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Discussion Starter #1
I put new handlebars on my 2000 Sportster which involved disconnecting the front brake cable and replacing it with a longer one. Figured while I was at it I would replace the front pads, clean up the caliper and put in new fluid. I completely flushed the lines ready for new fluid.

Now everything is re-assembled, put in new fluid and there is zero pressure no matter if I pump for ten minutes. There is nothing coming from the bleed valve when I open it, and no pressure at all when I close it. I tried opening the banjo bolt a little at the caliper end, but again nothing.

I had the master cylinder re-fitted with a new "kit" as well at the local dealership.

Anyone else have some tips to get the fluid moving through? Thanks
 

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You can try "bench bleeding" the master cylinder separately.

Make sure it's pumping fluid.

Then, attach the brake line and bleed the rest of the system.

Cheers,
Smoketown
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's take brake lever/master cylinder off the bike, then try and get some fluid pumping through by plugging hole with finger?
 

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Yes, it is!

You can do it on the bike with a good helper if you are careful.

Make sure it is pumping fluid and not air before attaching it to the brake line.

Be extra careful about dripping brake fluid.

Cover ALL painted parts! (I use contractor trash bags.)

Cheers,
Smoketown
 

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It can take a lot of pumping.

Another option is to get a cheap brake bleeder from Harbor Freight or something to speed up the process.

It's a good little thing to have. Though honestly, I use it more to open the stock petcock diaphragm to drain the tanks than I do for bleeding brakes (at this point, I never use it for brakes, I put Russell Speed Bleeders on it and made fluid and bleeding a million times less a hassle).

But that's only after you make sure the master cylinder is even pumping to begin with.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think I could keep pumping for hours, as said there level in MC is not dropping.

I think as was mentioned previously, I'll disconnect the banjo at the MC end and get it pumping fluid there first.

I'll definitely invest in a brake vacuum kit for future use.
 

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Outlaw
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You said you replaced the handlebar, one thing that come to mind is what angle is the master at now. Make sure it's level for bleeding, once you bleed the brakes a little angle won't hurt anything. On some bikes I mount the master to a short piece of 1"od pipe (about a foot long) so I can hold it level so no air gets trapped, it's not a cure all, but it does make the job easier at times.

Of course even a cheap vacuum bleeder is money well spent.
 

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Good Video . . .

 

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I put new handlebars on my 2000 Sportster which involved disconnecting the front brake cable and replacing it with a longer one. Figured while I was at it I would replace the front pads, clean up the caliper and put in new fluid. I completely flushed the lines ready for new fluid.

Now everything is re-assembled, put in new fluid and there is zero pressure no matter if I pump for ten minutes. There is nothing coming from the bleed valve when I open it, and no pressure at all when I close it. I tried opening the banjo bolt a little at the caliper end, but again nothing.

I had the master cylinder re-fitted with a new "kit" as well at the local dealership.

Anyone else have some tips to get the fluid moving through? Thanks
I just did the same: Handlebars and brake lines on my buddy's '03 Sporty last November.. I have the Mighty vac (manual version).. That thing is a life saver! It took less time to fill and flush, than it did to get that tiny ferrule in the braided brake line. The other thing that mighty vac is great for: reducing the fluid level in the primary (should you over-fill it) like i usually do!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Unfortunately I don't have a mighty vac, or any vacuum pump at the moment.

I might try and buy a big syringe this week as I'm close to giving up on it today. I took the master cylinder and brake lever off the bike, with the pipe and caliper still connected. I put everything on the bench, tried putting the caliper up, down and wherever but nothing is pumping through.

I disconnected the banjo bolt at the master cylinder, plugged the hole and pumped and could feel resistence and vacuum, if I moved my thumb slight then the fluid did squirt out. Soon as I connect the line back up, there is nothing no matter how many times I bleed the caliper. I am starting to get a little dribble every now and then.

Now of course I have removed the banjo bolt so many times, the copper washers are becoming becoming useless.

What's the procedure for bleeding the master cylinder and putting the pipe back on? I am sure I am going wrong here and introducing air back into the master cylinder or something.
 

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Unfortunately I don't have a mighty vac, or any vacuum pump at the moment.

I might try and buy a big syringe this week as I'm close to giving up on it today. I took the master cylinder and brake lever off the bike, with the pipe and caliper still connected. I put everything on the bench, tried putting the caliper up, down and wherever but nothing is pumping through.

I disconnected the banjo bolt at the master cylinder, plugged the hole and pumped and could feel resistence and vacuum, if I moved my thumb slight then the fluid did squirt out. Soon as I connect the line back up, there is nothing no matter how many times I bleed the caliper. I am starting to get a little dribble every now and then.

Now of course I have removed the banjo bolt so many times, the copper washers are becoming becoming useless.

What's the procedure for bleeding the master cylinder and putting the pipe back on? I am sure I am going wrong here and introducing air back into the master cylinder or something.
Those copper crush washers are a one time use item.. Just sayin'... That could well be a leak path. I see you are in the Netherlands, I assume you have auto-parts stores, They will have the copper washers and a the vacuum. I purchased mine at Autozone here in the states.. It was about $20, if i remember correctly.

I just put the Mighty-vac on the bleed port, filled the reservoir, pulled the brake leaver via a small bungee cord. Then cracked open the bleed port while applying some vacuum. Just DO NOT let the reservoir suck air.
Once no air was seen in the vac line, close the port then remove the bungee...
Best of luck to ya'!

Edit: That tiny piston in the master cylinder doesn't move much fluid! The idea is to just create force within the line.. a full stroke on the hand lever won't move a 1/2 ounce if fluid. So be patient.. That is why the vac is so much help, it pulls the fluid through the master cylinder, so long as the leaver is applied.

