ABS Brakes & Bleeding?? - Victory Forums - Victory Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Default ABS Brakes & Bleeding??

I've noticed on my '13 XC that the front brake will "pump up". The lever isn't soft and the brakes function fine but as I put miles on the bike and get more and more in tune with it (800 miles so far) it's become apparent that the front brake probably needs to be bled. But since I have zero experience with ABS I need to know if this is an ABS thing or do they really need to be bled. If it's a foible of ABS then I can live with it, if not then I'll bleed the brakes but before I do is there anything that can bite me by bleeding ABS brakes, i.e. can I screw this up or is it just a brake bleed?

I'd ask the dealership but they're worthless and can barely spell bike let alone Victory.
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post #2 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 11:21 AM
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Here is something you can try that may work to eliminate the pumping of the front brake. I discovered this when I changed my front brake pads.

Pull your pads and push the pistons back into the caliber. After you do that pump the handle to reseat the pads. After I pushed in the pistons my hand brake has been nice and firm with no need to pump it.

I think there is a spot in the lines that gets an air bubble that just does not clear with bleeding the brakes but when you push in the pistons it forces that air bubble up into the master cylinder eliminating the air in the line.
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post #3 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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The theory sounds plausible but it would be easier to bleed the brakes than to remove the calipers, remove the pads and then depress the pistons all the way up into the calipers.

I'm just trying to determine if the tendency to pump up is a normal thing on the ABS brakes or if it's a symptom of air in the lines. I'm inclined to think it's the latter rather than the former but I don't want to screw something up out of ignorance.

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post #4 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 11:53 AM
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Your break lever should have travel in it. I don't understand why you think you need to bleed your breaks. Pull your cap off the master cylinder and see how full it is.
If your just worried how far the lever travels adjust it to what you like. Read owners book on how to adjust it. What does your break pads look like. If you have done any changes with the break lines I doughty you have air in the lines.

If you think you have air in the line turn your bars to left. Cover the tank now pull the cap and Very very slowly pull the lever. Only pull the lever a 1/8" no more. Do this a couple times. Reason only a 1/8" is so you don't push the air back down the line.
If you see air bubbles come up then you have air in line. No bubbles no air and its good,

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post #5 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 11:54 AM
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You can easily compress the piston by hand without removing anything. Also, do not press the brake lever without the pads installed.
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post #6 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the issue: Pull up to a stop sign using the front brake. Once stopped pump the lever twice and there is a noticeable decrease in travel. Release the brake and count to five then pull the lever once and note the travel. Pump twice again and the travel is decreased again.

This is why I'm suspecting air in the system. I do agree that I should probably pull the master cylinder cap and look inside. It's not like the shop did any pre delivery inspection on this or anything.

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post #7 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Foto Joe View Post
Here's the issue: Pull up to a stop sign using the front brake. Once stopped pump the lever twice and there is a noticeable decrease in travel. Release the brake and count to five then pull the lever once and note the travel. Pump twice again and the travel is decreased again.

This is why I'm suspecting air in the system. I do agree that I should probably pull the master cylinder cap and look inside. It's not like the shop did any pre delivery inspection on this or anything.
I was only telling you what worked for me. I used my brake bleeding machine to bleed the brakes and never could get rid of having to pump the handle for a firm brake feel. I also gravity bleed the brakes with the same lack of results. Only pushing in the pistons did the brake become firm and no longer requires pumping the handle which tells me somewhere in the line was a air bubble that bleeding could not get out but by pushing the pistons into the calipers seemed to have pushed the air bubble out and up into the master cylinder.

The pads come out of the top of the calipers without having to remove the calipers. Also it is only two bolts that hold the calipers on so it is a not a hard job to remove the pads or the calipers. The Victory service manual says you may have to crack a line to bleed air that gets trapped at the fitting as well. If it was me I would try pushing the pistons back in and see if that corrects your issue.
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Last edited by Victory 1; 03-13-2014 at 12:41 PM.
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post #8 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Got it. All it takes is a little bubble to get hung up somewhere really doesn't it. I'll play around with it and see what happens. I was mainly inquiring simply because I didn't know if there were any special considerations that applied to ABS brakes and bleeding.

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post #9 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 02:59 PM
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Got it. All it takes is a little bubble to get hung up somewhere really doesn't it. I'll play around with it and see what happens. I was mainly inquiring simply because I didn't know if there were any special considerations that applied to ABS brakes and bleeding.
Just a note from the Victory service manual, they say to bleed the left front caliper first then bleed the right front caliper.
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post #10 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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I suppose the reasoning is that it's the farthest from the master cylinder.

I was out running around town with the wife yesterday and I can say that now that I've noticed the "pumping" issue with the front brake it really is annoying. It doesn't bleed down like a brake that has a bad master cylinder or caliper but it only takes one little pump to really feel the difference. I caught myself double tapping the front brake every time I reached for it and that's not a good habit. It kind of reminds me of my old '62 Volkswagen kit car, every time I stepped on the brake on that old beater it was pump twice then step on the brake. The only difference being that on that one if I held the pedal it would eventually wind up on the floor.

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