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Brake Bleeding/Flushing without removing the front fairing

204 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  tary preisser
I don't know about y'all but I'm not inclined to be removing parts, especially parts that have a lot of other parts bolted to it, unless I absolutely have to.

Case in point is Honda's service procedures. Simply bleeding the brakes requires the entire front fairing to be removed. While this is certainly the "safest" way as you eliminate any possibility of spilling brake fluid on your fairings it's certainly not the easiest way.

I've owned this 2004 since it was new and I've never had it serviced at a dealer nor have I ever removed the front fairing for bleeding or flushing my brakes. So let's get into this....

Front brake procedures:
First thing you need to do is cover your fairings with clean rags. Turn the handle bars all the way to the left and put the bike on the side stand making sure to pull the bike all the way over. This ensures you can level the Master Cylinder (MC). Remove the front windscreen. Use a small level to verify that the MC is level. You may have to loosen your clip-on in order to rotate the MC level. Just make sure you tighten it in a level position.
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Turn the bars to the right enough to remove the (R) hand screw on the MC.
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Turn the bars back to full lock Left and remove the (L) MC screw.

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Remove the cover, the plastic bleeder, the rubber diaphragm, and the plastic float. Use your vacuum bleeder to suck all of the old fluid out of the MC.

Clean your MC with a clean paper towel. Do not leave any debris or lint. (You dirty girl!)
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Once you have a clean MC refill it with your favorite SEALED and BRAND NEW bottle of DOT 4 brake fluid. Use the rest of the open container for your car or truck. I've used Valvoline Brake fluid for years and is my go to brand.

Connect your bleeder tube to the brake bleeder nipple and secure it with a zip-tie. Drop the open end into a drain bucket. Pump your front brake handle a few times and then hold it. Reach down and crack the bleeder open until the brake lever goes down to the bar. Close the bleeder and THEN release the brake lever. Continue pumping, holding. bleeding, and releasing the brake lever as many times as needed until you get clean fluid coming out of the bleeder tube. It may take 10 or 20 times so keep an eye on your MC level and top it off as needed. Do not let your MC get below 50%.
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You do not need a vacuum bleeder for this procedure. It only confuses people into thinking they still have air in the system when reality it's only pulling air from around the brake bleeder threads every time you loosen the bleeder.

Without using a vacuum bleeder....
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Using a vacuum bleeder...
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ALTERNATIVES
You can use your vacuum bleeder as a substitute for a drain bucket. Just don't use the vacuum.
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You can also gravity bleed the brakes by opening the brake bleeder and allowing the fluid to drain. However, this method is much slower as the fluid does not drain as fast as you pumping the brakes. Just keep your MC from getting too low on fluid and running dry.

Rear brake procedures:

For the rear brakes you'll need to remove the tail fairing and place the bike on a rear stand. You may also elect to use the front stand.

Remove the MC cover, plastic bleeder, and rubber diaphragm. No plastic float in the rear MC. Use your vacuum bleeder to suck all of the old fluid out. Clean out your MC and refill with clean, new DOT 4 brake fluid. Connect your tubing to the bleeder and drop it into a drain pan. Proceed with the same pumping, holding, bleeding, and releasing method as above until you get clean fluid.



Once you're finished check your brakes to make sure they work correctly and also check your brake light on the rear, both front and rear brakes.

The last thing you should do is take the bike outside and wash it thoroughly with soap and water or Simple Green and water. You want to make sure that you don't leave any trace of brake fluid. So get your bucket and rag and get to cleaning.
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One thing I forgot to mention was to clean the MC cap, plastic bleeder, and diaphragm with Simple Green. Make sure you scrub any buildup under the cap so that it seals correctly. Rinse the parts with water after cleaning and then use a compressed air nozzle to dry the parts thoroughly. Pay special attention to the rubber diaphragm as it likes to hold water between the folds. Set them aside while you bleed the brakes.
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