Brakes, Signals, and the Failings of Fastenal

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided I needed to rebuild my master cylinder.  I ordered the K&S rebuild kit, got a bottle of DOT 3 fluid and some clear hose, and one fine day I set out to do the rebuild.

First problem… the snap ring is so rusty that I cannot get it out.  In trying, I also discovered that my snap ring pliers don’t quite reach all the way down there (I would have sworn they would work).  And also, I discovered that there is this big O-ring at the base of the plastic reservoir that needs to be replaced, and which is not in the rebuild kit, nor in stock anywhere locally.

I got it halfway apart and couldn’t properly put it back together.  I tried, of course, but the fluid wouldn’t stay in the reservoir because of that O-ring.  Gah.

SO I ordered a new set of snap ring pliers from Amazon, one that a reviewer specifically said he used on the master cylinder of an early ’80’s Honda.  While I waited for them to come in, I tried to get the O-ring, but as I just said, nobody had one.  Then while doing the research I discovered that you can get generic master cylinders online.  I started out looking at, but ended up buying one from an ebay seller instead.  I viewed it as a temporary solution… I would still get that damn O-ring and rebuild the original master cylinder.

Once I put it on, bled the brake, and took a ride, I changed my mind.  It’s quite good.  The only issue, if you can call it that, are the markings on the sight glass… both upper and lower marks are labeled “LOWER.”  I can live with that.

I will still probably rebuild the original sometime, but there is no longer any hurry.

That would be the end, if I had any sense, but since I don’t, let’s move on…

I got an email from telling me to check out their clearance items, so I did.  I do that a lot anyway, hardly ever buy anything but I like to see what’s out there.  Well, this time I found something I liked: a set of K&S Chrome LED “marker lights” (i.e. turn signals without DOT approval… in Missouri, I do not expect a problem running them as signals).  They were marked WAY down, and they look more like the original stock signals than the black rubbery ones I had on the bike.  So I ordered a pair.

They look and work NICE.  Much better than the ones I had on before, in that they are brighter than the ones I previously used AND they are “dual filament” (not really, but they do a good job pretending to be) so they are always-on lights until you flip on the blinker.  In case the link above quits working, here’s a picture:

Notice that set-screw?  It allows you to turn the signal (i.e. to aim it) after getting the stem tight.  This is GREAT, except that the screw is just barely long enough… and I stripped one out tightening it.  It barely engaged the threads before pulling out, so I ran in another longer screw and it went in fine.  But it was TOO long.  I needed a screw longer than the stock unit, but shorter than what I had in my toolbox.  Gah, again.

Stopped by Fastenal, thinking they’d have what I need, even though the last three times they haven’t.  Well, they didn’t this time either.  I wanted a panhead screw in a zinc or chrome finish, and they did not have them.

Home Depot did, so I’m in business.  But I’m less and less impressed with Fastenal all the time.