DIY: Bleeding Linked Brakes w/ABS (The Ultimate Guide)

Discussion in '6th Generation 2002-2013' started by jay-d, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. jay-d

    jay-d New Member

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    I can't seem to find a place to put maintenance guides or tutorial threads. I hope this is the right place to put it! I posted this over on VFRDiscussion and thought you guys could use this guide as well! :wink:

    This guide was created because I couldn't seem to find one that was very thorough and included pictures of all procedures. This guide requires the use of Speed Bleeders as it makes life so much easier! You can follow this guide using the old school method as well, but it will require more time and patience.

    Readers Notes:
    Left and ride side are determined as if you were sitting on the motorcycle.
    Images come after descriptions.

    Initialisms:
    LBS: Linked Braking System
    LPCV: Left-side (Servo) Proportional Control Valve (Battery side)
    RPCV: Right-side (Rear) Proportional Control valve (Opposite battery side)
    LMC: Lever Master Cylinder (Front)
    RMC: Rear Master Cylinder (Pedal)
    SMC: Secondary Master Cylinder (Left-Front Caliper)
    FSM: Factory Service Manual

    Parts Required:
    One man bleeder kit (optional)
    ATE SuperBlue Dot 4

    Speed Bleeders Part Numbers:
    Front right caliper SB8125
    Front left caliper outer bleeder SB8125
    Front left caliper inner/centre bleeder SB8125
    Rear caliper outer bleeder SB8125
    Rear caliper inner/centre bleeder SB8125L
    Clutch bleeder SB8125L
    LPCV SB8125LL
    RPCV SB8125

    Part 1: Theory
    Part 2: Diassembly And Prep
    Part 3: Procedure
    Part 4: Assembly
    Part 5: Clutch

    Part 1: Theory

    The LBS is confusing for some when it comes to understanding how it works. The function of the sytem changed from 5th generation LBS to 6th generation LBS. I'm not too sure what the changes were, but I do know they operate differently. The way the 6th generation LBS works is; when the front lever is applied, only five out of the six (three pistons in each left/right caliper) caliper pistons actuate as well as the centre piston in the rear caliper leaving the left caliper centre piston untouched.

    When the rear pedal lever is applied; only two out of the three rear caliper pistons actuate as well as the left front caliper centre piston. The LBS only works when the motorcycle is moving however, you can test this by propping your bike on the centre stand, rotating the rear wheel and applying the front brake; the rear wheel will not stop spinning.

    The way it works is by force. The SMC is mounted above the left caliper that's attached to the fork and with the motorcycle moving, the rider will apply the front brake which squeezes the pads on the rotor and that drag pivots the left front caliper up which actuates the SMC and brake fluid gets pushed through to the LPCV and then to the rear caliper centre piston. The rear doesn't work in the same way because there's actually a brake line that goes all the way to the front left caliper that actuates that one centre piston by it's lonesome with the application of the rear pedal.

    [​IMG]

    Part 2: Disassembly And Preparation

    You want your bike to be on a level ground and prop the bike up on it's centre stand for this whole procedure. Rotate the handle bar all the way to the left so the LMC is level. Remove both screws and remove all the old fluid inside the LMC. You can use a turkey baster or rags, whatever you wish. Once the old fluid is out, fill it up with fresh new fluid. Make sure you squeeze the front lever a few times just incase you got any air bubbles when removing the old fluid.

    [​IMG]

    Using an allen wrench, loosen, but do not remove the left front caliper bolts.

    [​IMG]

    Remove the seat and do the same procedure you did for the LMC to the RMC. Don't forget to press the pedal lever a few times to remove any air bubbles.

    Remove the rear wheel.

    Remove the two bolts that hold the rear caliper together. The inside one is tricky and I needed to use a long 12mm socket to reach it. Once the rear caliper is removed, mount it at the 10 o'clock position on the rotor. The reason for this is so the inner/centre bleed screw is facing up, not parallel to the ground.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Part 3: Procedure

    The procedure and order we're going to follow is the same one listed in the FSM, but with more pictures and explanations. Sections C. and D. are the most difficult. You will need a helper as well.

    USING FRONT MASTER CYLINDER LEVER FOR A. AND B.

