Front brake calipers locking up - Honda Motorcycles - FireBlades.org
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post #1 of 21 Old 11-03-2012, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
 
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Front brake calipers locking up

This did not happen to my CBR 954RR. i still have my 954 and it now has over 75,000km on it and runs flawless...except for some electrical gremlins. No, this happened to another bike i have. it's the most bizarre thing i've ever experienced and was wondering if anyone has ever heard of this before?

Well, it only took 5 months to finally figure it out, but, I found out the problem to my brembo brakes locking up. i was taking my bike to a mechanic here on the island to change the brake fluid, because i thought, incorrectly, they were locking up as a result of having old brake fluid. but before i even got 100 meters out of the parking lot, the front brakes locked up.


let me stop here and say that, when the front brakes lock up, it comes to such an abrupt stop that, you are nearly catapulted over the front handle bars. If it were to happen while going around a corner on wet pavement, it would cause the front tire to lock up immediately and the bike would immediately nose dive and you would run directly into the next lane. this could ruin your whole day, if, for example, there happened to be another car or truck coming in the opposite direction around the corner. it's one of the most bizarre things i've ever experienced ever on a motorcycle before. it made it scary and exciting at the same time.


When it happened this time, i was prepared! When they locked up yesterday, the bike came to an immediate stop. i immediately jumped off the bike and touched the front brake calipers; the left front brake caliper was steaming hot...like on fire hot! the left one was as cold as ice. Perfect...now i knew where the problem was, it was just a matter of finding out why this was happening. i kept on driving to puerto plata in order to get it to the mechanic's shop. the front brake, however, kept on locking up. this went on for about 15 minutes before it finally stopped and i could continue on.


When i got to the mechanic's shop, he took the front brake caliper apart and it turns out that, as a result of the bike being parked next to the ocean, the salt air has gotten into the brake caliper pistons and oxidized and corroded the pistons--blocking their ability to smoothly push out the brake shoes in and out, and returning back to their original position.

Further more, when they would heat up, they would begin pushing the pistons out on their own--this part i did not understand, nor do i understand it now? Why would they push the brake calipers out when i'm not engaging the front brakes? Bizarre.


Anyway, the mechanic, took them apart as best as possible and sprayed WD40 or some kind of brake cleaner and this seems to have worked. i drove it back without any problems.

Has anyone ever experienced this or know what the correct remedy to this is?


Frank
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post #2 of 21 Old 11-03-2012, 11:07 PM
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

The only thing i can think of was as the caliper was getting hot it was boiling some water in the brake lines, creating positive pressure, but as u changed the fluid i dunno? Glad u sorted it though brakes are the one thing u need to trust.
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post #3 of 21 Old 11-03-2012, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

I didn't end up changing the brake fluid because the mechanic seemed to think that the locking up of the brakes had nothing to do with the brake fluid, but instead, with salt-air corrosion of the pistons. I don't know?

I drove it home, and so far, so good.

Frank

Last edited by frank; 11-04-2012 at 3:44 AM.
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post #4 of 21 Old 11-03-2012, 11:43 PM
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

Wow, I am glad you are alright. Front brake lock up sounds like a real nightmare.

Did the mech just take the calipers off and spray them or take the pistons out of the calipers and clean them up?

I would recommend changing out that fluid also. Sounds like maybe a sticky piston might have caused a rotor to heat up. But also something had to get hot enough to cause enough pressure to cause a complete 'lock up' which could be water boiling in the system.

I pulled this from an article I ran across. I change my fluid every season because it is cheap, and it is one less thing to worry about.


