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Actual R1100 brake line failure occurrences


Christo

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I'm relatively new to oilheads, and I've seen lots of people talking about replacing brake lines with braided lines.

 

I've spent a lot of time working on my bike in the last year, and I'm not looking for any new projects. So before I start replacing perfectly good brake lines, I want to do my due diligence, and search for actual data on brake lines rupturing prematurely on oilheads. Can anyone provide first or second hand accounts?

 

I personally have a car with 30 year old rubber brake lines, which is why I'm curious why BMW brake lines are more prone to failure. I have watched a YouTube video where one of the lower rubber lines develop a bubble and swelled with brake pressure. That is pretty damming, but the only case I know of.

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Oilheads have a history of premature brake line failures. They rarely burst. They fail on the inside. A piece breaks off inside the line and blocks the flow, and locking up the brakes. Tow truck is usually needed. Most riders replace the lines with braided Teflon lines.

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15 years at a BMW dealer, '98 to '13.

At our shop, the 99-2000 R1100's and K1200LT's were the first we saw, with the early 1150's, not so much.

That's around 2010-> on the date the 1100's started.

The K12LT, sooner, like 2007-8->

We were told it was a vendor problem.

The older bikes no real problems.

That being said, some late 80's-early 90's K bikes are going about now.

The shop I work in now (not a dealership but we work promarily on bmw) we have 2 in now that are just going.

My personal R1100RT, late 2012 the right front caliper hose went (common).

This is in a hot climate but I suspect it was UV that did it as garage queen bikes had less trouble no matter what the mileage.

really, early 1150's not so much. (Yes, later went to steel)

Just my experience .

 

 

 

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My'96 R1100RS rear brake started to get soft. Inspection revealed the rear brake line was sweating brake fluid. Replaced it with an Ebay unit. A few months later the same symptoms appeared on the front brake, soft lever and one of the ones starting to sweat. "Hmmm" says I. "I see a trend here". A call to Kurveygirl and I had a new set of braided lines installed in a couple of days. BTW, when I took the lines off there were bits of rubber at the inlets of the calipers.

This all occurred at around the 160K mile mark and about 19 years old. Personally, I don't think mileage on something like this is as much of an issue as age.

 

Tom

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On my early 02 1150RT:

 

Rear brake hose ruptured outside of Tucumcari, New Mexico in 2013. Barely made it to Santa Fe BMW by not touching the brakes much! Really appreciated linked brakes, his said, voice dripping with sarcasm.

 

Front hoses disintegrated on the inside, leading to what I believe was the death of my ABS pump. 2014.

 

I have been extremely happy with no ABS and Spieglers ever since.

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Thanks for all the replies!

 

Sounds like aside from softness, bubbling, and other noticeable issues, the interior degradation is a problem. In no way do I want to harm my ABS pump or have a lockup in a caliper because of this.

 

As for caliper lockup, I have experienced it on the road. I had steady break application which caused hot disks and a rumbling feeling. It turned out to be because of corrosion on the caliper piston, and not particulate matter in the lines. As a temporary fix, I wiggled the front caliper back and forth to push the pads back in, and made it home using rear brakes and engine braking only. (I was fairly close to home) I repaired the offending caliper piston by removing/cleaning/exercising it. It was n easy job. I have put 5k miles on it since with no problems.

 

Also, my brake lever is not at all soft, and stops the bike with my hand still mostly open.

 

As for debris that gets into the ABS system, that sounds terrible!

I want to be sure I don't have that issue. But with my 20 year old rubber lines, should I not see some particulate from this degradation in my flushed brake fluid? (I did a flush a few weeks ago) When I flush, I trap all used fluid in a large shampoo bottle with an air hose. I still have the container. I'll look again and see if I see any fine debris. But it was clean from 3 feet away.

 

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As for debris that gets into the ABS system, that sounds terrible!

I want to be sure I don't have that issue. But with my 20 year old rubber lines, should I not see some particulate from this degradation in my flushed brake fluid? (I did a flush a few weeks ago) When I flush, I trap all used fluid in a large shampoo bottle with an air hose. I still have the container. I'll look again and see if I see any fine debris. But it was clean from 3 feet away.

 

SnakePlisskin,

 

I had bunch black debris in mine when I flushed my new to me '03 back a couple years ago.

 

I know you're not wanting another project, but replacing the brake lines is only a few hour job (at least on mine).

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Thanks greiffster.

 

When you say a bunch, do you mean some grains of black sediment that ends up in the bottom of your waste container after the flush of a line, or do you mean debris flowing out of the lines that you can see in real time, and that floats around in the flushed liquid? Can you describe the size/shape of the particles a little more? I'll search for some pics too.

 

 

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I could see it as it passed through the bleed tube into the jar. Black, maybe the size/shape of pencil eraser shavings.

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Great description. Picture not needed (couldn't find one anyway) Thanks!

 

I have not seen anything like this coming out of the front or rear. Bottle is mostly clean and fluid only slightly less than new looking when I go to do my annual flush.

 

Tri750, from your breakdown, it would seem my 95 R1100RS is out of the zone for frequent failures? Plus, I do keep garaged (a clean queen) and the rubber looks/feels pretty good from the outside.

 

 

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Old rubber lines will react one of three ways. They will either become overly pliable or brittle.... or a mix of the two in different parts of the rubber hose. If they are too pliable, you are losing compression that should be happening only in caliper. That one is easy to see... the lever action is spongy. It doesn't have to be a bubble either...the entire hose will expand more than it should that you can feel with your hand over the hose while activating the system.

 

If they become brittle then lever action will be tight and come to lever firmness quickly so difficult to see a change. You just won't know in a panic stop (with ABS) if the amount of pressure applied will be enough to burst the hose causing a sudden loss of all pressure. Brittle lines are more likely to shed rubber particles to the fluid.

 

The lines are easy to change and after 10 years or more, they owe you nothing. Better to swap them out. It's just good preventative maintenance.

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Galfers are probably less than 200, check on factory rubber lines as the K bike lines I checked on today were less money than I thought.

The steel braided are often less money than OEM.

But check and just replace them and be done with it.

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My blew on a 4 day road trip. Thankfully it was on the last day.

1997 R1100

Brake lines looked fine on the outside but when I replaced I could tell they were deteriating on the inside.

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Blew the rear hose on my 1999 R1100RT(-P)conversion in my driveway just as I was about to start a 100 mile trip.

 

The hose bulged and ruptured at one end as I rested my foot on the rear brake. I had custom replacement lines made by a Canadian supplier on eBay... The whole set cost me less than $100 including shipping... What a difference in braking after the change! Don't hesitate and have them fail at a critical time.

 

-John

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Thanks for the detailed failure descriptions. That helps.

 

I was inspecting my lines and they all seem rigid, without bubbling or cracking, and like I said earlier no debris in the drain fluid. And my brakes are very strong.

 

I wonder if the brake lines were replaced before I bought the bike 2 years ago. Is there an easy way to tell?

 

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John Gregory

My 2001 R1100RT lines failed on the return trip from the Sedalia rally in 2012. No early signs. Normal stop under an overpass in pouring rain. After a 20 minute wait, went to get back riding and noticed no brake lever resistance, and puddle of fluid on front wheel and ground. Replaced with Spiegler lines. Old lines were mushy and soft. I would replace any lines over 10 years old from this era of bike. Cheap insurance and not a major job.

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