Friday, September 23, 2011

A Tiny Mistake

Broken Brake Caliper R1150GS

What’s missing from this picture? I’ve mentioned before how the brake line failed on my R1150GS motorcycle making me take the SV650 on my trip earlier this year. I also posted about the drama getting the old lines off due to a stuck banjo bolt. Well, now it’s time for a self-induced problem.

The mechanically inclined will notice that the brake caliper from the ride side of the front wheel is missing from the picture above, and the shiny new brake line is dangling all alone.

When I ordered my new stainless steel brake lines, I also ordered speed bleeders to make the task of changing brake fluid easier. I also read the right side doesn’t have a bleeder.

I finally received the banjo I had ordered after way too much time. I’m wondering if they strapped it to a carrier pigeon or perhaps put it in a coconut carried by two African swallows.

I was excited and set to work. The first thing I did was install the new bolt. Then I took the bleeder out on the left side and then looked at the right. Hmm. Not the same. Like a fool, I totally ignored the black little grub-screw pictured in the inset below.

Broken Brake Caliper R1150GS

I got a 17mm wrench and proceeded to try and and remove the cylinder holding the grub screw. It was going nicely until it made a loud SNAP. uh oh!! Not good.

The little cylinder in the inset goes where the arrow is pointing. You can see the shiny part of stuck half.

Looking around the internet it seems people regularly have trouble with this – usually by stripping the grub screw. They then have to remove the entire cylinder by unscrewing it, so there is hope I can get it out. It seems braking the cylinder is popular too due to the use of red threadlocker.

I tried a set of tools to remove broken bolts. They didn’t do much. I'm going to get some heat on it and try again. The $400 for a new caliper is extra incentive to figure this out. Stay tuned.


  1. All I can say is OUCH! Hopefully heat helps...


  2. Chris:

    Yikes, but even I understand that this is not good. Hope you get that sleeve out

    Riding the Wet Coast

  3. Chris, damn, that's not good. Heat is supposed to unlock the threadlocker I hear but I've not had good luck with that technique.

    Screw extractor time.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  4. RichardM: yes. ouch. we'll see. I have to get a different tool first.

    Bob: yup, not good. have a couple options left.

    Dom: I tried a screw extractor, but the shape didn't allow enough contact with the sleeve. going to borrow a different style of tool this weekend.

  5. Also, SV650 brakes on ebay are only about $20 + Shipping....... : )

  6. matthew: My SV650 is my favorite, and yes parts are cheap for it. BMW parts however are not.