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1985 GL1200I Front Brake Bleed
Hello, I have a brake bleed question. I am sure it has been gone over before but I can't seem to find the answer. I recently purchased my GL1200I and the previous owner had a new front left caliper installed by a local mechanic. When I bought the bike the front brake lever seemed soft to me so I did a simple brake bleed. I have done plenty of these on cars and other bikes. After the bleed it still seemed soft although there is braking. After consulting the forum I unbolted at the banjo and tried to release the air at that point and the bled the system. Still soft. My next step was to go to Harbor Freight and purchase a pressure bleed tool. When I use the tool it works good but I always seem to have air bubbles no matter how many times I pressurize and bleed. Is this the sign of a bad master cylinder? If so does anyone have an idea as to where I can get another or a rebuild kit? Thanks for any help or ideas.
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#1 05-19-2013, 05:11 PM,
I ran into the same problems as you did including using the pressure tool. I finally figured out that the air was being pulled from around the o-rings around the piston. Air molecules are smaller than brake fluid molecules so they will go through a smaller space. As the fluid pressure is brought up it forces the o-ring tighter against the pistons. If you aren't seeing any brake fluid then they are doing their job. You can try putting a rubber band on the brake lever pulling it in over night, that will release any air caught in the M/C. Then go and crack open each banjo starting at the M/C and work your way down till you get to the caliper. Then bleed the caliper one more time, if no air shows up then they are as firm as they are gonna get. As long as they stop you good then there's really no problem. Old rubber lines are gonna expand some too when pressure is applied
1986 SEi Limited Edition. 1985 Aspencade
If it's not broke, I can fix that!
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#2 05-19-2013, 06:29 PM,
Thanks for the tip. I have the lever secured for the night and I will start with the banjos again in the morning. I do have braking it is just a soft lever. You may be right about expansion. Thanks again.
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#3 05-19-2013, 07:02 PM,
Make your life bleeding brakes and clutches easier. Install Speed Bleeders. These are bleeders with a ball check valve installed and directly replace the four brake and clutch OEM bleeder screws. Back the bleeder out 1/4 to 1/2 turn and pump away to bleed. The internal check valve won't let air enter. When done simply tighten and put the rubber cap back on. No more fancy tools or an extra person to bleed brakes or the clutch. The website's installation chart lists the 84-87 GL1200 to use four #SB8125L. A set of four will cost about $28 USD.
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[Image: VisitedStatesMap_zps8229ee64.jpg]
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#4 05-20-2013, 03:45 PM,
Speed Bleeders work! Makes it much easier when there's only one of you.
Ian
Remember, it's the journey, not the destination, that matters.
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#5 05-20-2013, 03:50 PM,
I installed them on my 1200 this last winter. Got solid brakes and a very positive clutch interaction first try.

A great investment for sure
Andy
Silver 1984 Interstate
GWRRA WAO
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#6 05-20-2013, 08:20 PM,
I guess I'll have to try speed bleeders. I have bled the front left a half a dozen times now and still have a very soft lever as well as very poor braking from the left front. I have released the banjo bolt and get good pressure there. I have used a pressure bleeder and completely changed fluids using Valvoline brake fluid which says it is for Dot 3 and 4. There is a brand new caliper on the bike with new pads. I took it apart and sent the pistons back and started the process again and I still after several bleeds I still have the same issue. The previous owner replaced the covers and I will say that keeping the diaphram rubber in it's correct position is a chore when replacing the cover. This wouldn't cause soft brakes would it ?
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#7 05-27-2013, 03:44 PM,
No It is just a reservoir for the fluid, if it isnt on properly it could cause fluid leak (ONTO THE PAINT UGH)

Inspect the brake lines for softness that could cause a soft spongy feeling in the lever
The only stupid questions are the one's that are not asked.

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#8 05-27-2013, 04:17 PM,
That's going to be my guess too is that the brake lines are swelling and giving you the soft grip, doesn't take much
1986 SEi Limited Edition. 1985 Aspencade
If it's not broke, I can fix that!
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#9 05-27-2013, 05:27 PM,
Thanks I'll check that on Wed. To much to do tomorrow..
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#10 05-27-2013, 06:52 PM,
I would also check for sticking caliper slides as they can cause spongy brakes as well.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of gl1200goldwings.com

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#11 05-27-2013, 07:10 PM,
I've been using anti-seize on my pins, very slick, doesn't seem to attract much dirt and stays in place
1986 SEi Limited Edition. 1985 Aspencade
If it's not broke, I can fix that!
Reply
#12 05-27-2013, 07:39 PM,
Not sure how you've made out with your front brake, just thought I'd throw in 2 bits.

I'm on my second wing, first an 84 Aspencade, now an 85 LTD. Both bikes have a spongy front brake lever. I rebuilt the front caliper and master cylinder on the 84 to no avail. New fluid and lots of bleeding.

I'm a mechanic by trade (not MC), have owned many 2wheelers and am quite familiar with brake work.

What I've noticed with the wing caliper is that there is a great deal of flex in the caliper itself. When I squeeze the lever i can easily see the caliper flex, no air in the system, just flex. At least that's what I've noticed on both my wings. At first I was looking for cracks in the housing, but realized it's just the design. Unfortunately the sponginess doesn't allow for good feel of what your brake is doing.

I noticed a huge brake performance boost when I threw in a set of EBC HH brake pads in the front caliper, the same kind I use on my track day bike. These things really bite! Probably not too good for disc life, but braking performance is more important to me. Sponginess still present, but now I can 2finger brake comfortably.

I'm a front brake guy, rarely using the pedal, used to sportbike braking performance, so when I got my first wing it was a bit of a shock how pitiful the front brake was. The only way to get decent performance was to use the foot pedal with the linked braking. Obviously the wing is much heavier than any sportbike, so the single disc front controlled by the lever is overwhelmed. Eventually I'd like to unlink the front and rear and make the front lever work both front calipers, the way it should be IMHO. But I digress.

Lots of good tips from others on the forum, hope you've got your brakes sorted, cheers.
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#13 10-09-2013, 02:22 PM,
Best way to get a solid brake feel is to:

1-make sure that the caliper pistons are free and moving relatively easy as you compress them
2-make certain that the brake pads are truly flat on both sides, heat can distort them then they act like springs
3-make sure that all moving parts are free to move as they should and are properly lubricated with no drip brake lube
4-make certain that all brake hoses are good and not expanding under pressure, braided stainless hose is best
5-bleed the master cylinder first, then the bleeders, then the topmost brake hose
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of gl1200goldwings.com

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#14 10-09-2013, 03:05 PM,
(10-09-2013, 03:05 PM)admin Wrote: Best way to get a solid brake feel is to:

1-make sure that the caliper pistons are free and moving relatively easy as you compress them
2-make certain that the brake pads are truly flat on both sides, heat can distort them then they act like springs
3-make sure that all moving parts are free to move as they should and are properly lubricated with no drip brake lube
4-make certain that all brake hoses are good and not expanding under pressure, braided stainless hose is best
5-bleed the master cylinder first, then the bleeders, then the topmost brake hose

Excellent advise. I have yet to install SS brake lines on my wing, but know they'd make a difference for sure, especially on these very old lines. Have used these on some of my other bikes with very good results, and they look cool too Cool
I'm sure if one was to read the manual it would say those old rubber lines are long overdue for replacement. Of course this is nothing that hasn't already been written about in other threads within this forum. So much good advise, it really is very much appreciated.
smoothness counts
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#15 10-10-2013, 11:36 PM,


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