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Sportster Motorcycle General Discussion and Problems For discussing problems about your Sportster motorcycle that don't fit anywhere else.

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  #1  
Old 4th June 2009
SuperTed's Avatar
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Default When to replace brake pads?

The rear brake on my '01 1200C has been squeeking on and off for the past couple of months. I was wondering - how do you know when it's time to replace the pads? Is this my Sportster's way of telling me it's time?

The funny thing is that the brakes were serviced by a BMW guy in town before I purchased the bike from my father in law about a year and a half ago. Sounds like it's too soon for another service...
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Old 4th June 2009
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Default

How many miles and what is your riding style? Me, I replace the pads every 8k. I'm a heavy braker
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  #3  
Old 4th June 2009
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Default

Just because a bike has been serviced doesn't mean that the brake pads were changed. A year and a half ago they were probably fine. If they are squealing, it's most likely time to put new ones one. FSM spec is to change the brake pads when there is 1.02mm or less left on the pad itself (that's about .040 inches).
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  #4  
Old 4th June 2009
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Default

Thanks guys.

I ride mainly in-city on a daily basis, meaning I spend a lot of time doing the stop and go thing. Get up to 2nd gear, stop. Get up to 3rd gear, stop. If I'm lucky once or twice on the way to work, get up to 4th gear, stop.

How do you check the thickness of the pad? Can you just hold up a ruler to the pad while it's on the bike? I'm having trouble picturing everything back there. I want to do the work myself so I just want to be sure I'm doing it right!
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Old 4th June 2009
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Default

Aim a flashlight in there, and look between the pad's backing plate and the disc. You'll see a smaller, thin bit of material in there. You can eyeball .04" OK; if in doubt, you can pull the pads out for a look, then measure with a caliper. If they're fine, and you don't like the squeaking, there are a couple products out there to stop it. One is a high-temp sticky stuff, the other is high-temp brake grease. Both form a tiny cushion between the caliper piston and the pad.

I have 16K on my originals; they look to be 1/2 gone, maybe more. I'm a gentle braker who rides mainly in the country.
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Old 4th June 2009
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Nearly 17k on my originals. Front is maybe half gone; rear is maybe 60-70% gone. Still lots of miles left.
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  #7  
Old 4th June 2009
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Default Pad Replacement

I can't quite bring myself to let the pads wear down to the 1/16" the book allows. Logic says it's okay. The little hairs on the back of my neck say otherwise. When they get much under 1/8th inch I replace them.
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Old 4th June 2009
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Default

Wow, if you guys are running 16-17k with only about half wear, I should definitely not be needing to replace my pads with 6k on them (if they were actually replaced when they were serviced - need to find that out).

MacAttack, who makes those "anti-squeak" products? If they form a cushion between the piston and the pad, does that mean I will need to do brake dissection to get the stuff in there? I have a service manual, but I've never done brake work before. It worries me a little just because of how important it is to stop!
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  #9  
Old 4th June 2009
argentcorvid argentcorvid is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperTed View Post
Wow, if you guys are running 16-17k with only about half wear, I should definitely not be needing to replace my pads with 6k on them (if they were actually replaced when they were serviced - need to find that out).

MacAttack, who makes those "anti-squeak" products? If they form a cushion between the piston and the pad, does that mean I will need to do brake dissection to get the stuff in there? I have a service manual, but I've never done brake work before. It worries me a little just because of how important it is to stop!
Don't be afraid to take the caliper off to look at the pads, it's pretty simple. It's the disassembly of the caliper itself that is pretty involved.

for the front, You just take out the mounting pin and bolt and slip the caliper off the disc. for the rear one, remove the pins, and push the caliper towards the wheel to push the piston in to the caliper, and it should slip off as well. the front pads stay in the caliper and the rear ones will stay by the disc, because there is a retaining clip.

you probably will want to lubricate the pins the caliper floats on anyway, so the pads don't end up looking like this. (I am just now having this problem)
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  #10  
Old 4th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by argentcorvid View Post
Don't be afraid to take the caliper
off to look at the pads, it's pretty simple. It's the disassembly
of the caliper itself that is pretty involved.
It's not necessary to remove the caliper to inspect or replace the pads.
Replaced mine last summer following the service manual. Was fairly
simple imo and I had never done them before.
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