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  1. #1
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    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty

    For those having issues with Guide brake levers not returning, my LBS got SRAM to warranty them and also upgraded them (RS to RSC). Anecdotally they had 3 warranty repairs including mine that week. So far they feel great. Not certain if it's a redesign or a recall, but if you are having similar issues take it to your LBS. My brakes started to act up ~9 months since I bought them. Bleeding and brake pad replacement and piston cleaning did nothing.

  2. #2
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    Interesting! My left RSC lever just started to develop the same. Sometimes after leaving the (cold) bike in direct sunlight for a few minutes the lever gets stuck or will only return very slowly. It usually gets better after a few minutes, so seems to be a weather/temperature related issue

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    It's an O ring issue in the lever they are aware of. Had mine replaced under warranty without question. Temperature does seem to exacerbate the issue, pouring ice cold water on mine would momentarily fix it.

  4. #4
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    maybe Sram is gonna supply me with a thermosbottle to carry ice cold water with me

  5. #5
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    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty

    my Juicy 3s did this when it was hot outside. ill never use Sram brakes again. theyld lock up when it was hot outside, and wouldnt release until it cooled down at night

    lame
    Last edited by nauc; 05-18-2016 at 05:53 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dusadus View Post
    For those having issues with Guide brake levers not returning, my LBS got SRAM to warranty them and also upgraded them (RS to RSC). Anecdotally they had 3 warranty repairs including mine that week. So far they feel great. Not certain if it's a redesign or a recall, but if you are having similar issues take it to your LBS. My brakes started to act up ~9 months since I bought them. Bleeding and brake pad replacement and piston cleaning did nothing.
    The same thing is happening to me. Sounds very common after reading up on it. I have a few questions...

    How long did the warranty process take?
    Did they warranty both brakes or just the one?
    Did they also upgrade the rotors to fit the new brakes?

    Thanks for the post!

  7. #7
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    Incase anyone else is having the same problem.

    Mine was definitely caused by heat. When the bike was stored in the AC there was no problem at all. In the bike shop the brake would act perfect. However, by the time I would get to the trail the rear brake is back to being stuck closed with no spring back from the lever. Sometimes leaving the brake locked in place. Fun! Especially when it happens halfway on a there and back trail!

    Just dropped mine off at a LBS for a warranty claim. Hope they can handle mine too!

  8. #8
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    Has anyone been able to have this problem resolved without going through a LBS? My new, (400 miles), Guide R's will stick if left out in the sun. Pouring cool water on the lever fixes it every time. I would rather not be without my bike while going through the warranty process, plus I got my bike from Bikes Direct, so I am sure that the LBS won't put me on their priority list! What is the actual problem/fix? Is it just O rings, or is the piston/housing faulty? I did properly bleed it with no change in it's symptoms.

  9. #9
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    Yes I do carry two bottles now. One for me, the other for my Guide. Like me, she is very thirsty when it's hot outside

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    Interesting I found this thread -- I just had an issue yesterday. Brakes Guide R's pretty much completely failed in a dangerous defect kind of way. Modulation was way off, front lever stuck to bars, and the adjuster rotated to lock it in -- I went over the bars and smashed into the crunchy sagebrush -- which thank God it was there, it broke my fall and I only have scrapes, bruises and a little whiplash.

    This is a design defect! If all Avid has to do is replace, they are getting out ahead -- some people may get more injured and sue. NEVER had an issue like this with Shimanos, been mountainbiking for 25 years.

    If you look at the photo, you'll see the adjuster has rotated to lock the lever in place -- It's locked in place, I can't get it out without prying it, and the brake is hydrolocked.
    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-avid-guide-r.jpg

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    I'm so glad I found this thread! I am having the same issue with my Guide RS brakes on my one-year-old YT Capra. I started to notice it last fall (when it was still warm in TX), but assumed that I just needed to rebleed and clean the caliper. I did just that this winter (completely replaced the fluid and followed the service manual), and it seemed to be a bit better, though never as good as new. As the season has progressed, I've noticed it more and more, and, of course, it is strongly correlated to the increasing temperatures. Particularly after a ride on the roof rack, in the sun.

    I'm in Austin, TX and just had my first 90+ degree ride of the season, and the levers were super slow on the return. Much worse on the rear brake than the front, but noticeable on both. After seeing this thread, I took my bike inside to the air conditioning. Checked this morning, and the levers felt perfectly normal. So strange. I don't think I ever would have diagnosed it as heat related until I found this thread. I'm certain no LBS around here would have figured that out either. I have a long, hot summer ahead of me and am not happy about this defect!

    I've written to YT tech support and hope they help me out. I've already had two other SRAM products replaced under warranty: Reverb with blown seal and Pike with premature stanchion wear due to insufficient oil from the factory.

  12. #12
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    Same thing here, 20 C slow return 25C et + very slow return and the levers get stuck. Send it to Sram got it back 10 days later, change parts in the front lever, now it worst, slow return at every temperatures and rear lever no change. Very disapointed, think about trow them in fire and dance around it for conjuring the bad luck...

  13. #13
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    Just when I'm considering switching from Shimano, something like this comes up. Sorry SRAM.

