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help needed bleeding front brakes after brake line change

This is a discussion on help needed bleeding front brakes after brake line change within the Mean Streak Maintenance forums, part of the Kawasaki Mean Streak category; Hi, just finished installing some apes on the bike and putting on custom dual Galfer brake lines up front. The clutch bled fine, but I ...

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  1. #1
    Rising Star Aussievulcan's Avatar
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    help needed bleeding front brakes after brake line change

    Hi, just finished installing some apes on the bike and putting on custom dual Galfer brake lines up front. The clutch bled fine, but I cant get any pressure when bleeding the front brakes?? How long does it take before pressure builds up?

    So far I have been following the following steps:-
    1. pump brake lever 5 or ten times and hold in
    2. crack open the bleed valve 1/2 or 3/4 turn and then close
    3. release the lever.

    Is that the right technique?

    Do I need to "reverse bleed" them? That sounds like a pain in the arse.

    Thanks for any advice.
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  3. #2
    Site Elder bikesrfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussievulcan View Post
    Hi, just finished installing some apes on the bike and putting on custom dual Galfer brake lines up front. The clutch bled fine, but I cant get any pressure when bleeding the front brakes?? How long does it take before pressure builds up?

    So far I have been following the following steps:-
    1. pump brake lever 5 or ten times and hold in
    2. crack open the bleed valve 1/2 or 3/4 turn and then close
    3. release the lever.

    Is that the right technique?

    Do I need to "reverse bleed" them? That sounds like a pain in the arse.

    Thanks for any advice.
    The technique is correct, just need to do it quite a few times. I slipped a vacuum hose on both bleeder fittings and put the lower ends into a bottle with a little brake fluid in them, then bled the left side caliper first, then the right. Any air in the line will find the highest point to migrate to (right side caliper with the wheel turned to the left). When you don't see any more air bubbles coming out of the hoses, you're done.
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  4. #3
    Rising Star Beancounter's Avatar
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    After I installed my new lines, it was a PIA getting the fronts bled. I finally got them by bleeding each side alternately several times. Just be persistent.
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    Supreme Being Tom_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussievulcan View Post
    So far I have been following the following steps:-
    1. pump brake lever 5 or ten times and hold in
    2. crack open the bleed valve 1/2 or 3/4 turn and then close
    3. release the lever.

    Is that the right technique?
    In a way, yes. The problem with the front brakes on a bike is that the lines are pretty verticle. You're trying to push air bubbles down to the calipers and they're trying to rise to the top.

    During the first bit of lever travel the the ports in the Master Cylinder are open between the brake line and the resevoir before the cylinder moves enough to close them and start moving fluid and making line pressure. If you turn the bars and sometimes rotate the master cyl on the bars you can get the lines and banjo bolt below the resevoir. Now you can let air bubble out thru the top.

    Work the lever in the very first part of it's travel (GENTLY or fluid will squirt out of the resevoir) and you should see air bubble up from the ports in the bottom of the resevoir. Tap on the lines to help the air rise (the thumb and forefinger flick). Once you quit getting air out the top (you'll start getting resistance at the lever instead of mush), bleed at the calipers. After you've rode the bike a while, see if any more air will bleed at the resevoir. Air will "hide" anywhere it can in the system and will work it's way to the top during use. A second bleeding (usually just at the top) will get it all.

    To bleed just from the bottom you have to be quick, requires help or a power bleeder. You have to pull fluid thru faster than the bubbles can rise.

  6. #5
    Up-And Comer rsmeanie's Avatar
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    I used a Mity-Vac when I replaced my brake lines and was done in less than 10 mins. Well worth the money.

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    Up-And Comer sonny's Avatar
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    i can bleed most brakes without cracking a bleeder.if you start with a dry m.c.i will turn the m.c. with the hose up.flick the lever real fast a few times and then go slow.you should get bubbles out of the small holes in the m.c.them turn the m.c. to where the hose bolt is lower than the resevoir,flick the lever and watch for airbubbles.it may take a while to bleed them but it will.

