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post #1 of 14 Old Jan 18th, 2010, 12:51 pm Thread Starter
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Brake flush need?

I thought my 2000 R1100RT at 24,000 miles was most certainly ready for its first complete brake flush. I expected to get darker fluid out etc, but I was disappointed that flushing both the control and the main circuits really only got out something that looked like weak Miller Lite beer.

The bike is stored indoors & in a dry place. Somehow the need for a annual or biennial brake flush per BMW seems overblown. What are the rest of you getting out? how often do you flush?
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post #2 of 14 Old Jan 18th, 2010, 2:11 pm
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Re: Brake flush need?

My wife has a Kia Sportage and the dealer said that brake flush needs to be done every 30,000 km. He is gracious enough to charge me only $120 for this.

Now i may not know my arse from a hole in the ground but prior to this i ran the brake fluid for years and years with out any fade/rust in the lines or anything. I have a truck with over 350,000 km and the brake fluid has NEVER been done and i have no problems with leaky seals or anything like that. My ex 79, Goldwing had also never had it done and it had 200,000 miles on the clock.

My feeling on the brake fluid change interval especially with the advent of DOT 4 brake fluid and all that it entails is that if it aint broke, dont fix it.

but like i said, this is just my feeling on the issue and i may be dead wrong.
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post #3 of 14 Old Jan 18th, 2010, 2:26 pm
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Re: Brake flush need?

The biggest reson for brake flush is preventive maintenence! Go out and price brake parts for the LT or other bikes and see if once a year preventive maintenence isn't worth it. Moisture in the system will corrode all sorts of pieces parts. I agree it is nice to have reliability, but with brakes I wouldn't want to discover at the wrong time that a seal is leaking or some other failure happens. AT the wrong time, It may cost much more than a few dollars, it may cost you your life!

Just my $0.02 worth!

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post #4 of 14 Old Jan 18th, 2010, 5:47 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Brake flush need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NOGILLS2
The biggest reson for brake flush is preventive maintenence! Go out and price brake parts for the LT or other bikes and see if once a year preventive maintenence isn't worth it.
I'm concerned about introducing fresh contamination into the system with an unnecessary flush.
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post #5 of 14 Old Jan 18th, 2010, 7:31 pm
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Re: Brake flush need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NOGILLS2
The biggest reson for brake flush is preventive maintenence! Go out and price brake parts for the LT or other bikes and see if once a year preventive maintenence isn't worth it. Moisture in the system will corrode all sorts of pieces parts. I agree it is nice to have reliability, but with brakes I wouldn't want to discover at the wrong time that a seal is leaking or some other failure happens. AT the wrong time, It may cost much more than a few dollars, it may cost you your life!

Just my $0.02 worth!
And a well spent $0.02 it is. Not knowing that a seal is bust because of moisture after the fact is... well... damn man... it's cold 6 feet under. For the money I'll put it where my mouth is. And if I don't, well then let that be my legacy.

Mark
'07 RT
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post #6 of 14 Old Jan 18th, 2010, 9:23 pm
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Re: Brake flush need?

I flush my brakes every other 12K, along with the clutch on my LT.

It is funny though, because on cars, I have never even thought about it.

Brian
CCR: 2008, Midway; 2011, Boise; 2012, Duluth; 2014, Chattanooga. MOA: Billings, 2015; SLC, 2017
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post #7 of 14 Old Jan 19th, 2010, 1:18 am
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Re: Brake flush need?

Important consideration is that this is a 10yr old bike, 24k service on a high pressure brake system. degradation of hosed systems is a little different than on hard lines. Corrosion affects hard lines and fittings, plus hosed systems are affected by the fluids, expansion thru pressure and release and possible contaminates as well.
I am just stepping out on a limb here and posing this:
Your location is Minnesota, yes? Is the bike ridden whenever there has been salt or ice melting materials subjected on the roads? Could it not be possible that some of the fittings/crimps might be compromised from the exposure? The only reason I am saying this is it can reduce the longevity of your system.. ANd since I bought my bike from New Hampshire and looked like it has some corrosion on the bolts, I will give it a completed brake hose changeover this spring. ( I just came to this realization just as I was typing this, so thanks. really, Its for the safety.)

I remember having a car that came from West Virginia and having the brakes go out.. brake line rusted right thru... car was 6 years old and had only 60k on the clock...
It happens..

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post #8 of 14 Old Jan 19th, 2010, 8:51 am
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Re: Brake flush need?

I believe BMW recommends every two years. Seems like cheap insurance for a preventative maintenance item that would cost about $3K to replace your ABS module. Of course if you do it yourself, it would be a tad cheaper. Met a guy who went 8 years on his R1100R and never changed fluids. He was incensed that his ABS module went belly up. "I'll never buy another bmw etc, etc." What a duffus!

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post #9 of 14 Old Jan 19th, 2010, 9:45 am
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Re: Brake flush need?

Older vehicles with basic brake systems can tolerate alot of junk and corrosion in the brake system before problems develop. Add to that low performance vehicles that seldom get the brake system working hot and one can see how some vehicles can go their entire service life on the original fill.

