder valve. Fourth, release brake pedal. Do this proceedure about three times and then check the brake fluid level. Do not allow the master cylinder reservior to run dry during the proceedure. Continue until you no longer get air out of the system, only brake fluid.

By this time, you should have a full brake pedal even if your pads are totally shot. If not, your master cylinder is in need of a rebuild.

To check your brake pads, look at the rear caliper and you'll see two bolts in it. Remove these bolts and lift the caliper off the brake caliper bracket. Notice the position of the pads and how the anti-rattle hardware is positioned in the caliper bracket. Once you can remember how the stuff goes in there, remove one of the pads and have a look. If they need replacing do so. Make sure that you put the pads in with the fiber side facing the rotor. If the rotor is scored from metal to metal contact, it will have to be replaced as well or the brakes will lock up the rear wheel when you apply the brakes.

If you replace your pads, you must get the piston back into the caliper all the way in order to be able to get it back on the brake caliper bracket. First, you'll have to remove a little of the brake fluid in the reservior. Then, using either a C-clamp or a large pair of slip joint pliers compress the piston all the way back into it's bore. Use rags or thin pieces of wood to protect the paint and finish on the caliper.

Once the piston is fully compressed, carefully slide the caliper back down onto the bracket without disturbing the pads. Reinstall the bolts and torque to 35 foot pounds. Push the pedal and release it until you get a full firm pedal. Test the brakes before you ride the bike.

Failure to service the brakes correctly can cause serious injury or death. Do this job correctly or have some else do it for you.

Good Luck

Posted on Aug 20, 2010


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