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GSB_77_XL
25th June 2005, 03:23
how much "play" should my front caliper have? The pads need replaced they are getting thin but I want to ride it till i get my new pads. Is there any adjustment on them ? it is a 1977 The thing starded rattling like crazy at slow speeds and it is anoying.

any help would be appreciated
TX, Greg

IronMick
25th June 2005, 03:56
Mine is a 1980. It has dual disks up front, single disk at the rear. The calipers are all loose and floppy even when the bolts are tightened. That is the design, not a problem.

Once the material wears off the pads the pad backing plate will eat up the rotor. You are good to go until that happens.

Have you dismantled them yet? I would take them off, examine the pads, clean everything up, and re-install. That way you get to see exactly how the pads mount.

GSB_77_XL
25th June 2005, 04:32
Mine is a 1980. It has dual disks up front, single disk at the rear. The calipers are all loose and floppy even when the bolts are tightened. That is the design, not a problem.

Once the material wears off the pads the pad backing plate will eat up the rotor. You are good to go until that happens.

Have you dismantled them yet? I would take them off, examine the pads, clean everything up, and re-install. That way you get to see exactly how the pads mount.

I am not in to the backer yet but only have about 3/16" till I get there. It just started rattling yesterday. No I havent taken it apart yet, but I looked in there with a flashlight while it was still attatched. I am going to order the pads tomorrow.

Thanks Mick!!

dwardy
25th June 2005, 15:56
Your spring clip thingy is probably broken or bent. You may be able to bend it back somewhat and keep the rattle to a minimum.

ziggyhd1
30th December 2007, 21:25
I've got dual discs on my '82. The left side has always been tight and the right side loose. Yesterday while riding I started noticing a distinct clunk when front brake was applied. All pads look good (and recently passed inspection) and there are no gouges in discs. Right side "seems" looser but all bolts are tight.

Any ideas?

milmat1
30th December 2007, 21:36
Your spring clip thingy is probably broken or bent. You may be able to bend it back somewhat and keep the rattle to a minimum.


I wish you wouldn't use such High Tech Terminology Its hard for us normal people to understand...:laugh:laugh:laugh:laugh

IronMick
30th December 2007, 21:50
I've got dual discs on my '82. The left side has always been tight and the right side loose. Yesterday while riding I started noticing a distinct clunk when front brake was applied. All pads look good (and recently passed inspection) and there are no gouges in discs. Right side "seems" looser but all bolts are tight.

Any ideas?

The calipers are the same from 79 to 83. They are supposed to be loose and floppy. If one was tight then there was something wrong with it.

They are quite simple devices. They can be easily removed from the bike, dismantled to the point of removing the pads, cleaned up, put back together, re-installed.

I would not dismantle them further than that. I would not, for example, remove the pistons unless there was a specific problem. This is also the advice of all the manuals.

Once you remove them it is best to not squeeze the brake lever. The pistons will move and it will be a little more difficult to re-install. Not much more [as most manuals imply], just a little more.

If you need to, remove the lid from the master cylinder and squeeze the pistons back in with a C-clamp, with the parts protected by a shop towel. It is a good idea to do this anyway as it is then much easier to re-install over the rotor.

redironhead
30th December 2007, 22:49
Mine really rattle even with new pads in them (1980). It is possible the bushings in the front fork legs are worn and need replacing. These carry the bolts through the forks and calipers and wear over time. Unfortunatly, they are neigh on impossible to push out even on a press with the forks dismantled. I have new bushes but have never been able to install them, I just put up with the rattle. I've even tried pushing them out with a g clamp whilst attached to the bike. All I did was break the g clamp.

Hopper
31st December 2007, 05:03
The 77 caliper is completely different from the later twin disks. It is not usually the pads rattling, it is the whole damn half-ton caliper flopping about on the one cheesy little bracket that holds it on. If the hole is worn too close to he edge of the metal, you will need to get a new bracket/pad holder unit. Otherwise, you can cure the rattle by undoing the caliper retaining bolt, pivoting it forward, put a rubber bush between the caliper and fork leg, use a g-clamp to squeeze the caliper back into position and insert the mounting bolt again. The rubber bush remains trapped between the fork leg and the caliper, and voila, the rattle stops. I used a rubber bush commonly used for mounting refrigeration compressors. It is about 1-inch diamter with a 3/8-inch hole through the middle and is about one inch long.

ziggyhd1
31st December 2007, 12:04
The calipers are the same from 79 to 83. They are supposed to be loose and floppy. If one was tight then there was something wrong with it.

They are quite simple devices. They can be easily removed from the bike, dismantled to the point of removing the pads, cleaned up, put back together, re-installed.

I would not dismantle them further than that. I would not, for example, remove the pistons unless there was a specific problem. This is also the advice of all the manuals.

Once you remove them it is best to not squeeze the brake lever. The pistons will move and it will be a little more difficult to re-install. Not much more [as most manuals imply], just a little more.

If you need to, remove the lid from the master cylinder and squeeze the pistons back in with a C-clamp, with the parts protected by a shop towel. It is a good idea to do this anyway as it is then much easier to re-install over the rotor.

Thanks, I needed something to do on my holiday!

