Lost my front brakes and I really miss them. Got any ideas? - Yamaha FJR Forum : Yamaha FJR Owners Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Lost my front brakes and I really miss them. Got any ideas?

Hi all,

I purchased a 2006 FJR last fall, and it had been behind on some maintenance items that I have been working on catching up on. One of those was brake fluid flush. I researched the procedure and was going to start with the front brake circuit, left caliper as prescribed, but I decided to test the ABS activation first just to see if I could cycle it and make it work. It did activate and I felt the pulsations in the hand and foot levers, so I thought I was good to go. Then I sucked the brake fluid out of the front master cylinder, filled it with new fluid, cracked the left front caliper bleeder and put a vacuum on it with my mityvac. It did not seem to be drawing fluid from the master cylinder, and was drawing a heavy vacuum all the way down to its max of around -28"Hg and barely getting a dribble out of the line.

I thought maybe the bleeder had some debris, so I switched to the rear brake circuit, and successfully bled the lower front caliper and rear caliper without issue. Then I took one of the known good bleeders from the rear circuit and swapped it with the front circuit. Still could not get anything out of the front. I tried both the left and right side calipers this time, and even completely removed the bleeder and tried to pull the brake lever. Nothing came out even with the bleeder fully removed. The lever feel is VERY firm, and it is not going anywhere close to the bars. I had the bike on the center stand and had the wife lean on the back to raise the front tire off the ground, spun the front wheel and tried to apply the brake. It would not even stop the wheel like that. The rear brake still worked and would apply it's portion of the linked brake to the front wheel to stop it though.

I did notice if I use two hands and way more force than should be necessary, I can get the lever to come to the handlebar eventually (slowly), and if I hold it there and crack a bleeder I get the ever so lightest dribble out of the front bleeder, but on the next pull it's just as hard to pull again.

Prior to this, the front brake worked great without issue. The only reason I was performing this flush was to catch up on some neglected maintenance from the previous owner, but now I have no front brakes at all. I NEED front brakes.

I am suspecting something related to the ABS causing this issue, but I would like to discuss it further and get some other ideas before tearing into that system, which I am not too sure about to begin with. I do not wish to throw darts at it and replace parts without being able to confirm the root cause. Can anybody help me out? What would you do next.

Brake fluid used was Castrol synthetic DOT 4.

Thanks in advance!
Kevin
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 07:16 AM
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I would cycle the ABS 3 or 4 more times then I would CAREFULLY crack open fittings starting at the reservoir and see if I have fluid flowing. If no, buy a master cylinder kit. If yes, move to the next fitting. Maybe you just have a damaged or kinked hose. I'd not bother with calipers yet, chances are all are not stuck unless something was reassembled wrong.

Russ
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 08:32 AM
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As Russ suggested but just be careful of getting the brake fluid on any painted surfaces, keep a squirt bottle of water handy to quickly flush off any brake fluid that gets on something painted.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passx View Post
As Russ suggested but just be careful of getting the brake fluid on any painted surfaces, keep a squirt bottle of water handy to quickly flush off any brake fluid that gets on something painted.
Drug store rubbing alcohol is the best cheapest quick remedy for brake fluid.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 12:09 PM
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It is a bit unusual to have blockage in the fronts, usually if there are ABS issues, it's the rears.....

Taking a wild guess that the ABS pump has not been cycled regularly to prevent issues, you have "clotted" old fluid in the ABS pump circuit, which you may have moved along to the regular brake lines when you did the ABS cycle. You may have a blockage (likely closer to the pump than upstream).

