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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just picked up my first harley. have a issue with the front brakes, the level is stupid hard to pull. im able to use the foot brake just fine when i ride. so the front caliper isnt stuck closed. I havent tried anything yet. attached two pictures of my bike from the day i picked it up.

So any info would be great. Thanks!
 

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That is a disk brake sportster, it does not have cable brakes.
Loosen the brake line at the caliper and pull to see if its still hard, then in loosen it at the master and do the same thing.
Usually the brake line is bad.
 

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Bleed the front caliper to relieve built up pressure. If the wheel spins and the lever feels good but gets tight again check the rotor runout. A warped rotor will cause the lever to pump up tight.
 

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Just picked up my first harley. have a issue with the front brakes, the level is stupid hard to pull. im able to use the foot brake just fine when i ride. so the front caliper isnt stuck closed. I havent tried anything yet. attached two pictures of my bike from the day i picked it up.

So any info would be great. Thanks!
The caliber might be stuck open. pull it and carefully try pulling the lever watching the caliber to see the pistons move. BE EASY SO AS NOT TO EJECT THE PISTONS!
While you have the caliber off, check that the pads are installed correctly and not hung up in the caliber frame.
 

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Bleed the front caliper to relieve built up pressure. If the wheel spins and the lever feels good but gets tight again check the rotor runout. A warped rotor will cause the lever to pump up tight.
A warped rotor pushes the piston back, pushes fluid back into the master cylinder piston, then back onto the resivor through the relief vent. The symtom is a lever that goes all the way in when you pull it but will pump up if the bike is stopped, keeps happening as soon as the wheel turns.
His bike does not have run out symptoms.
Something is either froze or the brake line is stopped up.
Like I said before to diagnose undo the brake line at the caliper, and pull the brake. Then do the same at the master.
If the lever pulls in with caliper unhooked then the caliper is froze.
If the lever pulls in with the master unhooked the brake line is bad.
If you still have the problem with the master unhooked the master is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
so this past weekend, i opened up the master cylinder, fluid was clear except for a silver metallic substance at the bottom. so i opned the line at the caliper and fluid came out. close it and then opened the bleeder, fluid came out. so i went to the store and picked up a bottle of dot 3 brake fluid. i used a baster to suck most of the fluid and metallic crap out of the cylinder, then used a paper towel and qtips to clean out the rest. then filled it up with the new fluid and opened up the bleeder and ran about half the bottle through it to flush the lines.then close the bleeder and topped it back of....

Its alot better, and its stopping, but the level is still stiff it seems. when i was bleeding it, it wasnt really stiff at all.

Also noticed my clutch level is stiff.
 

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Dot3? :think
Someone please verify as I am a little brain cloudy and fuzzy this morning.
I do not know of any Harley that calls for or uses Dot3.
Dot4 maybe. Probably Dot5.
Think you just made yourself another headache.

The clutch stiffness could be adjustment or lack of lubrication.
Depending on type of cable, teflon sleeved, = no lubrication required. It may just need adjustment or at worst replacement.
Stiff is a hard word to define. What is to some may not be to others. Without having a comparison it is a difficult call whether it may be normal or not.
 

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From the Harley website:

DOT 4 Brake Fluid
For use in '06-later VRSC™, '07-later XL, '08-later XR, '06-later Dyna® and Softail®, and '05-later Touring models.

DOT 5 Brake Fluid
For use in all models (except '06-later VRSC™, '07-later XL, '08-later XR, '06-later Dyna® and Softail®, and '05-later Touring models).
Doesn't list DOT 3 at all.
 

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Wayward Son
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From the Harley website:



Doesn't list DOT 3 at all.
:thumb Thanks for the verification.
Pretty sure, besides 3 not mixing with 4 or 5.
The seals in the master cylinder and caliper are different.
Got a feeling some leaks if not outright failures are on the way.

And. As far back as 83 anyways, 5 was called out for exclusively I believe.
 

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3 and 4 will mix, with each other, but neither will mix with 5. Best to flush system and re-fill with the proper fluid. Should be marked on top of master cylinder.

You have just described a stuck caliber or wedged pads. Since the master seemed OK with the bleeder open that eliminates the master and hose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
hmm ok so i should run dot 5 in it? or is there something better? my next thing this weekend was to pull the caliper off and test it. i dont recall any markings on it but ill check. ill see if i can get better pictures of it tonight to help out. thanks.
 

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I didn't see where you posted what year model your bike is. Previous posts in this thread have shown which year models use which spec fluid. Since you really don't know what has been used in your system, you should consider changing and flushing all of the fluid and then refilling and bleeding your system with the correct spec fluid for your year model. DOT 3 is an older spec with a lower boiling point than DOT 4, but they are compatible. If your bike is a DOT 5 model, get all of the old fluid out of it ASAP and fill and thoroughly flush and bleed with new DOT 5 fluid. Put that puppy to sleep first, then check for other issues in the system.

You don't need anything better; you need proper.

--
 

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Maybe you mean the brake lever not level right ? It sounds to me like there is air in the lines. Either that or your pistons inside the brake caliper need to be cleaned and lubed with grease.

Did you ever try a reverse bleed for brake fluid ? Also sometimes when you bleed the lines open that sliver nipple to bleed and open the banjo bolt too on the brake caliper.
 

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hmm ok so i should run dot 5 in it? or is there something better? my next thing this weekend was to pull the caliper off and test it. i dont recall any markings on it but ill check. ill see if i can get better pictures of it tonight to help out. thanks.
Check the top of the master cylinder. It will tell you which type of fluid to use. Make sure you don't mix them
Dot 3 and 4 are compatible in fact the only type I can purchase is a DOT 3/4 combination fluid.
If you mix it with DOT 5 you will get sludge in the lines and master cylinder and complete brake failure.
 

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suprmnfrk,

You need to get the owner's manual and the service manual for your bike especially if you plan on servicing the bike. You're working blind without the proper information. If you bought the bike from the owner, ask for the owner's manual and any other documentation he/she may have.

Brakes are your lifeline and if there is an negative issue with them, you could be in for some serious and dangerous consequences if the brakes are not 100% "perfect". Get it right and if you can't do it, get a qualified tech to fix it for you.

And what year and model is your bike?

Good luck!
 

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I resisted paying the money for the service manual until I heard it from this bunch over and over.


It's the best thing I've bought for my bike so far. Get the owner's manual and parts manual also.
The Dealer can order them for you.


Don't get the cheap CD online. They have the information but are very hard to use. Don't ask. They are also pirated.
 
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