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TOPIC: front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck

front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 4 days ago #328482

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I removed the front brake from my '78 kz1000 and disassembled the master cylinder for cleaning.

The piston-plunger is stuck. I've got the parts diagram
and I cannot remove the 3/4-moon-shaped 'piston stopper' washer (this piece stops the travel of the piston when the brake lever is pulled so the piston doesn't disappear into the master cyclinder innards).

But that shouldn't matter because..the piston-plunger is stuck anyways. And the plunger is stuck in the 'brake lever not squeezed' position -- the plunger's sticking way out of the master cylinder on the brake lever side of the master cylinder. And..that 3/4-moon-shaped 'piston stopper' is freed up enough to move around.

I can't move the piston-plunger because, again, it is frozen.

With the brake hose removed from the master cylinder, I can poke a metal rod or screwdriver into the master cylinder body and reach the inside end of that plunger so.....here's what I want to do to 'unfreeze' the piston-plunger:

I WANNA WAP THAT SUCKER, WITH A BIG 'OLE HAMMER, AND a big ole' metal rod or big screwdriver shoved inta the master cylinder body.

WAP WAP WAP. Damn plunger, I'll show it who the boss is. Absolutely no question about it.

So just now I've got the brake-lever side of the master cylinder pointed up skyward. The piston is sticking out on that side of the master cylinder body and touches the brake lever when the lever's in the 'fully rested' position. The parts diagram shows the plunger is pulled out of the body in the direction of the brake lever for removal.

So, with the brake lever removed, I doused the piston that's protruding out of the body on the brake-lever side with Paint Thinner. Then I switched to soaking it with penetrating oil (Liquid Wrench).

Now, what about this plan of mine.

I can't be having a small brake plunger get the best of me. Not whilst I have a big mofo hammer and a small metal rod or big screwdriver, and a scheme to use 'em. I look forward to hammering away at that plunger after it sets in the Liquid Wrench fer a bit. UNLESS you folks say 'bad idea.'

Is this a good scheme, I will be needing a front brake.
Last night I had a nightmare, I was driving my kz1000 down the road and squeezed the front brake and...nothing. So I reckon I'm in a bad way about this now.
1978 kz1000 A2 with Kerker
1980 Z1 Classic with Kerker
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 4 days ago #328494

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did you take out the snap ring that holds every thing in place.
1973 z1 2-1974z1-a,2-1975z1-b dragbikes1015cc+1393cc, 1977kz1000,1978kz1000,1981kz1000j, 1997 zx-11, 2000 z12r,1428turbo nitrous pro-mod and a shit load of parts thats all for now leader sask.,CANADA
I THINK MY POWERBAND BROKE
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 4 days ago #328504

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Here's the parts diagram. That 'snap' ring is freely moving back and forth on the rightmost 1" of the piston.

The piston is frozen and the rightmost 1" of the piston is sticking out the right side of the mstr cyl. and butting up against the lever with the lever in the "fully rested/lever not pulled" position.

The ring is loose enough to travel back and forth across the exposed 1" of the rightmost side of the stuck piston. The ring is playing no part whatsoever in preventing the piston from moving. The ring is freely moving on the right side of the piston shaft; you can slide the ring freely back and forth on the exposed part of the piston on the piston's right side.

You can freely slide the ring on the rightmost side of the exposed piston shaft between the mstr cyl body and the piston's right endpoint where it hits the butt end of the brake lever.

So that ring is not the problem. The piston simply will not move like it normally does.

Look here at the parts picture. Parts #9 and #10 -- I have removed them (and of course the lever too).

The ring, part #11 -- its job is to prevent the plunger from descending into the master cylinder body *when the brake lever is pulled all the way.* In my case, that doesn't even matter -- because the piston, part #12 in the diagram -- has *frozen in the fully rested/lever not pulled* position and if you look at the diagram -- the rightmost shaft section on the piston, part #12, is fully sticking out the right side of the master cylinder body. And the ring, part #11 -- is fully freely moving and can be slid back and forth on that rightmost part of the plunger. SO THE RING'S NOT THE ISSUE.

