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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-19-2011, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Front brakes seized

Ok, last week i rebuilt my front brake master cylinder and bled the lines because i had lost all pressure in my front brakes...

Everything has been working fine, rode it the night i finished to bike night, been to school and work on it, well over 100 miles since i did it.

today, i'm coming home from work, maybe 10 mile trip, and i get to my driveway and the front brake lever gets rock hard and the brakes lock on me...

i bled some fluid out of one of the calipers (no air bubbles in what came out) and the brakes went back to normal...

what could have caused this to happen today? and not when i first did bled the fluid?

thanks for any help!
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-19-2011, 03:41 PM
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Re: Front brakes seized

When you rebuild your master cylinder did you also clean and rebuild your calipers? Are the pistons covered in crud and not retracting properly. Your bike's about 10 years old now, unless you've kept up with regular caliper maintenance they are probably pretty messy.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-19-2011, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Front brakes seized

no, i just got this bike maybe a month ago, i need to do that but i think ill just wait until i get some ss brake lines...

I think the reason was my reservoir was overfilled, and it was hotter today than it has been...
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-19-2011, 04:02 PM
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Re: Front brakes seized

Definitely break them down and give them a good cleaning. There's some posts about the process elsewhere on the site, look around a bit.

And definitely don't overfill the reservoir. I usually only fill my reservoirs about 1/2 way, no more.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 12:38 AM
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Re: Front brakes seized

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Originally Posted by SPL170db View Post
Definitely break them down and give them a good cleaning. There's some posts about the process elsewhere on the site, look around a bit.

And definitely don't overfill the reservoir. I usually only fill my reservoirs about 1/2 way, no more.
+2 hot water, some dish soap, a tooth brush, and some elbow grease will do the work.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 02:42 PM
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Re: Front brakes seized

WD-40 for everything, I wouldn't be putting water in any part of the brake system.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 11:29 PM
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Re: Front brakes seized

Water won't hurt shit as long as the system isn't compromised but you would already know that.
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 01:37 AM
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Re: Front brakes seized

I would bet it was because you over filled it. No place for the fluid to expand or some dirt blocking the return port
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Front brakes seized

ok, so removing the excess fluid worked... until last night my lever seemed to be getting really stiff again... didnt lock on me, just real stiff...

so today i go to clean them, starting with the left caliper i follow the how-to on here (motor-joes iirc) and the pistons were a bitch to compress! a couple would go freely with light effort, then one would push out and get stuck hard... actually had one almost pop all the way out on me... but with methods i wont say and loosening the bleeder screw, i was able to get them back on, lost a bit of pressure in the lever but they still grab and release...

ive come to the decision to just replace/rebuild the calipers and get ss lines since now i gotta bleed the system again...

What are my options in doing this? price is somewhat an issue, but if i have to save a little ill live with these for now...
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 07:18 PM
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Re: Front brakes seized

If the brakes are locking up, it can actually be air in teh calipers, and dirt sticky calipers.

They over heat, and the air expands so much that it pushes the pistons out, and that causes more drag, and more heat, and more drag, and more heat until it locks up.

Rebuiding or replacing is likely not the problem. You need to throughly clean, AND bleed the brakes, and also be sure not to over fill the system as you did.



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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Front brakes seized

hmm ok... it was just such a pain in the ass i figured id switch something out while i was there... i just thought it was weird that after cleaning and lubing with the teflon lube (doing the other side tomorrow) that it was such a hassle, i had to wedge the brake pads apart to get them on the rotors, one side of the pistons would compress, then the other side was half extended...

now looking through here i noticed that the mc held a lot of air sometimes, without a bleeder bolt, how would i make sure that i got the air out of there?
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 07:30 PM
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Re: Front brakes seized

You have to hold the pistons with our hands, and push them in so they dont pop another out. YOu will have to work each piston a bit at a time, until all of them are in.

Only do one caliper at a time for sure, or risk blowing the piston out of the other caliper

They are not easy. That is fairly normal. The only way to make it more easy, would be to open the system, but well... that is a bad idea. You are essentially trying to force the fluid back up through the MC, into the reservoir. That is a tiny hole to push through, so it is not easy.





