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Rider on the Storm
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've very gradually become aware that my front disc brake has been losing its ooomph. Today I noticed that there was a little bit of brake fluid leakage from the cylinder cap even though the cylinder is level and the cap is very tightly screwed in. I also noticed that the fluid level through the window guage is about 1/3 down (near the "low" mark ~ there's no "high" mark as pictured in the manual). While I have almost 6,000 miles on the bike, and use the front brake a lot, I'm a bit surprised to have this crop up already on my 2006.

The manual warns me not to add the DOT 4 brake fluid if I don't know the exact brand that's already in there (it's the factory fluid) ~ rather, it suggests taking it to the dealer and having the brake fluid replaced and the lines cleaned out.

Any other explanation/advice out there?
 

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Premium Member
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Charlie, you ready to bleed your brake lines? :)

I'd pull the cover off the MC and see what's going on with the diaphragm in there...seems like it shouldn't be doing anything untoward afte 6K miles, but ya never know. Any leakage down by the brake calipers themselves? There's a bleeder bolt on each caliper (should have a cap on it) - check and see if they're ok (no leakage). The thing is (if your answer to my first question is "no"), these brakes are theoretically a closed system - as soon as you pull any part (like the MC cover), you introduce air into the system. So you'll have to bleed the lines once you've done that. Having said that, however, seems like you've already got a reason to go in, bleed the lines, and see if you can get yourfluid level back to normal DOUBLE CHECK Clymer's on this, but I believe you can mix Dot 3 and Dot 4 - just not Dot 5 (which is a synthetic).
 

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Yes Cindy, you can mix DOT 3 and 4, but not 5 as it is sythetic and has a different boiling point. You can add DOT4 fluid even if you don't know what brand is in their now, they just want you to bring it to a stealership to make money off of you! With my big brake problem I always used the same brand, got it from Wal-Mart for cheap. If there isn't any fluid leaking from the bleeder valve then just add more fluid to ensure that you have enough.

The leakage problem out of the MC is normal, or so it is on mine. There is a pin hole on the outside edge of the MC, it is above that rubber diaphragm that will push the excess fluid out, a good thing.

Only thing I can suggest is to bleed them and ensure that there is no air in there, which is what it sounds like, and make sure that the MC is full and put the cover back on and you should be all set. With all of the crap I have gone through with my front brakes, that seems like that'll fix it. A '06 shouldn't be having this problem. Hope this helped.
 

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HAWK
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Our bike call for dot 4, that is what I have used.
The DOT # is the rating at how good it deals with humidity and still remains effective.
I want the best I can get, you don't have a back up.
I flush mine every 2 years.
 

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Geek
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872 Posts
Our bike call for dot 4, that is what I have used.
The DOT # is the rating at how good it deals with humidity and still remains effective.
I want the best I can get, you don't have a back up.
I flush mine every 2 years.
That's good advice !
 

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Rider on the Storm
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1,287 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
update

I took my bike into the dealer for the 6000-mile basic maintenance. For one thing, they wiped out the Bel-Ray lube I had coated the splines with last fall and re-coated them with the Honda Moly 60 I provided. (Well, I didn't actually SEE them do it, but moly was missing from the tube when they returned it to me!)

Then they changed out the brake fluid completely (bleeding the hoses, etc.). Even so, the fluid level still seemed low when I picked it up, and the front disc brake still didn't seem to grab with the same gusto I recall when the bike was new.

So...

I went to Autozone and the closest product they had to basic DOT 4 brake fluid was a Valvoline synthetic DOT 4 that: 1) exceeds the standards for both 3 & 4, and 2) is compatible with/can be mixed with conventional brake fluid. That's what I used to top the MC off; it only took a tiny bit ~ I think that part of the problem is that my MC is not quite level (it's close), but I was unable to lvel it completely because the tube leading down from the MC hits the handlebar when I roll the MC/brake lever forward. I didn't bleed the hoses.

I guess everything's OK. For some reason I remember the front brake being so responsive that it would practically throw me over the handlebars if I gave it a good squeeze. Now there's more play in the brake lever, and it doesn't seem to clamp down as tightly. I don't feel unsafe, but it makes me wonder.
 

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HAWK
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With a new bike the brakes do hav a brake in time.
You must have hit that and they are now grabbing normal, When they are new they do grab fast.
The older brakes get they start to glaze and wont work as good as new but it is ot bad.
We get that all the time with new cars at the dealer.
 

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Thats unusual?

Most new vehicles over here use DOT 5 as standard, for the past 3 years or so, i would have thought they did the same in the States?
 

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Brakes

Hey GUY.............Your brakes should be as good as they were when you rolled out of the dealership if not better! If by chance your brakes feel a little bit "spongy" when you pull the lever, you most likely have air in the system & they need to be bled! If when you pull the brake lever & it feels hard & NOT spongy, you are probably OK. Again.....if not......bleed the brake system! You might also check the pads for wear if you as you say use the front brakes a lot more than usual. You need to have the best front brakes as possible as most of your stopping power is in the front. The rear drum brakes on these VN750's suck big time!

Tcat
 

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Rider on the Storm
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Discussion Starter #11
good to go

Since I'm heading out on a 1,000-mile trip tomorrow, I decided to go to another Kaw dealer to check out my front disc brake. He too felt that it was good to go. (In fact, he had me test the brakes of other bikes in the shop, including another VN 750 ~ and my brake gripped better than all of them.) The mechanic did do a test ride, then wiped the rotors down with some kind of solvent, and, sure enough, they gripped even better after that. So I'm good to go.

I'm riding from SW Ohio to the U.P. of Michigan tomorrow morning. My bike is heavily loaded now ~ saddle bags, tank bag, tail bag, and duffle on the back rack. It's not nearly as much weight as hauling a passenger, but I will need to be cautious as I get used to the new feel.

I hope to post some photos upon my return. The weather will be PERFECT ~ at least for the ride up! (I've got Frogg Toggs in the tank bag!)
 

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HAWK
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Hope to see the picts, Good luck and enjoy the ride.
 
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