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Old 07-14-2017, 11:19 PM   #1
jcdied4me
 
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Default Brake system

Question first, then context.

What would be the best process to clear out all the old fluid and it's residue from the braking system without harming anything? I want to replace it with DOT 5.1.

Now with the context.

The DPO wreaked havoc on my piggy. He gussied er up to distract me from the real problems. She ran well so that is all I cared about. After bringing her home and doing a great deal of research on the bike I then realized there were problems. But I digress. .

Onto the problem. One of the more persistent issues have been the brakes. They work but feel like there is two different types of fluid in the reservoirs. Ask me how I know . I shall not put anything past the DPO.

Anyways, the levels are getting low, the fluid is getting darker, and I feel the need to address the issue ASAP. I have put it off long enough. Plus, I am upgrading my front caliper to the SV650 with EM bracket so I figured now is the time. I have a nice brake bleeder so time is not really an issue.

Any help with this would be grateful. Also, any other little nuggets I may need to think about would be much appreciated. I am mechanically inclined but for some reason always feared messing with the brakes on a motorcycle. So, I have no XP with bike brakes.


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Old 07-15-2017, 09:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: Brake system

Factory specs that I've seen call for DOT 4 brake fluid. I don't know if the seals in the brake systems will tolerate DOT 5 or 5.1.

Why do you want to change to DOT 5.1?

Just bleeding the brakes like normal should clear the old fluid from the system.

The only way I know of to completely remove the DOT 4 would be to rebuild the master cylinders and calipers and flush or replace the hoses.

Only use brake fluid to lubricate the internal parts on assembly.

Best,

Jeff
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Brake system

If I were concerned, but not paranoid about removing all the old fluid from the system, I would do a normal bleed pumping two reservoirs full of new fluid (DOT 4 OR 5.1) through the system. Do not use DOT 5.

Then I would remove the bleed port from the caliper and turn the caliper upside down until it quit dripping. Then I would remount the caliper and the bleed port and do a normal fill and air bleed with DOT 4 or 5.1.

Last edited by GoMotor; 07-15-2017 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 07-15-2017, 12:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Brake system

ditto on Gomotor and Jeff's comments; don't use DOT 5 and don't stress about getting 100.00% of the old fluid out, it isn't that critical.

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Old 07-15-2017, 04:05 PM   #5
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Default Brake system

Thanks guys! I guess I AM being paranoid.

From my understanding 5.1 is compatible with dot 4 yet has better moisture resistance and creates stiffer braking. This seems good to me. What do ya think? Otherwise I'll just use dot 4. However, another concern... the rear cap states dot 3 and front asks for 3 or 4. To make matters worse, I am not sure what the DPO used. I figured I'd just use the 5.1 and have unity between front and rear. But if dot 3 is in the system, should I be concerned? Are dot 3,4 and 5.1 compatible? If the default system calls for dot 3 will the 4 or 5.1 damage the internal components and seals?

So, for gen1, can the rear system take dot 4 or 5.1 Even though it says dot 3?

GoMotor, I want to make sure I am reading this right... you are saying to flush the front and rear system with two reservoirs worth of either 4 or 5.1? Then drain both the systems completely (reservoir caps off and bleed nipples out)? Then refill it again with whatever fluid I used for the flush (nipples on our off when refilling system?)? And finally, nipples on, bleed to remove any air from the system?

One last thing for now... I was under the impression that it is a no-no to completely drain the system of fluid. Is there a reason for this consistent warning that I should be aware of? Or is everyone just paranoid? I plan to do it as you suggest but want to prepare for any issues that may arise.

Thanks for all the help!


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Old 07-15-2017, 04:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Brake system

I described a thorough flush because you do seem a little paranoid about what was used previously. Normally when replacing the fluid I just drain enough to remove the existing fluid while keeping the reservoir from going dry and letting air in.

Keep in mind that if you have topped off the reservoir with worn brake pads in place and then install new pads, the new pads will push some fluid back to the reservoir. You may have to remove some fluid in that case.

DOT 3, 4 and 5.1 are all compatible with each other. The newer ones have higher temperature ratings. If I were racing, I would use 5.1, but I ride a KLR and use DOT 4. The caps that call for DOT3 were made before DOT 4 was developed. No worries about mixing.

The important things about brake fluid are:
Use a type compatible with the type marked on the reservoir. 3,4, 5.1
Replace it every once in a while because it absorbs moisture and deteriorates.
Keep a tight seal on your spare fluid for the same reason.
Bleed all the air/moisture out of the system.

I have not heard a no-no about completely draining the fluid. You have to drain the calipers to replace the piston seals. Must be FALSE NEWS.