    A. Left Front Caliper, Upper/Outer Bleed Screw

    [​IMG]

    This is basic bleed. Open very slightly, usually about a 1/4 turn and pump the front lever until new fluid comes out. Even though I use speed bleeders, I still pressurize it old school method just to be on the safe side. The old school method is; with the bleeder screw closed, have your helper pump the front lever five times and hold. While holding, gently unscrew the bleeder screw until fluid comes out and before the lever reaches it's maximum travel, tighten the bleed screw. Top up the fluid level.

    [​IMG]

    B. Right Front Caliper, Single Bleed Screw
    This procedure is the same as above. Make sure you keep an eye on the fluid level as it drains.

    USING REAR MASTER CYLINDER PEDAL FOR C. TO G.

    C. Leftside PCV (Battery side), Single Bleed Screw Actuated via SMC

    [​IMG]

    This step is the most confusing and difficult one as it requires good timing between yourself and your helper. The SMC is not attached at all to the front lever in anyway. You can unscrew the LPCV bleeder screw and pump the front lever all day long and no fluid will get pushed through. You could manually actuate the SMC by hand and only a little bit of fluid will come out and then stop. The correct method to do this; from what I've gathered on how the system operates and without using a vacuum bleed tool is as follows.

    Remove the two bolts that hold the left front caliper on. I used an aluminum L-bracket I had lying around to wedge between the pads so they don't close.

    [​IMG]

    Tilt the caliper 15° from the ground so the inner/centre bleed screw is facing up.

    [​IMG]

    Your helper will be on the RMC side pressing the pedal and you will be at the left front caliper in charge of manually actuating the SMC and loosening/tighten the LPCV bleed screw. The way this system works is; there's a brake line that goes from the RMC to the SMC and from the SMC to the LPCV. Because there's no reservoir at the SMC, there's no way for new fluid to replenish to continue being pushed through the lines and out the LPCV bleeder screw, however, this is where the RMC comes in.

    When your helper presses the RMC pedal down, the SMC piston will get pushed out filling it with fresh fluid. Once your helper releases the pedal, you will manually actuate the SMC by pressing it in to the caliper with your hand and fluid will get pushed through to the LPCV bleeder screw.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Push the SMC in with your hand.

    [​IMG]

    Do not release from this point. Tell your helper to press the pedal again which will forcefully push the SMC out and then once your helper releases the pedal, you will manually push the SMC in again watching for new fluid. Once fresh fluid is coming out, I performed a final pressure bleed by tightening the LPCV bleeder, asking my helper to pump the rear pedal five times and release, then I loosened the LPCV bleeder screw and manually actuated the SMC gently half way and then tightened the bleed screw.

    [​IMG]


    Note: Even with speed bleeders installed, I did not manually operate the SMC more than once for safe measure. To further elaborate on this; continuously pushing in the SMC numerous times will not bleed the SMC to LPCV brake line because there is no reservoir at the SMC. You will push whatever fluid is in the line and it will become empty with air. One manual push of the SMC followed by one rear pedal actuation by your helper.

    D. Rear Caliper, Inner/Centre Bleed Screw Actuated via SMC

    [​IMG]

    This procedure is the exact same as the above. The only difference is, you're bypassing the LPCV and going all the way to the rear caliper inner/centre bleed screw. Pressurize the sytem the same way as above too.

    [​IMG]

    E. Rightside PCV (Opposite Battery), Single Bleed Screw

    [​IMG]

    This is the easiest step. Follow the procedure as in Section A. but using the RMC pedal.

    [​IMG]

    F. Rear Caliper, Upper/Outer Bleed Screw

    [​IMG]

    Another easy step, follow above procedure.

    [​IMG]

    G. Left Front Caliper, Inner/Centre Bleed Screw

    [​IMG]

    The last procedure, again very easy, same as above.

    [​IMG]

    Part 4: Assembly

    Top up both fluids if they are low and fasten all caps and lids back on the reservoir.

    Attach the front left caliper and torque the pivot and joint bolts to 23ft-lbs. The FSM says always use new bolts, but I cleaned up the old loctite residue, re-applied some new medium strength loctite and re-used them.

    Attach the rear caliper and torque the joint bolts to 23ft-lbs. The FSM says replace also but I did the same as the front caliper bolts.

    Reinstall the rear wheel and torque bolts to 80ft-lbs.

    Now would be a good time to prime (pump a few times) your front lever and rear pedal lever. Once primed, they should not travel a lot of distance; they should feel stiff. If for any reason the levers travel a larger than normal distance, then there's probably air in the line somewhere or you might have forgot to tighten a bleed screw.

