Brake Caliper Problems

My Honda Rebel’s brakes had been not responding as well as they should be, but I had been spending more time with other problems than my brakes because even though they weren’t responding optimally, they were still functioning.

Banging on my 1986 Honda Rebel Brake Caliper isn't exactly working.

What I started with was the idea that my brake pads were worn and that I’d just swap those out, and swap out the bent brake rotor for a new one, too. From the post I made about that, you can see how poorly the whole thing went. Later on this same day, I also broke my swingarm, which was quite a story in itself, as well.

What ended up happening was that one of the pistons in the brake caliper were frozen, and after a day of trying to get it unstuck (using every technique I could), I realized that it was time to get a new part.

Old Rebel 250 Caliper and New One

In the picture, you can see both the old caliper and the new caliper together. After I bought the “new” caliper from a 1985 Honda Rebel (a compatible year, since all of the “old” Rebels are similar enough to swap parts), I found that the caliper PINS were stuck. So on one brake caliper I had frozen (and by this point heavily scarred) pistons, and the other had frozen caliper pins, which are the parts that hold the brake pads in place. Things weren’t looking too good. I couldn’t exactly give up on my bike though, seeing as this wasn’t the first time I’ve hit a few road bumps, and it’s certainly not going to be the last.


Vice grips to the rescue - with those and my allen wrench, I was able to free the pins for my brake caliper on my 1986 Honda Rebel.

I spent another day with anti-seize formulas, impact wrenches, and the help of a friend (we’re in her garage), and after we were about ready to give up, I finally got it, but not with the use of any fancy equipment. As it turns out the allen wrench I was using wasn’t as crisp on the edges as it should have been and was prematurely stripping. I switched it to the other “long” side, and put some vise-grips on it, and it came loose. I was so happy I was practically in tears.

It felt like it was only a matter of minutes before I had the rest of the assembly back together. After that I just had to add in some brake fluid, bleed it, and call it a night!

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