Does front brake need bleeding? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 8:27 am Thread Starter
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Does front brake need bleeding?

Hi,
I have a 2000 K1200lt, the front brake lever has less free play if I give it a couple of quick pulls (pumping it). Does it sound like it should be bleed or is this the way it works on a bike with ABS?

Thanks, Bob
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 8:58 am
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobivey
Hi,
I have a 2000 K1200lt, the front brake lever has less free play if I give it a couple of quick pulls (pumping it). Does it sound like it should be bleed or is this the way it works on a bike with ABS?

Thanks, Bob
Remove the 4 screws that hold the reservoir cap on &see if it is low on fluid. If so then I would fill & bleed the brake system. You should also check the rubber brake lines for signs of leaks. The line should be replaces anyway as the WILL start leaking do to age. Most of us here have gone to Spiegler for replacement .

Stevie Shreeve
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 1:34 pm
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobivey
Hi,
I have a 2000 K1200lt, the front brake lever has less free play if I give it a couple of quick pulls (pumping it). Does it sound like it should be bleed or is this the way it works on a bike with ABS?

Thanks, Bob
On a 2000, the ABS does not affect any change to the lever feel when ABS is not active.

Usually (bikes or cars), a need for "pumping" in the absense of an obvious leak such as a pin-hole leak in a hose is an indication that the master cylinder seals are failing/have failed, and no amount of bleeding can fix it. The fix is to either rebuild or replace the master cylinder. You'll have to ask your dealer whether there is a rebuild kit (i.e., new piston seals) available. If yes, you'll also need to confirm that the bore of the master cylinder is in good condition. If the bike has either sat for a long time or rarely/never had its old brake fluid changed, there is a substantial chance the bore is corroded from the water that accumulates in the fluid. If that is the case, light corrosion can be cleaned with crocus cloth, but anything heavier will require the bore to be resleeved, or the entire master cylinder to be replaced.

As a general FWIW for those that bleed their brakes by the "squeeze the lever, open the bleeder" method: A corroded master cylinder is often discovered by someone who replaces the brake fluid, and in the process repeatedly squeezes the lever to the grip several times. This repeatedly passes the piston seals out of the normal operting range of the piston where the bore is kept clean and smooth by the passing seals, into a region which is not normally swept (and thus kept clean) by the seals. As a result, the seals are nearly instantly shreaded by the coral-like surface of the corroded region. BTDT -- learned the lesson as a pup on an old R90/6 with an under-tank master cylinder I was bringing back fro mthe dead -- bleed the brakes Sat., came out Sun. to find a puddle of clear fluid on the ground under the bike

Mark Neblett
Fairfax, VA
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 6:26 pm
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

My 99 has done that since day one no matter how much i bleed it.
The only time it feels good is after i compress the brake pads all the way but it wont stay that way very long.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 9:24 pm
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobivey
Hi,
I have a 2000 K1200lt, the front brake lever has less free play if I give it a couple of quick pulls (pumping it). Does it sound like it should be bleed or is this the way it works on a bike with ABS?

Thanks, Bob
Just my observations on my own '00. When I bleed the front, it does not matter how well I get the air out, the front lever always feels soft. Yes, even after the pads seat correctly. I assume it has something to do with the valve placement or bad juju, because after a short trip up and down the block, I bleed them again, and they are solid afterwards. Very little air bubbles are noted the second time... Give it a whirl, at best your out a few ounces of Dot4...The results however...Priceless!

BTW- Max BMW has the rebuild kit. +/- $80. I just took mine apart and they are fine...

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50852


Edit: I received my ON today. If you look at page 29 heading "clutch feel" you may be surprised at the new "what if" you may be experiencing....

Hoss
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'05- K1200LT - Gretchen
R.I.P. - '00- K1200LTE- "Barbara" - Retired at 168K 9/2011
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Last edited by shoswell; Dec 2nd, 2009 at 11:34 pm.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 11:36 pm
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

you could really benefit from these.... http://www.spieglerusa.com/

Tvguy
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'11 R1200RT - "Night Fury" SOLD
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 2:27 am
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Possibly pistons - not cylinder or lines. Not an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobivey
...I have a 2000 K1200lt, the front brake lever has less free play if I give it a couple of quick pulls ...
Mine '01 does the same from day one on.

At first, I was also suspecting trapped air - and kept re-bleeding to no avail.

I do discount the corroded master-cylinder theory, because the bike was fairly new when I bought it, with this behavior - AND if applied, brake lever remains at its position (does not "sink"), which would indicate a pinhole or damaged seal.

Also, the fact that it's tighter after a few pulls, discounts brake lines; bad lines would be soft at every application - would not get better. You may want to get stainless steel ones for other reasons, but not to cure this issue.

I just decided to live with that. Bike has now over 40k miles and otherwise is fine.


Here is the only theory that I read, that makes sense to me: the caliper pistons. They are supposed to be held only very slightly due to "stiction" and elasticity of the seals and, ideally should move in and out without resistance. Don't forget, the movement is only minute.

This theory is that after a longer period of riding without use, the pistons are backed into the caliper - from vibration and from contact with rotating disk. Once you apply the lever, the pistons move forward and then linger closer to the disk. Subsequent application of lever does not require that much piston movement anymore. After several minutes everything resets back to the relaxed state.

I am not ambitious enough to prove/disprove that. As I said, the bike works for me. I leave well enough alone.

