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Thread: Front brake locking up, ZTL / Gafler / Nissan - PLEASE HELP!

  1. #1
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    Front brake locking up, ZTL / Gafler / Nissan - PLEASE HELP!

    Please excuse the typos contained in the above title. Of course it should read "Galfer" and "Nissin" (blame auto spell check).

    Been running the combination of ZTL front brake caliper and Nissin radial front brake master cylinder on my 2005 Buell XB12R Firebolt for some time with no issues. This combination for the front brakes worked great. All new parts were installed by a local independent motorcycle shop I trust and have dealt with for years, that has very regretably since gone out of business.

    Following the above mods back when, I purchased a new Galfer front brake rotor and new mounting hardware with the intention of completing the front brake upgrade, but just have not had the time to install it myself. Finally gave in and took it to my local Harley Davidson dealer service shop (gulp! - I knew better, that's why I haven't done so before now), to have them only perform the installation of the new Galfer rotor and new rotor mounting hardware that I provided to them, and that is when this nightmare started.

    They claimed they have one tech who they consider to be their "Buell specialist" (spoke to him once briefly after the trouble below started, says he has owned four Buells and wishes he still had his last one). He installed the Galfer rotor and said the front brake system was working fine on the shop stand. He took it out on their 1-mile test ride loop and says during the test ride the front brake locked up on him, and he had to get help to get the bike back to the shop.

    They called me in, explained what happened and said they suspected the Nissin radial front master cylinder was bad, causing the front brakes to lock up. They asked me if I still had the original parts that came off of the Buell, namely the master cylinder, which I told them I thought I retained in a box somewhere as I do not recall getting rid of it, and they were animate that the original master cylinder needed to be on the bike. WTF.

    Anyway, I couldn't find the original master cylinder, and even if I did, I was set on not taking what I considered to be a step backwards in my mods on the Buell. Following their diagnosis, I purchased a brand new Nissin radial master cylinder from Schnitz Racing and had it shipped overnight. They installed it, and same thing happened - front brake locked up. They were again animate about installing all the original brake components that came off the Buell.

    After I still couldn't find the original parts from the Buell, I suggested they check into the shim combination they were using on the Galfer rotor to be sure they had the offsets correct (I seemed to recall reading about that on the forum), but as a last resort I told them I am ready to concede and for them to just put the brakes like they were when I brought the Buell to them (with the original stock rotor). They did that, and say it is now STILL locking up. Now they say the ZTL caliper is bad.

    To me it seems obvious they do not know what they are doing. Now - get this - they want me to tow away the non-ridable motorcycle and pay them for the hours of labor they have put into it. In other words, I bring them a working motorcycle and they want me to tow away my now non-working motorcycle and pay them for the "favor".

    I am going to ask for a meeting with the dealership owner and let them know I dispute this entire fiasco.

    How I regret taking them my Buell.

    Of course this still leaves me with wanting to finish what I set out to do. Any thoughts or suggestions to address and fix the root cause of the brakes locking up is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
    Last edited by vtech007; 10-10-2018 at 11:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lunaticfringe's Avatar
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    well are you looking for causes and solutions or just venting??????

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    Thank you for your reply. Of course this process, now in its third week, has been frustrating. The intention of my post was not to merely vent, but to seek answers as ulimately I would really like to run the intended ZTL / Galfer / Nissin combination. I would be extremely grateful for any help with possible causes or potential solutions. lunaticfringe, you and your presence and particiapation here have always been a tremendous help to me on numerous occasions in the past and invaluable in my further enjoyment of the Buell. Thank you again.
    Last edited by vtech007; 10-10-2018 at 09:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rchuff's Avatar
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    Do you have aftermarket brake levers on it? If so they could be your problem. Just a shot in the dark not knowing what they did.
    Last edited by rchuff; 10-10-2018 at 09:52 PM.

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    Senior Member Silverrider's Avatar
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    Good question ^^^^^ lets see some pics

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    Thank you for the suggestion. It does have aftermarket levers.

