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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 2014 Chieftain with about 15k miles. My rear brakes started making a low-pitch grinding noise when used. I am light on the brakes and this is very low brake mileage for me.

I ordered a new OEM rear brake pad kit. When I removed the original brake pads, I saw they had very unusual, uneven wear on each pad – one end worn way down and the other end with little wear, opposite ends on both pads, which could be cause by a caliper that was out of parallel with the rotor. See the attached photos. I've never seen anything like this before (I’ve done many brake jobs on bikes and cars).

Cleaned up the caliper and rotor and installed the new OEM brake pads. They started binding and making noise. I had to tap the brake several times to get them to release.
I removed the pads, lubed the parts that contact/slide in the caliper and clean the pistons and verified that they were working OK. That did not solve the problem.

Last night I pulled everything including the wheel. And other than some road-dust, everything is pretty clean, and the caliper pistons seem to be working OK.

The bracket that holds the caliper has a very slight indent above one of the lower caliper bolt holes.

Holding a precision steel ruler on the machined surface of the bracket (where the caliper is attached) and there was about 1-mm of light at the outside edge between the rule and the bracket. This does not seem right to me. I would expect the machined surface to be completely flat.

I also find it interesting that the original pads (in the photo) worked well and never made a sound until the wore too thin on one end, but the new OEM pads bind and make noise.

I've talked to my "local" Indian dealer service manager (an exceptionally well regarded and technically knowledgeable former bike mechanic) and Indian customer service about the odd wear on the pads and the problem with the new OEM pads. Unsurprisingly they both strongly recommend I bring the bike to the dealer shop.

The neared dealer is an hour drive away and the earliest he can take the bike is 12-days from now (he's all booked up and one of techs is on vacation). He told me to be prepared to leave the bike for up to 2 to 3 weeks. The bike is out of warranty, so if Polaris does not choose to cover a defective part, he said I could end up with a $500 to $700 bill.

I've taken almost everything apart including removing the rear wheel. I’ll be cleaning, lubricating and carefully reassembling everything. If the new pads do not work, I could replace the caliper and caliper bracket for less than $500 and be riding much sooner. However, if that does not fix it, I'll have spent a lot of money and time for what?

So, I'm thinking I’ll just reinstall the old pads and bring it to the dealer and hope for the best.

Any serious thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

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2020-03-05 IMC Pads1.jpg
 

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Weird problem you're having.

Did you inspect the rotor? Does it have side to side wobble? Is it warped?

How is the feel in the foot pedal? Is it firm like it should be or is it loose like there's air in the line?

I have never used a rear brake on any of the motorcycles I've ridden.
 

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This is typical of a caliper that isn't floating freely.
Remove inspect, clean and lubricate guide pins.
Also, your pads are very worn which makes the caliper piston stick out further which creates an unstable surface that will "kick over" when Force is added to it..
Think of a stool. Stand on a tall stool, it will be wiggly and unstable. Stand on a short one. Much less wiggle..
That's what a over extended piston will be like.
Also, an over extended piston, limits the amount of movement that caliper is allowed on its guide pins..
This all said. This is most likely all because you let the pads get to far worn.
 

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My response is siimilar to Hatt.

The first place my mind goes is that the brake pistons are not sitting square in the cylinders. This can sometimes happen if there is a build up of road grime around the outer end of the cylinder where the piston does not reach until the pads are worn down. The piston hits the grime and pulls to one side and the pad tilts.

The second place my mind goes is that the slide pins that guide the caliper are not lubed and they are binding, causing the caliper to turn sideways rather than sit parallel. If this happens for too long the pins start to wear on one side and have to be replaced.

I'd be pulling the pistons, cleaning up the cylinders, and replacing the seals.

And I'd be checking the condition of the positioning pins to see if they are clean and even. If there is any wear into one side of the pins they need renewing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I pulled everything in the back end apart, including the rear axle & wheel. I cleaned, lubricated and reinstalled everything to factory specs. This included pushing the pistons as far out as possible without popping them out, cleaning them with brake cleaner and then alcohol (as recommended) and lightly lubricated them with the lubricant that Indian provides. The brakes worked better and don't bind as much, but they don't always retract, but a few hard taps on the break pedal get them to fully release/retract.