  8. #7
    Rising Star Aussievulcan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_E View Post
    Work the lever in the very first part of it's travel (GENTLY or fluid will squirt out of the resevoir) and you should see air bubble up from the ports in the bottom of the resevoir. .

    Thanks Tom, so for the bit you just described above, is that with the bleed valve at the caliper open, closed, or open then closed??? Do I gently work it in and release it? or just gently in and hold?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_E View Post
    . A second bleeding (usually just at the top) will get it all. .

    What do you mean by a bleeding "at the top?"
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    Supreme Being Tom_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussievulcan View Post
    Thanks Tom, so for the bit you just described above, is that with the bleed valve at the caliper open, closed, or open then closed??? Do I gently work it in and release it? or just gently in and hold?


    What do you mean by a bleeding "at the top?"
    With the bleeder closed. You just pull the lever a little and release. Pull it harder and you'll see fluid try to squirt. It's in the first bit of lever travel.

    "Bleeding at the top". Where you stared, working the lever (gently) and looking for bubbles coming from the little ports (holes) in the bottom of the resevoir near the banjo bolt. If the fluid's clear you can see them easily (the holes, bubbles are obvious).

  10. #9
    Rising Star Aussievulcan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_E View Post
    With the bleeder closed. You just pull the lever a little and release. Pull it harder and you'll see fluid try to squirt. It's in the first bit of lever travel.

    "Bleeding at the top". Where you stared, working the lever (gently) and looking for bubbles coming from the little ports (holes) in the bottom of the resevoir near the banjo bolt. If the fluid's clear you can see them easily (the holes, bubbles are obvious).
    Thanks Tom, I tried this method and got heaps of bubbles out...... but 15 mins later, still no pressure in the lever. I'm just about to give up and buy a speed bleeder.
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    Supreme Being Tom_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussievulcan View Post
    Thanks Tom, I tried this method and got heaps of bubbles out...... but 15 mins later, still no pressure in the lever. I'm just about to give up and buy a speed bleeder.
    Be patient, you won't feel pressure at the lever until you have fluid (instead of air) in the cylinder to build pressure with. With the dual lines there's alot of air to bleed out, even more with apes and mile long lines. They're harder to bleed than the single line with the Y, more internal volume.
    Last edited by Tom_E; 07-31-09 at 09:12 AM.

  12. #11
    Rising Star Aussievulcan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_E View Post
    Be patient, you won't feel pressure at the lever until you have fluid (instead of air) in the cylinder to build pressure with. With the dual lines there's alot of air to bleed out, even more with apes and mile long lines. They're harder to bleed than the single line with the Y, more internal volume.
    Thanks, I will keep going.
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  13. #12
    Rising Star DarkStreak's Avatar
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    A buddy of mine was trying to bleed his front brake lines and it was taking forever so he called his bro-in-law who worked in the parts dept of a dealership and was told that they always use a hand held vac tool to bleed the brakes. Since he needed his bike that night, and we didnt have a tool, or any tubing to attach to the bleeder valve we ended up striping the sheath tubing off of some coaxial cable that was laying around and used that as a siphon line to get the job done fast. Worked fine... other then the brake fluid my friend got in his mouth lol
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    Reverse Brake Bleeding

    The best way I know of to bleed new lines or drained masters and lines, without a mighty vac, is to fill them from the calipers with a large syringe like the type you would use for injecting seasoning into a turkey. Remove the needle from the syringe and attach some clear tubing to it. Then attach the other end of the tubing to the bleeder screw and open the screw. Now fill the syringe with your brake fluid of choice and slowly install the plunger back into the syringe and slowly, I mean really slowly push the fluid into the caliper, up the lines and into the master cylinder. If you do this to fast you will have a stream of fluid shooting out of your master cylinder when the fluid gets there. Close bleeder and check brakes. I have done this a few times on different bikes and it works well. Sometimes you may have to bleed a little air that gets trapped in the calipers the traditional way but it won't take hours like it does trying to get fluid from the master down to the calipers.

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