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Old 07-15-2017, 04:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Brake system

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcdied4me View Post
From my understanding 5.1 is compatible with dot 4 yet has better moisture resistance and creates stiffer braking. This seems good to me. What do ya think? Otherwise I'll just use dot 4. However, another concern... the rear cap states dot 3 and front asks for 3 or 4. To make matters worse, I am not sure what the DPO used. I figured I'd just use the 5.1 and have unity between front and rear. But if dot 3 is in the system, should I be concerned? Are dot 3,4 and 5.1 compatible? If the default system calls for dot 3 will the 4 or 5.1 damage the internal components and seals?

So, for gen1, can the rear system take dot 4 or 5.1 Even though it says dot 3?

GoMotor, I want to make sure I am reading this right... you are saying to flush the front and rear system with two reservoirs worth of either 4 or 5.1? Then drain both the systems completely (reservoir caps off and bleed nipples out)? Then refill it again with whatever fluid I used for the flush (nipples on our off when refilling system?)? And finally, nipples on, bleed to remove any air from the system?

One last thing for now... I was under the impression that it is a no-no to completely drain the system of fluid. Is there a reason for this consistent warning that I should be aware of? Or is everyone just paranoid? I plan to do it as you suggest but want to prepare for any issues that may arise.
The Gen I Factory Manual Supplement for 1987-1995 calls for DOT 3 or 4 brake fluid. I don't know what the manual calls out for later years or Gen II KLRs.

Brand (recommended): DOT 3

Atlas Extra Heavy Duty
Shell Super Heavy Duty
Texaco Super Heavy Duty
Wagner Lockheed heavy Duty
Castrol Girling-Universal
Castrol GT (LMA)
Castrol Disc Brake Fluid

DOT 4

Castrol Girling-Universal
Castrol GT (LMA)
Castrol Disc Brake Fluid
Check Shock Premium Heavy Duty

Good luck finding most of those. I suggest you pick something that is easy to get and of reasonable cost. Then buy 6 bottles, use some now and have some on the shelf for later as you might change brake fluid each year. A brake fluid I prefer for my bikes (KLR & Airhead BMWs) is Valvoline SynPower Synthetic Formula. It exceeds DOT 3 & DOT 4. It is compatible with conventional brake fluids. I buy it in 12 fl. oz. (354ml) containers. I seem to recall the last time I bought it I got it at AutoZone. UPC 74130 00057.

I'll suggest when you open a container of brake fluid you only punch two small holes in the metal covering. Punch them 180 apart. That allows you to control the flow easily and still have venting of the container. Reseal the container as soon as you can and write the date on the top. Month and year should be enough. Brake fluid will absorb moisture (that's a reason to change it in your bike each year) so if you are in a humid area an opened container of brake fluid might not be good in a year. I'm in a fairly dry area so I don't have issues with keeping brake fluid on the shelf for a few years as long as it is sealed after opening.

I don't see an issue with draining a system since the master cylinder and caliper and hose were first installed they were empty. Using good industrial standard bleeding techniques should allow for complete and effective filling and bleeding of the system. I think many warnings of don't drain the system come from people that don't have a good grasp of brake bleeding techniques.

Since you are going to install a new caliper here's what I suggest you consider. Remove the cap of the resevoir and remove the caliper. Drain whatever you can from the hose and master cylinder. Fill the master cylinder with fluid. Hold the end of the hose over the master cylinder and gently pump the lever. Continue until you get brake fluid coming out the hose and then put the end of the hose in the resevoir. Continue pumping the lever. You will see when you no longer have air coming out of the hose. Now install the hose to the caliper. Put a piece of cardboard or wood between the brake pads. Keep the caliper above the master cylinder with the bleed nipple at the highest point. Bleed the caliper. Have a hose on the bleeder nipple and have it go into a container with a bit of brake fluid in it. This will keep from sucking air into the caliper. Bleed until you get no air from the hose off the caliper.

Install the caliper on the adapter/forkleg. Bleed the system again with a hose on the bleed nipple and the end of the hose in a container with brake fluid it in. You should get a rock hard lever very quickly as you've already bled all the air from the system.

Top off the resevoir without over filling. Install the cap. Put antiseize on the bottom of the heads of the bolts. Tighten so they are just snug. Clean any spilled brake fluid.

Best,

Jeff
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Old 07-15-2017, 04:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Brake system

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoMotor View Post
I described a thorough flush because you do seem a little paranoid about what was used previously. Normally when replacing the fluid I just drain enough to remove the existing fluid while keeping the reservoir from going dry and letting air in.



Keep in mind that if you have topped off the reservoir with worn brake pads in place and then install new pads, the new pads will push some fluid back to the reservoir. You may have to remove some fluid in that case.



