Front brakes went wierd

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Aug 25, 2000
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#1
I have a '99 220. On a ride yesterday, I noticed that my front brakes didn't feel right. I'm not sure if I can describe it, but I'll try. The lever feels sorta spongy, and it makes a squeek when it depresses the little plunger in. It also feels like my initial bite when I first apply the brakes is gone, I can still lock up the front tire, but I have to squeeze harder to do it.

The bike has about 50 hours on it.

Any ideas?

-JeffR
 
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Sep 18, 2000
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#2
Sounds like a possible air bubble in the hydraulics. As a first step, regardless of whatever the problem turns out to be, it wouldn't hurt to do a break bleed. If that's the problem, it saves you a lot of potentially unnecessary work.
 
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#3
Changing the fluid is important. It has a limited life span, say 6 months.
Clean the rubber in the MC cap & make sure the breather hole is clear.

Also the piston in the calliper gets seized. Take the calliper off the forkleg & pump it out a bit. (Remove pads). Wipe around it & gently evenly push it back in place. Make sure the sliding part of the calliper is smooth. On an older bike than yours I would strip the calliper as a matter of course. Check to see if the pads are worn evenly & the pins they slide on aren’t too grooved.

Check the disc isn’t warped while you are at it. (wire taped top fork leg almost touching disc & spin wheel).
 
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Apr 27, 2001
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#4
I guess yesterday was a bad day for front brakes! I bled mine the night before and adjusted my brake lever screw so that it engaged earlier. In between (bleeds) I made sure to pump it up good. When I was done it felt great. About 20 minutes into my ride the next day I noticed I was really fighting the bike in the rocky terrain. Then I found myself on a tight powdery corner and my front end washed right out like I was on ice. When I picked the bike up I could barley push it because the front brake was engaged. Ended up loosening up the screw.

The thing I can't understand is why did it change from the night before. And what can I do to make the lever engage earlier. The problem I have with it adjusted as is, is that I have to abandon the grip all together with all four fingers to get a good pull on it...otherwise it bottoms out on my other fingers. My brake still feels a little mooshy even after bleeding three times. :eek:
 
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Jan 26, 2001
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#5
I have no idea....

but it could be an altitude issue, with the locking brakes, or it could be the Temp change.....?
 
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#6
i assume that you checked that the pads are still in good shape, also check the pins that hold the pads in place they can get notched pretty bad and either hang the brake up or give strange braking, mine were notched so bad i had to change the pins i went for the aftermarket ones made from hardend metal, "less likely to notch" , also dont forget to put a bit of anti-seize on the threads, it will save a bunch of headaches later as these pins are famous for breaking and having to be drilled out.
 
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#7
Flyinfish, ‘fraid you made the classic mistake of adjusting the bolt until the piston just or just about covers the return hole in the master cylinder. The same thing can happen when you put the wrong type of lever on.

To remove sponginess you have to replace the part that is giving (compressing or expanding). New fluid through the system & if that doesn’t yield satisfactory results then it is probably time to replace the old rubber brake hose with a nice after market braided one (should be sheathed on a dirt bike to avoid abrasion). My KDX one still seems ok but my old Yam went from to the bars to respectable.
 
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#8
Thanks for your suggestions!

Thanks guys,

Associate, I think you were on to something the only thing that changed between home and where we went riding was altitude and temperature.

Woj thanks for you imput I took the caliper apart successfully (no broken pins) thanks to your warnings.

Lastly David, I have to admit that I didn't think replacing the brake line would be necessary, however that's the last thing I have to do and I've yet to make a significant difference in the mooshyness. When I hold the rubber brake line while actuating the brake, I can feel it expand and retract. I guess with so little fluid, such a small piston to displace the fluid, and 2-3 feet of rubber I guess it's possible.

One more thing, where would I get a steel braided brake line?

Thanks again,

T.J.