Moving the rear brake to the left hand. - Honda Vultus Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 09-29-2014, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Moving the rear brake to the left hand.

I got a very late start on this project due to some very busy weekend days. So, at roughly 8:30pm Sunday night, I started in.

Basically, I am taking the Master Cylinder from a Honda Silver Wing scooter, mounting it to the NM4 and plumbing the brake to the ABS module. It sounds simple, and it is for the most part.

The front brake on the NM4 seems to use the same master cylinder as the Silver Wing, so my new left hand brake matches almost exactly. The only difference is that my rear lever is not adjustable. There is an adjustable lever for the Silver Wing, but it will add nearly $100 to the cost of the project. I do not need the adjustment.

Here is the parts list:



Ordered from Motorcycle Superstore:

Goodridge Universal Brake Hose Color- Ebony/Black, Size- 36" $29.99
Goodridge 35 Degree Banjo Fitting Color- Black, Size- 3/8" $10.99
Goodridge 90 Degree Brake Fitting Color- Black, Size- Short $13.99

Ordered from ServiceHonda.com

Mfg Product Number: 43510-MGF-305 $118.78
Description: M/CYL SUB-ASSY, RR. for 2007 Honda FSC600A
Mfg Product Number: 53178-MGF-305 $12.88
Description: LEVER, L. HANDLEBAR for 2007 Honda FSC600A
Mfg Product Number: 90114-MA5-671 $5.84
Description: BOLT for 2007 Honda FSC600A
Mfg Product Number: 90145-MS9-612 $4.32
Description: BOLT, OIL (10X22) for 2007 Honda FSC600A
Mfg Product Number: 90201-415-000 $1.25
Description: NUT, CAP (6MM) for 2007 Honda FSC600A
Mfg Product Number: 90545-300-000 (Order 2 of these) $4.44
Description: WASHER, OIL BOLT for 2007 Honda FSC600A

Various: (most of this I had in my garage, so I have no idea on cost)

Some hookup wire to run from the new brake lever to the electrical connector at the brake pedal.
Something to cap the old brake line when pulled from the ABS controller.
Shrink wrap
solder
bolts to hold the new master cylinder.
Electrical connectors. (I did not actually use)
several zip ties.
Roll or electrical tape.
Loctite blue threadlocker.
1 container of new DOT4 brake fluid. Naturally I use Amsoil.

Tools:

Honda NM4 Factory Service Manual (really, you need this for the Tupperware)
5mm Allen wrench
4mm Allen wrench
8,10,11,12mm wrenches
Small flathead screwdriver (to pry/push)
needlenose pliers
snapring pliers
Soldering gun
heat gun (or do it the 'Bubba' way like I did and use your plumbing torch)
Angle cutters (to snip wire and zip tie ends)
Bone tool (smooth rigid plastic tool useful for prying panels apart - won't scratch)
Multi-meter (to test electrical circuit)
one-man brake bleeder kit (I use a vacuum pump version, but any kit will work if you follow the directions)
Good supply of shop rags. I use the blue Scott towel things. Yea, they are basically heavy paper towels, but they work.

You can order the Honda bolts to attach the Master Cylinder for like $3 each, or you can hit your local hardware store with the master in hand and get something in their bins for $0.30 each. I did the latter and got some nice black Allen head bolts.

I could not find a nice simple cap for the old brake line, so I got a nut and bolt from my stash. It's not the ideal, but it works. I applied a very small dab of silicon to the end of the bolt so there was some kind of seal when it was installed. I also used some loctite blue threadlocker when I put it on. You'll see in the photos how that goes.

This is pretty much a bolt-on job. The only fabricating I did was in the electrical as I was too cheap and lazy to source the proper electrical connectors.