DOT 3, 4 and 5.1 are all compatible with each other. The newer ones have higher temperature ratings. If I were racing, I would use 5.1, but I ride a KLR and use DOT 4. The caps that call for DOT3 were made before DOT 4 was developed. No worries about mixing.



The important things about brake fluid are:

Use a type compatible with the type marked on the reservoir. 3,4, 5.1

Replace it every once in a while because it absorbs moisture and deteriorates.

Keep a tight seal on your spare fluid for the same reason.

Bleed all the air/moisture out of the system.



I have not heard a no-no about completely draining the fluid. You have to drain the calipers to replace the piston seals. Must be FALSE NEWS.


Thank you kindly. I am definitely paranoid and wish to completely purge the system because I don't know what the PO used. Thanks for the thorough reply.

One last question, I am changing the front caliper to the SV650. The used eBay caliper has residual fluid in it. Should I mount it before flushing the system? Or should I flush the system and used caliper separately (caliper while off the bike) before I drain both and mount the used caliper?

Thanks!


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Old 07-15-2017, 05:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Brake system

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffsaline View Post
The Gen I Factory Manual Supplement for 1987-1995 calls for DOT 3 or 4 brake fluid. I don't know what the manual calls out for later years or Gen II KLRs.



Brand (recommended): DOT 3



Atlas Extra Heavy Duty

Shell Super Heavy Duty

Texaco Super Heavy Duty

Wagner Lockheed heavy Duty

Castrol Girling-Universal

Castrol GT (LMA)

Castrol Disc Brake Fluid



DOT 4



Castrol Girling-Universal

Castrol GT (LMA)

Castrol Disc Brake Fluid

Check Shock Premium Heavy Duty



Good luck finding most of those. I suggest you pick something that is easy to get and of reasonable cost. Then buy 6 bottles, use some now and have some on the shelf for later as you might change brake fluid each year. A brake fluid I prefer for my bikes (KLR & Airhead BMWs) is Valvoline SynPower Synthetic Formula. It exceeds DOT 3 & DOT 4. It is compatible with conventional brake fluids. I buy it in 12 fl. oz. (354ml) containers. I seem to recall the last time I bought it I got it at AutoZone. UPC 74130 00057.



I'll suggest when you open a container of brake fluid you only punch two small holes in the metal covering. Punch them 180 apart. That allows you to control the flow easily and still have venting of the container. Reseal the container as soon as you can and write the date on the top. Month and year should be enough. Brake fluid will absorb moisture (that's a reason to change it in your bike each year) so if you are in a humid area an opened container of brake fluid might not be good in a year. I'm in a fairly dry area so I don't have issues with keeping brake fluid on the shelf for a few years as long as it is sealed after opening.



I don't see an issue with draining a system since the master cylinder and caliper and hose were first installed they were empty. Using good industrial standard bleeding techniques should allow for complete and effective filling and bleeding of the system. I think many warnings of don't drain the system come from people that don't have a good grasp of brake bleeding techniques.



Since you are going to install a new caliper here's what I suggest you consider. Remove the cap of the resevoir and remove the caliper. Drain whatever you can from the hose and master cylinder. Fill the master cylinder with fluid. Hold the end of the hose over the master cylinder and gently pump the lever. Continue until you get brake fluid coming out the hose and then put the end of the hose in the resevoir. Continue pumping the lever. You will see when you no longer have air coming out of the hose. Now install the hose to the caliper. Put a piece of cardboard or wood between the brake pads. Keep the caliper above the master cylinder with the bleed nipple at the highest point. Bleed the caliper. Have a hose on the bleeder nipple and have it go into a container with a bit of brake fluid in it. This will keep from sucking air into the caliper. Bleed until you get no air from the hose off the caliper.



Install the caliper on the adapter/forkleg. Bleed the system again with a hose on the bleed nipple and the end of the hose in a container with brake fluid it in. You should get a rock hard lever very quickly as you've already bled all the air from the system.



Top off the resevoir without over filling. Install the cap. Put antiseize on the bottom of the heads of the bolts. Tighten so they are just snug. Clean any spilled brake fluid.



Best,



Jeff


I really appreciate the help! I will jump on this and let you all know how it goes.


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Old 07-15-2017, 05:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Brake system

Jeff Saline gave a thorough description for installing the replacement master cylinder above.

It occurred to me that the no-no warning about letting the caliper go dry is to keep from letting air into the brake line and master cylinder and making more work for you. This would not break anything and the air can be bled out, but it makes things easier if you don't get air in the line. This is why Jeff suggest holding the caliper above the master cylinder for the first fill.
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Brake system

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoMotor View Post
Jeff Saline gave a thorough description for installing the replacement master cylinder above.



