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iABS Bleeding on 2002 R1150RT-P


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I apologize in advance, I know somewhere in the >1000 hits I get while trying advance searches my answer is already posted...but after an hour of searching I can't find it.


Can someone point me to a post or article explaining what's different about the basic bleeding of iABS brakes from ABS2 or any other brake system? I've seen lots of articles about problems, I know (I think) how to usually bleed brake systems, and when I look in Clymer's they say take it to a dealer...and my dealer wants $401 in labor, not including cost of fluid! I know there are auxilliary pumps...should I be turning on the bike to activate the pumps while otherwise trying to bleed the brakes? Do I HAVE to pull the tank and get to the ABS unit, or can I bleed from the handlebar right to the front brakes?


Shortest story: After an aborted effort at bleeding (I couldn't seen to get any fluid through after the 1st few ounces) I now get the alternate rapid flashing warning lights that tell me I have low fluid...yet my fluid never got to the bottom of the handlebar resevoir, and is topped up. I found an article about how to make a special bleeder for at the ABS unit using a funnel, a spare top, and some JB weld, but haven't found an article explaining how this should be used.


Details behind what got me to this point follow.

Just got an ex-cop bike. Has the iABS brakes. Tried replacing the brake fluid the way I would on my 2000 R1100RT but no joy. (I've bleed brakes on dozens of vehicles over the decades, so know the basic steps.) Here's what I did:

1. protected tank and paint, opened handlebar brake resevoir, siphoned out 3/4 of old fluid, did NOT expose bottom of resevoir, and then put in new clean brake fluid.

2. used mityvac on nipples at front brakes. Used a little grease around nipples to avoid local air leaks. managed to pump out SOME fluid but not much...maybe a total of 3/4 of the mityvac take-up bottle. Fluid at handlebar didn't go down much. Then put top on resevoir and tried pumping front brake lever, but it didn't seem to push any fluid out the bleeders at the front calipers (tried one caliper at a time.)

3. Tomorrow I intend to try pulling calipers and pushing back pistons to get rid of fluid at the calipers, then using blocks of wood to hold the pistons retracted and try again.


Meanwhile I tried to run the bike, and get the alternate flashing warning lights that tell me ?fluid is low? Can't figure out how abs unit could be low, as AFAIK I never let air into the system from top or bottom.


Went to Clymer's, they say on brake bleeding, "take it to dealer". Dealer quoted $401 labor, ugh!


Again, I apologize for posting the question, but I know the answer is somewhere out there, just help me find it! Thanks, Paul

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Found an online iABS repair manual for R1150RT, looks like I have to pull the tank and then do the bleeding from the ABS unit rather than the wheel resevoir like I had been trying. So I guess when I attempted to do the bleed earlier I ran the iABS front brake resevoir low. Darn, I really didn't want to pull the tank (it's even more of a pain on an RT-P than on an RT from what I can tell), but looks like that's what needs doing.


Paul Hoffman

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Yeah, you sure need to pull the tank, to top the Iabs reservoirs off.


There is a great write up on the procedure on this forum, found in the FAQ.




there is also one for the control circuit.




For now, I'd focus on the wheel circuits to get the system up and running again before messing with the control circuits.





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Thanks everyone...Did the deed successfully today. Pulled the crash bars, side panels, and tank...and successfully replaced all brake fluids, both front and rear wheel circuits as well as front and rear control circuits. Neither BMW shop near my house had the 'TOP' caps for me to make a homemade equivalent of the $200 BMW part, so I used a 2" section of 3/8" ID Goodyear 50PSI fuel injection hose instead. The Funnel shown in others' write-ups fit perfectly inside the hose, and the hose's OD was ALMOST big enough to stop leaks when pushed down into the threads of the wheel brake reservoirs. Had a little weepage, so gave the hose two wraps of electrical tape, then it fit snug no leaking. Got the fuel line at my local Kragen, having gone behind their counter to see which came closet to the size of the threads of the vent-cap. While I had the tank off anyway, I remoted the fuel filter from inside the tank to under my right-hand throttle air tube, similiar to the methods written elsewhere. Pulled the front cover off the engine while tank was out of the way, and checked alternator belt (as I just bought the bike and had no idea when it was last changed.) Belt looked brand new, so I'll check that again in about 20K miles. Also, took 1 foot of #4 gauge stranded (not solid) electrical wire, put a ring connector on one end and connected it to the battery's hot side. Stripped 1" of (the tough) insulation off the other end, slipped a piece of heat shrink over it, doubled the end over and put on a tie wrap. So now if I ever need to jump the battery I can just pull off the heatshrink tie-wrapped insulator, and have a nice shiny thick 1" long piece of heavy wire under the seat that I can use to connect jumper cables. Total cost of that change, $0.56 for 2 feet of wire (I'll use the other foot on my other bike)...I already had the ring connectors.


Had two "gotcha's" in the whole process, both my own fault, neither serious: Had trouble siphoning gas as my tube kept wanting to curl around and wouldn't stay down in the gas. So I tie wrapped a short metal bar, 3" long, to the tube to act as a weight and to keep it straight. Helped a lot with the siphoning! HOWEVER, don't do that! I couldn't pull the tube out of the tank afterwards, it was hung up on the fuel pump / fuel gauge float stuff. When I turned the tank upside down and removed the fuel pump unit, I was able to untangle the siphon hose. But I was really worried I might have damaged gauge float unit.


I pulled the old filter and bypassed it with some 5/16" high pressure fuel injection hose, then put it all back together. Plumbed a new filter outside the tank. Dumped a gallon (about) of gas in the tank, and started the engine. Good news was no leaks. Bad news was low gas idiot light was on, and fuel gauge showed 0 bars. Oh No, Damage Had Been Done! Re-pulled the tank, re-pulled the pump, everything physically looked ok. Put an ohmmeter on the electrical plug, and could see change in resistance when moving the float. Jeez...put everything back together, and dumped MORE gas in the tank, and everything was fine. So "gotcha" #2, no fuel gauge function, was my own darn fault: I had mis-read the situation by NOT putting in enough gas to register. Apparently you can have quite a bit of gas in the tank and still have nothing register on the gas gauge on the RID. So I didn't have a problem at all, I just thought I did. I still have to put the sides and crash bars back on, but that's a task for tomorrow.


Paul Hoffman

2002 R1150RT-P

2000 R1100RT

1998 HD Sportster

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