Brake flush (and bleeding brakes) on GTS
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Banned
29,000 miles on my atlantic pastel green 2007 GTS 250
Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 4332
Location: Utah Valley
Sun May 10, 2009 5:59 pm quote
This needs to be done every two years, so today was for maintenance, not riding.

The GTS was overdue for the brake flush. I decided not to spend half a fortune for a fancy vacuum bleeding tool (MITYvac) that I would need once every two years, but to get the $2.99 One Man Brake Bleeder Kit from HarborFreight. You'll see it in the pictures below. It is a small bottle to collect the flushed fluid and a connector hose to the brake caliper. Details later.
Other MV members have done this with a clear hose and a jar at the end of it, makeshift.

For tools, you will need:
(17mm wrench to remove a wind screen, if you have one installed. It makes access to the next step much easier)
2.5mm hex to remove the brake covers on the headset.
A Phillips screwdriver to open the brake fluid reservoirs
some masking tape
an 8mm wrench for the front and
a 10mm wrench for the rear bleed nipple.

Let's begin.


Removing the brake covers. The workshop manual says to also remove the mirrors, which I didn't do and it is not necessary, if you just keep the cover out of the way with a piece of masking tape, as seen in the next picture.


I used this little funnel to not mess up the paint with brake fluid (it is said to be aggressive). In spite of all this precaution, I messed up big time, with brake fluid running down the front fairing and into the right knee pad. Stress! I rushed to wipe it off and it looks like there was no damage. Phew!


This is the culprit. A lousy bottle for dripless pouring. It is best to empty it half way (you won't need more than half), then it is much better to pour from it. They say not to use brake fluid from an opened container, so it doesn't make sense to save it for the next flush in two years ($5 for the bottle, DOT-4 classification)


This shows the bleeding kit, set up for the front wheel. The bottle has a little magnet and I attached it to the brake disc, so it sits as low as possible.
The upper end of the hose goes into a black plastic adapter which then gets squeezed into the bleeding nipple. This part proved to be not well designed, the cone is too coarse, it keeps slipping out and not seal well. I removed it later and pushed the hose directly onto the nipple. Much better!

This is interesting: the pain-in-the-ass instructions I got here on MV require to
1. open nipple (unscrew a bit from hand tight)
2. squeeze brake lever
3. close nipple
4. release brake lever
5. open nipple again
6. squeeze brake lever again,
7. and so on, keeping an eye on the fluid level in the reservoir (never let it get to the bottom, this will induce air into the hose!) and also watching the hose for no more bubbles coming in case you are bleeding the system, or for the new (cleaner?) brake fluid to come out, to tell you that you have flushed the entire system.

For bleeding the system, it will be necessary to do it that way (and a second person will be a great help for this One Man Bleeding Kit), but for just flushing an airless system, I found that gravity will do the job just fine: open the bleeding nipple, watch fluid go through the hose, and keep an eye on the reservoir level. It will go slowly, so you can keep control all by yourself. And no brake lever squeezing necessary!
Close the nipple before the reservoir fluid level reaches the bottom, refill fluid into the reservoir, open the nipple again, repeat this simple pattern until you think you flushed the full system.


This is the amount I let come out (after refilling the reservoir a few times) and I think it was way more than required. One or two refills for the front and maybe one more for the rear system appear to be sufficient. Other opinions are welcome.

It helps if your old fluid is dirty, to see when it was flushed completely. My front system was clear like new, the rear was darker, but still clear.


This is the bottle setup on the rear brake.


This is the final fluid level in the reservoir, before you close it again and be done.

I recommend to test the brake function before you close all the lids and covers. It should feel like or better than before, with a definite resistance before the brake lever can touch the handle bar. It appears that the rear brake will give more than the front, probably due to the longer hose and more chance for the hose to expand a bit under pressure.

Somehow I made a wrong decision when I deliberately introduced air into the system, hoping it would clearly indicate when I had completed a flush. After I was done, the brake lever went all the way to the left handle bar, so I still had air in the system. Now I had to do the above pain-in-the-ass procedure, which I still could have done by myself, reaching both the lever and the nipple, but it was a great help to have Salima do the lever part. After I was sure to have all the air out, the lever felt fine in its travel and I finished up.

A point to watch out for if you do the PITA procedure: there may be brake fluid seeping out from the bottom of the bleeding nipple. If you don't clean this up periodically, it may run down behind the caliper where you can't reach. So, keep an eye on this.

The next time the whole procedure will be easier, and Salima's GTS is due in August.
Member
Fly 150
Joined: 21 Apr 2009
Posts: 6
Location: A short scooter ride away ...
Mon May 11, 2009 5:22 am quote
Two things I might add to this.
1. When you buy brake fluid, it's always a good idea to let it sit on your work bench for 24 hours before using it. This can reduce some of the air bubbles in the fluid. Don't shake it.

2. Save a bag from the dry cleaners. You can use it to cover up parts of the bike that you don't want to spill brake fluid on. When you're done, throw out the bag.
Enthusiast
GTV, LX50, Italjet Formula, MANA 850
Joined: 22 Jun 2008
Posts: 78
Location: Royal Oak, Michigan
Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:08 pm quote
how to know when you are fully bled...
I find that by alternating ATE super blue and type 200 amber fluids when I flush the cars or bikes it is easy to know when you have cleared the lines - as you have to just wait until the fluid at the caliper turns blue, or amber - depending on what you used previously.

The two products are identical other than color.