"During the life of a vehicle or even a drum of brake fluid sitting on the floor of a workshop things happen to Glycol fluids because they are what we call “Hygroscopic”....they absorb water even through the walls of the (would you believe) slightly pervious rubber brake hoses and open top on cans or vehicle master cylinders. This water vapour drawn into the fluid will of course boil at somewhere around 100 degrees (or a little more under Pressure) so any water content in a brake fluid is bad news. It also causes system internal parts to corrode."
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post #5 of 21 Old 11-04-2012, 12:30 AM
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

Quote:
Originally Posted by frank View Post
This did not happen to my CBR 954RR. i still have my 954 and it now has over 75,000km on it and runs flawless...except for some electrical gremlins. No, this happened to another bike i have. it's the most bizarre thing i've ever experienced and was wondering if anyone has ever heard of this before?

Well, it only took 5 months to finally figure it out, but, I found out the problem to my brembo brakes locking up. i was taking my bike to a mechanic here on the island to change the brake fluid, because i thought, incorrectly, they were locking up as a result of having old brake fluid. but before i even got 100 meters out of the parking lot, the front brakes locked up.


let me stop here and say that, when the front brakes lock up, it comes to such an abrupt stop that, you are nearly catapulted over the front handle bars. If it were to happen while going around a corner on wet pavement, it would cause the front tire to lock up immediately and the bike would immediately nose dive and you would run directly into the next lane. this could ruin your whole day, if, for example, there happened to be another car or truck coming in the opposite direction around the corner. it's one of the most bizarre things i've ever experienced ever on a motorcycle before. it made it scary and exciting at the same time.


When it happened this time, i was prepared! When they locked up yesterday, the bike came to an immediate stop. i immediately jumped off the bike and touched the front brake calipers; the left front brake caliper was steaming hot...like on fire hot! the left one was as cold as ice. Perfect...now i knew where the problem was, it was just a matter of finding out why this was happening. i kept on driving to puerto plata in order to get it to the mechanic's shop. the front brake, however, kept on locking up. this went on for about 15 minutes before it finally stopped and i could continue on.


When i got to the mechanic's shop, he took the front brake caliper apart and it turns out that, as a result of the bike being parked next to the ocean, the salt air has gotten into the brake caliper pistons and oxidized and corroded the pistons--blocking their ability to smoothly push out the brake shoes in and out, and returning back to their original position.

Further more, when they would heat up, they would begin pushing the pistons out on their own--this part i did not understand, nor do i understand it now? Why would they push the brake calipers out when i'm not engaging the front brakes? Bizarre.


Anyway, the mechanic, took them apart as best as possible and sprayed WD40 or some kind of brake cleaner and this seems to have worked. i drove it back without any problems.

Has anyone ever experienced this or know what the correct remedy to this is?


Frank

I've experienced this after I put a different brake lever on my GSXR. It was putting just enough pressure on the system that the pads were rubbing the discs until they got hot enough to grab. The bike just pulled up in the middle of the street and I had to crack a bleed nipple to be able to move it off the road.

"I won't forget that ride for a while. Maybe you're right. Living fast might be worth the final crash. Maybe that's the secret you fliers know." - Flight of the Intruder

Last edited by bladeracer; 11-04-2012 at 2:48 PM.
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post #6 of 21 Old 11-04-2012, 12:32 AM
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

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Originally Posted by frank View Post
I didn't end up changing the brake fluid because the mechanic seemed to think th locking up of the brakes had nothing to do with the brake fluid, but instead, with salt-air corrosion of the pistons. I don't know?

I drove it home and so far, so good.

Frank

How could he not replace the fluid?
He did remove the pistons from the caliper to clean them didn't he?
You definately need fresh fluid as the fluid would certainly have been boiling.

"I won't forget that ride for a while. Maybe you're right. Living fast might be worth the final crash. Maybe that's the secret you fliers know." - Flight of the Intruder
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post #7 of 21 Old 11-04-2012, 3:43 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

Thanks guys, i will definitely change the brake fluid now.

