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Thread: Brake caliper cleaning

  1. #1
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Brake caliper cleaning

    I've got the forks off the Tiger now to have the leaky seals replaced. I am going to be replacing the brake pads, but the calipers are covered in a grimy mixture of fork oil and brake dust. I know some a bunch of cleaning solvents will cause the piston seals to swell. I'm thinking a soapy water solution in my HF ultrasonic cleaner, set it up underneath the front end and soak the calipers in there one at a time (brake lines still connected).

    Good idea or bad idea? Other ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Depends, how many miles on the bike? if it were me and the bike had some miles on it I would do a full tear down/rebuild while I had the down time especially if they are that dirty. Who knows what could have worked it’s way into the seals. I do however tend to be overly cautious on my things. Otherwise I’m sure you’ll be fine with a quick soapy scrub down and inspection.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2008
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    similar thoughts as eric.

    If they have enough miles, drop everything off, pop the pistons out, clean, new seals, new fluid.

    It's highly possible the cakey mixture you have is due to some slightly leaking brake fluid and dirt, which means the seals are going.

    If you don't want to drop everything off, use brake fluid and a tooth brush to clean. I personally wouldn't use a solvent on the seals/o rings. they are designed to work with brake fluid. A standard DOT3 fluid will help break down the gunk.

  4. #4
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    Matt, you forgot to mention that you don't plan on keeping the bike and trying to keep costs down.

    Also, I'm with Kyle. Using brake fluid to clean off that gunk would be fine and it'll do a great job of penetrating through the gunk.
    Team Brown - LRRS #521

  5. #5
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    Don't drop the calipers into an ultrasonic tank while still plumbed to the bike. You WILL introduce water into the system that way.
    771 Racing -=- FaceBook
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  6. #6
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    Sep 2010
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    I forgot who it was that said it, someone who worked at TTD. Older guy,engineer type, anyways... He said use Silicone spray and a toothbrush. I always thought it swelled rubber but who am i? I did this with the R1 when i did pads. I soaked the dust boots, scrubbed then gave em a quick shot with brake clean before i pushed the pistons back in. Worked quite well and they looked brandy new after. I had like 15k on it at the time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrismpero View Post
    I forgot who it was that said it, someone who worked at TTD. Older guy,engineer type, anyways... He said use Silicone spray and a toothbrush. I always thought it swelled rubber but who am i? I did this with the R1 when i did pads. I soaked the dust boots, scrubbed then gave em a quick shot with brake clean before i pushed the pistons back in. Worked quite well and they looked brandy new after. I had like 15k on it at the time.
    Probably Aaron.
    -Christian LRRS/CCS #856 ECK RacingGMD Computrack Boston | Pine Motorparts/PBE Specialists | Woodcraft | Street & Competition | OnTrack Media

    2011 Pit Bike Race CHAMPION!

  8. #8
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    Oct 2006
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    Engine Wash Spray, 5 minutes, hose off

    Be careful when you push the pistons in though
    USA doom sealed Dec. 2, 1970

  9. #9
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    It's kinda hard to clean the pistons well when they're on the calipers IMO. Last time I tried to clean them while they're on, they ended up sticking and wear out my brand new brake pads in less than a week... so I think to rebuild the system would be a better route here and save you time and money in the long run..

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by csmutty View Post
    Probably Aaron.
    Nope that wasn't him.. older guy, 50's

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