Brake rebuild - Yamaha R3 Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-21-2018, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Brake rebuild

I bled my front brake at around 8k miles / 2 years (estimated since I bought it used) since the fluid was black. It's been about 4-5 months now of daily 70 mile commuting and the fluid has turned black again. I'm thinking I need to rebuild the MC, and was wondering if anyone knows where I can buy the front/rear as a kit. Google isn't cooperating with me atm, and I just want to be sure I get all the right parts. I'm also debating upgrading the front to a SS line, and maybe get new pads, so I'd like to get it all done at the same time. AFAIK, changing the lines/pads necessitates new fluid anyway, so might as well, right?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-21-2018, 01:43 PM
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The best places I have found for OEM parts is Partzilla.com and ProCaliber. When I bought my bike new, the brake fluid looked black as well and at around the same mileage as yours. Could be that stock brake fluid isn't really a quality fluid. I have 16,000 miles in 2 years and brake fluid looks good but I have bled my brakes a couple times already. I think since you bled them already it may be that the seals aren't good and allowing contaminates in the fluid. The black fluid could also be that your lines and caliper may be dirty which will be taken care of with new lines and caliper rebuild (new seals) and cleaning. If you are rebuilding the caliper make sure to get new seals. I am not sure about the MC. Everything I have read says that the MC can go a long time before it needs to be rebuilt. Ultimately it is your comfort level and how much you want to put into it to be at peace. I would ask around for further advice because I do not have a lot of experience with brakes. Whatever you decide I hope you get the issue resolved to keep you safe and fun riding.
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-21-2018, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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So is the caliper rebuild just cleaning the calipers and replacing the seals?
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-21-2018, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rodzghost View Post
So is the caliper rebuild just cleaning the calipers and replacing the seals?
Before you go that far Id run one more cycle of fresh fluid and see how long it lasts....

When you last changed it was it low or just black?
Did you use new crush washers? (if you removed the line)
Bleeder Screw is tight and rubber capped?
Have you noticed any brake fluid anywhere around the brake system it isnt supposed to be?
Do you pressure wash your bike, if so do you spray close on the bars?


My opinion on your situation, without knowing what the fluid looked like from the res vs the brake line its hard to say but most of the time brake contamination happens at the point of filling... ie your brake res cap and depending on pad wear it can only exist in the res and not in the lines. Two of the main reasons you have a reservoir is to fill the lines as your pads wear and in case there is a leak you can hopefully notice it and repair it before you have no brakes!

I would start by doing a 1)complete dump 2)rinse and clean the res and lines 3)new fluid 4) re-bleed, 5)new crush washers, 6)and be 100% sure your res gasket is intact, use a bright light to be sure there is no cracks etc and when installing it be sure the mating surfaces are clean and smooth.... most brake reservoirs vent to air through the res cap but are designed to resist water intake ... i havent had my bike apart but I would imagine you should see a factory groove or opening somewhere on the res to allow air in/out..... and if you are pressure washing.... avoid spraying the res area and introducing any significant water pressure, if indeed its vented through the cap you could be forcing water in there

This would be the cheapest and easiest diagnosing step.

Plus you can follow these handy guides from R3 guru Jesse @jbluetooth .... if anybody has had to rebuild anything in their brake system it would be him, and Im sure he would have a guide on how to do so if he had

Brake Pad Change/caliper cleaning
Brake Bleed

If your calipers are indeed weeping you should see excessive brake dust grime around the pistons and may look wet and you'll be low on fluid.

Just something to chew on before you go full on rebuilding the brake system Best of luck which ever route you end up going
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-21-2018, 10:56 PM
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What fluid are you using?
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-22-2018, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the in-depth reply.

1. When I first bought the bike, the reservoir was black and the bike was about 2 years old, so I figured it was due for a fluid change. It stayed clear for about 2-3 months, then when my 13k service came up (another 2 months after my last check), I noticed it had turned black.