    Tested this out on a handful of demo bikes on display at a shop. Almost all of them had the sticky lever.
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  14. #14
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    I've encountered the issue too but it doesn't seem a widespread problem like the bite point glitch of the M8000 XT brakes.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by L3_jok3r View Post
    Very disapointed, think about trow them in fire and dance around it for conjuring the bad luck...
    you wouldn't be the first...
    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-uploadfromtaptalk1466683269959.jpg

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    I'm having the same issue with a set of DB5s. Took them apart to find the master cylinder was rubbing on the lever body and wearing down. Had to push the cylinder out with fluid, it wouldn't just pull out like it should.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by D396 View Post
    I'm having the same issue with a set of DB5s. Took them apart to find the master cylinder was rubbing on the lever body and wearing down. Had to push the cylinder out with fluid, it wouldn't just pull out like it should.
    interesting but not sure what you mean,
    how can the cylinder rub against the lever body?
    please elaborate

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    interesting but not sure what you mean,
    how can the cylinder rub against the lever body?
    please elaborate
    Next time I pull it apart to replace it I will take pictures. But basically the cylinder is fitted into a hole in the lever body and is moved up and down by the lever. When I took the cylinder out it had rub marks all over it matching the color of the body. There was also plastic shavings inside from the cylinder that I had to clean out. It was very hard to remove the cylinder from the body and put it back in. However I did all this work in the warm, and I'm facing exactly what is described above, the brakes work fine in the cold. I'm also very confused how this would happen especially with that looks like permanent damage to the cylinder. Brakes are 10 months old and just started acting up when it got warm. Overnight in the cold they work fine though...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by socalntv View Post
    Interesting I found this thread -- I just had an issue yesterday. Brakes Guide R's pretty much completely failed in a dangerous defect kind of way. Modulation was way off, front lever stuck to bars, and the adjuster rotated to lock it in -- I went over the bars and smashed into the crunchy sagebrush -- which thank God it was there, it broke my fall and I only have scrapes, bruises and a little whiplash.

    This is a design defect! If all Avid has to do is replace, they are getting out ahead -- some people may get more injured and sue. NEVER had an issue like this with Shimanos, been mountainbiking for 25 years.

    If you look at the photo, you'll see the adjuster has rotated to lock the lever in place -- It's locked in place, I can't get it out without prying it, and the brake is hydrolocked.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've just received my RSC replacement and they redesigned the levers, now it's theoretically possible for the above to happen if you're unlucky. The original levers were better in this regard...

  20. #20
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    I ordered and installed the Sram lever internal parts kit; 100% cured the problem! I found that rubber from the piston seal was rubbing off inside the bore. I guess the rubber they used would swell from the brake fluid, and the tolerances were so close that the slight expansion from heat would cause too much friction and binding. Cheap DIY fix, ($17), but the snap ring is a pain in the butt to get out, (in one piece, anyway!).

  21. #21
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    pictures or it didn't happen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    pictures or it didn't happen
    I will be doing the exact same thing when my replacement internals get here tomorrow and will post some pics.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by D396 View Post
    I will be doing the exact same thing when my replacement internals get here tomorrow and will post some pics.
    Do you have long nosed snap ring pliers? I bought some and even had to grind the crap out of those in order to even reach the snap ring!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    Do you have long nosed snap ring pliers? I bought some and even had to grind the crap out of those in order to even reach the snap ring!
    I did order some. I originally disassembled the brakes at a bike park to diagnose the issue, and it took the mechanic quite a while to get the ring off. I'm hoping it'll be easier now that it's been done once... We'll see though.

  25. #25
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    As promised here are pics from the old master cylinder. The rub marks can clearly be seen. It seemed to have 100% fixed the problem when I replaced it, but time will tell. I also gave the internals of the lever a good cleaning. As mentioned above the snap ring was a b!tch to get off.

    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-img_20160630_193627.jpgGuide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-img_20160630_193651.jpg
    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-img_20160630_193745.jpg

  26. #26
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    Is it the rubber or the plastic that is making it stick? Looks like a lot of rubbing on the plastic.

    Mine has the same issues described. I decided to go with the rebuild kit. Can never find the time to go the bike shop and anticipating the hassle of dealing with a SRAM dealer where I didn't purchase the bike (no confidence in my LBS either).

    So I disassembled mine today. The snap ring was removed with moderate aggravation. However the piston (not sure of the proper name) was completely seized. Usually it would work just fine at room temp, but this time it was stuck. I think dirt/sand got in there (it is somewhat exposed).

    Anyway, I decided to remove the piston with a shot of compressed air. Well this worked really well. Too well. The piston shot across the room and, I think into another dimension, because I have not been able to find it. I did find the spring. I was hoping to be able to take a look at my piston to see why it was sticking, well maybe it will show up in a couple of years, when I've forgot about it.

    Will report back when I get the new parts assembled.
    Last edited by Loch; 07-02-2016 at 01:33 AM. Reason: typos

  27. #27
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    My piston was also seized, pushed it out with an Allen key from the other side. I think it's a combination of the plastic and seals. I did the other one today and the rub marks were much worse.
    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-img_20160701_173734.jpg

  28. #28
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    Thanks a lot for the pictures.

    Kudos to these few brave who take matters into their own hands!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by D396 View Post
    My piston was also seized, pushed it out with an Allen key from the other side. I think it's a combination of the plastic and seals. I did the other one today and the rub marks were much worse.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    An Allen key?? How anticlimactic! I think I'll try packing the next one with gunpowder!

