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Basic Brake Fluid Exchange

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Roughly every 6,000 miles I like to change out my brake fluid on my bikes. They see high heat being close to the motor, and the lines are considerably shorter than a car. Basically my favorite way and in my opinion the cleanest less messy way is a handheld vacuum pump. They're not to expensive and you can find them at any auto parts store. Depending on your motorcycle there may be different hand tools needed, but basically they're all the same.

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For the LC BMW's you'll be using all Torques bits and a box wrench for the caliper bleeder valves

 

1. Start by removing the screws or cap on the front brake master cylinder cover.

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2. Set up your vacuum pump as shown in the manual. My Autozone pump has markings showing which end goes to the pump and which goes to the sucking end. 

 

3. Place a towel under the handle bar so as to keep fluid from dripping onto the plastic pieces below.

 

4. Suck out the old fluid from the reservoir and pour in the new fluid up to the full line. 

(Note: Make sure you screw the cap back on the brake fluid bottle each time, brake fluid absorbs moisture very easily.) 

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4. Connect the vacuum pump sucking end to one of the front brake caliper bleeder valves.

(Note: Depending on model, you always want to start with the furthest down the line caliper. My bike has a Y on the triple clamp so both calipers are a equal distance from the master cylinder, in this instance which side doesn't matter.)

 

5. Start to pump the tool and build vacuum, use your box wrench to open up the bleeder valve. Once fluid starts to come out, continually watch the reservoir and top it off as the level lowers.

 

6. When you see new fluid coming out of the vacuum tube close the bleeder valve and your done with that side. Repeat the same steps for the other side. 

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Basically the rear brake system is the same. Most rear brake reservoirs are remote from the master cylinder. What I did was unscrew the reservoir and poured out the old fluid rather than suck it out with the vacuum pump.

 

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Things to keep in mind.

 

  • Don't ever loosen the bleeder screw without having the vacuum pump on the nipple and vacuum built up.
  • Once a bottle of brake fluid is open it needs to be used that day. Like I said above, brake fluid is very good at absorbing moisture right our of the air and if left out even with the cap on it'll get contaminated.
  • Brake fluid will eat paint if you leave it on your bike for to long!! Don't worry if it drips on something, just wipe it off as soon as possible.
  • Make sure you use the right fluid for your bike! DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 5, DOT 5.1. Check your manual for what's required, because you can destroy everything in the brake system including your ABS. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dot 3,4 and 5.1 are compatible, however DOT 5 is a completely different base and will gum up when mixed with the other fluids.

 

while you are at it you can also bleed out the clutch line if you have a hydraulic clutch as it is essentially the same tools and materials.  Just be aware that some hydraulic clutches use mineral oil instead of brake fluid(THIS MEANS YOU KTM).  So check the reservoir lid/manual to verify.

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Yeah I didn't include the clutch because my GS's clutch bleeder valve is behind the block and extremely hard to get to. I've been putting it off until my 12,000 mile service. I'll do a write up on the valve shimming too.

 

The different brake fluids are compatible but they have their differences. I use what's labeled and nothing else.

Edited by Rogers
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