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Discussion Starter #1
I feel as if this is immensely over complicated, so my apologies in advance if this seems overly simple to you guys...

DOES..OR DOES NOT...a hydraulic/disk break system have a cable that connects the lever to the break!?

During a few repairs 3 months ago my local mechanic said he tightened my front break cable for me, but it will need replaced soon. (I may have the memory mixed up but I do remember clearly him saying he tightened something a lot because my break lever was loosing tension, but it would need replaced soon. Im not home to check the invoice papers but I'm too bonkers right now to wait to post this, but I am almost certain he tightened a cable)

While my bike is at the dealer for an internal fix I figured they could order my cable, since at this point there's minuscule tension on the lever when I would pull all the way in.

So I assume, "oh the cable is shot.". So I call my local dealer and ask an order for a new front break cable for my cm400. And he's having no idea what I'm talking about! Saying "oh... if you have a hydraulic break system, and the lever has no tension, it must be another issue".

Like I have no mechanic history so it's possible I'm wrong but...what the heck? Was I asking for the wrong thing or something? Is this dude stupid? Or do I know even less about bikes than I thought :lol:

Thanks- This is just driving me crazy lol.
 

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No cable on a hydraulic brake. Maybe a cable clutch?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
No cable on a hydraulic brake. Maybe a cable clutch?
thanks for the reply, now I know I was wrong haha. Im not sure, the issue is just there's no tension on the lever when I pull so I'm riding with a really weak front break. A cable clutch sounds like a probable cause for that issue? I mean when I hear clutch I automatically disregard it since my bike doesnt have a clutch, just a parking break. Plus I thought clutch cables ran on the left side hence it's name?
 

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If it is the parking brake cable, then trying to order one from a dealer would be tough as they are discontinued.

Unless the actual steel tips at the end of the cable are lost, broken off, just not there, and the cable is just very, stiff and does not want to move,
then, hang it vertical one night, pour in some PB (product called penetrating blaster) then let it dribble down and in the morning,

put both ends together into a vice, clamp tight, then, pull the housing up and down to the ends and you might be able to work it free.

If it does, lube up afterward with some WD40 or other MC cable lube.
 

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I believe he is talking about the front hydraulic disc brake being spongy. It may need to be refilled and bled. If you need a new rear brake cable, I have two NOS.
 

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The good news is it's really easy to bleed the brake. You can actually reach the lever and the bleeder screw at the same time. "So simple even an MDM could do it," so to speak. My motorcycle is slightly different than yours, but hopefully the handlebar isn't that much farther from the caliper, lol.

What I did (and mine didn't even have a drop of fluid in it when I got it) was:
  • Remove the four screws that held my master cylinder cap on. Mine had a rubber diaphragm under the plastic cover - which was mangled, but still available from Honda for... I think I talked the guy down to $12 or $13, somewhere between their list price and "Internet price" because I hadn't bought parts there before (new customer discount, please?), didn't want to pay list if I could avoid it, and didn't want to wait on it to be shipped from "Parts Я US" or wherever.
  • Top off brake fluid level.
  • Use brake bleeder wrench (I've had bad luck with a regular open end wrench) to "crack" the bleeder loose, then slightly snug it back. That way you're not trying to brake it loose whilst holding the lever in, lol.
  • Place junk container under bleeder valve to keep from polluting :rolleyes: .
  • Pull brake lever, but keep a finger between it and the handgrip so it cannot "bottom out." This is important on some models, I don't remember which, and it causes no harm to do in any case.
  • With brake lever still pulled, crack bleeder - and quickly close it again while there is still pressure in the system (I have been told that if one doesn't, air can actually reenter the system through the bleeder. IDK but better safe than sorry with brakes, lol).
  • Some fluid and air will probably have come out.
  • Release lever, pull again, repeat bleeder valve action, remembering to only open whilst lever is pulled and to close it while your pulling the lever still has pressure in system (IOW, don't wait until it quits coming out to shut the thing, and it only takes an instant or so - you'll figure out the duration with the first or second "cycle" I'm sure).
  • Ditto.
  • Ditto, but at some point remember that you're partially evacuating the system and that you DON'T want to run it dry (defeating the purpose), so check master cylinder and when it gets low, top it off again.
  • You should be noticing that you're getting a firmer lever. After it's good and firm, I suppose you're done. But you've still got lots of brake fluid in that bottle, lol, might as well keep going until the fluid coming out the bleeder looks as good as what you're pouring in instead of yucky brown. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it has the ability to capture and hold water molecules from the environment... Hot brake fluid still works fine, but heat water past a certain point and you have steam. Steam does NOT work well (at all) as a brake fluid :rolleyes: . Plus, moisture in the system can cause rust/corrosion (which turns the fluid brownish).
  • Remember to reinstall diaphragm (if applicable), cap, and screws on the master cylinder when finished!
Speaking of which... They say not to open a bottle and keep it forever and a day, because it'll start drawing moisture from when you first crack the seal... so buy a new bottle if you haven't (recently).

Err... Done. Go for a ride.

Note: Do NOT "pump" the lever whilst bleeding. I know some old backyard mechanics do (or, at least, used to "back in the day"), but when you agitate the system, the only result - if, indeed, you get any difference at all - would be that you brake, err, break up the bubbles and distribute them throughout. This would tend to mean you'll have to bleed that much longer, IMO.

That's how I did mine. I went from NO brakes to a working front one. Was simpler to do than the above reads (and, actually, quicker to do than to type ;) ).

DISCLAIMER: I am not a certified mechanic. Test your newly-bled brake before you have to depend on it's function, lol.

Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Excellent how-to MDM, appreciate it immensely!...cough, the master cylinder is the break fluid compartment on top of the right handlebar, right? If that's the case I think this'll do the trick because I just filled it 3 months ago when it was just below the line (also when I bought the break fluid bottle- sounds like a should buy a new one?). I placed the rubber piece back and screwed the cap on tight but the seal is not what i would call "vacuum proof", so air may have been seeping in. I had no idea how sensitive the system was until now. Could this have been the cause of it?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I believe he is talking about the front hydraulic disc brake being spongy. It may need to be refilled and bled. If you need a new rear brake cable, I have two NOS.
And thanks but my rear brake is peachy, thank goodness lol.
 

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Are you sure you have a rear brake cable? On my 78 T2, it uses a rod with a threaded end, not a cable for the drum.
 

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The Automatics have a cable with a lockable lever that operates the rod to the drum as a "parking" brake......
 

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you are right of course, forgot about the cable to the rod that actuates the rear parking brake. I thought you may have been mentioning the non automatic version.
 

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And thanks but my rear brake is peachy, thank goodness lol.
Might want to make sure that those rear brake shoes are not 35-year old originals... Otherwise, your rear brake might be peachy - right up until the point when the braking material on the shoes delaminate from age and jam, causing your rear wheel to lock up.

I'd probably use an opened - but tightly resealed - bottle of brake fluid if it was only three months old. I'm not sure I'd recommend others do so - but that might be out of an overdeveloped sense of caution about giving advice to others, lol (hey, it IS brakes we're discussing - they're "kind of" important ;) ). Use your own judgment on that one.

BtW, what is the condition of the front brake line? If it's a rubber one, it could be "ballooning" under pressure (especially if it's <GASP> the original one). That'd give you less braking power than you should have.

Regards,
 
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