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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After two weeks of banging my own head against the wall, the wrench at the stealer figured out the problem with the rear brakes: a ring on the piston in the master cylinder popped out of place and kept it from returning completely. They could put it back in place, but it would pop out again after a few uses. They'd never seen that happen before. I have to wonder if it was a defective part to begin with and if overheating the rear brake was a result of that rather than the cause of it.

They've got a rebuild kit on order that's going to take a few more days to arrive, so I won't be back in the saddle until the end of next week. But at least we know what malfunctioned now. Gonna be hot as hell here this week, so I guess I won't mind having to commute in an air-conditioned cage for a few more days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
nodakbassmaster said:
thanks for keeping us posted...

So was this the cause on the original rear brake, or the new one you put on?
Since the same problem persisted with the new caliper as with the old one, I have to think this was the cause of the problem in the first place. It also means I probably didn't have to replace the caliper, but judging by the look (and smell) of the old one, I think it was a good idea.

I do feel vindicated for taking it to the stealers now ... while I'd rather have been able to fix it myself, pulling and replacing the master cylinder is not a job I would have been comfortable doing. Right now I'm just glad they figured it out, and it will only be a few more days before I'm terrorizing the streets of RI again.
 

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well to ask the obvious question....

What caused it then? What was the common link between the original problem caliper and the new one that malfunctioned almost immediately with seemingly the same issue?
 

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nodakbassmaster said:
well to ask the obvious question....

What caused it then? What was the common link between the original problem caliper and the new one that malfunctioned almost immediately with seemingly the same issue?
a ring on the piston in the master cylinder popped out of place and kept it from returning completely. They could put it back in place, but it would pop out again after a few uses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
DUST-T-BILL said:
nodakbassmaster said:
well to ask the obvious question....

What caused it then? What was the common link between the original problem caliper and the new one that malfunctioned almost immediately with seemingly the same issue?
a ring on the piston in the master cylinder popped out of place and kept it from returning completely. They could put it back in place, but it would pop out again after a few uses.
Right ... to quote what he said that I said, the issue was in the master cylinder. There was nothing wrong with the new caliper, and probably nothing critically wrong with the old one.

If you recall the chain of events:

Rode to New Hampshire from RI, rode around NH for a few days, no problems. (In fact, the bike was extraordinary.)
Rode up Mt. Washington, no problems.
Rode back down Mt. Washington - slowly - dragging the rear brake only, because most of the top part of the road is gravel. About a mile down, the rear brake pads clamped down. I assumed it was because I overheated them, and I therefore assumed I had cooked something in the caliper.
I released the pressure in the caliper by cracking open the bleeder.
Proceeded on my way; rode around NH a bit more, then headed home without using the rear brakes.
First test ride at home (before replacing anything), I purposely dragged the rear brakes to heat them up, and they locked up again. I still assumed the caliper was toast.
Ordered a new caliper assembly from HDL and replaced, topped off fluid and bled. Test drove, heated up the brakes, same issue.
Pulled the caliper off, greased up pins, flushed fluid again; no change.

That was about the extent of my knowledge and comfort zone. I figured that -- excepting the unlikely possibility that the new caliper was bad -- the problem had to be either the master cylinder, the proportional control valve, or a brake line damaged from heat, none of which I felt comfortable tearing into. So it went off to the stealers, and you know the rest of the story.

Unfortunately it's been over a month since the problem started -- a month of some of the best riding weather of the season. Oh well. Fortunately they now know what it is and should be fixed in a few more days.

But in the process, I did learn a whole lot more about brakes and the back end of a VTX than I thought I ever would. Good stuff to know next time I need tires!
 
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