Front Brakes seized while riding...Ouch! - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Front Brakes seized while riding...Ouch!

So my bike sat outside (covered) for 6 months. Prior to that, I had rebuilt the carbs and did the earshave. The bike was running perfectly.
So after the 6 months of sitting, I decided to dust her off and get back to riding again. She fired right up after charging the battery. As I took her of the center stand, I notice the bike wouldn't roll very easily. I could see some rust on the front rotor, so I figured that was the cause and riding it would break it up and it would smooth out. I also realized that the front brake handle was tight...very little pressure needed to squeeze the brake.
Now at this point I should've realized something wasn't right, but in my mind I figured it was only sitting for 6 months, I just need to run it to get the cobwebs out.
So I drive it down my street like 100 yards. I stop to turn around, and the bike is still not rolling smoothly...I can feel something holding the bike back. Again, at this point I should've realized something wasn't right. But alas, I start heading back up my street and then the front wheel completely seizes and down I went. I was going about 25mph, and bounced off the pavement a few times, but I was fine except for some scrapes and bruises. I had to have 2 guys help me drag my bike to the side of the street because the front wheel was still locked. The next day my buddy and I went to get my bike to bring it home. The front wheel was able to move, but only with alot of effort. The calipers were partially squeezing the pads against the rotor.
Has anyone ever experienced anything like this?
It seems like pressure has built up in the brake line, causing the calipers to compress. What could cause this?
I'm going to bleed the line and see if that alleviates the problem. Years ago, my bike sat in a garage for 4 years, and my front brakes were completely gone...no pressure in the line. After 6 months outside, it's the opposite effect?
I'm just glad I didn't take the bike on the freeway and have my spill at 70 mph. Praise the Lord!

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 02:13 PM
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either the piston in one or both calipers has siezed (or rusted), or one of the brake lines is bad.

the brake lines likely have a dual layer construction, and I have seen the inner layer decay and leak into the area between the 2 layers. that will cause the inner layer to close up like a one way valve, allowing fluid one way but not the other
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks michiganteddybear.
I plan on taking the calipers apart to see what's going on in there. If they seem fine, I guess I'll put it back together, bleed the current line, and see how it feels. Or should I just go ahead and replace the line?

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 03:51 PM
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I doubt both calipers are suddenly went bad, my guess is its your master cylinder. There's a very tiny hole in the piston that lets brake fluid expand back into the resivour. If it gets blocked, you brakes will lock up as soon as they heat up. You need to clean out that hole and likely flush the lines and put in new fluid.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 05:06 PM
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perhaps caliper pins were rusty, while you were yanking on the brake lever that did not feel right you were building up pressure that did not have anywhere to go, until it finally did. The pressure went into the rusty caliper, then froze there (cause even though the pressure was able to leave the pins were rusty) and therefore locking up wheel. Take the calipers off, rebuild them, check pins and cylenders to make sure they operate ok. Bleed fluid too.

glad you are ok. Locking up front is no fun

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 06:25 PM
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Oh, sorry, skipped over the part where it sat for 6 months (outside?)

Yes, rusty piston cavities sound like a good thing to check.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 07:16 PM
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Or should I just go ahead and replace the line?
You can't tell, by looking, if the line is collapsing inside or not. If you go through the calipers and it still has problems... if opening the bleeder releases the pressure (after you're sure the calipers are ok) then the line is most likely collapsing.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knifemaker View Post
I doubt both calipers are suddenly went bad, my guess is its your master cylinder. There's a very tiny hole in the piston that lets brake fluid expand back into the resivour. If it gets blocked, you brakes will lock up as soon as they heat up. You need to clean out that hole and likely flush the lines and put in new fluid.
A few years ago (prior to finding VN750 forum), I had my front calipers lock up, took 'em off, cleaned them etc., I suspected a collapsed brake hose, but replaced with new fluid anyway. Had a difficult time bleeding the brakes, finally an over-nite slow drip resolved the bleed problem. Brake lever still not returning completely...which allowed brake light switch to remain closed....keeping brake light on. Brakes still dragin'...would not ride. My problem was remedied as KM describes in this post.

hope this helps

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Last edited by WilliamTech; 06-05-2013 at 11:22 AM.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-06-2013, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the response. I will definitely try out all the suggestions.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 11:56 PM
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I don't feel like I'm losing my mind anymore. About 6 weeks ago,in an almost identical scenario to knicol, I suddenly found myself laying in the street. I had started a slow left turn into a residential intersection, I was maybe going 5 mph waiting for a bicycle to clear as he went the other way, in an instant I'm down. After I got the bike and myself back upright, the front brake was kind of tight, but in my banged up state, I rode it the eight of a mile home. It kind of spooked me, made me think maybe I had locked up the front brake , I don't ride daily, but it's not like I am a novice. I dinged up my hip elbow, and knee pretty good, so I didn't do much riding until the last couple weeks. Sure enough, the brakes locked up again tonight after the slightest appplication...I was ready for it this time and didn't hit the pavement...So i come on here to get some input and ....find this post...Like Knicol, this bike had sat for quite a long time, I got it for a couple hundred bucks because the stator was shot, fixed that, cleaned the carbs etc and the bike is great, as soon as i fix this brake issue...anyhow hope to hear what you find and I will post my findings .

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