You'll also note from the diagram that the plunger is pulled out the right side of the master cylinder body -- for disassembly.

All I'm asking is, if I tap the *left* side of the piston (by sticking a screwdriver or metal rod inside the left side of the mstr cyl. body) to free it from its stuck condition -- is that a good idea?

1978 kz1000 A2 with Kerker
1980 Z1 Classic with Kerker
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 4 days ago #328509

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With parts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 removed and set aside, perhaps a shot of compressed air into the banjo bolt outlet would pop #12 out of the bore.

Point it away from yourself when shooting. ;)

Good Luck! :)
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328551

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I had something similar to this once, I pulled #12 out with needlenose pliers.
'95 KLR650
'82 1000 LTD ongoing project...
'74 CZ175
'71 CB350


s289.photobucket.com/albums/ll231/9am53/
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328579

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9am53 wrote:
I had something similar to this once, I pulled #12 out with needlenose pliers.

Right, tried that. The piston normally moves back and forth as the lever is pulled and released, but as I've mentioned it's frozen.

I have tried simply rotating the piston. No movement.
I have tried creating even a SMALL amount of back-and-forth movement of the piston. NOPE.

I think the piston just needs to sit in some penetrating oil long enough so that a hammer-tap will free it.

If anyone has solved this 'stuck piston' problem let me know a cool way to do it! Thanks.
1978 kz1000 A2 with Kerker
1980 Z1 Classic with Kerker
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328580

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Mine was frozen too, perhaps not as bad as yours but it was stuck. Mine was stuck all the way in, so the brake lever would flop around. I took everything out like you have, and grabbed the end of the piston with needle nose pliers and started pulling. It took some work but finally it let go.

Not sure if you mentioned it, but since it is stuck in the fully "out" position could you not try to loosen it by squeezing the lever as hard as you can to break it free?

If you are planning on rebuilding the m/c and don't care about the piston so much, maybe you could take the banjo bolt out (after draining the fluid) and maybe put a nail in the hole and give it a rap with a hammer (not MC Hammer though)
'95 KLR650
'82 1000 LTD ongoing project...
'74 CZ175
'71 CB350


s289.photobucket.com/albums/ll231/9am53/
Last Edit: 5 years 3 days ago by 9am53.
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328589

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9am53 wrote:
Mine was frozen too, perhaps not as bad as yours but it was stuck. Mine was stuck all the way in, so the brake lever would flop around. I took everything out like you have, and grabbed the end of the piston with needle nose pliers and started pulling. It took some work but finally it let go.

Not sure if you mentioned it, but since it is stuck in the fully "out" position could you not try to loosen it by squeezing the lever as hard as you can to break it free?

If you are planning on rebuilding the m/c and don't care about the piston so much, maybe you could take the banjo bolt out (after draining the fluid) and maybe put a nail in the hole and give it a rap with a hammer (not MC Hammer though)

I GOT THE DURNED PISTON OUT!!!!:silly:

As I said, I had already stripped off all parts from the master cylinder, the hose, the lever, etc. and was able to stick a metal rod down the hole where the hose screws on. A big-ass Philips screwdriver also fit right into that hole.

After the mstr cyldr was sitting in Liquid Wrench penetrating oil overnight, I stuck the metal rod into the hole till it touched the left side of the piston inside the mstr cylinder and WAPPED it.

That there piston shot out of the lever-end of the master cylinder like a Hedge-fund manager running from a wire-tapper. It popped out of there like a illegal alien running from the border patrol. It flew outta there like a.. well, it came right out.

So now -- what parts do I keep after I buy a master cylinder rebuild kit? Here's a photo of all the parts that come out of the master cylinder:





WHICH PARTS DO I NEED TO KEEP?
1978 kz1000 A2 with Kerker
1980 Z1 Classic with Kerker
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328596

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Okay, I'm shopping ebay for a mstrcyl rebuild kit, and I found one for a '77 kz1000 (my bike is a '78 'A2' standard model, and the master cylinder is different from the '77 'A' model).