  30. #30
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    UPDATE: The Dog found the lost piston. She had it in her mouth. Not sure how the dog found it. We searched for hours for that thing.

    Anyway, it looks just like the others with lots of rub marks etc.

    I clean it off really good and tried inserting it back into the lever. It was still stuck tight (yes, this time I removed it with an allen key, no drama ).

    So my question is, should this piston move freely with just the spring tension, or does it need fluid in there?

    Still waiting for my parts to arrive.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loch View Post
    UPDATE: The Dog found the lost piston. She had it in her mouth. Not sure how the dog found it. We searched for hours for that thing.

    Anyway, it looks just like the others with lots of rub marks etc.

    I clean it off really good and tried inserting it back into the lever. It was still stuck tight (yes, this time I removed it with an allen key, no drama ).

    So my question is, should this piston move freely with just the spring tension, or does it need fluid in there?

    Still waiting for my parts to arrive.
    The new piston I put in moves very freely with only spring tension. Soaking it in brake fluid as recommended loosened it up even more.

  32. #32
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    Are we talking about some isolated issues here or will a larger number of Guide brakes develop this sticky lever syndrome over time?

    If the ruber seal inside "swells" from the brake fluid that sounds very much like another faulty design/inferior materials in the first place

  33. #33
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    Holy crap balls this is old news. I've worked on a bunch of old sram/avid brakes that have this problem and they used the same (similar) white piston. What happens is that the brake fluid combined with heat causes that white piston to expand which causes the brake lever to stop working. What we did at the shop was remove all the rubber rings, put the skinny end into a power drill, find some fine sandpaper and sand down the fatter part of the cylinder until it goes back into the housing without any friction.

    The good news is that once you've done this a couple times it only takes about a half hour, including a bleed, to restore the brake to be fully functional and it lasts for a long time.

    I can't believe SRAM is still using that plastic piston after all these years...
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    If the ruber seal inside "swells" from the brake fluid that sounds very much like another faulty design/inferior materials in the first place
    nice troll and guess, but not.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    nice troll and guess, but not.
    you wanna read post #21 before calling me names here because that is what I was refering to. I encountered the problems described here but didn't disassemble the levers myself as both got exchanged under warranty.

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    If you want to get this white part, it is necessary to lower the lever into the cold water. It freed, if it sufficiently cooled .

    If you want to fix the lever. It is enough to gently whittle away some fiber with small projections in this white part

    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-361445-2.jpg

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideapix View Post
    If you want to get this white part, it is necessary to lower the lever into the cold water. It freed, if it sufficiently cooled .

    If you want to fix the lever. It is enough to gently whittle away some fiber with small projections in this white part
    excellent fix. glad to see folks not just give in to the 'ahh hell it's broke throw it away and buy new' mentality as there's much satisfaction in improvising when successful.

    Glad to see the ignore list function work it's magic
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    excellent fix. glad to see folks not just give in to the 'ahh hell it's broke throw it away and buy new' mentality as there's much satisfaction in improvising when successful.

    Glad to see the ignore list function work it's magic
    Thank you! This is possible by the fact that I'm from Russia

    Here I have problems with the warranty on such products, or can not buy the necessary spare parts.

    But I bought two brake GuideRS and they both stopped working a year later.
    Now they are working perfectly, even in the +32C.

    This fix is working for me!

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    Are these the correct instructions?https://www.canyon.com/download/manu...ide_Brakes.pdf

    My levers are getting sticky, the back's the worst and I wonder if it's necessary to get the lever parts kit or if I can just clean, trim the piston and reinstall? Nearly new bike from Bikes Direct, so I'll be doing any work myself.....

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    nice troll and guess, but not.
    In most of the brake upgrade threads there is someone that pipes in with "you haven't tried guides yet, SRAM fixed it, they are great". At least now there is a thread proving that the Guides are just as bad as the rest.

    Hopefully adding something more constructive to the thread, I replaced my wife's DB5 (absolutely not an Avid!, lol) brakes tonight with SLX's. This was on her newest bike, a Trek Stache. Same crap as my Avids from 2011, stuck on when hot. My point is, the issues seem to impact those that level too to add another data point to the one already mentioned.

    On another note, concerning the concern about it being widespread. I was shopping for a bike for one of my kids. I expressed by discontent with the Guide brakes on the bike. The salesman at the LBS gave me the "they are all the same, those are sweet brakes" speech, and a story about a leaking Shimano caliper. It was probably true, but whatever. In the mean time we are messing around in the parking lot with the bike on a test ride. Its 88 degrees (F) and to no surprise of mine the front brake lever starts to stick causing the brake to drag. In the end we bought the bike that didn't have SRAM brakes, and I'm so thankful I don't have to deal with another set.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by adaycj View Post
    In most of the brake upgrade threads there is someone that pipes in with "you haven't tried guides yet, SRAM fixed it, they are great". At least now there is a thread proving that the Guides are just as bad as the rest.

    Hopefully adding something more constructive to the thread, I replaced my wife's DB5 (absolutely not an Avid!, lol) brakes tonight with SLX's. This was on her newest bike, a Trek Stache. Same crap as my Avids from 2011, stuck on when hot. My point is, the issues seem to impact those that level too to add another data point to the one already mentioned.
    What's most important is what ever brand warranty's are in effect and being addressed via replacement updated versions, kudos to them. 10's of thousands per series are manufactured each year just as with ANY other mass produced product around the world! some of each will be bad/lemons and again what matters is how the manufacture steps up to rectify said product. Hydros, mechanical, v-brakes, rim brakes will all have some glitch just as PC's do.

