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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took the front wheel to the dealer to get the bearings replaced after 32000 on the 2004 ST3. On the front stand the wheel spins freely with the axle nut torqued to 63Nm. Before replacing the calipers I accidentally pulled in the front brake lever slightly and the R side pads came in a bit but left enough gap for me to lever them apart with a Motion Pro brake pad tool. Installation of calipers and torquing up the caliper and pinch bolts sees the wheel binding and not spinning easily. I have followed the workshop manual and the sequence and torquing seems correct. Wondering where to start troubleshooting to avoid pulling out pads and doing a caliper cleanup?
 

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On my SS I leave the bolts loose and mash the forks down a few times to center everything before tightening it all down. You will pinch the speedometer drive if you do it wrong. Maybe there is a procedure like that for your bike ? I noticed you’ve also got an issue with the rear brake. Maybe you’re just going to have to clean the the calipers.
 

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If I understand correctly, the pads are dragging, correct?

The only way I've been able to open them fully is by first removing the reservoir cap (place rags around the reservoir in case it spits or overflows). Remove the calipers or wheel (whichever is easiest for you) to get to the pads and pry them open until they're flush with the caliper body. You may need to pull out some fluid from the reservoir to get the cap back on. Once everything's back together, the wheel should spin free. Engaging the brake will set the pads back to where they should be.

Good time for fresh fluid if you're due.
 

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I've had similar behaviors with my 2000 ST2. I replaced all the caliper seals and cleaned the piston surfaces to make sure they retract properly. However getting new caliper seals for Brembos seems to pretty tough. May want to follow GrantM's suggestion after carefully cleaning any scale and brake dust off the caliper pistons while they are extended a bit. That may reduce some of the sticking. As I'm sure you are aware, clean them with a toothbrush or something relatively soft so as not to scratch the pistons.

r-

Tom C.
 

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Don't top off the fluid in the master cylinders! Everybody seems to do this. Somewhere in the middle is where you want to be.
Quite possible. I just noticed that the OP is having problems with both front and rear, which is a strong hint that there's a faulty technique involved in the re-assembly.

The rear reservoir I fill only to just above the minimum line. Yes, there is some pad wear that will draw it down over time, but on the rear, it's so minimal after the pads are fully seated the first time, that it's typically not worrying about over the course of a year.

If the front brake has a remote reservoir, same principle applies. With the older built-in coffin reservoir like mine has, it's trickier because most often, they are not level. In this case, filling so the level divides the sight glass is a big mistake. What works for me is to remove the the rubber diaphragm wedge thingie and twist the steering so that the fluid is piled up the most extreme in one corner. Fill until it's just short of overflowing, the straighten the steering out to make the coffin closest to level. Insert the rubber thingie. If it doesn't overflow and the fluid still covers the bottom holes leading to the cylinder, you're good.

Too, I've found that with this old bike, fresh fluid was turning black rather quickly. Using a syringe, I removed the black stuff contaminated fluid from the reservoir and replaced with fresh. Several repetitions later - very little contamination remains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your helpful comments. I am the 3rd owner of this bike and looking at service records the pads have been changed but I suspect the caliper and pistons have never been cleaned. I may have made the mistake of pulling slightly on the front lever with the caliper off and then having to lever the pads back and also levering back dirty pistons which may be now jamming. I am not keen on fully splitting the caliper and popping out the pistons to replace the seals( which I can get from Powersports in the UK), so will take the lesser path, of extending the pistons slightly, one caliper at a time and clean everything with a toothbrush and warm soapy water then fully retract the pistons, reinstall new pads and see how that goes. At the moment a decent heave on the wheel only sees about half a rotation I will bleed the brakes and change fluid also. I am assuming dot 5.1 is comparable with dot 4 brake fluid. Yes, I usually tilt the bars so the coffin style reservoir is level for checking fluid heights. As someone mentioned, I had an issue with the rear pads heating up, but the rear wheel spins quite well with the chain on and the front is definitely binding. New organic pads are arriving this week and I will report back next weekend with the results. Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I just reread Hiflites post. Useful tips about fluid levels in the reservoirs, as I may be putting in more fluid than needed. I will modify my technique and see if it makes a difference to both front and rear.
 