    Note: The FSM says to use new bolts, not because there is something wrong with the bolts, but because there is probably some sort of loctite already applied to the threads. Thank you Metallican525 for that insight.

    Part 5: Clutch

    I don't have to go in to any detail about this because if you just did your whole brake system, might as well do the clutch as it's very simple and same procedure at Part 3, Section A. Remember to turn the handle bars to the right though.

    At the end, I took my bike for a ride and I had no idea that this bike has this much braking power! Mind you, my fluid was 6 years old which was probably the cause of that but this method works flawlessly.

    I hope this DIY was very thorough and gave you a good understanding on how to tackle this easy but tiresome procedure!
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
    jaripetteri and Cadreamin like this.
  2. nozzle

    nozzle New Member

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    Thanks for sharing. I know it is a lot of work to stop to tai the pictures while your hands may be messy, then adding the graphics and such.

    One step I'd add at the very end is to test your brakes before you ride the bike again. Test if both the front and rear brake levers. If either pull all the way to their mechanical stop (instead of the hydraulic fluid stopping them), feel spongy now, it will not go well on the road. Spin the back tire on the center stand and stop it with the rear lever. Then just check both levers rolling the bike on the ground working up to using them on the road with some strong stops prior to going on your long ride. Loose nipple are know to cause wet spots, so keep an eye out for them and look at the bleeder fittings too ;-)
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  3. jay-d

    jay-d New Member

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    It's actually pretty easy to take pictures! The secret isn't to stopping while working, that would be very frustrating and your thoughts will be off task. I performed everything I needed to do then before I assembled it all, went back and took pictures!

    I've added a bit about testing the brake levers which was great, thank you! But you won't be able to test the front lever unfortunately. As I wrote in the DIY, the front lever does not apply the rear brake unless the bike is in motion. The rear brake is only applied via the front when the front pads squeeze the rotor and that drag causes the caliper to rotate forward which actuates the secondary master cylinder.

    You can however, test the rear pedal by spinning the back tire.
     
  4. nozzle

    nozzle New Member

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    good catch on my words.

    On how-to production tricks... now I know why my some of my posts seem so dirty.

    on tools:

    These things suck. really.
    Mityvac

    I've had good results pulling vacuum with their cheaper plastic ones instead of the metal. You can get very fancy, but some type of vacuum tool will be a good addition to your toolbox. if you don't have one, put it on your wish list.
     
  5. Khello

    Khello New Member

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    Jay,

    Thank you for the great post. Do you know if it'll work for non-ABS 6th gens as well?

    Thanks again!
     
  6. nearfreezing

    nearfreezing New Member

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    Great how-to!

    Yes, this procedure will work on non-ABS 6th generation VFRs. The only difference is that the non-ABS versions do not have a bleed screw on the rear proportional control valve.
     
  7. kale43v3r

    kale43v3r New Member

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    Is this Thread still active ? I would like to share my personal experience with bleeding the brakes on a 5th generation...
    In fact i found out an easier method or maybe i made some mistakes along the way (being my 1st time)

    When bled the Secondary Master Cylinder with the Proportional Control Valve, i did NOT remove the Front Left side Cliper in order to tilt it and push the SMC by hand. I told my helper to push the rear brake pedal and opened the bleeder screw on the PCV, fluid came out (it was kind of brown), i repeated this until fresh fluid came out. This method should cover the step with manually pushing the SMC right ?

    Next i bled the front calipers middle piston / bleed screw. I used the same method, told my helper to push the rear brake pedal and keep it pressed and then opened the right side (and next the left side) middle bleed screw until fresh fluid came. I noticed the fluid from the rear reservoir was getting drained because it was going through the sistem, so i kept putting fresh fluid in the rear reservoir and bleed both middle bleed screws on both front calipers.

    Did i do something wrong ? Or did i bypass many unnecessary steps and made it a lost simpler ? I got the bike for a ride and it feels a lot better when braking, more control over the brake and it feels with 15% more powerful.

    LE: I found out why is more simpler on the 5th generation. The Secondary Master Cylinder (the one on the front left side caliper has a connection that leads towards the rear Master Cylinder)
     

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  8. Barmo

    Barmo New Member

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    Would it be possible to re-post this guide with working pictures?
     
  9. jay-d

    jay-d New Member

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    Hey Barmo, my bad, I changed web hosts and never uploaded these pics!

    I will do so later today or tomorrow!

    Edit: I've uploaded the pics but since this is such an old post, I cannot update the links due to over length error!
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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