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My first brake/clutch bleed. ????


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I am planning to do a brake and clutch bleed on my 02 sometime in the next few weeks. I would like to have all my supplies ready when I do it to avoid multiple trips to the hardware store or Max's (BMW) place.


I don't like R&Ring the tupperware, and the thought of removing the tank (never done it before, and yep, I have the write up) concerns me.


I have read through a few write ups that I found here several times. Thanks J&L and the others. I am very electro-mechanically inclined, But I must admit, I am a little intimidated by this process. Like most things I suspect after I get through it once, it will be a piece of cake.


I have a couple of questions. I believe it was Jamie that compiled this list of speed bleeders:


For the 2002-2004 R1150RT I would use:


6 x SB7100 (7mmx1.00-Long) for the control circuits. You don't need different sizes, but the longer ones just make it easier to get the hose and wrench on them and there is no clearance issue that I found.


2 x SB8125 (8mmx1.25) for the front two calipers.


1 x SB6100 (6mmx1.00) for the rear caliper.


1 x SB1010S (10mmx1.00) for the clutch. You'll need to bevel (file, or drag on the concrete! ) the tip down a bit to make it easier to start the screw into the filler adapter.


It seems that 10 speed bleeders will run into approx $85-$95 or so. I saw how the speed bleeders worked, and from what I see, it appears that I could do this (without) the SBs, especially if I have a helper. Is it really that much different from bleeding a car's brakes? Yes, I know there is a control circuit and a wheel circuit, but I am talking about the actual opening and closing of the bleed nipples with a wrench. I agree that the SB's might be a little more convenient, but $90 worth of convenient? Is there any more to them? Am I missing something? So now the question, do the SB's really make it that much simpler to do the job? Or can I do the pump, open, close, repeat thing? Can I get by with less SB's? Which ones? I am very into making the task easy, simple, and at the same time, cost effective. If I am not going to replace the pads, do I need to remove the calipers? I am sure I will need to drain the caliper cavities. If I leave them on, can I shim the existing pads against the rotor to assist in draining the calipers?


The mini-stan seems to be the weapon of choice, but I've also seen the clear jar with the tube in it. Seems like less chance for spillage. I saw a post that decribes where to get the materials to make the mini-stan, but where do I get a large syringe?


OK with all that said, what is the consensus? SB's? yes? no? How many? Mini-stan or Jar? Catch bag? To shim or not to shim?


Thanks for all your input. I really appreciate it.



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OK with all that said, what is the consensus? SB's? yes? no? How many? Mini-stan or Jar? Catch bag? To shim or not to shim?

Well if you're looking for a consensus, you've probably come to the wrong place. wink.gif I will give you an opinion though!


I've given up on speed bleeders. Too many problems with some of them not sealing down when finished. Especially if you use there very useful catch bag, the old fashion, press, open, close, release works just fine.


The ministan is the only way to go IMHO. Less chance (practically none actually unless you're a total klutz) of introducing air into the ABS unit.


The large syringe isn't necessary, you can use any old suction bulb type thing. If you do want to get one though most any drug store sells them.


I always remove the calipers from their mount. It's much easier to push the pads apart and the pistons in with them demounted. Plus less risk to the rotor.


You don't have to remove the brake pads if you are not replacing them, but do definitely push them apart, retracting the pistons (with the bleeder open). You want to push out the maximum of old fluid. Especially behind the pistons as that is where it is in the worst condition of all. Max. heat exposure location for the fluid.


Then shim them apart while doing the bleed. Not doing so risk slapping the pads together and possibly ejecting a piston in the process. Which is a real mess. To say nothing of probably damaging a piston seal.


Have fun, it's really not all that hard once you get into it.

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Ken is right on! Speed Bleeder are not required. Mini-stan a must. Removing the calipers and shimming the brake pads not difficult. I use a wire to hold calipers when they are loose so that there is no weight hanging on the brake hose.


Remember, the further you pull the brake lever the faster the pump pumps brake fluid.

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OK a few answers from my recent 02RT brake bleed experience.


I got just 4 speed bleeders (3for the calipers)(1 for the clutch).


I used a 7mm (closed end) wrench very easily on the control circuits, and will do so in the future.


I got 2 large syringes at a farm supply store (southern states 50cts each) one for clean and one for old fluid.


Recommend pulling the calipers and shimming (it is easy and quick) other wise you may chew up or damage the surfaces prying the pistons back. I hung them with coat hangers to take the strain off the brake lines..


I didn't have much luck with the clutch bleed using the speed bleeder.. I was unable to start it in the threads.. Instead I used a helper and manually pushed the ball bearng into the housing with a small screw driver to allow the fluid to flow as the clutch lever was pulled. It took several times... You can see the little one-way ball bearing once you remove the grub screw..


If you make a mini-stan get an O ring to help seal it, or as I did, temporarily use one of the rubber gaskets/washers that are used on the fluid resovoirs caps.


The catch bag is worth every penny of it's cost...


My BMW dealer says that they now just do both (control and Wheel) circuits every 2 years.. I haven't had mine done in over 3 years and 24,000 miles and the fluid looked great..


Have fun, it is a rewarding and interesting job to accomplish..



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Hey Thanks to all who replied. Very valuable input. Looks like it's the Mini-stan, catch bag and removing and shimming the calipers...


Naturally, one post leads to another. You mention that the dealer now does both circuits every two years. My bike has 22,600 on it. I bought it around 20,000. It is an 02. I saw the service list for the 12k service from the first owner (dealer serviced) and I don't remember seeing any brake fluid/items on the list. I will presume that it wasn't performed. I have no issues with my brakes or clutch. I will admit though that I have not given the pads a decent inspection, and at 22k something tells me they are probably due. If the pads are ok, should I still go through with the bleed?