Campsurf
31st December 2007, 16:21
Mine drove me nuts..... I have a 1974 set up on a 1970 XLCH, then I decided to bite the bullet. GMA makes wonderful calipers... but it was a bit spendy, brakes were something I wanted because my previous bike was a chopped '64 Triumph with a spool for a front brake (None)... I think all the 70s calipers were loose... I still have the one I took off in a box... JJ

ironhead red
31st December 2007, 19:50
Yes, they are suppose to be a little loose. One of the tricks to dampen the "clanky" calipers, is to use some 1/8" foam tape on the front side of the caliper, between the caliper & the fork slider. This way they are still able to move as needed but, it will quiet them down.

Red

ironhead red
31st December 2007, 19:52
I should say I ment on the dual disc '77 to '83 setup.

Red

ziggyhd1
6th January 2008, 18:04
A new wrinkle.:( I broke a ball end allen wrench off in the shoulder bolt at the top of the caliper. Not enough of it is sticking out to get a hold on with pliers/vise grips. Tried drilling it, no dice.

Any ideas???

I'm thinkin maybe I'll have to get someone to weld a spot on the bolt and turn it out, then replace the bolt. :(:frownthre

IronMick
6th January 2008, 20:59
This is not much help to you now, but i always recommend never using Allen wrenches unless the space limitations require it. Always use your ratchet handle with a correct size Allen-type attachment. Those Allen keys are IMO an inappropriate tool for most motorcycle applications.

Your spot weld idea is a good one. I don't know the design of that caliper, but sometimes you can get a hack saw blade between two parts and slice thru the bolt without doing too much dammage. I've been there.

Hopper
7th January 2008, 08:51
Ouch.
I presume you are talking about one of the allen head bolts that hold the two halves of the caliper together? On the single disc model?

You should be able to unbolt the caliper at the main mounting points on the fork. Turn the caliper over and drill the offending bolt out from the opposite end until the nut drops off. Centrepunch the bolt end before you start so the drill is reasonably centred.

The bolt is high tensile so will be tough to drill but not too tough. Start with a small drill and work up in size. A drill press would make it easier.

Aren't motorbikes fun?:laugh

ziggyhd1
7th January 2008, 14:59
Ouch.
I presume you are talking about one of the allen head bolts that hold the two halves of the caliper together? On the single disc model?

You should be able to unbolt the caliper at the main mounting points on the fork. Turn the caliper over and drill the offending bolt out from the opposite end until the nut drops off. Centrepunch the bolt end before you start so the drill is reasonably centred.

The bolt is high tensile so will be tough to drill but not too tough. Start with a small drill and work up in size. A drill press would make it easier.

Aren't motorbikes fun?:laugh

Yeah, fun.

No, its the top bolt that bolts the caliper to the fork.:( Gotta go out and look at it. That hacksaw idea might work. And by the way, it was a socket style allen. Shouldn't have used a ball end on it, but it was what I had. Damn.

ziggyhd1
7th January 2008, 15:43
Thanks IronMick!!!!!

The hacksaw trick worked! Sometimes it just takes a new set of "eyes" to come up with the way through!

Now after looking at it I still can't see why it was wobbling so much. Gonna order a new set of bolts and bushings (if I can get the old bushings out).

keeno
7th January 2008, 16:05
I think it's been summed up in that the early 70's calipers 'bang' around. I have a '74 and replaced all the fastenings and it still 'bangs' around. The play is in the top hanger bolt. Maybe rebushing it properly would take up the excessive tolerences that were built in by Harley.

IronMick
7th January 2008, 17:54
You might be wasting time and $s and energy re-bushing the thing. They are supposed to be loose and floppy. Even if it is more loose and floppy than original is it causing a problem? If so then re-bush it of course. But maybe it it technically not necessary.

Hopper
8th January 2008, 04:35
Yep. The front caliper on my '77 rattled from brand new, and got progressively worse as the thing wore a little. Just another great piece of AMF engineering. Bike sounded like a bowling-alley pin setter going down the road.:rolleyes:
Cinching a rubber plug or grommet in between the caliper and forkleg stops the caliper rattling but allows it to move and operate properly.

stealthammer
8th January 2008, 13:21
A new wrinkle.:( I broke a ball end allen wrench off in the shoulder bolt at the top of the caliper. Not enough of it is sticking out to get a hold on with pliers/vise grips. Tried drilling it, no dice.

Any ideas???

I'm thinkin maybe I'll have to get someone to weld a spot on the bolt and turn it out, then replace the bolt. :(:frownthre

Dental pick? I keep a half-dozen different ones around for just such occassions.

Hopper
9th January 2008, 10:35
Dental pick? I keep a half-dozen different ones around for just such occassions.


Kin ell. I hope I dont ever go to a dentist like yours. :D

Phillthy
9th January 2008, 10:38
I think I did a while ago.

ziggyhd1
14th January 2008, 12:41
Got the brake fixed. So far seems better than it has been in years. Just replaced the two bolts. I was gonna replace the bushings but I couldn't get 'em out. Stuck a new piece of foam rubber door seal between caliper and fork leg. Definately tighter than before and no "clunk"! Only took a short test ride around the block.:tour

superwarden
14th January 2008, 13:51
All you guys with the modern brakes on your ironheads, I haven't had these problems yet with my drums!

Hopper
21st January 2008, 04:25
All you guys with the modern brakes on your ironheads, I haven't had these problems yet with my drums!

That is the price we have to pay for having the hi-tech models. :p

PS, I noticed earlier today in the factory parts book there is a small coil spring with a hook on each end shown as a "fix kit" for the '77 pie slice caliper. It looks like it goes on the top somewhere and pulls the caliper backwards against the pin to stop the rattle. The piece of foam tape seems a more elegant solution.