I checked with two Indian dealers (a parts manager and a service manager) and with Polaris customer support; all informed me that the piston seals disc seals & joint seals do not have individual part numbers and can not be ordered or obtained, but are included in the Caliper Piston Set Kit.

Since my Chieftain is no longer under warranty, I figure I now have three choices:
1. Buy the Caliper Piston Set Kit (with piston seals disc seals & joint seals) / PN2203680 / $92.99
clean out the caliper, install the new pistons and seals and hope the piston cylinders are not scored or corroded.
2. Replace the Rear Caliper Assembly / PN1912006-266 / $339.99
3. Bring it to an Indian dealer I trust and wait 14-21 days for the work to be completed / $500-$1000

With option 1, I pray that the brake piston cylinders are not scored, worn, or corroded (resurfacing them is not an option for me). If this repair does not work properly, I will have to replace the Rear Caliper Assembly and will have wasted $92.99 and a 2-4 hours of my time.

My dealer tech, who is very experienced and highly regarded (works on all models and years including originals, Gilroy, Kings Mountain, and 2014+ models). He says he will only replace the caliper, because rebuilding with the kits is time consuming and risky because a new caliper may ultimately be required.

So I have decided on going with option 2 - replace the caliper. (I've always worked on my own bikes and have a tight budget).

I've put hundreds of thousands of miles on motorcycles over the past 20+ years and have never had a brake caliper/piston problem before.

The brake wear is not easily explainable because: 1) my Chieftain only has 14,950 miles on it, 2) I am very light on the brakes (I have always gotten high miles on brake pads in the past), 3) the caliper assembly (including the pads) are fairly clean, and 4) the caliper pistons have no visible scoring, scratches or corrosion.

This leads me to believe there is a defective part or a manufacturing defect within the rear caliper assembly. VERY DISAPPOINTING!

I'll post an update after I receive and install the caliper. Wish me luck :)
 

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Good luck with it, and I hope you get it worked out. That's very low mileage for such a problem so I'm leaning your way with thinking there was an alignment problem from new.

I've only had such a problem with one bike in my time, it was a used bike that needed a lot of work after a previous owner's neglect. Brakes are usually such a solid construction that problems are rare.
 

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Had one on a Harley do that,I bought It cheap to resale,as the owner had the brake drag so bad as to trurn the disc blue,I changed the cups in the master and caliber, thought I fixed it.
But the new owner complained about it.
Don't know if it ever got repaired.
 

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Can you see an air bubble in the brake reservoir windows???If not,then you need to remove some fluid from the reservoirs for expansion purposes.If there's no room for expansion,created from heat build up,the brakes will actually be applied without the operator knowing it,hence prematurely wearing the pads.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Installed the new rear brake caliper (Indian PN 1912006-266). It came complete with new brake pads. I also cleaned the rear rotor with emery cloth and brake cleaner and flushed/replaced all the brake fluid. The rear brake is stronger than it has ever been.

However the rear brakes now chatter loudly as I let up on the rear brake slightly. Sounds like there may be a high spot on the rotor or the rotor is warped.

As reported earlier, before ordering and replacing the caliper, I ordered new brake pads, carefully cleaned the original caliper and pistons and installed the new brake pads. The newly installed rear brake pads would not naturally release pressure from the rotor after the brake pedal was released. I twice reinstalled and verified the pistons were clean and working and the pads were installed correctly.

At this point I am thinking the original rear brake caliper had a defect in either the caliper or piston that caused uneven piston pressure on the pads; over time as the brake were used and the pads wore down on one end (and not the other) the uneven pressure on the caliper and rotor probably caused misalignment of the floating caliper. And although the rear brakes were never as strong as they are now, the problem did not become apparent until the end of one of the pads wore out and started making noise and required that I replaced the rear brake pads.

It now seems that at some point before the new brake pads were installed or possible during the two test rides with the new brake pads installed but not releasing, the heat from brake pad drag warped the rotor.

If I have to replace the rear brake rotor, I'll have spent almost $700 and way too many hours on getting my rear brakes to work as they should on my exceptionally well maintained 2014 Chieftain with just 15,000 miles.

I am starting to get a bit angry about all this as I've been riding many different makes and models of motorcycles since 1970 and put close to 100k miles on some of them and never had brake problems like this before.

I will post an update if and when I finally get the rear brakes working correctly.
 

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I believe that no matter what you buy these days,they are mass produced on an assembly line,meaning,there could be a lot of imperfections in the product,or in this case,the brake pads/shoes.So what I do [I think I've already posted this] is dress the ends of the metal the pads are glued or riveted on to,[lightly filing them] so they're smooth and fit better in the caliper which allows them to move or slide back and forth in the caliper,easier.I also sparingly apply alittle white grease on the contact points the pad or shoe rides on to help in that process while also preventing rust from forming on those contact points.
This is what experience in this business has taught me since the introduction of disc brakes back in the early 60's.And this applies to ALL DISC BRAKE applications.And you'd be surprised at just how many so called techs,DO NOT do this,hence a problem will usually arise.And over the years,since the introduction of disc brakes, I've seen and corrected too many of these half assed jobs to mention.Dave!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I believe that no matter what you buy these days,they are mass produced on an assembly line,meaning,there could be a lot of imperfections in the product,or in this case,the brake pads/shoes.So what I do [I think I've already posted this] is dress the ends of the metal the pads are glued or riveted on to,[lightly filing them] so they're smooth and fit better in the caliper which allows them to move or slide back and forth in the caliper,easier.I also sparingly apply alittle white grease on the contact points the pad or shoe rides on to help in that process while also preventing rust from forming on those contact points.
This is what experience in this business has taught me since the introduction of disc brakes back in the early 60's.And this applies to ALL DISC BRAKE applications.And you'd be surprised at just how many so called techs,DO NOT do this,hence a problem will usually arise.And over the years,since the introduction of disc brakes, I've seen and corrected too many of these half assed jobs to mention.Dave!!!
Dave, Thanks for the good advice. It makes sense and I have already done that. Unfortunately it has had no impact on solving the problem I am having.
 

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If the lubing did not solve the problem,then your problem is in the calipers themselves.My Triumph had that same problem with the front brakes right out the gate when the machine was brand new which allso ate up the front rotors.So I pulled both front calipers,disassembled em and discovered that the big seals [o'rings] located in the bores,which is what the pistons ride back and forth on, had a white powder substance under em which prevented the pistons from moving freely,and is why they wouldn't release,hence they also ate up the rotors as well which gave me piss pot poor front braking.I can't believe I didn't crash out because of that.
Anyways,I brought both calipers,and the rotors back to the dealership where I bought it from to show em what I had found,and without hesitation, they gave me two new rotors,and two kits to rebuild the front calipers.After I did the job,it felt like I had power brakes.lol And I NEVER had the problem again,not to mention,I drove that machine for over 125,000 miles before trading it in towards the Indian I now have and thsoe brakes were still working like i had power brakes.

So I suspect you have the same problem.And if you can't do it yourself,I suggest you bring that machine back to the place ya bought it from ASAP,and raise holy hell about it.Why?? Cause it's a "SAFETY ISSUE" and NOT YOUR FAULT !!!.Ca pishe?? And besides, I don't think ya wanna make the wife happy now,DO YA??? lol lol lol Dave!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Dave, I agree. That’s why I replaced the caliper (with new pads). I’m feeling pretty sure I need to replace the rotor too.

Polaris told me to take it to the local dealer and have them fix it. (The dealer I bought the bike from is in Texas and I now live in Connecticut).

The closest dealer (an hour away) said I would have to leave it for 3 to 4 weeks and there was no guarantee that Polaris would cover the work.

My Chieftain is my transportation. I have no trailer and my wife’s car has no hitch. Having just moved here, I have no other way to get the bike there and myself back home. Plus, I don’t have the budget to pay the dealer hundreds in labor and shop fees, etc. in addition to the cost of the parts I need.

Looks like buying and installing a new rotor is next. Just hope that works.

Then I will pursue reimbursement from Polaris.
 

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Before ya buy a new rotor,check to make sure those calipers are NOT hanging up as I described above.Cause if they are,the same thing will happen again.What year is your bike and how many miles do ya have on it, and is it still under warantee??
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I finally received all the parts and replaced the rear brake caliper, the rotor, and the brake pads, then flushed the brake fluid. I then following the recommended disc brake bedding process.

I chose to go with EBC V-Series Semi-Sintered Rear Brake Pads (PN FA196V) instead of OEM sintered pads because I found them too aggressive (to quick to lock up and actuate the ABS on wet roads) and to quick to wear the rotor.

My rear brakes are working perfectly for me -- just the right feel -- easy to control and go from minimal braking to maximum braking power as needed.

Polaris customer support agreed that it is possible that a defective caliper could have caused the problem. They recommended that I take the original parts (that I replaced) to an Indian dealership and ask them to examine the parts and submit a report to Polaris for possible reimbursement of the cost of the OEM parts. Hopefully that will work out in my favor.

Regardless, my rear brakes are now working better than they ever have.
 

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No matter what hydraulic brake system you're working on ,or on what ever vehicle,ALWAYS leave alittle air space in the master cylinder,usually seen as an air bubble in the little window in the motorcycles'resevoir.That air bubble allows for expansion as the brake fluid heats up from usage.If ya can't see that bubble,then ya have too much fluid in the master cylinder which will expand from brake application or just hot weather,and can and will lead to brake failure.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Took my first 50 mile ride after replacing the rear brake caliper and rotor I started hearing what sounded like a metal to metal squeak in the rear brake/wheel area. I jacked the bike up and spun the rear tire. I found the squeak was caused by the ABS sensor touching the ABS ring (on the caliper) once every rotation of the wheel. I took the sensor off and noticed that I had failed to put one of the two spacer washers back in. I installed them and the squeak went away. I check the spec to verify the proper space between sensor and the ABS ring and checked it. What I discovered is that on my Chieftain the space changes as the wheel is rotated. Not a good sign.

I checked the bearings and everything else. Nothing seems loose, warn or damaged. I plan to pull it apart again and see if I missed something.

After fixing the squeak, there are three other things are not right:

Problem 1– I am hearing a low frequency hum, what you would think a warn bearing would sound like or the drive belt too tight – neither are the cause – the bearing appears to have no play and rotate OK; the drive belt tension is exactly per the spec. Researching this sound has led me to believe the sound may be coming from cush drive, which I understand should have been replaced when the drive sprocket and drive belt were replaced under warranty 5000 miles ago by a dealer. However the dealer work-order lists only the sprocket and belt.

Problem 2– The drive belt adjustment does not work when I follow the service manual process. Rotating the tire backwards till the belt moves away from the inside edge of the sprocket results in the belt running up against the outside edge of the sprocket. On the lift, rotating the wheel backwards causes the belt to move toward the inside edge, rotating the wheel forward causes the belt to move all the way to the outside edge. So, I've had to align it in the middle by riding it, and then adjusting the left axle position adjuster a little and repeating until the drive belt is close to center each time I stop.

Problem 3– I heard loud brake chatter a couple of times when I was lightly using the rear brakes (everything is new and properly lubricated and installed, including semi-sintered pads to prevent this).

All of this makes no sense to me. The one thought that keeps coming to me is that the dealer tech (a very young guy) who replaced the rear sprocket and belt 5,000 miles ago, damaged or screwed something up that is not visually apparent, which caused all the problems with the oddly warn brake pads. malfunctioning caliper and excessively warn/warped rotor. (But I have no verifiable reason to believe that).

Obviously something is wrong and unless I find something on next tear-down and reassembly, I'm going to have to take it to a dealer and hope I don't loose the bike for a month and end up with a bill I can not afford.
 

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regarding problem #2: you’ll pull your hair out and waste a day (or two) trying to get the belt to ride in the center...and stay there. I fought mine for two days. Out of curiosity, I surveyed the new bikes on the dealer‘s floor and found none of the belts were riding in the center. I found that rotating the tire forward worked better than spinning it to the rear. Also, adjust in turns no greater than 1/4 turn. You’ll also probably find when you crank down on the final axle torque, it ruins your perfectly set belt tension.

My belt rode in the middle for a day, then moved right, and I left it there. After a couple of months, the belt had moved to the left.

IM need to come up with a better system.
 
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