And now I know where all the suggestions to 'remove the snap ring' may have come from. Here's a photo of an eBay rebuild kit for a '77 kz1000 -- notice among the parts:

1) a "C"-shaped metal ring
2) and also, a traditional 'snap' ring:



But if you look at the parts diagram I posted above, you won't find a snap ring! My parts diagram (above) only shows the "C"-shaped ring.

Notice in the picture here that "C"-shaped clip. THAT'S THE ONLY CLIP IN THE PART DIAGRAM (posted above) for my '78 kz1000.

And furthermore, there was no such snap ring when I disassembled my master cylinder parts. Only that "C"-shaped ring was there (see my photo of my disassembled parts above).

Well, that clears up the 'snap ring' mystery. There I was last night, flippin-an-a-jerkin round lookin fer a snap ring, "when I find it where'm I gonna get them long extended snap ring pliers, how much will they cost, will I be able to get it off" and other spastic and coffee-induced outburts.

The '77 kz1000 has a round master cylinder; my '78 bike's is a 4-sided polygon, not round. So apparently when Kawasaki changed the master cylinder assembly for the '78 'A2' model, they dropped the snap ring from the parts list. Mystery solved.

I can't find a rebuild kit for the '78 A2 model on ebay -- anyone know a website source for one?

THANKS ALL!!!!
1978 kz1000 A2 with Kerker
1980 Z1 Classic with Kerker
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328602

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everybody always recommends Z1Enterprises.com, and for good reason. I got a rebuild for my 82 1000 back brake. If you can't find it call them and ask...they likely can get you one
'95 KLR650
'82 1000 LTD ongoing project...
'74 CZ175
'71 CB350


s289.photobucket.com/albums/ll231/9am53/
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328639

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Thanks 9am53, z1Enterprises and all the other places/websites don't carry nor have access to the 1978 'A2' model front master cylinder rebuild kit.

Apparently the main aftermarket provider, 'K&L' doesn't make one for the '78 A2 model.

The only thing remotely close is, for $35 not including shipping, z1Entr will sell me a new mstrcyldr piston.

While that might do the trick, I'm loathe to dump big $ money like that into a repair job on a master cylinder that not even Kawasaki has rebuild kits for.

In my investigation, there's a master cylinder rebuild kit for the '77 A1, for the '78 LTD and Police kz1000s but not the single-disc brake standard '78 A2 kz1000 model.

Anyone out there got a kz1000 single disk master cylinder setup they want to sell? Heck I'll buy the entire system is that's what you need to sell.

Let me know, I've got a running kz1000 vintage and no front brake right now.:unsure:
1978 kz1000 A2 with Kerker
1980 Z1 Classic with Kerker
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328643

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well, if you are interested I just replaced the m/c from my 82 1000 (twin disk) and I don't know what to do with it...it was working fine I just didnt have room for it on my new bars. if it fits you can have it (my bike is an LTD so it may be kind of crooked...) I think using a double disk m/c would just give you more responsive braking...but I am not sure....anyways, let me know
'95 KLR650
'82 1000 LTD ongoing project...
'74 CZ175
'71 CB350


s289.photobucket.com/albums/ll231/9am53/
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328660

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9am53 wrote:
well, if you are interested I just replaced the m/c from my 82 1000 (twin disk) and I don't know what to do with it...it was working fine I just didnt have room for it on my new bars. if it fits you can have it (my bike is an LTD so it may be kind of crooked...) I think using a double disk m/c would just give you more responsive braking...but I am not sure....anyways, let me know

Wow, thanks 9am53, I will consider it, thanks. You're right about the stopping power, I'm just a bit stubborn about finding the solution here to the stock m/c.

The other thing is, when I got disappointed today after looking around for a m/c rebuild kit, I decided "well the old guts don't look *too* bad" and I started reassembling the piston into the m/c and ......like the rabid idjit I sometimes am, I tore a hole in the rubber gasket on the left end of the m/c piston. If you look at my photo above of my disassembled guts, it's the rubber round part leaned up against the spring. Tore a hole right in it.

