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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, need a little advice/help on an issue I experienced today. I took delivery of a 2003 Nomad with 40,7XX miles about 3 weeks ago and not knowing the service history I decided to replace all fluids in the bike (which I typically do with or without service history just for my little peace of mind). While replacing the hydraulic fluids I ran into an issue with the front brakes. I started with the caliper on the left and for some reason I couldn't get my Mity Vac to pull the fluid thru that caliper. I was able to pull the fluid thru the right caliper just fine as well as the rear caliper and the clutch, just not the left front. With repeated attempts unsuccessfully and much search online to see if anyone has experienced this with no luck, lead me to post to the wisdom on this forum hoping someone has an idea or has experienced this as well. While trying to flush that side I would back the bleeder out a good bit thinking that maybe an issue with the bleeder itself (which I haven't ruled that out either), I could see a good bit of the thread of the bleeder so I stopped there since I wasn't making a difference. I would even apply the front brake slightly while my Mity Vac was in place and the bleeder partially open to see if I could force fluid down but no luck. Tapping the caliper and the banjo bolts on the caliper made no difference either while trying to pull the fluid thru with the Mity Vac. I was able to pull the fluid thru the right side of the front and the rear as well as the clutch just not the left front. Any ideas on this?

Thanks
Scott
 

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I wonder if you've got a collapsed hose? I'd try putting pressure on the brake lever and cracking the banjo bolt loose. If you get a squirt of fluid, the problem's in the caliper. If you don't get a squirt, or get a bare dribble, work your way toward the master cylinder, cracking connections until you get a good squirt. That way you can at least narrow things down a bit without replacing things at random.

Other than the bleeder itself, I can't think of a reason that the caliper wouldn't pass fluid. It'll be interesting to hear what you find.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I wonder if you've got a collapsed hose? I'd try putting pressure on the brake lever and cracking the banjo bolt loose. If you get a squirt of fluid, the problem's in the caliper. If you don't get a squirt, or get a bare dribble, work your way toward the master cylinder, cracking connections until you get a good squirt. That way you can at least narrow things down a bit without replacing things at random.

Other than the bleeder itself, I can't think of a reason that the caliper wouldn't pass fluid. It'll be interesting to hear what you find.


Thanks for your insight, I'll give that a try. It may be a few days or maybe even next weekend before I'll have time to dive back into it but will certainly give that a shot. What you are suggesting makes complete sense so hopefully starting at the end point and working my way back to the master cylinder will identify what the root cause is.

Thanks again,
Scott
 

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BOTM Winner, June 2015
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A good way to find out if it's a caliper issue is check your brake pads on both sides. If there is significantly more wear on the right side vs the left, then the caliper on the left isn't engaging properly. They should be the same on both sides.

Edit: After reading what I just posted I realize that I worded this wrong. It wouldn't necessarily show there's a problem with the caliper. But if the pads are wearing the same on both sides then you would know the caliper is functioning properly and there could just be something clogging the bleeder valve. If you pull the bleeder all the way out and squeeze the brake handle and nothing comes out, but loosen the banjo bolt and do the same and you get fluid, that'll give you your answer there.
 

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It's hard to believe that you couldn't force fluid through the bleeder with the brake lever. That's a ton of pressure that wouldn't be held back with some crud. I never say never, but I'd do that, and then like the others have said work your way back. I suppose it's possible you've got a line that's just shot and it's just expanding with the pressure and not forcing fluid through the system. It's a pretty simple system, so you'll get there. Let us know what it ends up being.
 

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If the fluid had never been changed prior its possible and probable that the system has taken on water causing corrosion. The area of the caliper's bleeder valve could have corroded almost closed. Never rule anything out. But I will say that in that scenario, the chances of it happening to just one of the calipers and not the others is unlikely. That being said, and after some digging around and asking some friends their opinions, I agree that it sounds more like a weak line expanding under the pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, got a little time to dig into this again today and identified the issue. I started with the very end point, the bleeder valve. It occurred to me that since the right caliper pulled fluid thru the bleeder valve just fine, why not take that bleeder valve out and swap with the left one. I did that and the left now pulls fluid just fine and now the right does not (right caliper now has the faulty bleeder valve). So now I have Speed Bleeders on order for both the front and rear calipers, might as well change them all while I'm doing it right. Anyway, thanks to all who provided some guidance and feedback.

Scott
 

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Glad you found the problem. Glad it's an easy fix.
 

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Glad you got it figured out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks guys, I too was glad it was an easy fix. More time to do other things like ride it! :)
 
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