    I have a set of juicy 5's on my older bike and a combo of ZEE/deore on another new bike, both setups work flawlessly from the get go, lucky perhaps, but then again perhaps not.
    "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK"

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    What's most important is what ever brand warranty's are in effect and being addressed via replacement updated versions, kudos to them. 10's of thousands per series are manufactured each year just as with ANY other mass produced product around the world! some of each will be bad/lemons and again what matters is how the manufacture steps up to rectify said product. Hydros, mechanical, v-brakes, rim brakes will all have some glitch just as PC's do.

    I have a set of juicy 5's on my older bike and a combo of ZEE/deore on another new bike, both setups work flawlessly from the get go, lucky perhaps, but then again perhaps not.
    You have a better attitude about it than I do. Maybe its the roughly $600 Ive spent so far in my life I've spent on brake "upgrades" I should have never needed. This is caused by the fact that bikes I want and can afford almost always have Avid/SRAM speced. Maybe its the sting of failure I felt when the LBS and I both tried to "bleed" our way out of this. Or maybe the botched rides. I just can't let it go. I am sick to death of the defective brakes from Avid/SRAM. For me its not one, or an isolated incidence, its every set. My friends also claimed it was just me, or bad luck. But one by one they all died. The BB7s are the only ones left. And I'm to blame too, I don't even try to fix them anymore. There are just too many hours wasted in my life. This sand the piston thing might be the hot ticket, but no way am I going there. I hope it works for every person that tries it.

    I can only hope that someone somewhere gets something out of the posts I make in these threads. Maybe some good can come from it, and I don't just sound like a mad man. I literally walked on a new 29+ at a LBS this week because they wouldn't swap out the SRAM brakes for a reasonable price. My kid got a 27+ from another dealer two cities away that has knockoff brakes. I'll bet the knockoffs workout just fine, just like the last set and the set before that. And it isn't even that I don't like SRAM. My bikes are covered in their other parts. Anyway, I hear what you are saying about isolated failures and such. From my perspecive it is an isolated case that they work for more than a season before the nonsense starts.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by adaycj View Post
    You have a better attitude about it than I do. Maybe its the roughly $600 Ive spent so far in my life I've spent on brake "upgrades" I should have never needed. This is caused by the fact that bikes I want and can afford almost always have Avid/SRAM speced. Maybe its the sting of failure I felt when the LBS and I both tried to "bleed" our way out of this. Or maybe the botched rides. I just can't let it go. I am sick to death of the defective brakes from Avid/SRAM. For me its not one, or an isolated incidence, its every set. My friends also claimed it was just me, or bad luck. But one by one they all died. The BB7s are the only ones left. And I'm to blame too, I don't even try to fix them anymore. There are just too many hours wasted in my life. This sand the piston thing might be the hot ticket, but no way am I going there. I hope it works for every person that tries it.
    I can appreciate and respect your position given product failure multiple times...which brings you to 'i'm done' I can also appreciate the sentiment of fixes, replacements for $$$ that should not be, new or near new products. Being a self advocate type the proverbial shit would hit the fan if it were me.

    Wish you well in the future.
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  44. #44
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    FWIW, this thread brings me back to the first 'sweet' Avid brake I bought--an '08 Code.
    Ironically enough, not only do they look very similar on the outside, I'm already familiar with the magical thermal properties of that white plastic.

    At least the bite point doesn't leak on these.

  45. #45
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    D396:

    Could you be so kind as to post the brand, (and model), if possible, of the snap ring pliers you used? I modded, then killed the ones I bought, not to mention breaking the snap ring itself. I want to try to mod my old piston to see whether that is a valid permanent fix or not.

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    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000N...40_FMwebp_QL65

    Unfortunately I had to mod these also, took a dremel grinder, so I would not recommend them.

  47. #47
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    Lol, those are the exact ones I had!

    Oh well!

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    D396:

    Could you be so kind as to post the brand, (and model), if possible, of the snap ring pliers you used? I modded, then killed the ones I bought, not to mention breaking the snap ring itself. I want to try to mod my old piston to see whether that is a valid permanent fix or not.
    Would love to find some that worked good. I had better luck using two jewelers screwdrivers to remove the snap ring. I modded a very cheap harbor freight pair to get the new one in, which worked so so, but was clearly the hardest part of the job.

    Anyway my brakes are working great now (just have to do the rear brakes now)!

    I can also confirm, that the new parts kit is not needed. Removing the material from the old piston as indicated, frees it right up.

  49. #49
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    Just like my Pike fork that goes back over your few months for warranty it's put me off SRAM. Yes their warranty is great buy what's the point in owning a product that is away for weeks at a time on a regular basis? I'd rather be out riding.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRPABT1 View Post
    Just like my Pike fork that goes back over your few months for warranty it's put me off SRAM. Yes their warranty is great buy what's the point in owning a product that is away for weeks at a time on a regular basis? I'd rather be out riding.
    I can sympathize with your sentiment.
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  51. #51
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    So I am having same issue on my ice cream truck. What's the time frame on warranty replacement? Roughly. And no one has had luck simply bleeding system?


