Thursday, February 13, 2014

Everything Is Possible In Time

Changing to rear Brembo brakes on an 03 Electra Glide sounded like a great idea.  The fronts were a simple buy and bolt process.  Buying was simple, as I mentioned in the past, because a lot of people changed from black to chrome and sold the black to offset the cost.  Me being me, I bought the parts off an 08 for the rear and then started to look into the process.

Nearly all the links I could find were from 08, 09, 10.  I only found two mentions to links with written directions and/or pictures.  Both links were bad.  Not detoured I took Petunia apart and began the process.  1st problem was the mounting bracket.  Being thinner and a 25mm hole were the first problems.  Started looking for a machine shop to bore the hole out and make the needed 0.71" spacer.  STICKER SHOCK!!!!

25mm to 1" is only about this (l) much.  My first thought was to get some sand paper and just sand it down.  Then I remembered about honing a cylinder and went to Home Depot to see what specialty tool I could find.

 It was like they knew I was coming!  Grabbed two of these bad boys and rushed home.  Got some oil and started to hone it out thinking I had to go slow to keep from heating the aluminum.  Stopping to check, it was working.  Starting back up I snapped off the grinding stone.  I wasn't deterred because I had bought two.  Being more careful, I started again and was happily making progress until I got in a hurry.  Snap......back to Home Depot to pick up the three stones they had left.  It took four of the little Devils to get it done, but it worked like a charm.

Next came the mock-up to see how close it was to fitting.

See that dark spot right of the silver spacer?  That is the difference between a 0.5" original spacer and the needed 0.71"spacer.  Searching I could only find a 0.75 spacer, so I bought two just in case.  My plan was to use a grinder because the difference between 0.71" and 0.75" is only about 1/25 of an inch.  The spacers arrived and I used the aforementioned grinder and like magic it fit the first time.

I also ordered a master cylinder rebuild kit. Taking it apart showed that this was well worth the effort.  The internal plunger was rusted out and it appeared there had been water, or condensation, in the master cylinder.

Less than an hour after UPS dropped off the kit, Petunia was ready for a road test.

First response was similar to the fronts, felt funny and like there were no brakes. But, after a short start, stop, start, stop cycle it was time to hit the road. What better way to test brakes than out among the Snow Birds that frequent the Surprise area at 4:00 PM.  After an hour of stop and go traffic the brakes began to come in.  Even with the 03 master cylinder it was easy to lock the rear tire.  Because I am a feel rider that won't be an issue for me.  The last set of rear pads on Petunia were put on 43,000+ miles ago in Alaska and there was still plenty of pad remaining.  I am mainly a front brake guy and use my heel on the rear brake pedal.  I am more than happy with the update and even more so with the perseverance in doing it myself without the need for a machine shop.


  1. wow, I am glad it worked for you. Good job Bro! Don't forget red beans on Sunday Love ya, c.

  2. Very nicely done! I was wondering how the project was going. Many times I've wished for access to a machine shop like when I was in school.

  3. Nice job getting it all put back together and running.

    Good thing you had the know-how and Home depot had the tools.

  4. Cheryl; I'll be there.

    Richard; Thank you. It really was easy except for that waiting for parts part. Using my drill and grinder at my workbench instead of a machine shop made it even better. Sometimes I just have to sleep on an idea for it to become clear.

    Trobairitz; My know-how is limited, but my desire to save money knows-no-bounds. There is a great level of satisfaction in completing something not tried before.

  5. Machine shop costs can be ridiculous, so if you can find a way to do it yourself, go for it! Besides it always feels better when you figured it out and did it yourself.

  6. Paul:

    I understand everything you said, except I wouldn't have the guts to do it myself

    good job. Can't wait for your ride reports

    Riding the Wet Coast

  7. Nice job, especially overcoming the small sizing differentials!

  8. Grasshopper, you are now the Master. It’s time for you to go out into the world and preach the lesson you have learned: “Never, ever pay labor”.

    Petunia has turned into one fine Hog. Much respect for her builder.