    Of course the motorcycle is at the shop so I can't take any photos. I had tons of photos uploaded here once upon a time, but they all disappeared at the time when the forum changed site sponsors or whatever. Will see if I can find some photos I might have saved on my old defunct laptop if I can get to them.

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    I am open to advice and recommendations including what you would do next. I ask you to put yourself in my place now. Think about your Buell. Think about, what if this happened to you. Not, "what WOULD you have done at the start", as that is not instructive - but, "what would you do NOW, moving forward"? What would you do now if you suddenly found yourself in these exact circumstances? Myself, if I do not get what I consider to be a satisfactory result when I meet with the dealership owner, my next step is to seek legal adivice to determine if I may have a small claims court case.
    Last edited by vtech007; 10-10-2018 at 11:53 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member d_adams's Avatar
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    Not knowing your level of experience/expertise, I can only assume it's not assembled correctly and is dragging and causing the brake fluid to boil and then lock the front wheel.

    This would be the correct configuration of the mounting hardware.

    cq0001.02a8.jpg

    Personally, I'd find the time to do the work myself unless it's flat out brand new warranty work and I trusted the servicing dealer.

    In your case, I'd go to the manager and try reaching some form of resolution, ie; less pay for the work they screwed up on your bike. It's obviously NOT working now and did when you brought it to them for the upgrades. The tech in question is not competent, regardless of what everyone is saying about how good he is or how many bikes he's worked on.

  9. #9
    Senior Member lunaticfringe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtech007 View Post
    Thank you for your reply. Of course this process, now in its third week, has been frustrating. The intention of my post was not to merely vent, but to seek answers as ulimately I would really like to run the intended ZTL / Galfer / Nissin combination. I would be extremely grateful for any help with possible causes or potential solutions. lunaticfringe, you and your presence and particiapation here have always been a tremendous help to me on numerous occasions in the past and invaluable in my further enjoyment of the Buell. Thank you again.
    thanks for the very kind words. i'm going to give you things to check...steps to take...and considerations.
    for starters anytime you change parts to aftermarket or swap OEM for different years OEM parts you need to compare those parts to the stock items. whoever is working on this now should check the following: the replacement pads are NOT noticeably thicker than the stock pads....the replacement rotor is NO MORE than 1mm thicker than the stock rotor....that the master cylinder is not air-bound. after those checks are made do the following:
    1-remove fluid from master cylinder. you will see 2 tiny holes in the reservoir. one is constant fluid replacement hole....the other is pressure relief hole. both must be free and clear. if blocked simply clean and ream out with acetylene torch tip file.
    2-with everything attached...system bled....all in good order....and front wheel off the ground....simply spin wheel and squeeze lever. should lock up wheel. NOW release lever and slowly spin the wheel and wiggle it laterally. just that simple movement is sufficient to back the pads off the rotor. if NOT you have either one or more sticking caliper pistons....sticking master cylinder piston....air in system....OR what ricky said INSUFFICIENT CLEARANCE between the tip of the lever and the tip of the master cylinder plunger.
    3-last thing to check is that when all is assembled correctly the rotor absolutely must run in the center of the caliper area between the pistons.
    buell brake systems are ridiculously simple as there's no gizmos or ABS to take into consideration when trouble-shooting. your problem is quite simple. simply put either the parts don't match up....the master cylinder plunger is sticking in the master cylinder bore....the bleed-off hole is clogged or blocked...pads too thick...one or more pistons stuck in its bore...or lever to plunger tip clearance non-existent.
    NOTE: i was never a fan of aftermarket levers. be absolutely certain the lever is free and moves easily in its perch....and the clearance that i mentioned above.
    the above will resolve this for you.

    look at the pic dean posted up for you. 3rd item from the right is the rotor alignment washer. the rounded portion always faces in towards the rotor. if assembled incorrectly the rotor will bind up when the bolts are torqued to spec.
    Last edited by lunaticfringe; 10-11-2018 at 12:13 AM.

  10. #10
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    Being a Chrysler tech some of the strangest issues I see at the dealer is customer or customers mechanic installed. You and the tech should look at what you just changed on your bike. It worked before and now it doesn't. Hard to be mad at the dealer if they installed the parts you supplied and now there is an issue.



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