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Bleeder Leaks: What is the Final Solution?

3587 Views 20 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  pearsonm
Brake Bleeder Screw Leaks: What is the Final Solution?

I’m having the dreaded Brake Bleeder leak. I’ve sprayed the bleeder down with brake cleaner and blown it out with compressed air for the past two days but it keeps coming back so I don’t think it’s just some residual fluid. I’m scrambling because there’s a pop-up track day this Saturday that I really want to go to. I just ordered some Speed Bleeders from Dennis Kirk but it’s going to be close whether or not they come in time.

The reason I’m posting is because I believe I’ve read every previous post on the issue but the original posters rarely report back on what their final solution was. So what is it? New, stock bleeders? Copper-tipped bleeders? Speed Bleeders? Machining the calipers? Used calipers? New calipers?

I understand that it’s the seat the makes the seal and not the threads, but I gave Teflon tape a try anyway and it didn’t work. Everything’s clean. I spun the bleeder tip into some steel wool. From what I can see of the caliper seats they look fine. I’ve double checked tightness with a torque wrench and am satisfied they’re on plenty tight. I’ve only bleed the brakes on this bike once before so it’s not like they’ve had a lot of wear and tear.
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First, just buy a new bleeder and see if it will seat. Don't try to torque any bleeder down too much, they are very easy to brake and the seat in the caliper is easy to gall. I would try to fix the problem before installing speed bleeders.

If that doesn't do the trick then see if you can figure out what the problem is. It's either the seat in the caliper or the tip of the bleeder. There are seat cutting tools which can redo a galled or dented seat in the caliper. Since this requires cutting a bit of metal, full disassembly and thorough post-cut cleaning is recommended. It's not a terribly difficult job, but it does take care and patience.
Can you tell if the seat’s galled by looking at it? It looked clean and straight to me. The bleeder looked cheap but the sealing portion was evident and didn’t appear to be dinged. Do you know were to get the cutting tools?
Could be the seat in the caliper is either too large in diameter (could have happened if they were over-torqued), or the hole in the bleeder screw is too close to its point.

Buy some new bleeder screws and go from there.
.. Gregg
Man, I’m at my wits end. It took four trips to auto supply stores last night after work but I finally scored two new bleeder screws. I put ‘em in, bled the lines, cleaned everything up with brake cleaner and compressed air and zip-tied the brake lever overnight but there was still some dampness by the threads this morning. I torqued the screws a little tighter and cleaned everything back up. I’ll check them again at lunch.

Does anyone think it might still be residue in the threads that can’t be reached with compressed air and brake cleaner? I’m trying to track down some cutting tools for the seats but am striking out so far.
I doubt it if you need to recut the seats. You have a K6.

Proper torque, brake cleaner, always work for me. Maybe use a qtip or similar and try to pull all the fluid out of the bleeder nozzle too.
Oh, I've got that one memorized! Speed Bleeders saved the day for SV650Naked. I ordered a pair from Dennis Kirk yesterday. They should be here tomorrow. I hope the little girl on the phone sent me the right ones.

I agree with andyauger in that the problem lies between the seat and screw which is why I'm trying so hard to find a solution there. I don't want to 'mask' the problem with thread seal, so to speak. I REALLY don't want to get into cutting. If my calipers are FUBAR then I'll be looking for upgrades rather than pay more money to go thru this B-S every time I need to bleed my lines.

I've never had such a problem with torque on bleed screws. I've always just got 'em 'good and snug'. It's a tiny, little 8mm wrench so I've never worried about getting gorilla with it. On the stock screws I got an extended 8mm socket and checked ‘em with a 3/8” drive torque wrench. It had me go tighter than I was comfortable with.

When I clean everything up I wipe it down, blow out the bleeder with compressed air, shoot some cleaner down the bleeder and at the threads, blow it out again and wipe it back down. I’ve also had pressure at the lever since last night. This morning I bumped up the torque just a smidge with ¼” drive ratchet and cleaned everything back up. That's a good idea on the Q-Tips. I'll ram some of those down in there.