Turn the page to newer brake systems with ABS pumps, servos and small internal orifices that are sensitive to contaminants and corrosion and it's a different story. Couple that with high energy braking and pads that are designed to operate at higher temperatures and old brake fluid is no longer something that can be ignored. Most if not all track day and school events require fresh brake fluid for good reason.

Bottom line, do the maintenance. Brake fluid isn't expensive. Get quality stuff and you can extend the intervals of service, but keep an eye on the color of the fluid. Be afraid of the dark, dark colored fluid that is.

The fact that you only got slightly darkened fluid out is a good sign. Notice the color of new fluid is practically clear. My anecdotal, limited data points experience is that brake fluid is good for about 3 years before it starts getting water and silt laden. But if you ride fast and hard or do track days, then annual flushing is best.

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post #10 of 14 Old Jan 19th, 2010, 10:49 am
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Re: Brake flush need?

It doesn't matter that it looks clean, it needs to be changed for other reasons.

Most automotive professionals agree that glycol based brake fluid, (DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 5.1) should be flushed, or changed, every 1-2 years. Many manufacturers also require periodic fluid changes to ensure reliability and safety. Once installed, moisture diffuses into the fluid through brake hoses and rubber seals and eventually the fluid will have to be replaced when the water content becomes too high. Electronic testers and test strips are commercially available to measure moisture content. The corrosion inhibitors also degrade over time. New fluid should always be stored in a sealed container to avoid moisture intrusion.

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post #11 of 14 Old Jan 19th, 2010, 2:26 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Brake flush need?

Maybe it's because at 71, I don't use brakes very hard. Yes I am located in a sorta dry climate, and despite being in Minnesota, the bike has never seen salt corrosion (except at the end of my driveway). The bike does get washed frequently, but the hoses still seem essentially like new.

Brake fluid itself is cheap, but it is always a mess to handle the stuff while keeping exactly every drop away from a painted surface. Every time the system is opened, there is a possibility to introduce new contamination. And how does moisture migrate through hoses, O-rings etc, considering that those same elastomeric compounds can otherwise hold nearly every thing from high pressures petroleum products to hard vacuums etc.

I admit that there may well be a lot of bike environments that should have their fluids flushed much more frequently, but I don't intend to a full flush on mine for another say 6-8 years or so. Are others in dry areas finding this too?
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post #12 of 14 Old Jan 19th, 2010, 4:14 pm
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Re: Brake flush need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by niel_petersen
Maybe it's because at 71, I don't use brakes very hard. Yes I am located in a sorta dry climate, and despite being in Minnesota, the bike has never seen salt corrosion (except at the end of my driveway). The bike does get washed frequently, but the hoses still seem essentially like new.

Brake fluid itself is cheap, but it is always a mess to handle the stuff while keeping exactly every drop away from a painted surface. Every time the system is opened, there is a possibility to introduce new contamination. And how does moisture migrate through hoses, O-rings etc, considering that those same elastomeric compounds can otherwise hold nearly every thing from high pressures petroleum products to hard vacuums etc.

I admit that there may well be a lot of bike environments that should have their fluids flushed much more frequently, but I don't intend to a full flush on mine for another say 6-8 years or so. Are others in dry areas finding this too?
Sorry, but just a bit of research will tell you how foolish your logic above is. But it's your bike and your safety. Good luck with both.

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post #13 of 14 Old Jan 19th, 2010, 11:24 pm
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Re: Brake flush need?

Flushing does need to be done periodically- despite excellent brake lines on my RT, he fluid is not infinitely stable . The real limit is that fluid can form gums/varnish around seals and corrosion inhibitors degrade. Water absorption IS NOT he major issue in a sealed system, at least in how it impacts boiling point of the fluid - I have the tools to make bp measurments and can assure you that fluid has to be visibly extrememly degraded before bp is impacted.
Yes the BMW recommended (and industry std) interval is conservative just like the valve adjustment interval...

Here is an example of what can happen when flushing doesn't get done- yup happened to me on an Honda V-4 that had been stored a while. Put a battery in it, fired it up and proceeded on a short test ride. Got about a mile and the brakes went on but wouldn't release. Investigation showed a heavy varnish ring on piston seals that prevented retraction. Seals got partially shredded by the varnish and would have failed soon had they noty gotten stuck first. Had to rebuild calipers. Had system been bled more recently this wouldn't have happened.
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post #14 of 14 Old Jan 19th, 2010, 11:40 pm
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Re: Brake flush need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NOGILLS2
The biggest reson for brake flush is preventive maintenence! Go out and price brake parts for the LT or other bikes and see if once a year preventive maintenence isn't worth it. Moisture in the system will corrode all sorts of pieces parts. I agree it is nice to have reliability, but with brakes I wouldn't want to discover at the wrong time that a seal is leaking or some other failure happens. AT the wrong time, It may cost much more than a few dollars, it may cost you your life!

Just my $0.02 worth!
Flush the system every few years and keep dry. I did all the regular scheduled maintenance and my ABS still died... Try and find one of THOSE CHEAP!!!

Tvguy
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