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  52. #52
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    Wow, this is not good to hear all this.
    Just yesterday on brand new bike, new levers the Guide R rear lever LOCKED and so I had no rear brakes at all. The rear brake was not on.
    the shop knew what it was right away and fixed it and said should not happen again - I guess some kind of adjustment knob or something inside the lever was misaligned?
    But, I'm not sure if I trust these brakes now.

    The poster above who said he was sent over the bars - that's unnerving. What if that happens to someone going super fast, over a rock garden? something like that.

    I hate to "bug" my bike shop; and don't want tospend more money after buying brand new bike where everything SHOULD work and be reliable.
    not sure what to do now.
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    My bleed kit arrived today so I jumped into my sticky levers. The online instructions were great, I had a bit of trouble with the snap ring until I filed a bit of metal away on my pliers and it took shop air to pop the piston out. Just as our Russian friend posted earlier, the problem is in the piston. The two bands that he indicates were about .04mm larger in diameter than the rest of the piston, once I filed it a bit with a jewelers file it moved freely again.

    After a good cleaning, reassembly and two bleeding sessions an hour apart I now have great brakes again and I didn't need to buy any parts! I consider the bleed kit to be a tool, not a part......

  54. #54
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    Get an update Guide R to Ultimate for 200$, I hope I won't regret...

  55. #55
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    Same problem with my SRAM guide brakes. When the temperatures get up to ~30C, the levers start to get stuck. Yesterday almoust had a crash!!! This is critical part they should recall all the parts and solve the problem.

    I will send them now to the warranty.

  56. #56
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    This is happening on my RSC levers... I would imagine the same issue is causing it as on the RS?

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrhino View Post
    This is happening on my RSC levers... I would imagine the same issue is causing it as on the RS?
    It looks like the same piston.........

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    Yeah, I confirmed it is the same issue. The bike is in my hot garage and the lever will barely return. I rubbed ice cubes on it for a minute and it went right back to being smooth and normal. Sram must be having a swell summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ideapix View Post
    If you want to get this white part, it is necessary to lower the lever into the cold water. It freed, if it sufficiently cooled .

    If you want to fix the lever. It is enough to gently whittle away some fiber with small projections in this white part

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Our Russian friend is correct. Just ran into this issue last week while working on my bike out on the deck, had it in the stand in the hot sun and both levers seized up. I love that I can just walk inside to the computer, spend 2 minutes on Google and instantly know what the problem is. Being North American instead of Russian I ordered the new parts instead Sure enough, the new pistons have a slightly smaller diameter on the flanges, and the flanges are slightly shorter in length too. I'm sure a few swipes with a bit of sandpaper would have done the trick but now I have extra parts for the entire levers.

  60. #60
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    I have the same problem with Guide RSC brakes. Both of the levers won't return. The weather has been warmer in my area plus being in my hot garage. Sounds reasonable that it is the piston in the lever with the problems. Talked with SRAM two times and one guy said it was a known problem and SRAM would most likely fix it and the other guy was pretty evasive about the problem.

    My Avid Elixirs X0s are on another bike of mine in the same hot garage and absolutely no problems with the levers. They are snappy and smooth. It is just a problem with the Guide brakes.

  61. #61
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    annnddd.... the lever rebuild kits are out of stock; everywhere! grrrrrr....

  62. #62
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    I have a pair of Guide Ultimates and just the front brake is giving me this problem (it's going to be warrantied) ...the funny thing is that I bought each brake separately in different shops....so maybe the rear one is a newer version in which it has already been solved this problem?

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by D396 View Post
    My piston was also seized, pushed it out with an Allen key from the other side. I think it's a combination of the plastic and seals. I did the other one today and the rub marks were much worse.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-81ugmtiv7wl._sl1500_.jpg

    This is the Guide RSC Lever Internals Rebuild Kit. The Lever piston looks totally different than the one you show in your picture. The piston in the parts rebuild kit picture, shows the piston is much shorter and does not have the extension.

    What is weird, SRAM told me that they don't have a new piston for it, yet. They are in the process of redesigning the piston. However, this clearly shows a different piston unless my picture is the wrong parts for the Guide RSC Lever which I don't think it is.

  64. #64
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    The guide RS and Guide RSC seem to have slightly different internals. I have the RSC and took mine apart today. It matches the picture you show. The same issue exists even though they are a bit different. I sanded down the three ridges shown in this image. So far it seems to be moving nice and smoothly, but I need to get a few rides in with it on a hot day.

    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-screen-shot-2016-08-04-3.39.11-pm.png

  65. #65
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    Please correct if i'm mistaken but to date it seems as though the tolerances of internals and bore are a fraction too tight when heat is added?? hence the reason for material being sanded/removed by owners yes??
    Last edited by nvphatty; 08-04-2016 at 05:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    Please correct if i'm mistaken but to date it seems as though the tolerances of internals and bore are a fraction too tight when heat is added?? hence the reason for material being sanded/removed by owners yes??
    Yes, some people are sanding/filing them and some are buying the lever parts kit and replacing the problem piece. I don't think it is clear whether or not the parts kit actually has a revised part, intended to solve this problem, or if it is just a roll of the dice. Sanding/filing is a bit of a crap shoot too, it would seem that if you take too much material off it could cause other issues.

