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Old 09-26-2016, 08:19 AM   #1
kmeredith21
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Warning! Brake Line Failure near cooler

Own a 2011 Muscle. Riding home from work the other day I noticed my back brakes felt very inconsistent, before I knew it I realized that I had lost all back brake control (luckily only a few miles from home). Once home I opened the rear master cylinder to find it completely drained. I hooked up my vacuum up to the back brakes and tried to put more fluid in the cylinder I soon realized I had a leak somewhere around my radiator as the vacuum tube had nothing but bubbles in the brake fluid. I filled up the cylinder, turned on the bike and when I hit the pedal, brake fluid squirted out all over near my radiator. After tracing the rear brake line and cutting the zip ties I found that the oil cooler inlet was directly zip tied against the rear brake line coming from the ABS unit. The metal connection on the oil cooler inlet had melted through the brake line causing a pin hole leak and overall brake malfunction.

This is a pretty serious issue and a dangerous one if I may add; seems to be a terrible design flaw by Harley. Wanted to share this to see if anyone else has had this issue on their bike. If you haven't maybe you want to check yours to make sure this doesn't happen to you.

Icing on the cake is the brake line is over $110 to replace ($150 at the dealer).
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Last edited by kmeredith21; 09-26-2016 at 09:02 AM. Reason: Oil Cooler Line not Radiator
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:27 AM   #2
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Don't think that's a stock exhaust. You can hardly blame HD for someone elses fk up, right? My DX has close to 1" clearance in that area.
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:37 AM   #3
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It's not a stock exhaust but that's besides the point. The exhaust has nothing to do with this. If you see in the picture the brake line, oil cooler inlet, and some other items are zip tied together onto the frame (stock install). The oil cooler connection is what melted the brake line, not the exhaust. you can see in the photo how the brake line is melted perfectly to the shape of the metal pipe connection.
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:41 AM   #4
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Doesn't look like a stock install to me either. Maybe someone has a pic of stock.

EDIT: Doesn't look melted. Looks like many miles of the parts rubbing together and wearing. I'm still thinking issue from whoever installed the exhaust.
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:44 AM   #5
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The radiator hose does not get hot enough to melt a brake hose, if it did it would melt the radiator hose too. The brake hose is to close to the exhaust tube. The radiator hose might get to 220 degrees once in a while, and the exhaust header will get to around 1000 degrees or more every time you ride. Some exhaust headers will actually glow red if your bike is not tuned correctly and is running a little lean. There have been other instances of aftermarket exhaust headers melting the brake and oil cooler lines if there is not enough clearance to prevent it.

Mike

PS: Your first pic is of the oil cooler line with the brake line and an electric wire line, it is not a radiator hose.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:01 AM   #6
kmeredith21
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You are correct; it is the oil cooler inlet line not the radiator line as typed. So you think the exhaust heated up the oil cooler metal connection enough to melt it or do you think it really is the metal scraping away after years of riding? If its just wear and tear you would think a lot of folks would have this issue. I did find another thread on a different site with the same issue; that is what made me believe this was secured like this from the factory. The piping and lines aren't in the way of the exhaust so they wouldn't have to be moved or modified to change the exhaust.

When I re-install the new line my idea is to wrap that metal connector with a bit of exhaust wrap before tying back together. It doesn't make sense that the brake line would melt from the exhaust seeing as the failure point is right in the location of the oil cooler connector.

If someone has a stock picture that may help to see how it is secured.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:23 AM   #7
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the brake line rubbed against the oil cooler line,same happened to me..strap the brake line to the frame when it's replaced..so it won't happen again
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:43 AM   #8
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Awesome man. Thanks. I knew I couldn't be the only one out there with this issue.
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:07 AM   #9
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The oil cooler line is very often repositioned just a bit when installing a new exhaust. Very easy to do with just finger pressure.
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:13 AM   #10
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Ok, just checked mine. 2013 DX as a reference point. Clearance is about 3/8" from shield. Routing is brake line is between frame rail and the fire sleeve for the oil cooler line. My camera is crap but you get the idea.
Ron
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Old 09-26-2016, 06:32 PM   #11
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Had the same happen on my DX.
My fault I tightened the oil cooler hose away from the exhaust because it is ridiculously close and the flange gradually rubbed through the brake line.
Talk about late braking!!!
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Old 09-27-2016, 04:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmeredith21 View Post
It's not a stock exhaust but that's besides the point. .
Not at all besides the point. It's the exact point.

You came on here ranting about "HD's bad design" but "Somebody" made changes and that somebody is responsible for lack of due diligence, competence or experience.

I have done my share of mods and changes from mild to radical and nearly every change can or will present an issue. That's rudimentary when playing with a machine that was R&D'd and engineered for a couple of years. I always say with and modification or change: every action has a reaction. I don't blame HD or any other manufacturer when the changes cause grief. Sounds like another millennial thing to me.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:29 AM   #13
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Thank you for your useless comment. Seeing as this problem has happened to multiple people there is obviously an issue. To add to my point I went to the Harley dealer yesterday to find that the brake line is located directly next to the oil cooler line from the factory. The direct contact caused the failure therefor it is a design flaw; may not affect everyone but you obviously don't really care. Guess its just a "old man thing".

My post was to warn folks and to see if it happened to anyone else. I appreciate all the useful comments. Safe riding to all.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:13 AM   #14
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Yup def wear from crimp fitting upon closer inspection metal on metal not good
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:53 PM   #15
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That's clearly wear, the lines were rubbing on each other.
Doesn't matter if it's caused because of a missing strap or because something changed when the exhaust was fitted.
It happened to others aswell and it's a serious issue.

Thanks for the heads up.
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