Honda Motorcycle Stuck Brake Caliper Pistons Q&A

Got a Honda motorcycle with stuck brake caliper pistons? Stuck pistons are a common problem of motorcycle brakes, and if you're having this issue with a Honda bike, the following Q&A might help you out.

Partzilla's Honda motorcycle expert John Talley does live question and answer sessions every Friday at 3pm Eastern on our YouTube channel. In this edition, John offers some tips on how to deal with stuck brake caliper pistons on a couple of Honda models.

Honda motorcycle stuck brake pistons Q&A

Honda CBR Stuck Brake Pistons

I’m doing a master cylinder rebuild on my CBR and the piston is stuck inside and won’t come out. What do I need to pull the piston out?

John Talley: Well, that’s a little tricky. I mean, is it really solidified in there? I would say spray some type of penetrating oil in there and let it set overnight. At that point, and here’s where you need to be careful, if it still doesn’t want to come out with just a pick tool, I would go toward using an air compressor, or compressed air going in the opposite direction. But the trick is, the same mechanics or physical mechanics that make so much pressure available through such a small orifice when you’re trying to activate your brake system operating in reverse is going to fire that piston out of there potentially like a bullet. So you need to take that into account. I would use several rags on a hard wooden table, face the master cylinder in that direction and try to pop it out. 

Watch the video above to learn how to rebuild the front brake master cylinder of a Honda motorcycle.

Buy motorcycle brake caliper pistons

Buy motorcycle brake calipers

Watch the video below to learn how to rebuild the rear brake master cylinder of a Honda motorcycle.

Honda VTX Stuck Brake Pistons

I have a 2004 VTX 1800 and I changed the back brakes following your video. Now I'm having issues with the brakes sticking. Is there a way to lubricate the pistons or is there any other advice? 

John Talley: Alright, when you wear out the brakes, the pistons, let’s say if they’re used to having this much [shows distance] travel toward the end, they’re just right here. So that beginning section really hasn’t been used in a while. When we went in and put in new brake pads, the pistons go all the way back and now they’re starting to hang up. So yes, you need to go ahead and break down the calipers themselves and clean out those bores. Because I think you’ll be really surprised when you open them up and when you kick the piston out past that seal, those bores are going to look kind of nasty. And how does that nastiness get in there? Well, eventually it works past the outer seal, the dust seal, and then it gets in behind the piston itself. So it sounds like it’s time to go ahead and pull those calipers apart and get them cleaned out. Now, I don’t think we did a caliper rebuild video on the VTX, but we’ve done several. You could go look at the Suzuki GSXR videos, which I’m pretty sure we did the seals on it. And that’ll at least give you an idea of how to approach getting the piston out, getting it cleaned and reinstalled. 

Watch the video below to see how to rebuild front brake calipers on a motorcycle.

Watch the video below to see how to change the rear brake pads on a Honda motorcycle.

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See more motorcycle and ATV repair questions answered here.  



Why Partzilla?

Commercial Discounts

Special discounts for companies in the powersports industry


Government Sales

Discounts for federal and most state and municipal agencies