2. I didn't take the lines off when I changed the fluid. Is that step necessary? I wanted to minimize the chances of adding air in the lines so I left them alone.

3. Bleeder screw is tight and capped.

4. It's still filled to the top, and I haven't noticed any obvious leaks. I do a twice-daily walk around my bike for a inspection of tires, lights and chain. I'll add the brakes to that check as well.

5. No pressure washing here. Just soap and water and I cover it every time I get home.

I guess I'll get a new res gasket just in case and clean everything up this weekend. When you say to rinse and clean the res cap and lines, do you mean to take the lines off and run fluid through them? Or just clean up the outside as best I can without taking anything off?
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-22-2018, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by rodzghost View Post
Thanks for the in-depth reply.
No problem

Like rubbertoe mentioned depending on the brand of fluid... if it was really that low quality + humid environment (not sure where you live) it has the potential to turn bad quickly. Just be sure to buy a quality brand name DOT4 fluid when you do it again (stay from store/generic brands)

Taking the lines off isnt totally necessary but is the best way to completely empty the system. The problem with this way is bleeding can take longer. When people empty the reservoir, refill with clean and open the bleeder till it runs clean is the quick and easy way when your system is relatively clean to begin with. Because you don't know the level of contamination I would pull everything and start clean and fresh.

May not need a gasket but if its easily accessible and cheap its peace of mind. If you're taking the line off you're going to need crush washers(debatable on there reusability) or just buy an SS line and the gasket.

If it were me....

Id start with sucking out the reservoir, then catch what comes out the bottom of the brake line in a different container and see what it looks like coming out. If its nasty you could be in for more work down the road... if its clear/yellow/brown/dark brown should be okay

In addition to those guides I posted, when you take the caliper off, with the line removed, clean your pistons and squeeze them back with it off the bike and check the fluid color that comes out. *NOTE* I havent done this myself so I have no idea if the pistons have back stops or not. When the caliper is disconnected they will push back fairly easy, dont ram them back, and try not to bottom them out, just so they sit flush on the front where the pad would sit.

Either put on a new brake line or waste some new brake fluid and rinse the line, fill it with a little bit of new fluid, hold it in the air and do the see-saw, swash it around and drain it out, hopefully this will take any potential left over moisture out with it.

Rinse out your res with a bit of brake fluid and wipe clean with a lint free

Re-assemble with new sealing hardware, refill, spend what will feel like a life time bleeding it and you're good to go.

Id pop the res cap off every 4 or 5 weeks and see if its turning color quickly... if not you should be good for another couple years depending on fluid quality and environment yada yada yada

If its browning/blackening quickly, well if your not leaking it anywhere... could just be a bad casting on your reservoir or something.... thats when you start diagnosing further and throwing more money at it haha

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post #8 of 9 Old 02-22-2018, 02:03 AM
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Hmmm. Maybe I shoulda read the service manual first haha

Under their recommended brake component replacement schedule it lists piston seals every two years.

And... they're ridiculously easy to change if you desire. Nothing like some automotive ones.

Quite literally reads... take caliper off... blast compressed air in the brake hose inlet to remove pistons... replace dust seal and piston seal... lubricate with brake fluid and push them back in.

So... if you're going this far and your bike is a '15, might be worth just staying ahead of it. Usually when OEM lists 2 years it means it'll probably last at least 2-3 times that but if I was going that far Id just do them.

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post #9 of 9 Old 02-23-2018, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rubbertoe View Post
What fluid are you using?
Can't remember the brand, but it was DOT4 for sure. And I actually looked at it again today in the parking garage, and I may have mistaken the interior of the reservoir as the color of the fluid. As in, the two times I looked at it, it was at dusk and then again in early dawn, so maybe it's actually still clear and I was just seeing the back of the reservoir. I'll check again tomorrow in better light.

Maybe I just want an excuse to upgrade to SS lines and new pads.
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