'09 Repsol, Front Brake Caliper Clean and New Seals (caliper rebuild, caliper overhaul)
Look how uneven the old pads were wearing - 1,000's of miles left on all except one. So because of that, along with a Spiegler braided line upgrade
(!ORANGE!), and the need for new fluid anyway, I decided to tackle this project. I'm the second owner, and the bike has almost 21k on her.
Check out this post too by Slick 6 - excellent:
I also have the service manual and will post the procedure from there when I get a chance.
You will/may need -
- Brake pads
- New caliper seals (qty. 4 of 06451-MEL-003 and qty. 4 of 06452-MEL-003 for a complete front brake overhaul. Each package does one piston.)
- Upgraded brake lines (If you go thru all this, you should.)
- Brake fluid, DOT 4 min.
- Sil-GLide or equivalent silicone lubricant for dust seals and pad pins
- New banjo washers (some brake lines specify aluminum, careful)
- Several pair of good quality nitrile or equiv. "latex" type gloves
- Eye protection
- Brakleen spray
- Paper towels or lint free cloths
- Scotchbrite pad
- Dentist pick (the dull version, not the sharp one)
- Cotton gun cleaning patches for the seal guides and piston wells.
- Paper and pencil to keep notes on your progress
Taking the pistons out one or even two at a time is much easier than trying to get them all out together. I am cleaning and re-assembling one piston at a time, writing down which one is in progress (caliper left/right, piston inside/outside and top/bottom). However once the piston's back in I can clearly see the shiny Sil-Glide lubricant around the edge, a tell-tale sign it has been done.
My Carbone Lorraine brake pads are very new, with only a few hundred miles. But even so I laid them out on a diagrammed sheet so they continue to bed in as they were.
Compressed air is a must (for me). Start low with maybe 20lbs psi and slowly dial it up from there. Hold the nozzle close to, but not in contact with, the caliper at first. For the stubborn pistons you may eventually have to jam the air nozzle right in and turn it up a little. You must protect the pistons (and your fingers!) because they can explode out suddenly with enough force to damage their finely machined surfaces and edges.
I had to improvise a few things to keep 3 pistons from moving while allowing one to pop free. I used a combination of a round plastic ear plug case, a hard plastic shim and a piece of 5/8" foam floor tile that, together, effectively blocked 3 pistons at a time from moving while allowing one to pop free undamaged. (See photo)
The investment I made years ago in a MityVac (or whatever that brake tool is called) has been so worth it. I love my vaccuum gun.
So it goes like this -
* Wear gloves and eye protection
* Lay a towel over your wheel, especially if it's a Repsol! Protect your paint.
* Remove the safety from your master cyl reservoir, and the top. Take the rubber stopper out of the master cyl reservoir so air can get in. Screw the top back on loosely without the rubber.
* Goes without saying - put every part you take off on a clean and organized work surface, preferably covered, until you reassemble. These are your BRAKES.
* If you have a MityVac vaccuum brake tool, crack the caliper bleeders with an 8mm wrench and suck the fluid out from each side. Otherwise, you can tie a bag around the line like in the other how-to I read online.
* Loosen both brake pad pins all the way, but do not pull out.
* Crack the fitting on the brake line while the caliper is still attached, but do not unscrew yet. The forks make a great jig.
* Remove the main caliper bolts and slide the caliper up, with a gentle wiggle to get it off the rotor.
* Holding the caliper PADS UP, depress the spring-loaded retainer clip on both top and bottom to remove each of the pad pins.
* Remove the brake pads without touching the rotor contact surface and note where they were if you are re-using.
* Slowly unscrew the brake line from the calipers keeping the banjo fitting upright. Use a lint-free rag or paper towel to catch any remaining fluid. Place your fittings aside and twist-tie a paper towel around the hose coming from the Master Cyl. Don't reuse the old washers; use new if at all possible.)
* Turn the caliper over and drain the fluid. Push the pistons in one at a time, as much more fluid will drain out when you do.
* Dry off the caliper and use whatever tricks you can to get the pistons out, one at a time. My trick works really well.
* Clean off the piston with a paper towel first, rubbing all the crud off.
* In bright light, perhaps even with some magnifier glasses, pick out the old seals. The dust seals (outer) come out straightaway with just your finger and a paper towel. With a small flat blade screwdriver (or dentist pick!), pull out the inner seals.
* Thoroughly clean the inside of the piston well and seal grooves. I used a hook shaped blunt dentist pick and 2 wadded up cotton gun patches. Use Brakleen to blast out any particulate matter. Inspect carefully.
* Scotchbrite the piston. Be forwarned that even my Scotchbrite kitchen scrubby made tiny scratches in the finely machined piston surface. If you don't like that, just stick with the paper towel.
* Immerse the correct size rear seal (main fluid seal, the wide one) in brake fluid, let drip, and gently set in its groove. 2009 CBR1000 calipers have two piston sizes. You will need both part numbers for your seals.
* Coat the outer seal (dust seal) with Sil-Glide, or even better, whatever Honda makes, and set it.
* Re-check the inside and the piston are free from any foreign matter, then re-set the piston. The piston goes in HOLLOW-SIDE OUT (DOH!!) and can be seated by even finger pressure across the top, and a gentle but firm rocking motion to get it started. Once in, push all the way in.
* Repeat this procedure for all pistons, both calipers.
* Install new brake lines (if that's part of your plan) using correct torque specs, washers, routing, fittings, etc. and following all provided instructions.
* Replace pads and calipers in reverse order.
* Use Sil-Glide on the pad pins
* USE SEMI-PERMANENT LOCTITE ON THE CALIPER MOUNTING BOLTS
* Replace brake fluid from a brand new, sealed container. Must meet or exceed DOT 4. Fill from the reservoir, and suck through using either a vaccuum pump, or by pumping the brake lever. Brake fluid absorbs oxygen over time - usually the darker it is, the older it is.
* I have tried this trick for removing air from the system - an electric vibrating massager. I touch it to the caliper and master cyl to help move bubbles upward. I'm not sure if it really works but in my mind I think the principle is sound. Make sure you return it to your girlfriend when finished. (Ha!)
If you feel like reading more...
I have done numerous sportbike front and rear pad replacements and also a few brake line upgrades, to a 900RR and also to a 929. This will be my third, but it is my first caliper rebuild/reseal.
Slick 6 posted a great how-to on rebuilding front calipers...
What I didn't get from his post was how I personally, with my own tools, was supposed to remove the caliper pistons.
I guess his picture of all the caliper parts laid out and arranged on the table got me thinking I needed to do the same. I spent prolly 45mins trying to figure a way to get all the caliper pistons out before I realized "I DON'T HAVE TO TAKE THEM OUT ALL AT THE SAME TIME!"
I have a comprehensive set of tools, but no pliers small and angled enough to grip a caliper piston from inside a caliper and yank it free. And without marring it?!? Tough. I was in the midst of trying to find the right size hose clamp to tighten around the edge of the piston (for purchase) when the light bulb went off - just do them one by one. (But a hose clamp might have worked...)
I included some other pics, like a simple trick for holding the brake fluid collector bottle upright - just put it in another jar!
Note that the finished caliper has the banjo bolt in to prevent anything from getting inside.
And a picture of the dentist pick that I picked up as part of a box-set kit at a local pharmacy. I bought it mostly for the angled mirror, but all of those pieces come in handy. I totally needed the angled, blunt pick to push the cotton patches into the seal grooves and get them clean. My motorcycle mechanic told me that dirt inside the seal grooves keeps the seals from sitting properly and is one of the reasons calipers stick.