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Brakes Failed


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While riding my 2002 RT home from work last night, I had to touch my brakes a little and to my amazement, no power. There was residual braking that caused the bike to pull right, then the dash lights came on. The brake warning clearly flashing quickly, more than 2-3 times per second and the general warning light on, not flashing. Then on the second application, power function returned. But the lights continued as above. I pulled over. Restarted the engine, same thing. No power, lights came on, power resumed. Brake unit much louder than normal.


Called the dealer today. Told me that sometimes it is a minor thing, more often it needs new brake modulator. $2700 for parts and about 4 hours labor. Almost 3 grand. Is this for real? That's almost what the bike is worth. Would you guys fix it or trade it as is? I'm not sure it is worth the cash. Please help.

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Hi drjay


I’m not sure what you have there. No way can residual braking cause the bike to pull right as it still only squeezes the pads to the rotors just like with the power assist.


With your general light on and the brake warning flashing that means one or more ends is not working correctly “like you need the lights to tell you that”.


It might be as simple as a sticking or inop brake light switch on the lever or pedal and that is usually a simple and cheap repair.


If the problem is internal to the ABS controller then that is going to be expensive to repair. You have some choices on that. Spend the $2700.00 and install a new controller, find a good used controller, or just remove the power ABS brake system and revert to standard non power assisted brakes. Not a slam dunk but not all that difficult to do. You might have to do that yourself or find an independent to remove the ABS as some dealers won’t do it for liability reasons.


If your dealer can’t find a simple reason for the failure then maybe try a full system bleed and fluid replacement as sometimes that

can help.



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I don't understand your comment about pulling to the right???

Brakes should not do that with or without Servo assistance.

Brake failure....This is never good.

When those brakes tend to shut down on there own it can be very frightening.

Mine did this an a very fast and very twisty coastal road. I came very close to a major accident.



Dirtrider as ever gives sage advice. An inexpensive path primarily, is fluids and a check that the micro switches actually are operating (but I don't think this is your problem).




The dealer is misleading you to suggest this is a minor thing. Now this has happened to you once, your confidence in the braking system is impaired to say the least.

Even if the dealer plugs a diagnostic tool in to the bike, so few of them really know where to go next apart from a step by step replacement proceedure - each one not being cheap.

If you choose to go down the secondhad route BE VERY CAREFUL. Many less than trustworthy characters will have removed there Servo because it was suspect and may well try to sell it on to some other unsuspecting punter.


I removed mine and found the proceedure straightforward and inexpensive using for the mostpart secondhand reliable parts.


Should you choose this option, I have a pictoral walkthru you can have.


All the best with this.

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If you take a look at the list of parts for obtaining, most are suitable to be obtained second hand.

Yellow pages should list bike breakers. you can just let them know what parts you want.

By doing a hunt on the part number search of Max BMW site it will list all the available model applications for each part number.

Happy hunting


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Four hours to replace the servo? I think I could do it in that amount of time and that includes bleeding the brakes (which I am getting good at).


anyway the reason for my post is to offer a simple suggestion. As it appears you have the standard RT I would suggest that, if you can find one, snag a RTP servo unit. The brakes are linked fron to rear but not rear to front. And if you have to buy a new one go for the RTP there is no cost difference, nor mechanical difference external to the bike. I have heard of a number of people going this rout after a servo failure.

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happened to me as well.....i picked up a used one off of ebay (RTP unit) from a dealer up in canada...they tell me they do this frequently so perhaps they may have one. had the dealer install it...was about 800 bucks in total.

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When was the last time you changed the brake fluid and serviced the whizzy gizmo that powers your brakes? I'm not experienced with the power brakes but I have read enough threads about them to know they need to be serviced regularly with fresh brake fluid. Moisture in the servo is probably what caused the failure.

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