Do you have original, 30-year-old brake pads?
Have your fork seals been leaking all over the garage floor?
Do you hear grinding, squeaking, squealing, squawking, snarling when you bind up those binders?
Well, you just might need to replace the pads.
This job is fairly simple but is probably one of the dirtiest that you'll tackle on your old Wing. To get started you'll need some pads, a 12mm socket and a torque wrench from Harbor Freight. Get those ordered while you're reading the rest of this story.
This shouldn't take you more than a couple of hours to complete because I'll assume that the brake system is working, masters and wheel cylinders pump good, brake lines are functional and the fluid has been changed in the last couple of years. If not, search this site and prepare yourself for a little more involved project.
The drawings and pictures in this thread are from an '81 GL1100 but the theory and procedure is the pretty much the same for all of the 4-banger wings.Where We're Going Today
Schematic drawings are pretty but they're always a bit daunting to confront. (NOTE:
When asking questions please refer to the part number or name in the drawings.)Parts List, Rear
3: CALIPER BRACKET
6: PISTON SEAL
7: DUST COVER CLIP
8: BLEEDER SCREW
9: BLEEDER CAP
10: LEFT CALIPER
13: PAD SPRING
14: PISTON BOOT
15: PAD SHIM A
16: INDICATOR CAP
17: PIN A
18: PIN B
19: DUST COVER
20: BOLT (8X25)Parts List, Front
2: PISTON SEAL
3: DUST COVER CLIP
4: BLEEDER SCREW
5: BLEEDER CAP
7: R. FR. CALIPER
10: PAD SPRING
11: PISTON BOOT
13: BRACKET RETAINER
15: PAD SHIM B
16: INDICATOR CAP
17: PIN A
18: PIN B
19: DUST COVER
23: BOLT (8X25)Let's Get Started
You'll find the rear caliper on the left side (as if sitting on the bike) of the rear wheel. Remove the Indicator Cap (#16) and look down in there if you want to inspect the thickness of the old pads.
Use your 12mm socket to remove the two bolts that hold on the rear caliper.
Put the bolts in your bolt bucket for cleaning (or not). Hold the top of the caliper and move it left and right, you're pushing the piston into the cylinder to allow space for the caliper to slip off. When it's loosened a bit pull it up and off of the disk. Carefully set it to the side, letting it hang by the brake line.
The pads (#8) and pad shim (#15) will likely remain in the caliper bracket (#3), held in place near the disc by the two retainer (#13) clips. Put the pad shim (with the arrow punched in it) in the parts bucket. Work the pads up and out of the retainers and bracket and toss them in the trash.
The two retainer clips (#13) might pop out of the caliper bracket, or you can remove them if you want to clean things up a bit. Note how they come out so you can return them later.
The retainers look like this:
Clean it up to your heart's content. Make sure the retainers are seated correctly in the caliper bracket. Unwrap your pretty new pads and slip them into the bracket. Soft side faces the disc.
Put a very light coating of silicone grease on the inside surface of the pad shim and place it on the outer pad with the cutout arrow pointing forward.
Now for the fun part. The piston (#9) needs to be pressed back into the caliper (A#7). Use whatever works for you or that you can find on the internet. I used a clamp and a couple of boards. When doing the fronts, I put the old pads in the slot and a board behind the caliper instead of using two boards. It was easier to handle and manipulate.
With the pads and pad shim in place I needed a 1-3/16" gap, and that took some doin'. When you've got enough space, slip the caliper over the pads and be careful not to shift the shim. Run in the bolts and torque them to 11 to 14 foot pounds. No need to go any further than that, in fact I usually go just a bit lower than the high number.
Pump the rear brake lever to put the piston out and snug up the calipers and you're done with the rear.
On to the fronts. This is twice as hard because there are two to do.
Follow the same procedure, no need for me to go on and on about this. Remove the two 12mm bolts, shimmy the caliper off of the disk, toss the pads, a little cleanup, a refreshing beverage, compress the pistons. That's all it takes. (Quick note ... when compressing the second front piston brake fluid may gush forth from the master reservoir. This stuff will strip off the paint quicker than you can say, "Bob's yer Uncle." I suggest you remove the cap and suction it all out of the reservoir before working on the fronts. Or you can do like I did this time and spend half an hour with Simple Green and distilled water. And rags, lots of rags.)
Put the new pads in with the shim on the outside facing up/front. My left front (shown) does not have a shim so I just put a light coat of silicone grease on the outer surface of the outer pad. Gotta get me a shim.
Torque those 12mm bolts to 11 to 14 and since you have the tools out, find your 19mm socket and make sure those two big, shiny bolts are at 18 to 24 ft lbs.
Refill the front master reservoir and pump the pistons out. You do not want to be headed down the driveway when you find out that you've got to pump the lever 12 or 24 times to get some grab.
That's all there is to it. 6 bolts and you now have new pads and stickier brakes. If your refreshing beverage was a soda, go for a ride. Take it easy for a while, the new pads need time to get to know that old disc.