Brake Lever Not Fully Retracting

Discussion in 'Softail Models' started by Bikergeek, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Bikergeek

    Bikergeek Active Member

    My brake lever isn't fully retracting back causing the brake light to stay on. If I manually push the lever back the brake light goes out.

    I have removed it from the handlebars several times and I believe all parts are reinstalled properly. The brakes work flawlessly.

    I thought maybe a return spring popped out upon disassembly but my diagrams show no spring. What can be done to get the lever to retract properly?
  2. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

    Front brake lever wont turn off brake light - Harley Davidson Community have you looked at this thread?
  3. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    Did you over tighten the brake handle mount bolt that holds the lever?
  4. Bikergeek

    Bikergeek Active Member

    I don't know the older models of the FLSTC brake lever and brake light switch setup is compared to the '08 model I have but the brake switch is covered by a rubber boot. When the lever is squeezed the brake light switch pops out and is then pushed in when the lever is released.

    I never removed the switch or the boot or even touched the switch; just removed the lever and reinstalled it. Does anyone know if there is a return spring for the lever on my model year bike? Don't recall ever seeing it.
  5. Shifter

    Shifter Active Member

    2006 Harley-Davidson Softail Heritage Classic FLSTC Parts, 2006 Harley-Davidson Softail Heritage Classic FLSTC OEM Parts -

    The brake switch (item #99 in the above link/diagram) is in the switch housing and only sticks out of the housing slightly, aka the rubber boot mentioned earlier, that makes contact with the brake lever as it is released. It's hard to see and you are probably no longer making contact with the switch, which is why your brake light is staying on.
  6. Bikergeek

    Bikergeek Active Member


    I am fully aware the brake lever isn't making contact with the brake switch after releasing. That's what my problem is. Why isn't the lever retracting back with enough force to contact the switch to turn off the brake light?

    You would think that a "helper" spring would assist the lever in retracting back to make that contact with the switch.

    So my question is...what changed that prevents the lever from retracting fully? Every component attached to or is related to the brake lever is either properly lubricated or appears to be undamaged. Hum?

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member


    My answer is still some sticking OR just not adjusted correctly to go OFF..
    A lot of bikes DO use a helper spring to return properly... HONDA is just one I have owned that did...

  8. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    A couple of thoughts here the spring that pushes the brake leaver back is in the master cylinder and pushes the master cylinder piston back which in turn pushes the brake leaver back
    there should be a wee bit of free play on the leaver
    the switch needs to be correctly seated in its housing to operate correctly it could have come loose

  9. Charlies Harley

    Charlies Harley Active Member

    You have done the same thing that I did, when you had the lever off you didn't put a shim in to hold the lever slightly open and when you reassembled it you damaged the boot over the switch. There is likly a piece of the boot holding the brake lever slightly on.
  10. Shifter

    Shifter Active Member

    I had the same problem when I first got my bike. The previous owner had put a chrome cover over the switches and front brake master cylinder and put everything back together, not even bothering with getting the brake problem fixed. Just rode around with the brake light on all the time, I guess. I took everything apart, made sure the switch was secure in the housing; checked the button to be sure it was sticking out thru the housing and the boot, both were in place, not broken or torn; and then actuated it in and out and saw that the brake light was operating as it should. I found that the chrome cover was preventing the lever from being pushed in the right position for the switch to make contact. A little dremel tool action resolved that problem. I did use a cardboad shim each time as Charles Harley mentioned above to keep from damaging the boot or button assy. It helps to have someone tighten the screws up on the switch housing, if available, as you get everything in place and slightly torqued together. As you push the lever/cable portion towards the switch housing have the other peron tighten the housing screws. Remove the shim and hopefully the lever will now be making contact. Took a few tries before I got it set. Hope all this makes sense and helps
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011