We’re not talking an oil spill here, just some ‘weepage’. No dripping or even a trail. I’ve searched the WERA board. Those guys don’t seem nearly as concerned.
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IIRC, the torque spec for Zuki bleed screws is 4 ft/lbs of torque. That is about as much effort as it take to turn a page in a large book. I hope for your sake, you did not strip them out. Good luck.
IIRC, the torque spec for Zuki bleed screws is 4 ft/lbs of torque. That is about as much effort as it take to turn a page in a large book. I hope for your sake, you did not strip them out. Good luck.
Every spec I've seen for 2nd generation bikes is 7.5 NM. I think my 3/8" torqure wrench is marked in 5NM increments so I went a little over 5NM with the stock bleeders. This was after I tried setting them hand-tight like I always have. I'm certain they were made tighter with the torque wrench than they’ve ever been. They were never forced, just incrementally made tighter. The new bleeders are set 'hand tight'.

I looked as close into the calipers as I could. It's obvious were the bleeders made contact with the seat but they didn't appear to be gouged or pitted. It looked as though about 50% of the surface of the stock bleeders were making contact with the seat.

I emailed Cycle Brakes. They don't sell cutting tools. I also tried AutoZone and a local truck brake shop.
FWIW....I use a torque wrench on most bolts, etc....never on my bleed screws.
Yea, I'm kinda' wishin' I didn't use it, but it was after the 'hand-tight' method wasn't working. It's possible the tip of the bleeder is burying down into the seat, distorting the angle and therefore narrowing the surface area.
Here’s an update. Yesterday I cut the zip tie off the lever and quit using brake cleaner, just compressed air. They were dry this morning so I put the zip tie back on. I checked them again at lunch and they're still dry.

I’m hoping that what I was seeing was leftover brake cleaner. I’m not a chemist, but I thought the cleaner evaporated quickly and completely taking any leftover brake fluid with it. Regardless, it appears to be gone so I think I’m going to try it out at the track this weekend. If you hear about a rider blowing Turn 1 on the first lap at Hallett Saturday it was probably me!

The specs on the bleeder screws I got at AutoZone are M7 - 1.0 X 33 8mm. I haven’t got my Speed Bleeders in yet but the part# Dennis Kirk is sending me is 193928S (there’s also an L (Long) version).

I never found a seat cutting tool or a business who could cut them for me. I also couldn't find any aftermarket calipers.
out f curiosity, why were your bleeders out in the first place? I never need to undo mine more than 1/4 of a turn at the *most* to release pressure when bleeding. Something I'm missing here?
They weren’t to begin with. I had installed steel lines and was simply bleeding them out. I set the stock bleeders hand-tight and they leaked. I put an extended 8mm socket on a 3/8” drive toque wrench and they still leaked. It was then I took them out, cleaned them up and wrapped them in thread tape but they still leaked. Then I got some new bleeders.

They whole time I’m blasting them with brake cleaner and blowing them out with compressed air. Once I stopped with the brake cleaner they dried up. My Speed Bleeders came in yesterday but I going to go with what I’ve got. If they hold I’ll probably just stick with them.
Huh, okay. My reading comprehension is a bit shot right now; fever + flu = less than clear thinking. :D
I just got back from Hallett. Everything worked fine - no drips, no runs, no errors. I think what I was seeing was leftover cleaner, not fluid. The original bleeders may not have needed to be replaced. I haven't decided whether or not to put in the Speed Bleeders.
How was the track day? I saw that email, but couldn't make it up there. Bet it was nice as not crowded.
It was absolutely wonderful. I love that place. The track was green, a typhoon blew all morning and I had no other SV's to play with but there's no place I would've rather been. I've been working my rear off all winter on my suspension, brakes and general maintenance so it was nice to get in a shakedown run before the season starts.

Unfortunately, the track gods were angry and they leveled their wrath on a couple unsuspecting people in Turn 1. Check out the youtube of one guy's wreck:
Wow, that guy looked like he was going to be limping for a couple of days.

Last year I saw Eslick there in the spring. He was head and shoulders better than almost everyone out there.
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