Front brake issue - SV1000 Portal
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 31st March 2020, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Front brake issue

The bike is a 2003 N version that I've had since new. It has about 45,000 miles on it.
I've been noticing that I now have to squeeze the front brake lever further before the brakes are activated. I have Chinese Pazzo levers. I used to have the lever in the 1st setting. If I had it there now and kept 2 fingers on the throttle while braking the lever would hit my fingers before I squeezed it as much as I want. I've since moved to the 2nd and now the 3rd setting on the lever.

In an effort to fix this I've rebuilt the calipers and the master cylinder. I used genuine Suzuki parts for both. I also replaced the brake lines with HEL lines. The only original parts are the pads and the rotors and they're both within spec.

Any suggestions?

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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 31st March 2020, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzk321 View Post
The bike is a 2003 N version that I've had since new. It has about 45,000 miles on it.

I've been noticing that I now have to squeeze the front brake lever further before the brakes are activated. I have Chinese Pazzo levers. I used to have the lever in the 1st setting. If I had it there now and kept 2 fingers on the throttle while braking the lever would hit my fingers before I squeezed it as much as I want. I've since moved to the 2nd and now the 3rd setting on the lever.



In an effort to fix this I've rebuilt the calipers and the master cylinder. I used genuine Suzuki parts for both. I also replaced the brake lines with HEL lines. The only original parts are the pads and the rotors and they're both within spec.



Any suggestions?


I see all kinds of issues with cheap aftermarket levers... if you know for sure this is not the issue, sounds like air in the master. Possibly calipers too.

I am not questioning your ability to properly bleed the brakes but I end up fixing this issue multiple times per year after folks rebuild their brake systems or install new lines. Nearly every time it is either air in the master or air trapped in the lower brake piston chambers.

-ms


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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 31st March 2020, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Actually I don't know for sure that the issue isn't the aftermarket levers. But I'm very confident this isn't an issue of air in the system. BTW, the problem seems to be getting worse with time. That is to say I have to change the setting on the lever so that it doesn't hit my fingers.

I've got a spare set of brake pads. I may try installing them just to see if it makes a difference. I can't imagine what else could be causing this.

BTW stopping power is fine and progressive. The only issue is how far I need to squeeze before stopping begins.

Anyway thanks for the reply.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 31st March 2020, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by tzk321 View Post
Actually I don't know for sure that the issue isn't the aftermarket levers. But I'm very confident this isn't an issue of air in the system. BTW, the problem seems to be getting worse with time. That is to say I have to change the setting on the lever so that it doesn't hit my fingers.

I've got a spare set of brake pads. I may try installing them just to see if it makes a difference. I can't imagine what else could be causing this.

BTW stopping power is fine and progressive. The only issue is how far I need to squeeze before stopping begins.

Anyway thanks for the reply.

If you still have the stock levers, you could just swap out levers for a simple experiment to see if they are causing/contributing to the issue.


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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 31st March 2020, 04:43 AM
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Front brake issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by tzk321 View Post
Actually I don't know for sure that the issue isn't the aftermarket levers. But I'm very confident this isn't an issue of air in the system. BTW, the problem seems to be getting worse with time. That is to say I have to change the setting on the lever so that it doesn't hit my fingers.



I've got a spare set of brake pads. I may try installing them just to see if it makes a difference. I can't imagine what else could be causing this.



BTW stopping power is fine and progressive. The only issue is how far I need to squeeze before stopping begins.



Anyway thanks for the reply.

Many owners have told me they were confident their systems were bled properly also...

I always go through a very specific sequence to bleed and it works every time. Just pumping at the lever will not get all the air out. I have to burp conventional type masters and do a special sequence of things at the caliper to assure all air is purged. If you started with a full rebuild and system dry, it is very difficult to get the last bits of air out.

Make sure one of your rotors has not tuned into a Belleville washer either or that that pads have not worn in a wedge.

-ms


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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 31st March 2020, 05:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I always go through a very specific sequence to bleed and it works every time.

-ms
I'd love to try this. What's the sequence that you use?

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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 31st March 2020, 05:47 AM
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Front brake issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by tzk321 View Post
I'd love to try this. What's the sequence that you use?


First off make sure your rotors and the other stuff is up to spec. Levers functioning the same as OEMs, Correct brake fluid, calipers clean, master properly cleaned and no blocked passages, rotors straight, bottoms are all free so ring can properly float, rotor ring is not a Belleville washer, pads are not worn like a wedge.

If I had your bike in the shop as it sits, this is what I would do.

Burp the master:
Set lever to the furthest out position possible
Grab a spare clip on bar and remove master and mount to a spare bar.
Holding the master in close to the way it would mount onto the bike, (horizontal to floor) pump a few times and hold pressure.
Now tilt the bar in a way that it would be like you just knocked the bike over on the left side while holding pressure.
Now with bar straight pointing at the ceiling smack the end of the bar that is pointing up with the back end of a big screw driver or similar.
Now rotate bar so it is about 45 degrees from horizontal and release lever. (How it would be if you were full lean in a corner)
Now grab the end of the lever and pump it in and 3 or 4 times rapidly.
Hold bar horizontal to floor and pump a few times.
Repeat a few times.
Remount brake master.