Last edited by frank; 11-04-2012 at 5:38 AM.
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post #8 of 21 Old 11-04-2012, 10:10 AM
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

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Originally Posted by bladeracer View Post
I've experienced this after a put a different brake lever on my GSXR. It was putting just enough pressure on the system that the pads were rubbing the discs until they got hot enough to grab. The bike just pulled up in the middle of the street and I had to crack a bleed nipple to be able to move it off the road.
I've had this too. The pads just dragged enough to get hot, this boiled the fluid, the fluid expands, and the brake gradually locks tighter and tighter until it's seized on.

The fluid once boiled may lose performance but it wasn't the cause of your original issue.

954's have teflon coated pistons, shouldn't corrode under really any circumstances. Surprised the brembos are worse.
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post #9 of 21 Old 11-04-2012, 5:08 PM
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

Hi Frank,
You do not state what bike the Brembo brakes are on?
YES this is a known problem on KTMís as they use Brembo brakes.
My son has a KTM 990 Super Duke & a UK guy went over the bars & wrecked his bike.
KTM sent a letter to all UK users saying that salt & other debris can cause brake binding and offered a free strip & inspection at a local dealers. His bike was checked & given the OK.
They advise, that after every run in adverse conditions that can cause deposit build ups, that the brakes are sprayed with a mild brake cleaner and fully washed with cold water (not a pressure washer). Then regular inspection with a torch for deposits & corrosion.

You are in Norway Ė geographically close to the UK. I take it that you have a lot of cold weather and your roads are gritted / salted in the winter??
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post #10 of 21 Old 11-04-2012, 6:16 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

Quote:
Originally Posted by PEM-954 View Post
Hi Frank,
You do not state what bike the Brembo brakes are on?
YES this is a known problem on KTM’s as they use Brembo brakes.
My son has a KTM 990 Super Duke & a UK guy went over the bars & wrecked his bike.
KTM sent a letter to all UK users saying that salt & other debris can cause brake binding and offered a free strip & inspection at a local dealers. His bike was checked & given the OK.
They advise, that after every run in adverse conditions that can cause deposit build ups, that the brakes are sprayed with a mild brake cleaner and fully washed with cold water (not a pressure washer). Then regular inspection with a torch for deposits & corrosion.

You are in Norway – geographically close to the UK. I take it that you have a lot of cold weather and your roads are gritted / salted in the winter??
Very interesting! Yes, it's a KTM 950SM, but i'm down here in the Dominican Republic with it, not in Norway. I live directly in front of the ocean, so salt ar is blowing on them all day. Not pretty!

Last edited by frank; 11-04-2012 at 7:38 PM.
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post #11 of 21 Old 05-22-2013, 4:15 AM
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

I Have a 2011 Fireblade with the same problem in the UK
It has never been wet, done 700 miles from new & kept inside at 21deg C.
& is showroom condition. The first & only time I rode it I got about 1/2 a mile when it decided to pull a very impressive stoppy. Both front calipers were locked on solid & steaming hot. The only way I could release them was to crack off both brake lines which were under so much pressure the fluid virtually exploded out. Due to the fact that at this point in the ride I had not even touched the front brakes at all I was a little puzzled. I rode it home with one more stop to release the fluid pressure which had caused the brakes to lock again. Now it is all cooled the both calipers are free with no drag on the discs. I have noticed though the last time I pushed it outside on my drive & left it parked in the sun (which doesn't happen often in the UK) the brakes locked up whilst parked but by the evening when cooled I could push it back in.
I am guessing that heat must be expanding the fluid for some reason although I would have thought rarther than to clamp on the brakes the expanded fluid should flow to the master cylinder. I have explained this problem to my Local Honda dealership who say none of this is possible!
I have now replaced the fluid & checked the calipers, all pistons & seals are like new and slide in & out perfectly as I would expect.

Any other idea's Guy's?