So that experience has me wondering "even if I can *find* a rebuild kit, just how easy is it to reassemble the piston/spring/rubber bits etc. back into the m/c"?

So I've got a hit now to my confidence in my ability to correctly re-assemble, and no rebuild kit. If I hadn't stopped drinking 6 years ago I'd throw back a couple just now.

Thanks 9am53, I'm going to pull back a bit from this and cool down and I may yet take you up on your offer, and thanks again.
1978 kz1000 A2 with Kerker
1980 Z1 Classic with Kerker
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328671

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Before buying new internal parts, would first assure m/c bore can be restored to serviceable condition. And that the bore isn't too badly pitted or otherwise damaged.

1978 KZ1000 continued the single front disk and introduced the trapezoidal m/c with the same 14mm bore as in the earlier barrel m/c design.

The 1979 KZ1000 introduced dual front disks and a larger 5/8" trapezoidal m/c bore.

The 14mm bore trapezoidal m/c is rare because it was used only the one year in 1978.
At least on the large fours. I don't know about whether it was used on other Kawasaki models or years.

MaKaw designed the 14mm bore m/c for single disk front brake and the 5/8" bore m/c for dual disk front brakes. Same applies to the barrel design.

Using a 5/8" m/c with a single disk will likely produce a less sensitive brake.

Using a 14mm m/c with dual disks may produce an overly sensitive front brake (including unintentional lock-up of the front wheel in emergency braking with resulting loss of control and bike tip-over).

The correct part number for the 14mm bore piston assembly is 43020-1002. Don't let the dealer tell you otherwise, as the parts microfishe for the 1978 KZ1000 may erroneously show the 5/8" piston assembly (which doesn't fit inside a 14mm bore).

Good Luck! :)
Last Edit: 5 years 3 days ago by Patton.
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328674

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Might also check info provided at Redline Cycle.

Click here > Redline Cycle

Scroll down to 4th and 5th pics.

Excerpts from above link:


Kawasaki OEM rebuild parts for the 1978 KZ1000A models (single disc) with the trapezoid front master cylinder.....(not available as a kit).......Note: The retainer for these pistons is plastic and usually re-useable.....
Top: Piston & Seal Assembly..... $44.99

Bottom Left: Stopper...... $3.79

Bottom Right: Piston Boot...... $6.49

In Stock at Redline Cycle



The o-ring that sits under the plastic reservoir on these master cylinders often leaks due to age......This part is not and never was available from Kawasaki.....

We stock a high-quality replacement o-ring to fix this problem......Exact diameter and width needed, and resistant to expansion from brake fluid.....

No, you can't get one of these for 15 cents at Home Depot....... $3.50 each

In Stock at Redline Cycle




Redline site also says, "We often have rebuilt trapezoid masters for all single and dual-disc applications."

Good Luck! :)
Last Edit: 5 years 3 days ago by Patton.
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 3 days ago #328693

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Well, I just wrapped up about 4 hours of searching and calling around then found your post, Patton -- thanks.
Whew. I was starting to wonder there.
I cannot express how friggin relieved I am, and I want to thank you very much for that.

I need to clarify something with Redline and I'm going to call them tomorrow, but see for yourself -- pay attention to what the pistons look like. Here in order are:

1) the picture I took today after disassembling my master cylinder


2) a photo of the parts from Redline's kit for the '73-'77 bikes


3) a photo of the parts from Redline's kit for my bike, the '78 A2 model.


Redline's piston for the '73-'77 kit is an exact match of my piston. But Redline's '78 kz1000-A2 kit has a piston that is clearly chamfered on one end, while their '73-'77 piston is just like mine - not chamfered at that end.

Wonder if they got the photos mixed up on their web site?
What do you think?
p.s. the rubber squeegee on my piston slid down the pistion shaft in my photo, but it normally butts up next to the middle circular piece of metal just like Redline's '73-'77 rebuild kit.


