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  1. #1
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    Avid Elixir Question

    New to hydraulic disc brakes and just picked up a pair of Elixir 3Rs that were take-offs from a 2013 Carve Expert. Seller said he rode with them on 2-3 times before switching over to BB7s (for easier on-tail maintenance when bike-packing) and that they've been sitting around his house ever since. He also said they performed great when he had them.

    Just put them on my bike tonight and I've got two issues I need to get sorted out. The front brake feels like it has zero pressure and goes right to the bar when I pull in on the lever. The rear brake is the complete opposite. It's extremely stiff when I pull the lever and it barely moves at all.

    Since I'm new to hydraulics I'm just guessing, but here's what I came up with for possible causes.

    Front brake (zero pressure):

    -air in the system (lever/master cylinder, hose, caliper/slave cylinder) either as air bubbles or a pocket
    -under-filled system (not enough brake fluid in the system)
    -blown seal either in the master cylinder or caliper
    -open system (would probably see leaks though)

    Rear brake (stiff/too much pressure)

    -over-filled system (too much brake fluid in the system)
    -sticky piston(s)
    -something broken in the lever assemble or caliper assembly


    Any suggestions on what to try first? I was thinking of buying an Avid bleed kit and performing a bleed on both brakes and seeing where that gets me. I could even go as far as to completely flush the old fluid out and replace it with new fluid.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Never Forget 9-11
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    I would try and bleed both sets. The bleed kit instructions are good plus there is a you tube video available to walk you through the process.
    It's such a fine line between idiocy and genius.

  3. #3
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    ^ +1

    Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2

  4. #4
    bt
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    I would toss them in a dumpster.

  5. #5
    The Original Suspect
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    Quote Originally Posted by bt View Post
    I would toss them in a dumpster.
    I have these brakes, they were OE on my Camber. They are also my first dealings with hydraulic disc brakes on a bicycle. I have had zero problems with them and they stop me with more than enough force.

    So, please elaborate on your post. Is this statement from real world, practical experience? If so, I am interested in knowing what I should be looking for in the future with regards to problems I might face.

  6. #6
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    I figure they both probably could use a bleed or two. As far as I know, the seller took them off his Carve Expert months ago. They've been sitting in his house ever since. I'm sure this could have some effect on the brakes.

    I'll go ahead and buy a bleed kit (not sure if I should go for the professional kit or stick to the standard) and give each one a bleed and see where that gets me. If that doesn't work I can bleed them again for a second or third time which should replace the old fluid entirely and replace it with fresh brake fluid. If that doesn't work they may need a service or rebuild.

  7. #7
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    I agree with the bleed on the one that goes to the bar. Before bleeding the other, remove the pads and ensure the pistons are pushed back toward the sides of the caliper as it is possible someone squeezed the lever without the rotor and therefor eth pistons are pushed out a bit. I have Elixer 3s and am using the standard bleed kit. I don't have enough time on them to give you an opinion, but they seem to work okay. I am very fluent in Shimano Hydros but these came on a new bike.

  8. #8
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    Sounds like a plan...

    Quote Originally Posted by bt View Post
    I would toss them in a dumpster.
    Given the fact I just bought a 2011 Giant Trance X3 with Avid Elixir 3's, I find that kind of "advice" less than helpful to anyone.

    Luposian

  9. #9
    bt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luposian View Post
    Given the fact I just bought a 2011 Giant Trance X3 with Avid Elixir 3's, I find that kind of "advice" less than helpful to anyone.

    Luposian
    go to the brake forum and read thru the threads.

    the brakes I do like are the new shimanos.

    if yours are working that is great but i would hesitate to throw any

    money at them if they start giving you problems.

  10. #10
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    Since you'll be bleeding the brakes anyway, take them off the bike so you can give them a proper once-over.

    Push the pistons out about as far as the pads would normally reach in them (read, a little less than a 1/4"), clean the sides with denatured alcohol and a q-tip, and then apply some DOT fluid to the sides. Push them in, and repeat until both pistons move freely. If this doesn't work, there may be contaminants on the piston sides/bore, and a full tear down would be required (Avid has an excellent complete service manual on the SRAM website). You may use DOT grease instead of fluid, if you have any. Make sure you clean up the caliper/pistons with alcohol once they are flush and you are happy with the results.

  11. #11
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    ... and if we just ...

    Quote Originally Posted by bt View Post
    go to the brake forum and read thru the threads.

    the brakes I do like are the new shimanos.

    if yours are working that is great but i would hesitate to throw any

    money at them if they start giving you problems.
    Fortunately, I haven't had to throw any money at them. On my 3rd visit to Sun 'n' Spokes, the guy there scrubbed the rotor(s) with steel wool and then, according to him, burned/torched the pads 3x longer than recommended. My rear brakes (which were noisy and "rackety" (vibrating and jittery) when braking hard) are now smooth and quiet, even when braking hard. Front brake has never been a problem. Smooth and quiet, even braking hard.

    When dealt with properly, my suspicion is that Avid Elixir 3's are not bad brakes afterall.

  12. #12
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    mmckechnie,

    Might as well just replace the fluid, and then you will know you have fresh fluid. Brake fluid is cheap. Just completely and slowly follow the bleed directions, and search the forum for any "tricks". I agree with wschruba, take them off the bike for an easier bleed.

    The brakes will likely work fine (I use two sets of Elixirs--good power). Somewhat difficult to bleed to be certain all the air is out, but, once done, mine work great.

  13. #13
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    FWIW. I've had Elixirs on two of my most current bikes. The only good thing I have to say about them, is Avid stands behind them. They really tried to make things right. Problem being, there is no fix to the god awful vibration. You will get to a point when enough is enough. I know I did. Thats when I went with the Shimano XT's with the Ice-Tech rotors. After trying same. There is no looking back. Zero noise / amazing stopping power. I couldn't be more pleased. Try them out. Its a no brainer...

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