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Buell Forum » Knowledge Vault (tech, parts, apparel, & accessories topics) » Troubleshooting (Poor Starting/Running/Handling/Ride Issues) » 2003 XB9R Front brake pad replacement and Bleeding on both front and back brakes « Previous Next »

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Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2016 - 03:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I apologize for reposting. I had no response for 5 days in the brakes section.
I've had the firebolt for a little over a year and always had spongy front lever feel. A week ago It got so bad that the lever touched my knuckles before I felt any lever pressure. I thought it was either bad brake pads or low brake oil. I decide to change both. I pulled the old pads out ( still had a little bit of life left) and surprisingly the new pads slid in with a little effort. I put it all together and pumped the front brakes and the lever actuated much earlier. I rolled the bike in neutral and I didn't any resistance from the brakes scraping the rotor.The reservoir shows normal levels. Now after the fact I realized the mistakes I made,my worries are:
1.I did not push the pistons back when I put the new pads on.
2.I did not check the reservoir levels before the change so I don't know if it was low before.
3.I did not open the reservoir to let any overflow.
4.I'm worried the brake lever feel is from the seized pistons.
5.I noticed some oil from the inside caliper.

My options:
1.Redo the whole thing with the reservoir open and push the pistons in.
2. Change or rebuild the caliper and do the brake pad and then the brake bleed.

Any advice will be appreciated as I would love to get back on the road ASAP!
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Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2016 - 03:52 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Well you better do refresh the brake fluid to!
Clean the rubber cover and make sure the reservoir is clean to.
And clean and grease the brake lever where it push the mc.
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Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2016 - 09:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

You haven't done anything wrong, you just haven't finished the job.

Your spongy brakes were likely a problem with air in the system

It could be a problem with aftermarket levers, long story, if you have them let us know and we will dig into it. If they are the stock levers, don't worry about them and keep reading.

Anyway, at this point, you just need to flush and bleed the brakes. Get a new bottle of the brake fluid listed in your manual / brake reservoir cover (i.e. DOT 3 Synthetic).

Get a a brake bleeder kit, either a cheap little hand vacuum pump, or even just the $8 tube and bottle setup (which actually works fine).

Attach the tube to the bleeder bolt on the caliper, making sure it goes up before it comes back down so you never suck bubbles back into the caliper.

Use a box end wrench to open up the bleeder valve (just loosening a nut). Less loose is better then more loose, but it will take a few turns until squeezing on your brake lever forces fluid out the bleeder.

Now use the brake lever to pump the fluid out the bottom, while adding the new fluid in the top from a new sealed container.

I like to periodically half-gently whack various brake components with a piece of wood during this phase to break loose any trapped bubbles.

When the bottom fluid comes out new and clear like the new fluid you are adding to the top, instead of old and brown, you have flushed (and likely bled) the system. Tighten the bleeder bolt while also forcing fluid through it to get those last few bubbles out.

Seal everything up. That is the official brake bleeding process.

Now let me tell you the secret to making it awesome...

When you are done, pump up the brakes using the brake lever REALLY tight. Hold the lever. Use string (I have a neat velcro strap I use that works excellent) to hold the brake lever in that tightly compressed position.

Get a beverage of your choice, and go to bed.

The next morning, come out whack the various brake bits again with a wooden rod, and release the string / velcro strap.

You will have the most amazingly bled brakes you have ever felt, especially on a Buell with stainless lines and 6/8 pot calipers.
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