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  1. #1
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    Avid Elixir brake lever won't move

    I'm having an issue where my brake lever is "stuck." The brakes still stop, but the brake lever barely moves and can not come all the way back to the handlebar. I have tried bleeding the brakes and still have had no luck. If I push the pistons all the way back and toss in the brake pads, the lever will work normally once; after one pull, it reverts back to having this issue. I'm unsure if it's an issue with the lever, or the pistons themselves.

    Has anyone had a similar experience or know how to fix this problem?

  2. #2
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    Sounds like your system may be a bit overfilled with fluid. Try this and see if it corrects the problem. Remove the wheel, open the bleed port and hold a rag under it to catch any excess fluid. Push the caliper pistons in until they bottom out in the caliper. Close the bleed port back up. Clean any fluid residue off the caliper with alcohol. Install the wheel and reset your pistons by pulling the lever as usual. If you have a model with pad contact adjustment adjust the pad contact to suit you. If this doesn't work you've got something else going on. If this does solve the problem then in the future remember to always bottom out the pistons in the caliper before bleeding he brakes.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response. I just tried this, and now the piston wont move at all when pulling on the lever. Should I re-bleed the brake?

  4. #4
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    If one piston moves and the other doesn't it's a stuck piston. Might be just dirt or it could be a piston seal. If neither piston moves then you've got a problem with the lever/master cylinder. Another possibility is a blocked port in the caliper. That's rare but possible.

    Try removing the stuck piston, inspect and clean the seal with alcohol then lube it with a little brake fluid. Inspect the piston bore and clean it as well. Look for any ridges or scoring. If all looks good then re-assemble, bleed and see if it works. If not you'll likely have to tear down the caliper and rebuild it. If you have to go this route hit the Avid website and download the service manual, get a rebuild kit and go at it. If you aren't comfortable with it take it to an LBS and have them do it.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  5. #5
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    I actually ended up taking the piston out last night, cleaning it and relubing it. Bled the brake after and it seems to be doing alright. I may bleed it again since it seems a bit weak. Thanks a ton for your help!

  6. #6
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    hey tryxt, just wondering if your maintenance solved your problem long term, or what you ended up doing. I have the exact same problem (really firm lever after first alignment squeeze), and am trying to decide what to do. Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Mine was a few problems, but the firm lever issue was just the fluid being overfilled. Ended up letting a few drops of fluid out and that solved the problem.

  8. #8
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    You have to love a forum with lots of activity and a good search function.

    On Friday I was getting prepped for a Saturday ride and noticed my rear brake pads were almost down to the backing. Saturday morning before the ride should have been enough time to put in new pads, but the piston on one side wouldn't go all the way back in to the caliper. It was so close I kept fighting it. Then I noticed the lever felt funny too.

    Came on here and poked around looking for discussion of similar symptoms and found this thread (among others). Opened the bleed screw at the lever and compressed the lever enough to let out a few drops of fluid. All problems solved. Very lucky I had the right size torx bit in the garage.

    Only thing I can figure is that someone bled the brakes once while a previous set of pads were slightly worn and that put too much fluid in the system to allow room for brand new pads.

    10 minute job wound up taking 2 hours, but we got a ride in in the end.

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