At the moment I have a very pretty but quite expensive ornament

Rob
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post #12 of 21 Old 05-22-2013, 6:02 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiller123 View Post
I Have a 2011 Fireblade with the same problem in the UK
It has never been wet, done 700 miles from new & kept inside at 21deg C.
& is showroom condition. The first & only time I rode it I got about 1/2 a mile when it decided to pull a very impressive stoppy. Both front calipers were locked on solid & steaming hot. The only way I could release them was to crack off both brake lines which were under so much pressure the fluid virtually exploded out. Due to the fact that at this point in the ride I had not even touched the front brakes at all I was a little puzzled. I rode it home with one more stop to release the fluid pressure which had caused the brakes to lock again. Now it is all cooled the both calipers are free with no drag on the discs. I have noticed though the last time I pushed it outside on my drive & left it parked in the sun (which doesn't happen often in the UK) the brakes locked up whilst parked but by the evening when cooled I could push it back in.
I am guessing that heat must be expanding the fluid for some reason although I would have thought rarther than to clamp on the brakes the expanded fluid should flow to the master cylinder. I have explained this problem to my Local Honda dealership who say none of this is possible!
I have now replaced the fluid & checked the calipers, all pistons & seals are like new and slide in & out perfectly as I would expect.

Any other idea's Guy's?

At the moment I have a very pretty but quite expensive ornament

Rob
MY problem got resolved finally after a mechanic friend took the brakes shoes out and the pins out and cleaned them all--including cleaning the brake calipers as well. it turns out that because my bike sits in front of the ocean, the salt air is constantly coating everything in a nice film of salt. this causes the edges of the brake shoes to build up a deposit of both salt and corrosion. after a thorough cleaning, everything has been fine. however, i also now have the same problem on my Yamaha 125 front disc brakes as well. i took the yamaha to the same mechanic, who gave them the same cleaning, and now their fine as well. meanwhile, my honda cbr954rr has had no problems whatsoever. go figure. maybe its just a matter of time. all bikes are in the dominican republic where i live in front of the ocean. frank
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post #13 of 21 Old 05-22-2013, 7:03 AM
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiller123 View Post
I Have a 2011 Fireblade with the same problem in the UK
It has never been wet, done 700 miles from new & kept inside at 21deg C.
& is showroom condition. The first & only time I rode it I got about 1/2 a mile when it decided to pull a very impressive stoppy. Both front calipers were locked on solid & steaming hot. The only way I could release them was to crack off both brake lines which were under so much pressure the fluid virtually exploded out. Due to the fact that at this point in the ride I had not even touched the front brakes at all I was a little puzzled. I rode it home with one more stop to release the fluid pressure which had caused the brakes to lock again. Now it is all cooled the both calipers are free with no drag on the discs. I have noticed though the last time I pushed it outside on my drive & left it parked in the sun (which doesn't happen often in the UK) the brakes locked up whilst parked but by the evening when cooled I could push it back in.
I am guessing that heat must be expanding the fluid for some reason although I would have thought rarther than to clamp on the brakes the expanded fluid should flow to the master cylinder. I have explained this problem to my Local Honda dealership who say none of this is possible!
I have now replaced the fluid & checked the calipers, all pistons & seals are like new and slide in & out perfectly as I would expect.

Any other idea's Guy's?

At the moment I have a very pretty but quite expensive ornament

Rob
is it an ABS version by chance?



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post #14 of 21 Old 05-23-2013, 2:43 AM
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

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Originally Posted by Lambchops View Post
is it an ABS version by chance?
Well I bought it used & am told it is not the ABS model.
I did wonder this myself but the battery position is slightly different on the ABS model. So from where my battery is located I can confirm it is Non ABS


Rob
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post #15 of 21 Old 05-23-2013, 4:26 AM
 
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Re: Front brake calipers locking up

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Originally Posted by whiller123 View Post
Well I bought it used & am told it is not the ABS model.
I did wonder this myself but the battery position is slightly different on the ABS model. So from where my battery is located I can confirm it is Non ABS


Rob

Probably would have been easier to look for the sensor rings on the brakes?

If the bike isn't braking properly, you don't start by rebuilding the engine.
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