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Home Repair And Restoration

Blasted Brake Reservoir Bolts

Frustration Date - 9 November 2018

By Ren Withnell

Why oh why oh why oh why. 

Master cylinder reservoir screws/bolts. In fact just blooming blasted bleeding anything with a crosshead/phillips on anything tighter than finger tight. Remember in the bad old days when oil tight engine casings were attached with crosshead/phillips bolts? Most of the day's work was spent chiselling and/or hacksawing and/or drilling out several chewed up bolts just to get to an adjuster or whatnot.

So I want to refresh the brake fluid in the CB500X. I simply need to remove the master cylinder reservoir cover. One screw turns but of course the other one was fitted by a machine with the torque set to 8,000,000 ft/lbs. This ain't my first rodeo. Dremel out. Sharp knock-through screwdriver out. Small hammer out. Grind, whack, chisel and bash until the screw comes out. Of course it's ruined now.

The head of the crosshead bolt is chewed up, cut, chiselled and damaged
I think this one is ready for enviromental recycling.

I have a single replacement allen bolt, I don't have 2 though. I refresh the fluid and replace the cap with the undamaged screw only gently tightened and the allen or socket bolt where the ruined one was.

I can't be bothered going to the engineering supplies place today, it's late. I'll be working the next few days. Ebay - here we come. 10 times 14mm M4 stainless steel socket/allen bolts, 10 times 45mm M4 stainless steel socket/allen bolts (for the rear master cylinder) and 20 M4 washers. At these prices it's churlish to order smaller quantities, they'll go in my random bolts drawer for future use.Packets of stainless M4 small and long bolts with allen heads and some washers to match
No rusting. Makes me feel all squiffy inside.

Now they are here and they are fitted. Yes yes yes I know the bolt heads stick out from the cover BUT...BUT BUT BUT I know I can get the dam things out and even if, by some curse of nature they stick in I can cut the heads of easily. 

The reservoir on the master cylinder of the brakes has shiny cap headed bolts in it now
Ooooooh sweet. Dare I say it this is NOT actually a bodge.
New stainless bolts in the rear brakes reservoir too on the CB500X
I've put them in the rear reservoir too. Phwoar!

To be frank I'm not overly enamoured with socket/allen bolts either. I've had one or two of those chew up on me in the past. They are immeasurably better than crosshead/phillips but I still don't like them as much as I like a good, solid, proper good old 6 sided bolt head. 

I tell you what. If I worked for Honda motorcycles they might not be as pretty as they are now but they'd sure be a damn site more serviceable. 

If you'd like to supply Ren with a never ending supply of stainless nuts and bolts in return for a kind mention then contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

Reader's Comments

Ian Soady said :-
You're probably using the wrong screwdriver. You need a JIS type, not Phillips and definitely not pozidriv. You will see from the diagrams in the link that these screw heads have a central recess and the screwdriver has a corresponding raised section.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before.......
11/11/2018 9:58:15 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
.... yes I did - near the bottom here.
11/11/2018 10:00:05 AM UTC
Snod said :-
As soon as Phillips was mentioned, I cringed so hard.. If you have a small tool set or a set of "bits" they will often come with an array of "cross head" pieces. They may all look very similar but one of them will be a nice snug fit while the rest rattle about in the screw. Once you've found the correct bit, use a small ratchet to turn it so you can push the tool into the screw while you undo it. I find these to be way better than allen bolts, which seem designed to round out. Of course Torx would be nice but we're still waiting for the world to catch on to that particular revolution, a bit like the perpetual wait for IPv6 to become mainstream!
11/11/2018 11:42:11 AM UTC
Upt'North said :-
+1 Ian. JIS is the way to go.
JIS impact even better so you don't get in a mess in the first place.
A set of drivers or bits are not expensive. Good stocking filler perhaps although I bought Er'Indoors a set last year and she didn't seem to impressed.
Can't remember if Ian said but I believe it stands for Japanese Imperial Standard. (Possibly)?

