I left off with the brakes. As mentioned, I always make it a priority to change/refresh the braking system with any new vehicle purchase. With cars, it was a brake fluid flush, new rotors and new pads. With the bike it was new fluid, new pads, new lines, and newly rebuilt master cylinders. The rotors looked OK and may have been replaced previously by the amount still left on it after 43k. I decided NOT to get new caliper pistons but I DID get new seals for them.
I ordered all the parts and in a week they were in. I went to David’s place since that is where my bike was being stored at the time/all the time (sorry Dave!). Since the calipers were coming out, and I’m an artist at heart, I decided it needed some metallic gray paint as well to hide the tired looking calipers from the day of light.
Honestly, the rebuild of the front and rear master cylinders were a piece of cake! I decided against buying the $150 repair manual cause, how hard could it be? That mentality works 90% of the time. Next up, I hit that 10%. While rebuilding the calipers, I took out the pistons and, stupidly, installed the fronts backwards. The piston is a cup-shaped piece of metal. The “bottom” of the cup should slide into the caliper first. I slide the “top of the cup” in first. While I didn’t know it at the time, it was going to be the bane of my existence for the next 3-4 hours. With David’s help, we started to bleed the rear (easy) and then the front…taking its sweet time….then more time…..then more time…..more bleeding…and more, and more, and more…. What the hell!!
No matter what we tried, the caliper still seemed to not get primed. Hands started to cramp and brains started to twist. I hated the brake lever. My enemy! Finally, after getting angry, then more angry, we realized the piston was reversed. Instead of the brake fluid pushing from the bottom outwards to put pressure on the brake pads, then rotor; the piston was acting as a cup and just slowly filling with fluid just like a cup does. Easy now right? Nope.
The next step was to get the pistons (2 for the front) back out. Since they didn’t have pressure built yet, they were completely nestled inside the caliper. There was no way to pull them out. We had to pump MORE fluid into the caliper until the pressure finally caught up and began to nudge them outwards.
One side was starting to move faster than the other, I was able to get one side out, flip it around the correct way and install back in (so the system would still hold pressure to get the other out), and worked on the last one. That one came out after getting a strip of rubber to grip the tiny rounded piston that still barely wanted to come out and play. Got that flipped and installed and everything was finally buttoned up.
All said and done, the floor, our clothes, hands, and pride was soaked in brake fluid. My brain had trauma from this experience but at least my body would survive the road haha.
A look of painted caliper from the rear: