How to Replace the Brakes on a Harley Davidson Electra Glide

Regular inspection of brake components is considered part of routine maintenance on all makes and models of motorcycles. At a minimum, you should inspect your brake pads, front and rear, after every 2,500 miles. Brake pads on a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide have a minimum wear thickness of 0.04 inches. When the thickness of a friction pad falls below this width, replace both pads on the caliper.

Unscrew the two top screws on the front brake master cylinder cover, located on the handle bars, using a cross-tip screwdriver

Loosen but do not remove the two pad pins on the outside of the front brake caliper assembly with a socket wrench.

Remove the upper and lower mounting bolts holding the front brake caliper to the forks with a hex-key wrench. Carefully take the front caliper off of the rotor and allow it to hang by the brake line.

Push on the brake caliper pistons so that they retract into the brake caliper. Remove both of the pad pins. Take off both inner and outer brake pads and discard them.

Install two new brake pads onto the caliper. Replace the caliper over the top of the rotor and screw in both mounting bolts.

Pump the brake lever several times to allow the brake pistons to come into contact with the new pads. Add D.O.T. 5 silicone brake fluid to the fill line on the front master cylinder. Replace the cover on the reservoir and tighten the screws.

Remove the right saddlebag by turning the two inner quick release studs a quarter turn counterclockwise by hand. Place the saddlebag in a safe place, away from the immediate work environment.

Take off the two screws from the top of the rear master cylinder reservoir with a cross-tip screwdriver.

Loosen the two pad pins on the rear brake caliper with a socket but do not remove them. Push the inside pad back with a putty knife to cause the piston to retract.

Pull the pad pins all of the way out. Allow the inside pad to drop free. Install a new inner pad into its place.

Re-insert the pad pins but do not fully tighten. Pump the rear brake several times to cause the caliper to move the pistons back out, allowing the inner pad to fully seat into the caliper.

Pry the outside pad back, pushing the pistons back once again into their bores.

Remove both pad pins to allow the rear pad to come free. Install a new outer pad in its place. Install both pad pins and tighten.

Pump the rear brake peddle several times to completely seat both pads and allow the pads to come into contact with the brake rotor.

Add D.O.T. 5 silicone brake fluid to the fill line in the rear brake master cylinder reservoir. Replace the master cylinder cover. Re-install the right-side saddlebag.

Things You'll Need

  • Cross-tip screwdriver
  • SAE socket set
  • Hex key set
  • Replacement brake set
  • D.O.T. 5 silicone brake fluid
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About the Author

Jim Murkot Sr. is a respiratory therapist with more than 20 years of hospital management. Murkot began writing professionally in 1993 and has written numerous hospital protocols designed to guide personnel in everything from hospital ethics to emergency response. His work has appeared in eHow as well as in multiple hospitals within the Houston area. He attended Kingwood College and Boston University.