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Old 02-20-2011, 10:24 AM   #1
BurnMeAlive
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Default Front Brakes Sticking - 1984 Honda VF 1100

Hi everybody. I had my bike towed last October and while unloading the bike, the tow truck driver dropped it. This wasn't a normal fall, the bike was actually pulled down by the force of gravity and the force of ratchet straps pulling on it. Ever since, it is nearly impossible to push the bike on a level surface.

I isolated the problem as being the front brakes, and as such I took both calipers off, cleaned them, cleaned their pistons without removing them completely, lubed the retaining pins, and flushed the system out.

Despite my efforts, the brake pads are still gripping the rotors too tightly. Additionally, the brake lever does not depress as far as it used to. A slight squeeze is all it takes to fully apply the brakes.

If anybody has the time, I'd appreciate some input on what the problem might be.

Thanks.
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:36 AM   #2
The_AirHawk
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Check the line(s) to make sure one of the fittings/hard lines is not bent or kinked. Also, check the rotor for warpage/runout, and that the caliper guide-pins are not bent or corroded. Even a tiny amount can cause the caliper to stick.

Finally, double-check your master cylinder - you might be looking at the "wrong end" of the brake system. If the piston is sticking in the bore on it, or the lever-fulcrum is bent, it can cause wierd things too.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:25 PM   #3
BurnMeAlive
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The fittings checked out okay upon visual inspection. As for the rotor and caliper guide pins, I don't see any reason why they would be damaged considering the way the bike fell over.

I was wondering if a good slam could disrupt the master cylinder. I forgot to mention that the handlebar hit the tow truck bed hard enough to bend the brake lever. When the lever gets bent and pushes into the master cylinder, what can happen?

Thanks for your input The_AirHawk

Last edited by BurnMeAlive : 02-20-2011 at 06:06 PM. Reason: To elaborate
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BurnMeAlive View Post
The fittings checked out okay upon visual inspection. As for the rotor and caliper guide pins, I don't see any reason why they would be damaged considering the way the bike fell over.

I was wondering if a good slam could disrupt the master cylinder. I forgot to mention that the handlebar hit the tow truck bed hard enough to bend the brake lever. When the lever gets bent and pushes into the master cylinder, what can happen?

Thanks for your input The_AirHawk
Bent caliper pins may have been from the drop, may be coincidental - it's just one thing to check. As I wasn't there, I could not know exactly what to look for, so I merely listed everything I could think of off the top of my head that might cause your problem.

As far as the master cylinder - if it bent the part of the piston actuated-upon by the lever, it could cause it to stick in the bore and keep it from retracting fully, leaving a bit of "preload" pressure on the caliper. I've never actually seen that happen, but I'm trying to help you in any way I can, tho long-distance.
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:24 AM   #5
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The question in my mind is: why are you even messing with the problem at all?

The tow-truck driver broke your bike. Take it to the dealership, get it fixed with new parts, and have the towing company pay the bill. Those guys are responsible for your vehicle when it's under their control. They have liability insurance. I can assure you, if the situation was reversed, they'd nail you to the wall.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:01 AM   #6
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+1 on having the towing company pay!

Otherwise, you need to take apart the braking system and closely inspect it. The impact may have ruptured a piston seal or bent the actuator shaft. It's an old bike, so I'd replace all the soft parts while you are in there.

As the 'Hawk said, check to make sure the M/C didn't move enough in the impact to kink the line (tube? Pipe?) from the M/C to the brakes.

But first, make sure the tire isn't rubbing against the fender or fork leg.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:20 AM   #7
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But first, make sure the tire isn't rubbing against the fender or fork leg.
I didn't mention that one, as I'd figured it was a "given" that it had already been confirmed - but excellent point.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbo the Destroyer View Post
The question in my mind is: why are you even messing with the problem at all?

The tow-truck driver broke your bike. Take it to the dealership, get it fixed with new parts, and have the towing company pay the bill. Those guys are responsible for your vehicle when it's under their control. They have liability insurance. I can assure you, if the situation was reversed, they'd nail you to the wall.
I don't believe in pursuing damages over minor things. Mistakes happen. Plus I considered this an opportunity to learn more about my brake system... But since its proving to be a major pain in my ass I called my insurance company to see what my options are. I guess they're going to work with the towing company to figure out what can be done.

For now though, I've ordered a master cylinder rebuild kit and a new brake lever. If replacing those parts doesn't work, I'll pursue this further with the tow company.

Last edited by BurnMeAlive : 02-22-2011 at 03:00 PM. Reason: The forums censored my use of the word ****
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