First, you need to access the ABS controller. Sadly, to get there you need to remove the piece called the "Left Side Shelter" which is the large plastic piece your mirrors are connected to. Use the service manual to get the order of parts you need to take off and how to remove them. It is quite involved and will take some time. Be sure to organize all the parts and fasteners that you remove so that you know where they go. Also, when it comes time to reinstall, refer to the manual again to get the order right. Before you button anything up, beck to be sure you have all the tabs into the right places. I had to pull apart a piece because one little tab wasn't right and I could not bend the pieces enough to move it. UGH.

Once at the ABS controller, you want to remove this line:



This is the line from the brake pedal.

After you remove it, cap it tightly. Press the pedal to see if it leaks. Be cautious of any fluids that drip. Clean it up quickly. Keep a rag handy. Yea, my nut and bolt cap is kind of a kludge, but it really does work and cost me nothing as I had them in an old parts bin.



Attach the right angle adapter to the new brake line and attach it like shown. There isn't a lot of room to maneuver, so take your time and route the line up to the handlebars.



I then soldered my wire to the master cylinder's brake terminals (they point parallel with the handle bars. The lower ones that point back are not used - those are for the starter interlock on the scooter)

Then mount your Master Cylinder to the handlebar.



I added 2 levels of heat shrink to this. Tiny ones cover each terminal to keep the two wires isolated. I ended up bending them slightly apart to make the soldering easier. I then covered both down to where the wires were connected in a larger piece. It didn't quite shrink down enough to seal, so I also wrapped the end with a piece of 3M electrical tape. I use this same tape to keep the wire along the factory wire harness.

You can then attach the banjo fitting to the new brake line and using the banjo bolt and the two washers, attach the brake line to the Master Cylinder. You can see how that goes by looking at the front brake connection.

Now, I ran my brake hose down the front, under the heatsink on the headlight and made a loop over to the left side. This allow the steering to move easily. The wire heads down and past the steering pivot and out the right side behind where the metal vent trim attaches. From there we go down to the brake pedal.



You need to remove the right foot board. Then remove the cotter pin, snap ring, and big spring. push the pin that the cotter pin was in out so that you can remove the pedal. You end up with this:



There is another small spring that you can see in the back on the right. This connects to the switch that turns on the brake light. To access, you need to remove the plastic that is covering the radiator.

The switch is in a metal bracket and has a connector to the main wire harness. This is the ONLY piece that I did not preserve. The part is only $8 to buy a new one, so I cut the switch off, and spliced my wire from the brake lever to it. So, now I have a factory quick disconnect. Could not get a photo as it is buried behind a frame piece. Still, it was easy to connect the ends, solder them, shrink wrap them, and reinstall.

The last step is to bleed the system. I have a one-man bleeding setup which makes this easy. However, be prepared for the bleeder nipple to leak like crazy when you open it. Keep some rags handy and work fast. The bleeder is on top of the caliper. If you go in from the rear, you'll see it near the top of the muffler under a rubber cap.

Once you have a good lever feel (took me about a quarter of a bottle of DOT 4 fluid to stop getting air bubbles) you can button the whole thing up.

I got all the panels back on, cleaned up my work area, put tools away, and was in the house ready to hop in the shower at 11:30pm. So, in all it took me 3 hours to do the swap. Knowing what I do now about where to run hose/wire and exactly what panels need to come off, I might be able to shave a little off that time (^_^)

Oh, one thing to consider... If you can, get the bike level while bleeding. When on the side stand, the angle does not allow you to put much fluid in the master cylinder. I had just started when I managed to let the level drop too low and added air. My solution was to take a wood wedge and put it under the kickstand to lift the bike up closer to level. If you do this, be VERY careful you don't push it over. But that did make keeping the master cylinder topped off much easier.

I rode in to work this morning and it works great. Good feel for the brake, I think I get a better action, and it is so nice to have both feet on the ground, the brake holding the machine and able to operate the throttle without fear of rolling on a hill start.

Love IT!!!!!