This process works the air bubbles that get caught in the spiral of the piston back into draw section of the master and a bubble or two will burp out into the reservoir line.


Once this is completed I move to the calipers. Make sure all brake pistons are clean and free to move and scrub with soap and water around each piston.
Set fluid level in reservoir
Pull one caliper off and remove pads
Hook up a hose to the bleeder and zip tie the line so a loop stays in the line and then drains into some container.
Hold caliper at the angles and such to approximate how it would mount if the bike was vertical.
Crack bleeder open
While holding the caliper, now hold the upper pistons from extending and simultaneously squeeze in the lower 2 pistons.
Now hold the lower pistons in, and squeeze the upper pistons in at the same time.
Close bleeder
Slide pads in temporarily
Pump master until all pistons have equally extended and pads are squeezed together.
Repeat this three times
Install pads
Install caliper and torque to spec.
Now repeat on the other caliper.
Now pump up brakes
Bleed once at each caliper bleeder to eject any little bit of air left at the bleeder.
Fill fluid.

This process forces air that has been trapped in the lower piston bores to move to the upper bores and then squeezed out through the bleed way. I often get a tiny little area of tiny bubbles that come out, rather than seeing just one big bubble.

This is also the process I recommend for flushing brake fluid. Think about bleeding in fresh fluid. It just comes in from the banjo and out the near by bleeder without actually purging out the nasty fluid that is stagnant in the piston bores. I have done this on “freshly flushed” brake systems before and gotten super stinky jelled up fluid coming out of the calipers.

Hopefully this is helpful.
-ms
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 31st March 2020, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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This is great information. Thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed answer.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 4th April 2020, 05:44 PM
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Great detailed description how to get a rid of those bubbles trapped in. Remember when my friend helped me bleed clutch master..we had to lean bike to 45° to get air outta system
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 10th April 2020, 11:02 PM
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Fast, easy brake and clutch flushing and bleeding

do all of my brakes with a bleeder kit that has a syringe with fitting for the bleeder. Suck most of the fluid from the reservoir. Fill the syringe with fresh fluid and put it on the bleeder. Air floats to the top of the syringe, of course. Crack the bleeder, inject the fluid with the syringe until the reservoir is at the right level.

So quick and easy, I actually do 8 brakes and two clutches every year in about 30mins with zero air problems. Not sure it works with ABS, though, due to check valves.
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 21st April 2020, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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I'm pretty sure I've identified the problem: the aftermarket brake lever.
I'll know for sure in about a week when the replacement parts arrive.

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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 23rd April 2020, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzk321 View Post
I'm pretty sure I've identified the problem: the aftermarket brake lever.
I'll know for sure in about a week when the replacement parts arrive.
Interested to hear what you determine since my knock off pazzos had to originally be set at position 3 because there was some squish in the travel, but I figured that was due to old fluid turning to jelly or some air in the lines. Just finished rebuilding the calipers and master cyl, and bleeding according to schmidt314's instructions in his signature. I never thought I would see the day that I could confidently use the lever at the closest position.

Side note regarding levers, I did find out that there is a brass bushing required on the clutch lever. The PO of my bike didn't transfer it from the OEM one, and I didn't figure it out until I kept finding aluminum shavings on the plastics. The clutch mc plunger was grinding away at the inside of the lever. If you didn't install the aftermarket levers yourself, it is worth checking.

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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 23rd April 2020, 05:04 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the latest:
I brought my bike to the local Suzuki shop to have a pro mechanic take a look. His opinion is that there's nothing wrong with the brake. This is despite the fact that on the 3 closest lever settings the lever can touch the bar when squeezed.

Tonight I received an OEM lever. I was optimistic that this would solve the problem but it didn't. It's a shame the site won't accept mp4 files so you can all see.

Next step is to replace the entire cylinder assembly. If that still doesn't solve it I'll replace the hoses too. I have HEL stainless steel hoses installed but they're about 15 years old and might be contributing to the problem.

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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 24th April 2020, 02:16 AM
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tzk321 I'm now having nearly the exact same problem as you. I went for a ~100 mile spirited ride today with the rebuilt brakes, and they felt better than ever at first, but by the end of the ride they were back to mush. Now my lever will touch the bar in the first three settings as well. Going to try bleeding the system again as a temp fix,but it seems like air is getting back in the system somewhere. I will update if I find anything.

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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 24th April 2020, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, penguin. I'll do the same. In the meantime let's see if we have anything in common.

mileage: ~50,000 miles
speed bleeders on the calipers?: Yes
clutch issues?: None
aftermarket levers?: Chinese Pazzo knockoffs but I tried the OEM and it made no difference.
stainless steel brake hoses: HEL brand installed ~15 years ago.

Things tried so far:
flushed brake lines
rebuilt calipers
rebuilt master cylinder
replaced brake pads
checked to see that rotors are within spec

Tomorrow I plan to replace the whole cylinder assembly. I'll let you know if that helps.

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