How to Replace the Brake Pad on a Harley Davidson Softail Standardby Chris Gilliland
Worn brake pads are hazardous to a Harley-Davidson Softail Standard's rider, preventing the motorcycle from stopping as safely and quickly as possible. Hazards appear in less obvious ways, creating deep fissures in the brake disc's surface as the brake pad's material wears away to its metal backing plate. Replacing the pads as soon as there is less than 1/8 inch of material left alleviates the possibility of either scenario from occurring. The task uses common tools and is straightforward enough for most people to learn within the first attempt
Front Brake Pads
Unscrew the bolts from the top of the front brake master cylinder's fluid reservoir cover on the right handlebar using a Phillips screwdriver. Take the lid off of the fluid reservoir and pull out the rubber diaphragm.
Remove the mounting bolts from the front brake caliper on the left fork leg using a socket wrench. Lift the caliper off of the brake disc and away from the left fork leg.
Slide the tip of a flat screwdriver between the brake pads. Push the brake pads against the sides of the caliper using the screwdriver as a lever to force the caliper's pistons into the caliper's body.
Unscrew the pair of brake pad pins on the back of the caliper using a socket wrench. Pull the brake pads and their retaining clip out from the caliper. Pull the brake pads off of the retaining clip. Place a new set of brake pads around the clip.
Insert the brake pads and retaining clip into the caliper. Align the holes on the brake pads' backing plate with the pin holes on the side of the caliper. Slide the brake pad pins through the caliper and the brake pads. Tighten the pins using a socket wrench.
Slide the brake caliper over the brake disc and onto the left fork leg. Tighten the caliper's mounting bolts using a socket wrench.
Place the rubber diaphragm into the fluid reservoir. Mount the cover over the reservoir and tighten its screws using a Phillips screwdriver. Pump the front brake lever repeatedly to close the brake pads around the front brake disc.
Rear Brake Pads
Unscrew the bolts from the top of the front brake master cylinder's fluid reservoir cover near the right-front foot peg using a Phillips screwdriver. Take the lid off of the fluid reservoir and pull out the rubber diaphragm.
Place the tip of a flat screwdriver against the rear brake pad's metal backing plate. Push the brake pads away from the rear brake disc.
Remove the brake pad pins from the outer face of the rear brake caliper using a socket wrench. Pull the brake pads out of the caliper and away from the brake disc.
Insert the outer brake pad into the brake caliper. Slide the brake pad pins halfway into the caliper to hold the brake pad in place. Insert the inner brake pad into the caliper and push the pad pins completely into the caliper. Tighten the pins with a socket wrench.
Place the rubber diaphragm into the fluid reservoir. Mount the cover over the reservoir and tighten its screws using a Phillips screwdriver. Pump the rear brake pedal repeatedly to close the brake pads around the rear brake disc.
- "The Professional Motorcycle Repair Program"; Professional Career Development Institute; 1995
- "Harley-Davidson Service Manual: Softail Models"; Harley-Davidson Motor Co.; 2003
Things You'll Need
- Phillips screwdriver
- Socket wrench
- Flat screwdriver
- Double-check your brake pads before riding the motorcycle. Ensure that the brake pads are completely secured by the caliper's brake pad pins to prevent them from causing the wheels to bind and cause an accident.
An avid motorcyclist, Chris Gilliland has immersed himself into the two-wheeled world while balancing work life and raising three daughters. When he is not managing the parts department of a local, multi-line motorcycle dealership, Gilliland can often be found riding, writing or working on his motorcycle blog, Wingman's Garage.