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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Last edited by rdwalker; Dec 3rd, 2009 at 2:36 am.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 7:18 am
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

For those that have responded with " Mine have ALWAYS" felt soft too" Mine also felt soft till I replaced all the rubber lines with Spiegler Stainless Steal lines. The "Softness you are feeling is the Rubber line expanding from pressure. You DO NOT get the expanding lines with Spiegler.

Stevie Shreeve
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 2:06 pm
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

On mine the brakes are not soft it just takes 2 pulls to change the apply point.
It has done this for 100,000 miles since new.
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 6:21 pm
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by katnapinn
.... You DO NOT get the expanding lines with Spiegler.
You may want to re-read OP and my post, before advertising Spiegler.

The problem is not soft rubber line, but the fact that the lever moves further down on first application, then has less travel on subsequent ones. Has nothing to do with expanding or contracting lines, unless you can come up with a theory that explains the phenomenon.

I had installed steel brake lines on my bikes in the past and I do know that they will change the feel - therefore I'll agree that some riders may prefer the tighter feel. But, this is not the issue discussed in this thread.

Apparently there is BMW Kool-Aid and there is Spiegler Kool-Aid as well.

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 6:34 pm
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker
You may want to re-read OP and my post, before advertising Spiegler.

The problem is not soft rubber line, but the fact that the lever moves further down on first application, then has less travel on subsequent ones. Has nothing to do with expanding or contracting lines, unless you can come up with a theory that explains the phenomenon.

I had installed steel brake lines on my bikes in the past and I do know that they will change the feel - therefore I'll agree that some riders may prefer the tighter feel. But, this is not the issue discussed in this thread.

Apparently there is BMW Kool-Aid and there is Spiegler Kool-Aid as well.
I did read the post his problem was having to PUMP the lever a few time to get brakes.I only sugested to check for a leak in the lines. Also I'm NOT advertising Spiegler. You can buy what ever make of Steel Braided line you want I just prefer Spiegler. as they have a great product and stand behind it. My main point is the bike in the OP is 9 years old and WILL have rubber brake line failure sooner or later.

Stevie Shreeve
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 8:38 pm
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by katnapinn
.... My main point is the bike in the OP is 9 years old and WILL have rubber brake line failure sooner or later.
Fair enough.

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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Old Dec 9th, 2009, 11:26 am Thread Starter
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

Thanks for all the great suggestions. I bleed the left front caliper but can not find a bleeder on the right one. What I did made no difference, I still have a different engagement point with the second squeeze vs the first?

Bob
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Old Dec 9th, 2009, 11:49 am
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

I think the manufacturers that heavily promote $$$ braided steel brake lines have done a number on anyone that buys them.

I don't buy the idea that they limit hose expansion - AT ALL. Pure Poppycock, typical corporate strategic misrepresentation (the big lie) and hype.

I think a good quality rubber brake line is every bit as good at stopping "expansion" since the INTERNAL braiding is what works. I like to be able to eyeball my brake lines for faults before they happen - can't be done with a steel braid on the outside.
Should you change out old, undamaged rubber brake lines as they age? Absolutely, but it's hard to tell when to do that from looking at the outside since they degrade from the INSIDE.

The original idea of external steel braiding was to protect the rubber brake lines from chafing in racing situations, basically just armor. In extreme racing situations where the fluid gets extremely hot from repeated abuse they make sense and may act as a "stopper" for expansion... but for the street... a waste of money.

Anyone that says that their brakes "feel better" with steel braided lines is smoking crack. Just like aftermarket pipes produce noticeable "seat of the pants" gains and disc brake rotors "warp".

Oh and BTW, I'm not picking on anyone here in particular - just EVERYONE!

Do the steel braided lines look better - SURE! ...but that's about it.

OK, y'all can pile on anytime you want!


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Old Dec 9th, 2009, 7:49 pm
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

I'll have to agree Ron. The new rubber hoses I put on my '76 Suzuki in '96 made a big difference over the hoses it had that were made in '72 (I could see them balloon).

The nice part about SS lines is no rubber in side just teflon tubing. The bad part is the teflon tubing if you happen to kink it or bend it too tight. New anything is better than old rubber/plastic.

John
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Old Dec 9th, 2009, 11:52 pm
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

I replaced my '99's original lines with spiegler last year. The routing makes a fairly tight bend under the front fairing and the original line felt spongy there.

It would have leaked sooner or later. I second the motion to replace on this age bike.

Joe

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Old Dec 10th, 2009, 1:41 am
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
I think the manufacturers that heavily promote $$$ braided steel brake lines have done a number on anyone that buys them.

Pure Poppycock, smoking crack!? I bet you don't even believe in global warming!

Sheeeeesssshhhhh!

Sorry, thats all I got for ya!

Hoss
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Old Dec 10th, 2009, 1:47 am
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

Dont overlook moisture, yes check the caliper pistons and everything else.
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Old Dec 10th, 2009, 7:46 am
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Re: Does front brake need bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobivey
Thanks for all the great suggestions. I bleed the left front caliper but can not find a bleeder on the right one. What I did made no difference, I still have a different engagement point with the second squeeze vs the first?

Bob
BOB on the right caliper there is not a bleeder valve from the factory.In place of it is a set up to fill & flush the brakes from the dealer. You can remove this with pliers & replace it with a bleeder valve. I forget the size but you can pull the factory set up & go to any Auto parts store with it to match up the threads.

Stevie Shreeve
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