Bleeding Brakes

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by trent627, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. trent627

    trent627 Member

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    On my 05 sportster 1200 custom I need to bleed the rear and front brakes and im not sure how and what I need to do it. Any detail help will do to bleed both brakes
     
  2. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    Brake bleeding can be a bite of a minefield with lots of different kits out there to help with it however i find that the tried and trusted manual method works best for me
    You will need appropriate brake fluid for your bike it is stamped on the master cylinder resevoir cover
    a length of clear plastic pipe that will fit over the bleeder on the caliper and the correct size of spanner to open and close the bleeder and correct screwdriver to remove the resevoir cover
    first i place the ring spanner over the bleeder and in the correct position to open the bleeder then heat the end of the plastic pipe and it will slip on to the bleeder easier (a cup of hot water/heat gun) place the other end of the plastic pipe in a containor to catch old fluid ensure the pipe points upwards to start from the bleeder
    open master cylinder add fluid, apply the brake then open the bleeder you will see brake fluid come out the bleeder into the pipe close the bleeder and release the brake
    carry on with that method apply brake open bleeder close bleeder and release brake untill no more air bubbles appear in the fluid as it comes out of the bleeder or untill you have put through sufficient fluid to have replaced the fluid
    keep a watch on the amount of fluid in the resevoir as it will go down and you dont want to be pushing air in
    dispose of old fluid reponsibly

    Brian
     
  3. Bodeen

    Bodeen Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    As Brian say's there are many ways to achieve the same result. I bought a MityVac for $39.95 and do not know that I will ever do it again any other way. You can also use it when it comes time to change fork oil. I had a hard time parting with the money for the tool but after using it a few times, its great.

    Bodeen
     
  4. kemo

    kemo R.I.P

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    Bodeen has the right idea. Mity-vac or similar vacuum pump is a very useful piece of equipment and will make a very good addition to any tool box.
    kemo
     
  5. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member Contributor

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    Mighty Vac is a very good product and available @ Sears, Matco and Harbour Freight offer an air operated one that works good also for those of you who have an air compressor at home:s
     
  6. NEWHD74FAN

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

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    Sometimes you can save yourself a lot of work by going to the Self Help Tips tab and go to the subject of interest...

    http://www.hdtalking.com/brakes_tires_and_wheels/15182-brake_bleeding.html

    For "routine bleeding" for the front, I use the Bungee Cord Overnight Method because it is quick and easy...otherwise, the Mityvac (metal one from Harbor Freight), for the rear I use the ("Live helper, bottle and tube method, because I am not as "limber" as Brian when having to press the foot lever, and wrench the bleeder at the proper time.:s
     
  7. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    The years may yet catch up with me but for now i still seem to be able to contort my self over the bike to do the brakes but perhaps now i wait till the weather is a wee bit warmer so that i do not strain anything

    Brian
     
  8. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Pressure bleeding as shown in the set up here is great:

    Brake Bleeding - Harley Davidson Community

    But you may not need to go to that extreme if you take your time. The main thing is that if you have not bled the brakes since the bike was new (or don't know if it has been done), it is time to COMPLETELY replace the brake fluid in both front and rear brake systems!

    Get at least a quart of the fluid your bikes system takes. If that is DOT 4 or DOT 5.1, these are glycol based fluids and are hydroscopic, so you must ensure that you completely exchange the existing fluid. DOT 5 is a silicone based fluid and gets contaminated with wear by-products from the braking action. It should also be completely flushed periodically. THESE FLUID TYPES ARE NOT EXCHANGEABLE. FOLLOW THE SPEC ON THE MASTER CYLINDER CAP OR YOUR MANUAL.

    See here:

    Bleeding Brakes - Harley Davidson Community

    Reverse Brake Bleeding. - Harley Davidson Community

    Brake Bleeding Tips - Harley Davidson Community

    Read this stuff, decide what you are gonna do, then take your time. No hurry.

    TQ
     
  9. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member Contributor

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    T Q is right on with the complete flushing of the brake system, often over looked. The fluid can break down not only from moisture content but also from copper content from the internal lining of the hard brake lines, there is a litmus paper test for this. I dont have the info in front of me it is in my box @ work if you are interested in the manufacturer of this product I can post it Monday after work. One other note, if you buy more fluid than you are going to use remember the clock is ticking once you open it up, it will take on moisture, JM2cents worth Capital Jack
     
  10. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Captain Jack is absolutely right about left over glycol-based brake fluid. Once you open it, use what you need to flush the system (at least 2x volume), then give whatever is left over to a buddy that is doing a bike right then, or dispose of it appropriately. Do NOT save it. Buy new sealed fluid next time you need some.

    TQ