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
  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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  10. Barmo

    Barmo New Member

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    Sorry for the late reply on this. Thank you very much for fixing the pictures. I guess this will help me (and possibly others) a lot this spring.
     
  11. BigRocketMan

    BigRocketMan New Member

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    The OP's write up is well done and easy to understand, many thanks.

    Today I performed this procedure on my non ABS 6th Gen and removed a lot of very murky looking old fluid.

    Unfortunately now the rear caliper is seizing. During test ride I jumped off to crack rear middle piston bleeder and then the rear wheel was free again.

    When stationary, operating the RMC will cause this issue and the R wheel is almost impossible to rotate. I'm unsure if the SMC also causes this as it's function only operates whilst riding.

    Please help out guys. Is this likely a RMC failure or could it be the LPCV or something else ?

    (to note I could hear a distinctive "click" in the LPCV when doing a quick bleed. It was heard when operating the RMC to force back out the SMC)
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  12. BigRocketMan

    BigRocketMan New Member

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    This is another with the same issue. EXACTLY my symptoms. RMC sending fluid to SMC then to R Caliper and it gets locked (I think this is whats going o)
    This guy describes it well. Go figure....

    I am having an issue with my gen 5 that seems to fit in with this chain of posts. My rear brake seizes when I use the rear brake pedal only. I can push on the rear brake lever 2-3 times and then the rear brake seizes. I can release the pressure by either bleeding a little fluid out of the LPCV (only PCV on the gen 5) or by bleeding a little fluid out of the center bleeder on the rear brake. Opening the more forward bleeder on the rear brake does not release the pads. I can manually push / release the SMC, feel the rear brake engage and release over and over without it locking up. The front lever seems to work the front brakes well but do not seem to do anything to the rear brakes.

    I have rebuilt the rear caliper, it was in pretty good shape to begin with, replaced the rear pads and bled the system using this thread. Any thoughts before I just start changing rear lines PCV.......

    So I realized that applying the front brake shouldn't do anything to the rear brakes unless the bike is moving via the secondary master cylinder.

    After giving this some thought all I can think is that somehow rear master cylinder fluid is pushing through the secondary master cylinder, getting into the rear caliper center piston but because of the failure of or how the SMC is made that excess fluid cannot get back to the RMC. This would explain why the SMC seems to work fine but once seized by the rear petal I can free the rear wheel by bleeding fluid out of the rear center bleeder or the PCV. So I will start with rebuilding the SMC unless someone has a better suggestion.
     
  13. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    Most brake issues are caused by neglecting to bleed frequently enough. Most maintenance schedules say flush and bleed every two years, however you can prevent the vast majority of issues by doing a quick bleed annually. If you have dark ugly brake/clutch fluid, I'd bet money it's been more than two years. You might get away with that on older systems when we didn't have linked brakes, proportioning valves or SMC's. What I'm saying is, once you have "fixed" your problems, it takes little fluid to do a few squirts of bleeding every year and likely you will have very few issues and save yourself time and money.

    With regard to rear pistons not retracting, I would look at the SMC first... I could not find the thread about the SMC problem where the small orifice in the green screen affair was blocked and would not allow pressure release back to the rear master cylinder. I don't remember how that was eventually solved, but most likely would involve a new SMC. IIRC, the OP had cleaned it thoroughly but still had issues. I would highly recommend the FSM procedure of tilting it when bleeding just to assure no air and spongy brakes.

    The proportioning valve is merely regulating the differential pressure that goes to the front/rear. It most likely can be flushed and should not clog up, but look into it once you are certain the SMC issues are addressed.
     
  14. BigRocketMan

    BigRocketMan New Member

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    I've had a mechanic look at the bike. They're 90% sure its the L side proportioning valve that is mounted just forward of the battery.
    I'm currently sourcing a used replacement.

    ? Does anyone know if the 05 model had same part a 06> ?

    For reference Honda gave me this part number for my 05 model: 46200MCWD02

    Many thanks for any help
     
  15. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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  16. BigRocketMan

    BigRocketMan New Member

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    Many thanks. Very helpful
     
  17. BigRocketMan

    BigRocketMan New Member

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    I inspected the Servo Proportioning Valve. Inside the bell housing the aluminium piston was a bit stuck and once freed it moved easily. I thought I found the problem. Not so !
    The rear calliper is still seizing even if I use front brake leaver only. Also, the FL brake disc was 5 time hotter than the R disc after a short ride.
    Cracking open the Servo Proportioning Valve bleeder or middle piston bleeder on rear brake frees the rear. Front wheel off the ground doesn't turn all that freely. Calliper shot?
    I now think it must be the Secondary Master Cylinder. Can this cause the Front Left Calliper to drag swell as the read brake calliper ??
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
  18. BigRocketMan

    BigRocketMan New Member

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    last Honda I had couldn't find neutral when hot. I'm going back to Yamaha
     
  19. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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  20. BigRocketMan

    BigRocketMan New Member

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    The SMC return port was 100% blocked. After plenty of brake cleaner and compressed air is now clear.

    Well spotted raYzerman

    The front callipers were binding (L very bad) so stripped both, cleaned, reassembled and bled. Some of the pistons were hard to remove.
    Now with the from wheel off the ground and spinning it I can here the pads scraping and a little resistance but after a ride tomorrow then I'll know if new seals/pistons will be required.

    Next is to bleed the SCM all the way through for a test ride to see if:
    1 Rear clapper will not seize (didn't strip because the 3 pistons were free to move)
    2 Front brakes not binding and heating up evenly
     
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