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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Front brakes seized

ok, i appreciate it... everything was going so well until that point and i was about ready to burn the bike haha. I officially hate brake work, but oh well, makes it more mine i suppose.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-22-2011, 05:55 AM
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Re: Front brakes seized

Quote:
Originally Posted by 03tampagsxr View Post
now looking through here i noticed that the mc held a lot of air sometimes, without a bleeder bolt, how would i make sure that i got the air out of there?
After I've bled my brakes, I leave the reservoir cap off over night and cable tie the front brake fully on, that way any air in the system should come out.
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-22-2011, 06:11 AM
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Re: Front brakes seized

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Originally Posted by gixxernutter1 View Post
After I've bled my brakes, I leave the reservoir cap off over night and cable tie the front brake fully on, that way any air in the system should come out.

That is a bad idea, and actually does not work.


It is a bad idea, because brake fluid is hygroscopic. Leaving the system open causes it to absorb water, which is the enemy of a brake system. It does not work because holding the lever IN, seals the system shut beyond the MC. NO air can come from the lines into the reservoir, because the MC is closed when you have the lever pulled. The MC is only open when the lever is NOT pulled.



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post #16 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Front brakes seized

ok, so after another round of bleeding, this time with opening the banjo bolt on the mc squeezing the lever and closing it back up (just fluid came out) and then another bleed at the calipers the problem still persisted...

so yesterday i opened the calipers, pulled the pistons and seals to clean behind them and wow.

maybe half of the seals were ok, a few had gunk and corrosion around the outer seal, and one had a good deal of some sludgy brown deposit behind it (one of the pistons on the right caliper)...

so i cleaned them up with greased lightning, rinsed them off with the hose, hand dried and let the parts dry in front of a fan until they were all dry and sprayed the pistons with that dupont teflon spray.

i put them back together, the pistons were a little hard to get back in (as in taped with rubber mallet) im assuming due to having to get past the seals. and then i re-bled the lines, again starting with the mc banjo bolt and then the left (clutch side) caliper, then right and then both at the same time, using one of those vacuum pumps...

today i head out to school, notice just before i get on the highway that the brakes are tight again, but as i get down the highway about 10 miles they go back to normal, then when i get off in the city they stiffen up again... it was a short class today so they were so bad on the way home i had to bleed a caliper a little in a gas station (luckily i had the wrench in my jacket) and with minimal front brake useage it was fine the rest of the way home, but as i got close i started using it was fine for a couple miles then hardened back up...

WTF! Im at my wits end here, do i need more bleeding? Do i need better brake fluid? im using valvoline dot 3 and 4 rated fluid from autozone... Am I going to have to spend the $150 to get new pistons and seals? or a little more than that to get just the seals? (which i found odd, i think the guy may have been an idiot...)
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post #17 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 11:03 AM
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Re: Front brakes seized

I had one lock up because there was crap in the return hole in the master cylinder.
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post #18 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Front brakes seized

i had just rebuilt my master cylinder a couple weeks ago... i suppose that sludge shit could have traveled back up the line... maybe the next step will be to take that apart again...
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post #19 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 11:11 AM
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Re: Front brakes seized

Quote:
Originally Posted by 03tampagsxr View Post
so i cleaned them up with greased lightning, rinsed them off with the hose, hand dried and let the parts dry in front of a fan until they were all dry and sprayed the pistons with that dupont teflon spray.

Why on earth would you spray the piston with that? Dupont teflon spray is a silicone based spray lubricant.

There are 2 major things that are written in bold print in the service manual when it comes to servicing the brakes.

1) only coat the pistons and seals with fresh brake fluid when re-assembling them.

2) DO NOT mix glycol-based (DOT 3/4/5.1) brake fluid with silicone (DOT 5) brake fluid.

That fact that you contaminated the brake fluid with a silicone based lubricant was not a very smart move.

Last edited by SPL170db; 09-27-2011 at 11:13 AM.
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post #20 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 11:13 AM
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Re: Front brakes seized

The return hole for the fluid to go back up is very tiny!!! (about 2mm in size on my old bandit) Anything could pulg a hole that size!!!!
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