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Sportster Motorcycle Tires, Wheels, and Brakes Discuss issues with Sportster motorcycle tires, wheels and brakes.

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canoli canoli is offline
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Default Rear caliper squeaks and squeals: HELP!

Hi guys -
'92 XLH 1200

I replaced the rear pads about 3 months ago - organic from EBC - and they started squeaking/squealing soon after. I figured they'd bed in and eventually the noise would stop. It never did.

Lightly pressing the pedal stops the squeal, which I'm sure is a great clue...now if I only knew what it meant

Today I replaced the rear brake switch, which fixed that issue (pedal now lights the lamp). I also did a caliper rebuild - new piston new seals.

I cleaned everything really well. I hoped meticulous cleaning would stop the noise but no such luck. I used Sil-Glyde behind the pads, Permatex "ultra caliper lube" on the bolts. I've used both of these products for years and never had a problem with noise so I don't think it's the pads or the caliper itself.

Can a dirty rotor cause loud squeaking/squealing? I wiped it down and it looks like it's in good shape. How do you clean a rotor? I've always just hosed them down and dried them off. Can I sand it with like 320 or is that a bad idea?

I appreciate any ideas, thoughts or suggestions you can share. Thank you!
-Rich

Last edited by canoli; 5 Days Ago at 00:42..
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So, what you need to do is pull the pads out. That should fix it, but then the brake wouldn't work, so go a bit further and make note that the pads have tins on the back side of them right? What you need to do is smear some anti seize on the back of the brake pads, and then install the tins against the backs of the pads, then smear some more anti seize on the back of the tins. You should also use anti seize on the places where the pads contact metal like the little tabs on the sides of the metal part of the pads, and the pin that holds the pads in place. The squeal is due to vibration between the parts that makes a squeal. Note: Use anti seize sparingly, and do not get any on the pad surface or the rotor. That would stop the pads from seizing to the rotor, and also stop you from stopping.

Squeal happens between the pad backs and the tins, and also between the tins and caliper piston and also the other side of the caliper that contacts the back of the second pad's tin. They make squeal suppressor goop, but anti seize works as good and it's easier to clean up next time you do brakes.
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Andy56 Andy56 is offline
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Quote:
Lightly pressing the pedal stops the squeal
Are you stating the brake is squealing all the time until you lightly press the pedal?

Is it a single sided caliper and if so did you clean the sliding pins, check and clean the rubber boots and apply new rubber grease?

Under normal circumstances what has been written above is what is happening hence why companies added anti-squeal shims to go at the back of the pads.
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as someone who has seen your posts and lived them, Let me recommend. to get yourself a new rear brake line.
it's a common point of failure on those older bikes. they can create a one way valve.
with all the other issues you're having, I wouldn't wait until it fails..

Synthetic brake caliper grease is probably best if you can't get the moly grease (they usually come in little packs with car brake pads). to use on your pins..

i'd take them out and clean them really good (wire brush) and then replace everything nicely lubed..

Sil-glyde is also a good option of you have it for the pins..
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Hey guys thanks for the info and suggestions.

Yep the brakes squeal all the time. At low speeds it's constant squeaking and squealing - sounds like an old rusty bed on a pickup truck.

Until I press the pedal down. Then the noise stops.

I used a thin coat of Sil-Glyde on the backs of the pads and the pins (the caliper bolts) got the Permatex brake grease. I've used this same procedure many times on different bikes and never had noise like this. But I should mention the rear caliper on the '92 XLH is a little goofy with the shims and the wire clip that fastens the pads to the caliper body. I guess I'll have to do as Wedge suggested, go back in and hit everything with lube again.

I'm a big believer in anti-seize on these old bikes, been using the nickel stuff lately. But I never thought of using it on the backs of brake pads. I may just try it this time since I don't know what else to do.

Unless it is the rotor... How do you guys clean your rotors?

I know I did a good job cleaning everything except the rotor. Everything else got wirebrushed, Krud-Kutter where needed, washed and blown dry.

Eventually I'll replace the brake line but I have to solve this @#$^ noise first. I did blow air through it during the switch-replacement job. Thanks for the suggestion Redd I know you're right. It's a 30-year old brake line it could do with an upgrade/replacement.

Thanks again you guys!
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For the rotor, brake cleaner on a clean rag.
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I wire brushed and hand sanded my rotors, followed by an alcohol wipe down. They were a bit rusted. I don't think you are going to damage anything with a light sanding.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandallM View Post
I wire brushed and hand sanded my rotors, followed by an alcohol wipe down. They were a bit rusted. I don't think you are going to damage anything with a light sanding.
Absolutely true.
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Thanks for the help you guys I appreciate it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReddTigger View Post
get yourself a new rear brake line.
it's a common point of failure on those older bikes. they can create a one way valve.
How does a "one way valve" get created? If you feel like typing I'd love to read it.
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A piece of material from the inner bore of the brake line hinges loose. It's still connected but will move with the fluid flow. When you step on the brake peddle the fluid goes down the brake line (no obstruction). When you release the peddle the offending material hinges into the line bore and causes an obstruction (sort of a one way valve). The fluid will eventually return to the master cylinder but not as fast as it should. This also works going the other way, hard peddle with no breaking action. Eventually this flap will break off and plug some passage.
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