11/11/2018 2:00:21 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I think it's Japanese Industrial Standard......
11/11/2018 2:38:27 PM UTC
Upt'North said :-
You're right.
Where did imperial come from.
Not witchcraft again.
11/11/2018 3:52:50 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Yes Allen or socket headed nuts are a pain in the derrière. Yes I know about JIS. Yes I have several sockets to put in a ratchet and push down on.

ALL this could be avoided. ALL this pain, this misery, this tragedy and despair if only we'd stuck to six sided nuts and bolts. I imagine a peaceful world where everyone lives in harmony and tranquil calm because well ALL share a common bolt.

Oh wait. Six sided nuts round off too at times. How about 4 sided, easier to remove with a set of mole grips? 3 sided? Hmmmm, triangular sockets, yeah round them off now ha! I think I've just invented the REN bolt standard.

Someone please tell me to shut up.
12/11/2018 8:27:24 AM UTC
Upt'North said :-
Shut up!
12/11/2018 9:09:58 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Thanks :-)
12/11/2018 10:12:48 AM UTC
Bill said :-
Ren, may be worth looking under the reservoir, on my CRF they are not blind holes so the exposed threads fill with crap and corrode. Keep the bottom of the holes filled with grease to stop the bolts corroding to the alloy.
12/11/2018 10:59:45 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Ha! I didn't mention this in the post. You'll note the 45mm long bolts in the image. These were for the rear reservoir as the bolts that came out are 40mm long.

I purchased longer bolts because the new stainless ones are not countersunk and are fitted with washers. When fitting the new stainless bolts I noted a few mm of excess pop out the bottom, much to my surprise.

Being stainless they ought not to rust. As they poke out the bottom at least it'll keep the muck out. I haven't yet looked at the front reservoir, I doubt it's the same.

Good call though, especially considering the level of crud the rear system endures.
12/11/2018 2:44:39 PM UTC
said :-
Did you add some anti sieze as you replaced them, makes a big difference.
An impact driver can be a handy way to start that first turn as well.
15/11/2018 9:07:41 AM UTC
TED said :-
SS nuts n Bolts etc...

EFS Wisbech (Where's Wisbech?) is where I get most of mine.

No, until about 11 years ago I didn't have a clue either.

Engineering Factory Supplies. Algores Way, PE13 2TQ

01945 466644

Probably not local enough for most of the contributors here to just pop in to, but as they are only about 6 miles up the road in town I usually phone ahead to one of the nice ladies who makes up the orders, ask them how busy they are and see what time I can collect.
I have never bothered setting up an account there and always pay cash.

As printed on American bank notes.

All others must pay cash!

Anyway, you can find them on FaceBook, or a quick google search.

Not saying they will be any cheaper than EBAY Suppliers.
But this works for me.

Cap head/Allen key heads, usually a bit of blue tack
(other brands are available) seems to stay put if the head is at the top.

They can supply various metric diameters of "normal" hex head bolts.
They do nice variations (outside diameter) of S/S "Repair washers" also

They also seem to have ROCOL lubricants if you want to get stuff Off, and LOCTITIE if you don't ;-:

Plenty of tools in stock, the TENG brand ain't too bad either.

Costs nothing to ask them.

Happy engineering all


15/11/2018 12:08:44 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I did use copperslip Mr Anonymous.

15/11/2018 10:22:52 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Worried about my screws now after reading this. So got my screwdriver out and get guess what. No problems both undo very easily.

Hmm what's different between mine and rens...

Hmm mine is cleaned regularly with Sharon's combination of muc-off then Williams wash and wax then mc94 spray.
I suspect the mc94 helps keep the bolts lubricated as its a touch like wd40.hopefully the tests will be ok as well.
21/1/2019 6:31:22 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I suspect it's more likely yours were torqued up correctly at the factory and mine was rammed in. Anyhow I'm likeing the look af my stainless cap-heads.

22/1/2019 10:18:01 AM UTC

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