Monday, October 10, 2011

Solution to the Tiny Mistake


Previously, I had posted how I broke the bleed cylinder off the right front caliper on my 2001 BMW R1150GS. I tried many things to solve the problem as I didn’t want to buy a new caliper for $400 from BMW. It’s good to have friends!

I tried many things, and received a number of suggestions from people.

The first thing I tried was the extractor set below. It didn’t do much.

GS Caliper Repair

Chris from Affordable Beemer Services in Manchester, NH was very helpful in his advice and patience. If you remember, I stayed with him on my trip earlier this year. He confirmed that BMW used red thread locker and this was not a rare issue.

I tried a small torch first, but it didn’t get the caliper hot enough to brake the thread locker.

GS Caliper Repair

Chris suggested putting it in the oven at 260F for 20-30 minutes.

GS Caliper Repair

I tried that twice to no affect.

screw extractor

I tried the screw type extractor above, which I wouldn’t recommend using again for this type of issue.

extractor tool

The fluted extractor shown above with a t-handle is the recommended way to remove the stupid cylinder from the caliper. It didn’t work for me as I had screwed around with too many other things so there wasn’t enough metal for it to grip.

I broke down and sent the caliper to Chris. I wish I would have done that in the first place. Live and learn I guess.

Chris tried his best, but I mangled my caliper too badly for him to fix. Darn! He found me a good deal on a used caliper from a ‘92 R100RS which is identical to the caliper on the 2001 R1150GS. He packed it and my mangled caliper and sent them back to me.

GS Caliper

My mangled caliper next to the “new” caliper.

GS Caliper Repair

I have a nice collection of extractor tools now should I stupidly brake another fastener. Even after all of the tools, the new brake lines, shipping, and the caliper this still cost less than letting the local BMW dealer fix the original broken brake line. I learned a few things along the way too. It was also nice to have other bikes to ride, so I could take my time with the repair.

A huge thanks to Chris at Affordable Beemer Services in Manchester, NH! I couldn’t have done this without his guidance and help. Now to get the “new” caliper on the bike and bleed the brake system!


PS: a machinist thinks I can still save the old caliper, so I’ll explore that in the future.


  1. Reminds me of my exeperience with my shift lever pinch bolt. I didnt buy nearly as many goodies as you did, but none of them worked well. (I still dont like the design... much rather have a keyed spline and a turnbuckle adjuster). Anyhow... it should, theoretically, be possible to mill out and rethread what is left of your old caliper.. but if assembled correctly, your ... new used caliper should last plenty long to think it all over. And all this reminds me it's about time for pads on my car.


  2. I really like the blue bag he sent your old caliper and the new to you caliper back to you in. Very nice choice.

  3. You've just a lesson the hard way, pretty much the way I tend to do such things as well. Think about it this way, you've got new tools.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  4. New tools are always good! Maybe add a bigger torch especially if there is more red Loctite.


  5. Sorry this happened in the first place BUT... now that you have all of those extraction tools you're pretty much guaranteed to never ever need them! WIN! ;o)

  6. Dear Chris:

    The best extractor I have in my tool box is a VISA card. It extracts me from all kinds of trouble. Nevertheless, you still came out ahead without having to buy a new caliper kit.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  7. Chris,

    I feel for you, I did the exact same thing on my Honda. I was not able to get the screw out, the worst part was that the screw itself was made out of aluminum (of all the hairbrained...) anyway, the screw extractors bent the metal and jammed it further. Sorry your luck wasn't any better, but I'm glad you got it taken care of.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  8. William: yea, too many new goodies that ddn't help this time around. hopefully they will help next time. I think the old caliper can be saved; it'll be a perfect winter project.

    Keith: LOL. thanks for making me smile.

    Dom: new tools are always fun! almost makes you want to break something else to get more... ALMOST

    RichardM: yea, I wish I would have gotten the next bigger one, but I was feeling cheap after spending so much on the extractors.

    Fuzzy: ahaha, i hope you're right, but I suspect that the rusting ural and aging gs will give me some more opportunities. :)

    Dear Jack: in the end, visa helped me too. you should just ship that fancy red box of goodies to MN. make more room in your garage for cigars.

    Brady: lucky we both have extra bikes to ride when we ham-fist one of them! bikes are like computers, you can always replace parts until they work again.