I guess it's possible the prior owner of my bike did a rebuild on the mstr cylinder and couldn't find a '78 rebuild kit, same problem I was having, and maybe he just bought a '77 kit and used its piston. Wish he was still around so I could ask him!
1978 kz1000 A2 with Kerker
1980 Z1 Classic with Kerker
Last Edit: 5 years 3 days ago by newOld_kz1000.
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 2 days ago #328707

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Would defer to Redline's advice about what fits what, but am thinking the earlier 14mm barrel piston won't fit 14mm trapezoidal m/c.

Guessing the chamfer might result from an assembly line change. Also note the spring fitment onto the piston is slightly different in that I don't see an expected nylon swivel clip fitted onto a thin pin projecting from end of the piston, which nylon clip fits snugly into small end of the spring. I'm more familar with such nylon clip arrangement where the small end of the spring fts snugly onto the nylon clip to hold the spring in position onto end of the piston which allows the spring to freely rotate. But which is likely insignificant from an operational standpoint.

Your pic shows what appears to be the nylon clip still inside the spring and separated from the piston. Perhaps the thin pin projecting from end of the piston that the clip snapped onto and rotates around got broken off during struggle to remove the piston from inside the bore.

Might want to compare with dealer pricing on the piston, which was available three years ago from Kawasaki and might still be available. Ask specifically for part number 43020-1002.

And before purchasing new parts, remember to carefully inspect the bore for any damage that might prevent it from be restored to serviceable condition. Some minor pitting may be okay.

Good Luck! :)
Last Edit: 5 years 2 days ago by Patton.
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 2 days ago #328709

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"Last night I had a nightmare, I was driving my kz1000 down the road and squeezed the front brake and...nothing"



Is this a figure of speech"had a dream" or did you really dream and motorcycles were a part of that dream?


just curious ,because i have had motorcycle dreams and some related to crashing, one special dream which i remembered while riding the next morning and ,took corrective measures i believe was an insight against a certain stretch of road where i would pass cars on my way to a rural college most days at like 110....and after the dream of meeting oncoming traffic on this curve/stretch ,i stopped that move in that area for good......just curious......not a joke....thanks craig..



just curious.....thanks craig
1976 KZ900 A4 38 years and counting
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 2 days ago #328771

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trianglelaguna wrote:
"Last night I had a nightmare, I was driving my kz1000 down the road and squeezed the front brake and...nothing"



Is this a figure of speech"had a dream" or did you really dream and motorcycles were a part of that dream?


just curious ,because i have had motorcycle dreams and some related to crashing, one special dream which i remembered while riding the next morning and ,took corrective measures i believe was an insight against a certain stretch of road where i would pass cars on my way to a rural college most days at like 110....and after the dream of meeting oncoming traffic on this curve/stretch ,i stopped that move in that area for good......just curious......not a joke....thanks craig..



just curious.....thanks craig

No, I have an extra level of introspection I developed for stuff just like that. 'Auto suggestion' where you manifest what you think is well-known. Having a vivid dream is auto-suggestion sometimes unless you are self-aware enough to clean up your conscious thought about it.

A good analogy is the racing-driver maxim of 'Always look down the track in the direction you want to go, not at the wall your bike is *temporarily* sliding towards and you'll automatically take the right action to avoid the crash.'

Same as in everyday life. You just say to yourself "Ok, I *know* the wife's mad I just bought yet another vintage bike, but I don't want her mad, I want her happy" then you find yourself doing some righteous stuff like taking out the trash, fixing the dishwasher, washing her car, and so on. Presto the fear of her anger is mitigated.

You just can't let dreams or concerns or fears manifest into physical reality, and it's actually pretty easy to do it -- just take note of the concern and say to yourself "Yeah but I don't want that outcome" and you'll discover you're finding ways and doing things to avoid it.
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1980 Z1 Classic with Kerker
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front brake mastrcyl piston-plunger is stuck 5 years 2 days ago #328782

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