Why Can't I Flush My Brakes w/ ABS?

Discussion in 'Touring Models' started by SprChkn, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. SprChkn

    SprChkn Member

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    Hi everybody,

    I have a 2010 Streetglide with ABS. I have always flushed my own brakes on my bikes, because I don't trust anyone else, and I'm super picky. According to my service manual, and several dealers I have talked to, I can't flush the brakes on this bike, because it requires the "digital technician."

    Can someone explain why this is so? If the bike / ignition system is off, and all I do is open the master cylinder, attach a vacum bleeder to the caliber bleed bolt, suck new fluid through, then tighten everything back up; how will this screw anything up, and how will the ABS system even know I did anything. Further more, even if the ABS system did detect a change, isn't the system designed to simply revert back to conventional non-abs braking if the system detects an ABS error?

    I don't get it!

    Thanks!
     
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    You have no way of opening the solenoids in the system to flush it. The dealer has the digital tech that opens the solenoids so it can be flushed properly.
     
  3. mouthful

    mouthful Active Member

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    How does the repair manuel explain it?
     
  4. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    Very good question, I will tell you this, when you work on ABS systems do not (DO NOT) push old fluid back from the calipers into the master cylinders, This can push old worn particles into the solenoids and you will have major problems. What you could do is remove all old fluid from the master cylinder with a turkey baster, keep the master topped off at all times, cover all painted and chrome parts to protect them from brake fluid, bleed the calipers via gravity, with out the scan tool you will never be able to activate the ABS solenoids JMO
     
  5. navyman

    navyman Member

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    I do almost all of my maintenance, but I do have the dealer flush my brake fluid every two years. i don't want to take a chance on compromising my braking system to save a few bucks. JMHO
     
  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Smart move for sure.:s
     
  7. SprChkn

    SprChkn Member

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    Thanks for the answers. It really isn't about trying to save any money for me. I just know when I do it I am really careful; I flush it out until the fluid coming out is completely new, clean off the edges and cap of the reservior, clean the rubber gasket that seals the reservior cap, etc. I have even used a q-tip to clean of small deposits I see down in the reservior and then suck them out with a little pippet. I know no tech at the dealer is going to be that retentive. It drives me crazy when bikes get that little bit of paint peeling around the lid of the master cylinders.

    On non-ABS bikes I do not think flushing your own brakes is in any way taking a risk. I have done it at least two dozen times on my own bikes, and probably another hundred when I worked at a shop in high school and college. Non ABS brakes are about the simplest mechanical system on your bike. I'll take all your guys advise for it that the ABS is a different animal and just have it done at the dealer.

    I wish someone had a diagram that explained how the ABS worked. I just can't wrap my brain around how squeezing the lever at the master cylinder can push fluid into the piston on the caliper, and yet apparently there are some valves / solenoids in the system that are closed along the way?
     
  8. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    If the wheel or Wheels start to skid or lose traction the speed sensors send a signal to the puter the aBS control opens and closes the solenoids to pulse the brakes on and off rapidly so you can stop safely with out losing control and traction
     
  9. SprChkn

    SprChkn Member

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    When the system is static, or when no wheel skid is detected, are those solenoids closed, and the pressure you are putting in at the lever is in effect being transferred through a closed solenoid that is acting as a intermediate slave cylinder then? Not trying to be argumentative - I just can't see it in my head!
     
  10. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    Operates normal until the wheel sensors see something they do not like and the puter reads the vehicle speed from the sensor does that help? HowStuffWorks this may be better tho it is a car or truck system
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011