Mike
Banned
29,000 miles on my atlantic pastel green 2007 GTS 250
Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 4332
Location: Utah Valley
Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:12 pm quote
Re: how to know when you are fully bled...
mikelevitt wrote:
I find that by alternating ATE super blue and type 200 amber fluids when I flush the cars or bikes it is easy to know when you have cleared the lines - as you have to just wait until the fluid at the caliper turns blue, or amber - depending on what you used previously.

The two products are identical other than color.

Mike
Cool idea. I might try this with some Grenadine as a starter liquid
Enthusiast
GTV, LX50, Italjet Formula, MANA 850
Joined: 22 Jun 2008
Posts: 78
Location: Royal Oak, Michigan
Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:14 pm quote
Re: how to know when you are fully bled...
windbreaker wrote:
mikelevitt wrote:
I find that by alternating ATE super blue and type 200 amber fluids when I flush the cars or bikes it is easy to know when you have cleared the lines - as you have to just wait until the fluid at the caliper turns blue, or amber - depending on what you used previously.

The two products are identical other than color.

Mike
Cool idea. I might try this with some Grenadine as a starter liquid
Definitely tastes better but stops worse that way...
Banned
29,000 miles on my atlantic pastel green 2007 GTS 250
Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 4332
Location: Utah Valley
Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:25 pm quote
Re: how to know when you are fully bled...
mikelevitt wrote:
windbreaker wrote:
mikelevitt wrote:
I find that by alternating ATE super blue and type 200 amber fluids when I flush the cars or bikes it is easy to know when you have cleared the lines - as you have to just wait until the fluid at the caliper turns blue, or amber - depending on what you used previously.

The two products are identical other than color.

Mike
Cool idea. I might try this with some Grenadine as a starter liquid
Definitely tastes better but stops worse that way...
Not sure. They would be one sweet set of brakes!
Hooked
GTS 250 i.e. "Silver Bullet"
Joined: 13 Apr 2010
Posts: 357
Location: Norcross, GA
Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:37 am quote
MODS
Mods, Can we please make this a Wiki article?
Rock Star
BMW R1200GS 'The Toilet'
Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 8747
Location: County Down, Northern Ireland
Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:46 am quote
Re: MODS
atlgts wrote:
Mods, Can we please make this a Wiki article?
[ Wiki moderator hat on ] ANYONE can write a wiki article. Including you. Why don't you try it? [ /Wiki moderator hat off]

Just hit the "new page" button at the bottom of the Wiki and do a bit of cutting and pasting. If you have trouble creating links, come back to us and I am sure one of us can help....
Hooked
GTS 250 i.e. "Silver Bullet"
Joined: 13 Apr 2010
Posts: 357
Location: Norcross, GA
Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:59 am quote
Cool! I'll do it!
Banned
29,000 miles on my atlantic pastel green 2007 GTS 250
Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 4332
Location: Utah Valley
Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:46 am quote
Thank you! I'm such a clutz when it comes to wiki. I'm much better just starting a thread and doing the write-up and pictures.
Hooked
GTS 250 i.e. "Silver Bullet"
Joined: 13 Apr 2010
Posts: 357
Location: Norcross, GA
Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:11 pm quote
I've created the article, and given credit where it's due (to Windbreaker). How do I get this tagged to show up under the GTS section, vs. just in the general Wiki?
Rock Star
BMW R1200GS 'The Toilet'
Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 8747
Location: County Down, Northern Ireland
Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:29 pm quote
atlgts wrote:
I've created the article, and given credit where it's due (to Windbreaker). How do I get this tagged to show up under the GTS section, vs. just in the general Wiki?
Thanks. Done that.

How you do it is open your article and click edit so you can see the article slug which looks like this
wiki-gts-brake-fluid-flush
If you edit the page where you want to link from you can insert the link between square brackets like so
[wiki-gts-brake-fluid-flush]
and it will then link to your article.

I have added it here: Maintenance Procedures if you click on the edit page button on that page you will see how I added it.
Rock Star
BMW R1200GS 'The Toilet'
Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 8747
Location: County Down, Northern Ireland
Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:44 pm quote
windbreaker wrote:
Thank you! I'm such a clutz when it comes to wiki. I'm much better just starting a thread and doing the write-up and pictures.
Seriously Arno, writing an article is as easy as writing a thread. Just click on the new page button on the main Wiki page. And write away. One of the Wikimods or Mods can do the linking if you're not sure how.

The only complicated bit is pics. If you want to UPLOAD pics rather than just linking to them offsite, then you need to upload them into the discussion thread on the article. We do recommend that you upload the pics to MV so that they don't disappear!
Banned
29,000 miles on my atlantic pastel green 2007 GTS 250
Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 4332
Location: Utah Valley
Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:45 pm quote
Thank you atlgts, and thank you Doug. You give me hope that maybe even I can do it
Hooked
GTS 250 i.e. "Silver Bullet"
Joined: 13 Apr 2010
Posts: 357
Location: Norcross, GA
Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:37 pm quote
No problem! I'm in the IT business, so it's pretty intuitive to em, but i think you can easily master this, given the quality of your how-to posts...
Hooked
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: 22 Dec 2008
Posts: 434

Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:39 am quote
Quote:
but for just flushing an airless system, I found that gravity will do the job just fine: open the bleeding nipple, watch fluid go through the hose, and keep an eye on the reservoir level. It will go slowly, so you can keep control all by yourself. And no brake lever squeezing necessary!
This is the same thing the Piaggio rep said during the tech session at Amerivespa.

Another interesting bit of info - he said a few years ago they had a problem with the master cylinders on the GT 200's. The manufacturer wasn't threading the holes for the master cyl. cover deep enough, causing the tops to not be screwed down completely. This caused brake fluid to leak during shipping and headset covers were getting ruined before the scooters ever came out of the shipping crates.
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