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Thread: Help removing front brake caliper

  1. #1
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    Help removing front brake caliper

    I have a '95 BMW R1100RS and am doing my first DIY tire change.
    I've completed the rear tire without any problems.

    On the front tire, I'm unable to remove the brake caliper. I've loosened the top and bottom bolts that attach the caliper to the fork, so the calipers are loose. However I can't pull the caliper off. There just isn't enough space between the brake disk and the wheel to allow the caliper to come out.

    Do I have to remove brake fluid in order to push the pads/pistons back and give me enough clearance?

    Thanks,
    piperjim
    Piperjim
    '95 R1100RS "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him, better take a closer look at the American Indian!" Henry Ford

  2. #2
    GEEZER lsouth3's Avatar
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    It likely will not be necessary to remove brake fluid fluid but it would probably make the job easier especially if the level in the reservoir has been recently topped off. I usually just push the against the rotor twisting outward with the top of the caliper which forces the pistons back. If you must remove fluid, be certain to attach a tube on the bleeder nipple. The other end of the tube should be submerged into a small container with enough fluid in it to prevent air from entering into the tube and thus the brake system. After removing the calipers it will be useful to keep the pads apart with a block of wood of the appropriate width.
    After the tire is replaced, the wheel put back on the bike and the calipers reattached. It would be a great time to flush the system and get all the old fluid out.
    Lee - The older I get the better I was
    1994 R1100RSL, Black. 1994 R1100RSL, Silver Pearl and a "new" 2001 R1100RS, Red!
    Treat all others with politeness. Not because they are nice but because you are.

  3. #3
    Push the caliper until it is just ready to touch the wheel. Then rock the caliper sideways out away from the center of the wheel. The pads will spread allowing enough angular clearance to come out past the wheel/rim.

    The first time, or if the wheel is pristine then put some duct tape on the wheel to prevent scratches.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 01-22-2011 at 04:24 PM.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  4. #4
    Bluenoser
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    When replacing pads on mine I find I have to remove the wheels, doesn't matter front or back. Makes the job easier & no scratches.
    1995 R100Rt with Kenna Sidecar, 1986 K100RT

  5. #5
    Like Paul said, rock the caliper back and forth against the rotor to spread the pads. Once they are spread really far apart, it still isn't quite enough, so do it some more. Eventually there will be enough room.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by JimMoore View Post
    Like Paul said, rock the caliper back and forth against the rotor to spread the pads. Once they are spread really far apart, it still isn't quite enough, so do it some more. Eventually there will be enough room.
    The first time I tried to do this I wound up calling the dealer tech because I was convinced the caliper was too big to come off. I was imagining needing to unbolt the disk, as silly as that sounds now.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  7. #7
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    Got 'em!!

    Thanks guys for the help! I followed your instructions to just rock the caliper back and forth and it eased right out!! I, too, was contemplating removing the brake disk, so am glad I asked for help before doing something unnecessary!!

    We installed two new Michelin Pilot Road 2 tires....hope to give them a "break in" in a couple of days when the snow melts!!

    I had purchased a Marc Parnes balancer and it worked beautifully.

    One more question. I reinstalled the ABS sensor, and it was within specs so things are ok. I see that the space is adjusted through the use of some spacers. I'm 100 miles from a dealer, so was very happy that it checked out OK. Is it common that you have to add/subtract spacers at every tire change? Is it worth having a few spacers on hand, or is this something that seldom requires adjustment?

    Thanks again for the help!!!

    piperjim
    Piperjim
    '95 R1100RS "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him, better take a closer look at the American Indian!" Henry Ford

  8. #8
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    80,000+ on my R11S w/ABS. yet to adjust ABS on either front or rear. so i'd say "NO" to adjusting every tire change.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  9. #9
    You stupid, fix it! r11rs94's Avatar
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    I have over a 100k on 2 oilheads, do my own tires and have never had to use a different spacer. I remember the first time I pulled a front tire off. I wound up calling the dealer and he set me straight.
    The thing about traveling is, you never want it to end and you can't wait to get home.
    I answer to Roy, Chief, or Sarg.
    04 R-1150-RT current bike. 94 R-1100-RS74,383, Sold, 78 R-80/7, K.I.A by a D.U.I
    www.OceanStateBMWriders.com

  10. #10
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
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    ~sigh~

    I wish I would have thought of that when I did a tire swap on my 97 R850. manual tells you to drain the brake fluid and remove caliper. I ended up unbolting the disc, then unbolting the caliper and zip tying it to the bike, then loosely bolting the disc back on.
    Too damn many bikes to list

  11. #11
    There is seldom any need to reshim the ABS. I've never had to in about 600K on ABS bikes. I don't know why the manuals make such a big deal about it. The shims account for machining and assembly tolerances. Little changes after it leaves the factory. Sure it should be mentioned, just in case, but the manuals overblow the issue a lot.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  12. #12
    One tip: put some masking tape on the wheel next to the caliper. It helps avoid cosmetic damage as you wiggle the calipers off.

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