    I'm also not sure why only some levers have this issue. Only one of my two levers does. Maybe it is just manufacturing differences that are enough to cause it? Or maybe the issue will pop up with the other lever eventually.

  67. #67
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    I had the issue on my front, and fixed that with the rebuild kit, (for now). The rear was fine, but now has the same issue.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    I had the issue on my front, and fixed that with the rebuild kit, (for now). The rear was fine, but now has the same issue.
    By chance did you eye the parts and see any diff? Or better yet take any measurements to compare??
    "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK"

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    Quote Originally Posted by L3_jok3r View Post

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    Quote Originally Posted by redrhino View Post
    I don't think it is clear whether or not the parts kit actually has a revised part, intended to solve this problem, or if it is just a roll of the dice.
    The pistons from the parts kit for my RSCs were most definitely different than the ones that came out of there. Whether or not they are different specifically to fix this issue or for some other reason is unknown, but they * have * changed. So far so good.

  72. #72
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    A follow-up to my earlier post: YT sent me a new RSC on one side and a RS off of a demo bike. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I didn't have a chance to do much riding after getting them installed. Went out for a couple rides in Austin this weekend; temps 95-105F. Both new brakes were doing the same dang thing! Spray down with ice water, levers would return. Out in the sun, they'd stick something awful. I've let YT know and asked that they get in touch with SRAM. Since it's over 90 for a third of the year in Texas, my bike is basically unrideable until October when it finally cools down. Unacceptable. I do love the brakes when they are working. But my wife's XT's are working just fine in this heat...

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    FWIW I also have a pair of fairly new Guide Ultimates on my second bike. I rode it in 85+ degree conditions over the weekend and the levers got noticeably stickier. They did return ok, but knowing what was going on with my RSCs made me more aware, and I could feel it starting to happen in these as well. It seems that this is an issue across the board. Sigh.

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    Just an update that my brakes have been working perfectly since the replacement. I keep my Bike in the garage where it's been over 110* the last month here in SoCal. Hopefully it'll continue to hold up.


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  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by abroadaw View Post
    A follow-up to my earlier post: YT sent me a new RSC on one side and a RS off of a demo bike. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I didn't have a chance to do much riding after getting them installed. Went out for a couple rides in Austin this weekend; temps 95-105F. Both new brakes were doing the same dang thing! Spray down with ice water, levers would return. Out in the sun, they'd stick something awful. I've let YT know and asked that they get in touch with SRAM. Since it's over 90 for a third of the year in Texas, my bike is basically unrideable until October when it finally cools down. Unacceptable. I do love the brakes when they are working. But my wife's XT's are working just fine in this heat...
    Ahhhhhhh. Just got my replacements from YT that Sram sent. YT has been great about dealing with it, just wish Sram could make products that work.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  76. #76
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    I received my latest replacement kit, and there has been a redesign on the piston:



    The one with the spring is the new one, Note the extra groove on the opposite end; this may be where the binding occurs. ( I removed one of the seals on the old one). Also, when I measured the diameter of the two, the new one was .07mm smaller. The date code on the bag was 6-16, so these are brand new. Hopefully, this is all good now! Other info for DIY'ers: The snap ring is 14mm; I killed every one I removed, and even though you get a new one in the kit , you may loose it. Also, when installing things, the washer and the piston can be pushed into the bore with a deep well socket, (I used a 12mm), and the washer will slip into the snap ring groove to hold them in place. I also used the same socket to push the snap ring down the bore; you need to tap the socket with something to get it to move, but you can drive it down until it snaps into it's slot. Good luck!

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by abroadaw View Post
    Since it's over 90 for a third of the year in Texas, my bike is basically unrideable until October when it finally cools down. Unacceptable. I do love the brakes when they are working. But my wife's XT's are working just fine in this heat...
    Swap brakes with your wife's bike till a more permanent fix arrives.

  78. #78
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    I wonder, is this issue only with the 2015 Guide Ultimate and the 2016 all models, which have the S4 caliper? Is this new variant called 'B1'?

    I know it's not the caliper, but let me explain my question - more of a theory, actually.

    I bought a set of Guide RSCs from Universal Cycles a few months ago. I am pretty sure they are the original ones, not B1. (Whatever B1 indicates - honestly not sure.) I have ridden them in serious heat. Right now it's relatively mild in Kansas, upper 80s, but I did several rides in full sun at 95+ and no issues at all. Zero.

    ...So, what do you all think?

  79. #79
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    I just tried sanding the plastic plunger on my Guide R front brake. I used 320 grit wet sandpaper and sanded until the scratches were gone. It feels better than it ever has. I am going on a vacation tomorrow where there are some great trails. I was pretty bummed since I couldn't get parts on time. I will post back on how it works. It was really bad timing since my bluto has a bad bushing on my On One Fatty trail and it is out for warranty. I was almost bikeless at the worst time.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    I received my latest replacement kit, and there has been a redesign on the piston:



    The one with the spring is the new one, Note the extra groove on the opposite end; this may be where the binding occurs. ( I removed one of the seals on the old one). Also, when I measured the diameter of the two, the new one was .07mm smaller. The date code on the bag was 6-16, so these are brand new. Hopefully, this is all good now! Other info for DIY'ers: The snap ring is 14mm; I killed every one I removed, and even though you get a new one in the kit , you may loose it. Also, when installing things, the washer and the piston can be pushed into the bore with a deep well socket, (I used a 12mm), and the washer will slip into the snap ring groove to hold them in place. I also used the same socket to push the snap ring down the bore; you need to tap the socket with something to get it to move, but you can drive it down until it snaps into it's slot. Good luck!
    Where did you obtain the kit from? I want to make sure I get the latest..
    Cheers
    Joel

  81. #81
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    I ordered it from Tree Fort Bikes, on Amazon.