2nd Edit: If you are quitting for the evening: Tie a cord or bungee around the brake lever and grip, applying brakes. That should allow some fluid to gravity feed into the line over-night. Then once you have finished the fill and bleed: Again tie the lever to the applied brake again overnight. This will allow any micro bubbles that may be in the system to migrate back up to the reservoir and give you a "better bleed"..
 

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Those copper crush washers are a one time use item.. Just sayin'... That could well be a leak path. I see you are in the Netherlands, I assume you have auto-parts stores, They will have the copper washers and a the vacuum. I purchased mine at Autozone here in the states.. It was about $20, if i remember correctly.

I just put the Mighty-vac on the bleed port, filled the reservoir, pulled the brake leaver via a small bungee cord. Then cracked open the bleed port while applying some vacuum. Just DO NOT let the reservoir suck air.
Once no air was seen in the vac line, close the port then remove the bungee...
Best of luck to ya'!

Edit: That tiny piston in the master cylinder doesn't move much fluid! The idea is to just create force within the line.. a full stroke on the hand lever won't move a 1/2 ounce if fluid. So be patient.. That is why the vac is so much help, it pulls the fluid through the master cylinder, so long as the leaver is applied.
You didn't connect the Mighty Vac directly to the brake bleed nipple did you? I have mine going to a sealed container. A line runs from the container to the nipple. All the brake fluid drawn from the m/c collects in the container. I don't have to have the lever applied either. Not on the Ultra or my car and truck. You just have to pull over 10 hg ( I think it's that much, maybe not) and the fluid gets drawn through to the container leaving no mess.
 

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You didn't connect the Mighty Vac directly to the brake bleed nipple did you? I have mine going to a sealed container. A line runs from the container to the nipple. All the brake fluid drawn from the m/c collects in the container. I don't have to have the lever applied either. Not on the Ultra or my car and truck. You just have to pull over 10 hg ( I think it's that much, maybe not) and the fluid gets drawn through to the container leaving no mess.
Correct, JLR. I connect the vac, the same way as shown in the video (posted by DRVMAN).. However I did apply the lever.. It makes sense to just draw without the lever as you stated,, :unsure:
However, I do tie my lever (applying the brake) overnight, after i finish. Just in case!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the info, have ordered a vacuum pump online and will buy a mixed set of copper washers tomorrow. I will leave the brake overnight to gravity feed. I have the whole set up on my bench, with the caliper on the ground with pipe connected obviously.

Thanks for all the help. I'll update when I got it working.
 

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You didn't connect the Mighty Vac directly to the brake bleed nipple did you? I have mine going to a sealed container. A line runs from the container to the nipple. All the brake fluid drawn from the m/c collects in the container. I don't have to have the lever applied either. Not on the Ultra or my car and truck. You just have to pull over 10 hg ( I think it's that much, maybe not) and the fluid gets drawn through to the container leaving no mess.
JLR, does your Ultra have ABS? If so, do you have the dealership perform their computer magic after you do the bleed?
Mine has ABS, i have yet to perform the brake flush on it, It's due.
 

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Thanks for the info, have ordered a vacuum pump online and will buy a mixed set of copper washers tomorrow. I will leave the brake overnight to gravity feed. I have the whole set up on my bench, with the caliper on the ground with pipe connected obviously.

Thanks for all the help. I'll update when I got it working.

One note: To properly bleed the system the caliper bleeder nipple has to be at the top - facing upwards. If not the caliper will retain a pocket of air.
 

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JLR, does your Ultra have ABS? If so, do you have the dealership perform their computer magic after you do the bleed?
Mine has ABS, i have yet to perform the brake flush on it, It's due.
No, mine is an '07. The original owner told me he traded it so he could get the ABS system. I wish there was a way to bleed the ABS without the outrageous charge the dealership gets.
 

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Obviously there's a trick to bleeding the Harley brakes without a vacuum pump, or even with the pump because the pump doesn't get the system completely bled.
I'll try to keep this post short I swear I'll try, I'm watching the Flintstones and drinking Martinis in between typing!
Remember this: There is a check valve in the master cylinder that only bypasses brake fluid when the pedal or lever is partially cracked open. ALSO do not have the caliper pucks shoved to far into the caliper.
Starting with the front brake system all connected on the bike, bike on side stand, the forks turned all the way left and the master cylinder positioned in its most upright level position.
Fill the master with DOT 5. Put a wrench on the caliper bleeder nipple. Put a container to catch the DOT 5 under or on the caliper bleeder nipple. I always connect a clear hose to the nipple and funnel it into a bleeder jar.
Now you're ready to bleed the brake system. In this case it's the front brake handle you'll be using.
Open the bleeder nipple and give the handle a bunch of pumps, there's a lotta air in the line and caliper. Then close the bleeder and continue. The trick with the handle is to tickle it when pumping ! How the hell do I explain that ?
Tickling is actuating the handle with the finger by tapping it rather than grabbing a fistfull of handle and pulling it full stroke to the grip. The tickling gets the air out of the lines and you should see little bubbles coming up from the master check valve hole, a tiny hole at the bottom of the reservoir.
Now if you're following me with this procedure persevere. Ya gotta do a lotta tickling but when ya see the bubbles coming up from the check valve hole you're making great progress.
If you love your Harley you'll take the time to tickle it !
Following this procedure you'll start getting pressure feel at the handle then continue to bleed the brake as normal. Pump, Pump, Pump, Hold, then crack the bleeder and release fluid into the reservoir, then repeat until the handle is solid.
I told ya I'd keep this short !
 
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