I'd say cycle that ABS some more (multiple times, attempting bleeds in between attempts), see if the blockage moves along and eventually makes it to a caliper. You CAN if you wish, loosen the fittings at the ABS pump, pump the brakes to ensure no air is trapped there and perhaps it will be enough to push things along. Other than that, I know of nothing else except to flush the lines with a solvent..... rubbing alcohol won't hurt anything but is the best thing to clean up brake fluid spills, etc. so should help dissolve a clot. You could try Seafoam (contains naptha as well as rubbing alcohol), as naptha is a mild slow-acting solvent. Acetone (or other harsh chemicals) to me seems a little harsh, may affect the linings of rubber brake lines or caliper seals or rubber bits in the master cylinder... last resort. If going there, I'd get a master cylinder kit and caliper seal kit and once you have everything flushed with new fluid, replace all that rubber stuff. Being an '06, won't hurt to do that anyway, it's getting old.
Be prepared to spend some time on this to give the solvents time to work. Another thought, remove the fittings at the ABS pump, including the proportioning valve and metering valve (which modulate fluid flow to the rear brakes), shoot alcohol in with a syringe via a bleeder screw one at a time until you have nothing but alcohol flowing in each line...... have lots of alcohol on hand, cheap at Walmart, use it to clean and rinse stuff off as you go.
All the brake lines lead to the ABS pump before they go to the calipers...... kee[ us posted on what you try, and what success if any you have, maybe we'll come up with something else.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everybody who has responded so far. I went out and cracked the banjo fittings loose at the ABS pump. First the line from the pump to the front calipers. Nothing, just like at the caliper. Then I cracked the line from the Front Master Cylinder to the ABS pump, and plenty of brake fluid flowing as you would expect. This confirms my fear that the blockage is in the ABS system.

So since I seem to be in the lucky minority of FJR owners with front brake issues, my follow up questions I guess at this point are:

1. Can the ABS module be torn down/rebuilt/cleaned (aside from the previously mentioned soaking it in place)?

2. If it can't be fixed, what model years are interchangeable for replacement? I see lots for sale on ebay, but some say 06-07 are different than 08+, and others list 06-12 as compatible? I understand they made improvements in the 08 model year, but would the ABS unit be backward compatible?

3. Is there a, easy(ish) way to link the two banjo fittings together at the ABS block and bypass the front ABS circuit altogether? I could live without ABS for a bit, better than not riding.

4. Am I overlooking anything else?

Thanks again,
Kevin
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 10:31 PM
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The only compatable ABS pumps are '06-07, all others were different systems. There is no way I could see to disassemble the ABS block..... have a spare one here, can't claim it is a good one, but if you had the block on a bench, try squirting some solvent in each port.... here you could probably use something stronger like Acetone.
However, while it is still on the bike, try activating the ABS several times as a few had success clearing blockages that way. Has to be left on the bike as it will need a supply of fluid to "push" whatever.....
PS - put your location in your profile...

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 06:39 AM
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I would use only alcohol to clean any brake parts or a brake specific cleaner, naptha or my other mineral based solvent will attack & ruin the brake fluid seals. It’ll turn your o’rings into large donuts that will literally fall apart. And it only takes a drop or less to do that.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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I cycled the pump on the bike at least 2 dozen times, with no clearing of the blockage. Even tried wrapping on the ABS block with a hammer while it was cycling, still no success. I am in the process of removing it from the bike now (what a pain), and I ordered a used one from ebay. Will probably be another week or more before much more changes with this situation, but I will update as it goes.

Do you think Brake Cleaner solvent would be acceptable? Not being a smartass, I know it's a strong solvent, just not sure if it would mess up seals or not? Technically should be designed for brakes, right?

I will see if I can fiddle with it on the bench once I get it off the bike.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adventure_Kevin View Post
I cycled the pump on the bike at least 2 dozen times, with no clearing of the blockage. Even tried wrapping on the ABS block with a hammer while it was cycling, still no success. I am in the process of removing it from the bike now (what a pain), and I ordered a used one from ebay. Will probably be another week or more before much more changes with this situation, but I will update as it goes.

Do you think Brake Cleaner solvent would be acceptable? Not being a smartass, I know it's a strong solvent, just not sure if it would mess up seals or not? Technically should be designed for brakes, right?

I will see if I can fiddle with it on the bench once I get it off the bike.
Do you have anything to lose? I have used it a few times. I'm always careful to hose it off quickly.

Jim
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