  82. #82
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    I first had this problem with a pair of Juicy Ultimates I bought with a Superfly back in 2008. They were good brakes, but one hot day was about to pre ride a race course and one seized. Drove an hour to the nearest bike store, bought the only brakes they had at full retail. (XT 785). I guess I'm a glutton, but I like the SRAM feel, and the DB5's were cheap from Merlin for a while. I have two pairs of DB5s, and four pairs of Guides. (Wife and kids bikes + one of mine...). One of the DB5's was becoming slow to return. This last weekend at a race it was getting bad enough that I grabbed a Guide that I had in my tool box to replace it, and it started doing the same thing. Finally took a brake off another bike to get it rolling for the race. When I got home this Monday both brakes, that worked all weekend, were not returning. Bike had been on the roof rack in TX sun... Since I have so many of these buggers, I'm glad to have found this thread and am hoping to have some luck sanding.
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  83. #83
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    I took one of my DB5 levers apart. It has the older cylinder with the solid top. Sanded it down from about .36" dia. to ~.35" dia. Reassembled, not sticking anymore. Made a snap ring plier out of long nosed pliers. Ground the tips down. Need to leave it in the TX sun tomorrow to see if sticking comes back, but the brake was pretty much seized prior to this. Fingers crossed then I'll tackle the other DB5 and Guide RS's I have.
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    My 2015 guides have been slow to return for a while. Put an ice pack on them and they work great again, for a while. However, I had my bike on the rack in the AZ sun for the a couple of hours and the brakes completely seized until the tire wouldn't rotate. They are in the shop now, hopefully getting warrantied. Really disappointed because I like the brakes.... When they work.

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  85. #85
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    Put the bike out in the TX sun today. Brake that I sanded the cylinder down stayed fine, no perceptible difference. The other one locked up, but returned to functional after sitting in the shade for a while. I'm convinced the sanding works, so off to do a few more.

    My snap ring pliers do not reach far enough to be useful on the brakes, so I took a pair of 1.99 harbor freight long nose pliers and ground the ends down to points. Works great.
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    Glad to see this issue out in the open...

    Trek EX8 2008 came with Avid Juicy 5... I got this bike 2013 and since then have overhauled major components myself. These brakes worked one season (OCT to FEB) the for the second season I had to rebuild therm (Avid lever rebuild kit) but when I got it out last weekend for third season (~95F morning) the front lever (piston) went stuck. I called SRAM and they told me "like anything old you should invest in new brakes", that is such a load of ****, a proper overhaul replaces all parts that are "consumables".

    It is nothing but bad design. I was close to replacing them with SLX M675s when I read this (with brakes already dismantled on the bench) for sure the white piston core was rubbing against the lever bore even without the o-ring and plunger. I sanded it down and it goes in and out easily. I think the right thing is to put the core in very hot water and see how much it expands and then whittle it accordingly to free moving size. Then put new o-ring/plunger and use some "red rubber grease" on these rubber parts to lubricate and protect them somewhat from the expansion effect of the 5.1 fluid.

    Shimanos are still on the cards but I'll give this a try first...

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    So just confirming, are you sanding down the cylinder or the piston?

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    I sanded the "ridges" on the white piston core as mentioned by our Russian friend and others several posts ago. The white part should never touch the cylinder cavity ever, its the job of the o-ring and the plunger to maintain a good seal.

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by nilswalk View Post
    The pistons from the parts kit for my RSCs were most definitely different than the ones that came out of there. Whether or not they are different specifically to fix this issue or for some other reason is unknown, but they * have * changed. So far so good.
    SRAM told me that during manufacturing there was a problem and it affected only some of the Guide brakes. Not sure if this is true, but that is what I was told. Regardless, those with the lemons do have bad brakes that need to be warrantied.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    I received my latest replacement kit, and there has been a redesign on the piston:



    The one with the spring is the new one, Note the extra groove on the opposite end; this may be where the binding occurs. ( I removed one of the seals on the old one). Also, when I measured the diameter of the two, the new one was .07mm smaller. The date code on the bag was 6-16, so these are brand new. Hopefully, this is all good now! Other info for DIY'ers: The snap ring is 14mm; I killed every one I removed, and even though you get a new one in the kit , you may loose it. Also, when installing things, the washer and the piston can be pushed into the bore with a deep well socket, (I used a 12mm), and the washer will slip into the snap ring groove to hold them in place. I also used the same socket to push the snap ring down the bore; you need to tap the socket with something to get it to move, but you can drive it down until it snaps into it's slot. Good luck!
    Totally different piston. Well looks like SRAM knew of the problem and are addressing it. I just got my levers warrantied and it took 6 weeks. Ugh. Took me 15 minutes to install and re-bleed and they work good right now. Hopefully they have the new piston in them and have no problems, but won't know again until it gets hot outside.