Total cost? Sorry, I didn't keep track. The parts I ordered came out to about $235 with the shipping, but I also ordered other parts like the clutch oil filter and such, so it might not be totally accurate. The master cylinder is the single most expensive part, and you can save a lot if you find a wrecked Silver Wing scooter. I figure if you had to buy everything including the service manual, you could easily get it all for under $300. If you had a local mechanic do the work, add another $300 (3 hours @ $100 an hour). Still for a $600 investment, it is a very worthwhile modification in my book.

The only tweak I think I need to do is rotate the brake master cylinder a little bit. I'd like the lever to contact my fingers about 1/4-1/2 inch higher.

If there are any questions, I'll try my best to answer.

Last edited by Chris; 11-25-2015 at 09:01 PM.
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post #2 of 33 Old 09-29-2014, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, there is a screw on the NM4's front brake master cylinder that fills the hole where you might mount a mirror stalk. For the new Master Cylinder, I did not bother filling that hole. But if you wanted to, just order the screw for the NM4, it fits the same.
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post #3 of 33 Old 09-29-2014, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Columbo Impression: Oh, just one more thing....

If you do this, try to work on a dry day. You don't want the master cylinder open with a lot of moisture in the air. Brake fluid attracts moisture. My garage was warm and dry last night, so it worked out well.
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post #4 of 33 Old 09-30-2014, 05:40 PM
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This is a great explanation of the mod that you did here. Thanks for being so detailed.

Why did you actually want to move it to the other side of your bike? Are you just left-handed, or is there something else going on?
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post #5 of 33 Old 09-30-2014, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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I wanted the same brakes as I've had for the last 10 years. And since there is no clutch, why not?

I've been riding a scooter until now, and scooters have the rear brake at the left hand. Also, I switched my bicycles to be the same, so now every two wheel vehicle is the same.
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post #6 of 33 Old 10-01-2014, 03:00 AM
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Thats a great write up Chris,

And a very good modification for you guys who are used to the rear brake being on the handlebars,



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post #7 of 33 Old 10-01-2014, 03:52 PM
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Hi Chris, thanks for the great write up. I was thinking about this conversion of the left hand brake from the beginning and hesitated in buying the CTX but pulled the triggered on the NM4 because it at least has the big foot rest. I came from a scooter but had gotten used to the foot brakes in the first 600miles. Though i still feel it unnatural and having the find the foot brake every time. I don't like having to lift my foot up and finding the small foot paddle sometimes hitting the panel with my shoes and leaving marks on the plastic. Anyway, after seeing your conversion, I went and asked the Honda dealer where i bought the bike but they did not take the job cause as a Honda Authorized service dealer, they do not do the modification service. I went to another Honda dealer and they had no clue. After i sent them your mod write up, the service manager agree to do and estimate at 2 1/2 hours. I made the appointment and look forward to have it done soon. Thanks again.
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post #8 of 33 Old 10-01-2014, 05:37 PM
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I didn't realize that so many people would be interested in something like this. Learn something new each day i suppose. Isn't it pretty standard to have the brake on the right side on motorcycles?
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post #9 of 33 Old 10-01-2014, 10:37 PM
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I appreciate the effort and skill needed to do this but it doesn't hold any interest for me. I'm used to and good with the foot brake. Good idea for those who prefer two hand brakes though.
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post #10 of 33 Old 10-02-2014, 02:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightwing View Post
I didn't realize that so many people would be interested in something like this. Learn something new each day i suppose. Isn't it pretty standard to have the brake on the right side on motorcycles?
Yes it is standard to have the rear brake on the right foot on a motorcycle, and has been for many years, ( when I started riding the rear brake was on the left foot)

But remember ,a lot of NM4 buyers will be coming from a scooter where the rear brake is on the left handlebar , and if that's what you're used to it's a great mod to do , and not too expensive,

And in an emergency stop its better to have the brake levers in the place you're used to, there won't be time to think about it



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