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Step 1) Pull the pads out.
Step 2) hang caliper on rotor (need not be bolted hard just on the rotor.)
Step 3) pump brake so pistons move out just to the rotor need no be forced all the way hard.
Step 4) Open fluid reservoir and use "turkey baster" or other sucking device remove old fluid.
Step 5) Add new fluid to "LOW" mark. and cover
Step 6) Remove caliper and spray clean with brake cleaner wipe pistons with rag coated in cleaner. do this twice then use a new clean white rag if it stays white your clean, if not repeat cleaning.
Step 7) push pistons back in to bores.
Step 8 Repeat steps 2-7 this will aid in cleaning and flushing the calipers of oil fluid / moisture.
Step 10) Remove calipers Clean the rotor.
Step 11) Push pistons back in to calipers and install pads.
Step 12) Top off reservoir to "full mark"
Step 13) PUMP brake lever until hard and hold it. Use rope or bungy cord to hold to hold lever compressing fluid. Wait 20 min or so. (This can help bring any air to top making micro bubble collect as one)
Step 14) Un wrap cord from lever watch reservoir if possible when fluid return it should be smooth eruption up.
Step 15) feel brake lever does it feel good and solid with pull if so test function in air spin wheel by hand, grab brake.
Step 16) If lever is mushy bleed the brakes as needed then repeat steps 13-15.
Step 17) TEST BRAKES ON ROAD at SLOW Speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Last weekend I finally got around to attending to the front brakes. I took off one caliper at a time, removed the pads and cleaned the pistons and calipers with warm, soapy dishwashing liquid and a toothbrush, dried everything then pushed out the pistons a bit and cleaned the pistons again. I noticed that a couple were not coming out evenly and gave these pistons extra attention. I was not keen on using brake cleaner as the one I have did not recommend using on rubber, so I was concerned regarding the effects on the seals. I pushed all the pistons back flush with the caliper and then pinned in the old pads, placing a shock spanner between them, and finally pushed out the pistons. Seems they now came out evenly. I repeated for the other caliper, installing ebc organic pads. The pad pins were cleaned with brake cleaner and fine steel wool. The calipers were replaced and bolts to finger tight, wheel spun a few times then a final torquing to spec of the bolts. Brakes were bled with Dot 5.1 and the result was a wheel that spins quite well now. Can anyone advise as to how many wheel rotations I should expect? Hopefully the weather will be ok tomorrow for a test run and bedding in of the new pads. Thanks to everyone with your suggestions.
 

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Last weekend I finally got around to attending to the front brakes. I took off one caliper at a time, removed the pads and cleaned the pistons and calipers with warm, soapy dishwashing liquid and a toothbrush, dried everything then pushed out the pistons a bit and cleaned the pistons again. I noticed that a couple were not coming out evenly and gave these pistons extra attention. I was not keen on using brake cleaner as the one I have did not recommend using on rubber, so I was concerned regarding the effects on the seals. I pushed all the pistons back flush with the caliper and then pinned in the old pads, placing a shock spanner between them, and finally pushed out the pistons. Seems they now came out evenly. I repeated for the other caliper, installing ebc organic pads. The pad pins were cleaned with brake cleaner and fine steel wool. The calipers were replaced and bolts to finger tight, wheel spun a few times then a final torquing to spec of the bolts. Brakes were bled with Dot 5.1 and the result was a wheel that spins quite well now. Can anyone advise as to how many wheel rotations I should expect? Hopefully the weather will be ok tomorrow for a test run and bedding in of the new pads. Thanks to everyone with your suggestions.
Well, it kind of depends how hard you spin the wheel. A wheel that spins too freely speaks of worn bearings. For the brakes, I would simply feel for any significant binding - if you hear a little scraping, that's OK because the new pads have to acquaint themselves with the old rotor. If you hear intermittent scraping - and if significant enough to bind the wheel - then you may have an out of true rotor. But I would still wait to bed the pads in before pulling the alarm handle on that. An out of true rotor can also be felt under braking. Overall however, it sounds like you did the job right and the results appear reasonable.

FYI a wheel bound by a caliper may be more easily freed up by opening the bleeder valve on the caliper after slipping a bleeder tube over the nipple. If you push the pads back and immediately close the bleeder, the caliper will not require bleeding - look for any air bubbles in the bleeder tube when you do this. Too many, and you may need to bleed. This procedure is usually easier and less messy than pushing the fluid back up to the master.
 
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