Thanks again for all the help. This place is great.



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Blue Beemer Dude
If the pads are ok, should I still go through with the bleed?


Yes. The 12K service does not include the brake bleed (considered to be in the "annual" service).


To answer your initial question, since I generally do not have a helper when I do this, I bought the SB for the calipers and clutch, but since I can easily reach the ABS unit and brake lever at the same time, didn't bother with those. I also bought their catch bag (IV bag) which is much handier than a bottle that I always seem to knock over.


In fact, I did my annual service just this past weekend, including the 12K service. I figure I saved several hundred dollars from having the dealer do it. Unfortunately, I was pretty tired and got careless and broke one of my ABS/EVO reservoir caps. For those who have not done that (yet), you have to buy both of them as a set from BMW for $50 retail. I chose to glue mine back together, which is not working real well but I had developed that ^%^%!@#$^6%$!$!$ attitude by then and wanted to get the little &^@%!$! back together. So, yep, next year I'll go ahead any buy the damn thing and replace it.


And this time I did not shim the pads and squeeze that last 3 ml of brake fluid out of the calipers. Just wasn't in the mood, and really, if I'm doing this annually I don't think it's a big worry. I've bled my race car brakes hundreds of times and never once did I push in the pistons to get that last bit of fluid (and we're talking four huge pistons on that mother) and it never caused me any trouble.


Sometime soon I've got to do this on the LT that I just bought (used). It too has had the 12K service but no indication of ever having an annual service done. It appears that the K-bike bleeding process is a little bit different, from what I've read. Anyone done an EVO RT and EVO LT and can explain to me the difference, anything special I need to watch out for?



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OK, I read some more here about the clutch bleed, and I am even more confused. Do I, or do I not need to modify the clutch bleeder filler adapter. I hear of the "grub" screw (not sure what that it is) but I gather it is a "place holder" and/or cap to keep the filler adapter clean.


Is the filler adapter made for some specific filling mechanism that BMW uses at their factory? I was not planning on using any speed bleeders. If I have to modify/remove the filler adapter, what do I put in its place? Std. bleeder nipple? Part number? Or do I *need* the SB for this.


Sorry to ask so many questions, but I think by over analyzing this whole process I am at the point where I have confused myself.




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I performed my first brake flush on my current bike (R1150RT 2004). I did not use the mini stan. I used a 60cc syringe to fill the control module as the fluid was being pumped out.

All went well until I put it the tank back on and started the bike. The ABS would not set so I took it to the dealer. Turns out when I put the electrical connector back on, a pin got pushed down. The BMW tech pulled the pin out with pliers and everything was fine. He said if he had not been able to pull the pin the only solution would have been a new box($1700 ++). Just for the record, I would not have done that. I would have converted the bike to regular brakes and gotten rid of the extra weight of the brake module. Lesson learned is DO NOT remove the connector. Work around it.

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I am doing mine, to finish after this post. I have the speed bleeders on the calipers and the Clutch. I have remove the clutch's grubber screw and mount, so the bleeders goes into the line itself. It is not hard to do, just be careful. Someone, Names fail me, posted about doing this.


Problem found, the bleeders on the control curcuit are torqued down. I have rounded one off, but Jamie, has come to my aid, providing me with the "special BMW look-a-like" tool to get at the screws. Well, Off to finish this project, just in time for rain. frown.gif

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Okay, Done!

What would be the max value the Gurus would use to torque the bleeders on the control curcuit? I am currently at 10 Nm with some bleeding around the threads....

I don't want to replace the unit.......


Thank you.

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While you have the tank off consider doing the fuel filter change out.


I recommend that you get the large O-Ring for the fuel filter and fuel pump assy because they expand and reusing the old one is difficult. Also get 2 o-rings for the fuel tank quick disconnects just as a precaution. I damaged one on mine and was out of commission until I got o-ring replacements.

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Do I, or do I not need to modify the clutch bleeder filler adapter.
There are two approaches, both work:


a) Leave the factory check valve in place (the larger round 'thingy' on the end of the hose), take out the "grub screw" (the small plug), and install a bleeder. Either a standard one or a speed bleeder. If using a SB you need to file down the tip of the SB first, so it will start on the threads and push in the stock check valve ball that is below it.


b) Remove the entire factory check valve ass'y. from the end of the hose and install a bleeder, again either type, directly in the end of the hose. The threads are the same. If doing this approach with a SB, no filing of the tip of it and such is needed.

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What would be the max value the Gurus would use to torque the bleeders on the control circuit?
It's a pretty tough spot to actually measure, but as a "feel for it" guess I would say 10 nm.
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In chapter 7, page 118 of the '04 R1200GS owners manual it says "The clutch system is filled with a special hydraulic fluid that does not have to be changed". The RT is probably the same ????

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In chapter 7, page 118 of the '04 R1200GS owners manual it says "The clutch system is filled with a special hydraulic fluid that does not have to be changed". The RT is probably the same ????


Huh?? confused.gif


That's news!! clap.gif

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In chapter 7, page 118 of the '04 R1200GS owners manual it says "The clutch system is filled with a special hydraulic fluid that does not have to be changed". The RT is probably the same ????


The R1200RT is the same, it uses mineral oil, the R11XXRT however uses DOT4 and does need periodic replacement.


Andy thumbsup.gif

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DOT 5 fluid I'll bet thumbsup.gif
No, the new hexhead series, R1200xx, uses mineral oil in the clutch circuit. Unlike a brake circuit, no heat induced fluid break down issues in a clutch circuit.
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Where are you at in the Seacoast? I am in South Berwick and am in maintenance mode on my '99 RT. The tupperware has been off for the past week+. I'd be interested to hear how this goes.


I'm assuming you head out to Max's for your parts, etc.


Good luck,

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