Sticky Caliper Fix - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-04-2014, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Sticky Caliper Fix

Well it happened. On my first ride after I freshened up the rear of the bike with chain, sprockets, cush drive rubbers, pads and rotor I noticed resistance in the front wheel. I pulled the calipers one at a time and spun the wheel to find the culprit. Sure enough the left one had one sluggish piston. Off to the internet I go.

Brake caliper Maintenance (Re-upload) - YouTube

I didn't get mine nearly this clean. I used one pad to allow the pistons to protrude a little further.


I used brake parts cleaner with a Scotch Brite scrubby pad to clean the pistons.



My first couple of tries were unsuccessful. I clamped down the 3 good pistons and pumped the bad one out a little more - until it felt like a loose tooth. I didn't have this nifty caliper piston tool


but I was able to work the piston around with my 90 degree snap ring pliers. Then I smeared some synthetic motor oil on the seals and left it to penetrate overnight. This evening I took care to remove the residual oil and the piston moves in and out with the others. A test ride around the block proved the resistance is gone.
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-04-2014, 10:20 PM
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Glad it worked for you (and very glad you didn't use water - I cringed when I watched that video)... but it's still a bandaid.

You need to lube the seals on the pistons directly. This nifty dude shows how it's done:


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post #3 of 6 Old 06-05-2014, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Ken Phenix View Post
Then I smeared some synthetic motor oil on the seals and left it to penetrate overnight. This evening I took care to remove the residual oil and the piston moves in and out with the others. A test ride around the block proved the resistance is gone.
It's very risky to use petroleum products on brake seals. Most brake seals are made of EPDM rubber which can swell dramatically and lose physical properties when exposed to oil. (turn to goo) You might get away with a light coating of oil, or you may have created new problems with your brakes. Worth keeping a close eye on them.

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post #4 of 6 Old 06-05-2014, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dpeddle View Post
It's very risky to use petroleum products on brake seals. Most brake seals are made of EPDM rubber which can swell dramatically and lose physical properties when exposed to oil. (turn to goo) You might get away with a light coating of oil, or you may have created new problems with your brakes. Worth keeping a close eye on them.
Agreed. I have already clicked "buy it now" on a clean used pair of calipers but I couldn't stay off the bike another week.
After watching myriad how-to videos on youtube, I wanted to know first hand that cleaning the pistons without disassembling the caliper can work. It could be useful on road trips. I'll pull the caliper to inspect the seals frequently and I may just go ahead and order a set of seals.
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-05-2014, 10:30 AM
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Damn, had I known this I could have sold you my RC51 Sp2 complete brake package!

I did the same thing as you, that is put one pad & compress it expose the pistons. Then I used a tooth brush & some simple green & all the dirt & crud came right off. The calipers looked new for a few days.

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post #6 of 6 Old 06-05-2014, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arshishb View Post

I did the same thing as you, that is put one pad & compress it expose the pistons. Then I used a tooth brush & some simple green & all the dirt & crud came right off. The calipers looked new for a few days.
I do that for every brake pad change which is pretty frequent. Simple Green is also my surfactant of choice. About once every 2 years I pop the pistons out and really go at them with the polisher. I have gotten away with not having to replace the seals on quite a few Honda calipers, but every now & then I'll screw one up or just find them in need of being replaced anyway.

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