  91. #91
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    I'm sanding the whole outside diameter of the white piston. Using 600 grit now. I have completed 4 of the 8 brakes I own with the issue. 2 sets are DB5, the other 2 sets are guideRS. The pistons are all alike, and the old style. I'm pretty fast at doing the job now, and since it has been high 90's here I have been able to leave them in the sun and test that the fix works. They feel better after the fix too, but that could just be the fresh bleed. I bought the DB5's from Merlin, one set of guides from CL (guy said they were fine, I didn't know about this issue, they were messed up first time I installed) and other guides from Jenson. I'd rather fix them myself and know them inside and out. Plus I'd rather brush my teeth with Comet than go mess with a LBS regarding warranty, much less anything else.
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    It is bad design and reading here I can confidently say it is a not just one product line.

    The white piston cores are just too tight to begin with (they do not slide easily in the cylinder even without any seals) and they do get swollen by temperature. I measured the one in 07 Avid Juicy 5s at 9.42mm, I sanded it down to 9.32mm (yup 0.1mm shaved) and piston cores would fall right into the cylinder hole freely. The thing is that the white core has no business being this tight, it should move freely at any ambient temperature and the supple seals (o-ring and plunger) should keep the system liquid tight. I would advise however to use the SRAM Brake Seal Grease (or Castrol Red Rubber Grease) to protect the seals from long term negative effects of DOT fluid and also help them slide easily in the chamber.

    I just finished working on my fronts and have a backup set of seals waiting for the rears to fail (which they will soon...!!!)

    As for the SRAM customer support, well no amount of convincing from me made them even acknowledge that there was an issue in their design. Had these brakes been failing in disengaged state they would have recalled every single one of them... VERY VERY disappointed by their attitude...

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    How do you get the piston out of the lever!? I've pulled as much out as I can but see no way to get piston out. Thanks

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    This is just unbelievable!

    Year after year Avid put out unreliable brakes that countless people had issues with. So SRAM take over and all the fan-boys are saying the dark days are over, the new brakes are a different animal.

    Now it turns out that the exact same issues, some of them anyway, are still present? Still not fixed!!!

    It boggles the mind it really does. Firstly, why the heck they cannot sort out these fundamental issues with the darn brakes and secondly, why any rational person would still buy them! What does it take?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Fitzgerald View Post
    How do you get the piston out of the lever!? I've pulled as much out as I can but see no way to get piston out. Thanks

    Sent from my XT1092 using Tapatalk
    I followed this manual:

    https://sram-cdn-pull-zone-gsdesign....al_english.pdf

    I use Avid DOT grease on piston.

    Use of the "SRAM Guide Lever Internals Assembly Tool" makes things easier. It only cost about 6 bucks.

    SRAM Tool Internals Guide Lever https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TQ43B3Y..._HXQ5xb9SC2M68

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    and secondly, why any rational person would still buy them! What does it take?
    Google "Stockholm syndrome"

    I'm affected too. I love my Guides even though I had them already replaced once. When they showed the sticky lever snydrome it was like a family member got sick. On the day I drove them to the LBS I shed some tears.

    Knowing that the new pair can fail any moment just makes the little time we've got together more precious for me.

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Fitzgerald View Post
    How do you get the piston out of the lever!? I've pulled as much out as I can but see no way to get piston out. Thanks

    Sent from my XT1092 using Tapatalk
    If the design is as similar as it looks, I used a small allen wrench to push it gently out from the hose side. On the older 'Avid' MC's I've worked on it's a straight shot from the hose through the other end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    This is just unbelievable!

    Year after year Avid put out unreliable brakes that countless people had issues with. So SRAM take over and all the fan-boys are saying the dark days are over, the new brakes are a different animal.

    Now it turns out that the exact same issues, some of them anyway, are still present? Still not fixed!!!

    It boggles the mind it really does. Firstly, why the heck they cannot sort out these fundamental issues with the darn brakes and secondly, why any rational person would still buy them! What does it take?
    I'm pretty sure they can sort out those fundamental issues, the question is why year after year they choose not to. Maybe we're underestimating how many completes live out their lives as ornamentation in garages.

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    "Stockholm Syndrome" exactly... lol

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Fitzgerald View Post
    How do you get the piston out of the lever!? I've pulled as much out as I can but see no way to get piston out. Thanks

    Sent from my XT1092 using Tapatalk
    Any thin, blunt and sturdy poking object (Allen Key as mentioned before) can be inserted from the brake line end of the lever assembly and push the piston out... That is what I had to use otherwise it was impossible... Just be careful when you do that since you will be axially going through the spring before you touch the piston's inner end...

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zowie View Post
    I'm pretty sure they can sort out those fundamental issues, the question is why year after year they choose not to.
    That's what I don't understand.

    I had a think about it have a theory. Let's say the rubber washer in question has to be a very specific material and specification. What if the Chinese manufacturing plant sometimes sources washers that are the wrong type, either because they are cheaper and they think it'll be ok or because the washer supplier lies about the composition of the washer to meet the price and get the deal?

    That would explain why it has not been fixed. SRAM know the design is sound if the correct washers are used so there is no need to change the design. They just need to make sure the manufacturing plant get it right. They think they have it all sorted but the quality control Chinese side is not tight enough and they keep stuffing up.

    Whether it is something like that or just a bad design, doesn't really matter. Either way it's not acceptable, especially from an outfit as big as SRAM.

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