It occurred to me that the no-no warning about letting the caliper go dry is to keep from letting air into the brake line and master cylinder and making more work for you. This would not break anything and the air can be bled out, but it makes things easier if you don't get air in the line. This is why Jeff suggest holding the caliper above the master cylinder for the first fill.


Fair enough. All seems simple enough now that you both explained the reasons behind some of these concepts. I was hesitant due to all the warnings I've read when I was younger and just never got around to adressing them. Nothing like being forced to do something out of your comfort zone. Thanks again! I'll keep the thread updated.


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Old 07-15-2017, 05:40 PM   #12
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Default Re: Brake system

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcdied4me View Post
Thank you kindly. I am definitely paranoid and wish to completely purge the system because I don't know what the PO used. Thanks for the thorough reply.

One last question, I am changing the front caliper to the SV650. The used eBay caliper has residual fluid in it. Should I mount it before flushing the system? Or should I flush the system and used caliper separately (caliper while off the bike) before I drain both and mount the used caliper?

Thanks!


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I guess I'm more paranoid than you as I would not trust my life to a used eBay caliper without doing a disassembly, clean, inspect, and assemble with new parts as needed!
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: Brake system

Quote:
Originally Posted by R/L View Post
I guess I'm more paranoid than you as I would not trust my life to a used eBay caliper without doing a disassembly, clean, inspect, and assemble with new parts as needed!


Haha, yeah. I was seriously thinking of rebuilding it. It looks so clean so I was on the fence. Now you got me looking for a rebuild kit .


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Old 07-15-2017, 11:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: Brake system

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcdied4me View Post
Haha, yeah. I was seriously thinking of rebuilding it. It looks so clean so I was on the fence. Now you got me looking for a rebuild kit .
My suggestion is install it and rebuild it if it shows it needs rebuilding.

I have seen more calipers damaged when rebuilding than I ever saw damaged in use, other than massive amounts of corrosion from lack of changing brake fluid.

Best,

Jeff
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:47 AM   #15
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Default Re: Brake system

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffsaline View Post
My suggestion is install it and rebuild it if it shows it needs rebuilding.

I have seen more calipers damaged when rebuilding than I ever saw damaged in use, other than massive amounts of corrosion from lack of changing brake fluid.

Best,

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Old 07-16-2017, 12:58 AM   #16
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Default Re: Brake system

Solid advice. I will hold off on the rebuild. Thanks guys!


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Old 07-16-2017, 02:57 PM   #17
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Default Re: Brake system

This thread is a frightening read...
Don't trust your life on a used caliper.
If you don't know how to rebuild a caliper have it done by someone who does.
The maintenance manual calls for a rebuild every four years.

The pistons might be pitted, so check. They slide much better in new seals.
I will have a thread regarding calipers up soon.
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Old 07-16-2017, 03:22 PM   #18
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Default Re: Brake system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bell driver View Post
...........
The maintenance manual calls for a rebuild every four years......
The pistons might be pitted, so check. ........
Now we have to ask how many of us rebuild our calipers every four years. I don't. However, when they start acting up, I check them and some times buff the pistons or replace seals.

I do think anyone installing a caliper, new or used, would take a close look at it and check its operation after installation.
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Old 07-16-2017, 03:30 PM   #19
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Default Re: Brake system

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoMotor View Post
Now we have to ask how many of us rebuild our calipers every four years. I don't. However, when they start acting up, I check them and some times buff the pistons or replace seals.



I do think anyone installing a caliper, new or used, would take a close look at it and check its operation after installation.


This is what I was thinking. I've rebuild many calipers on cars. But I had no fear with what fluid was being used so it was never a problem. Plus, I just have this irrational fear of messing with motorcycle brake systems. Also also, I am no chemist and was concerned with possible mixed fluids by the DPO. And how to flush the system. The caliper is in good condition upon my inspection so... if I install it and notice any funny business I could easily take it off and rebuild it.

Here are some pick of the caliper:



Also, there was some fluid dripping from the banjo hole that looked super clean. I see that as a good sign as well.


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Old 07-18-2017, 02:31 PM   #20
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Default Re: Brake system

One of the last 2008s. 26k miles.

The rear brake felt like it wasn't doing its job correctly.
I changed pads 9k miles ago, last year. Today the rear pad pin was seized and subsequently fubar'd. We had to weld on a bolt to get it out.

The rear piston only came out half way. Compressed air couldn't get it out, so I had to refill the system again and pump it out natural fashion.

The inner seal had swelled and there was gunk under the dust seal.

Worst of all, the bracket pin had seized and I had to hammer the bracket off.
There was no more sliding motion possible. Quite common with this caliper, I hear.

Now it's overhauled, sealed, greased and has new pins. Works as it should.

My recommendation: When your calipers are over four years old, take a good look and overhaul the damn thing completely.
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