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  1. #1
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    How I fixed my mushy Avid levers (Elixir and Juicy)

    A month or so after bleeding my Elixirs, the levers feel mushy and travel too close to the bar. The Juicys aren't as bad, but still not as solid as they should be.

    The following procedure varies somewhat from the official Avid technique and requires your brakes have pad travel adjustment. - "Pad Contact In and Out" in Avid's terms.
    Don't try my technique until you understand the basic Avid procedure.

    I do a bleed only at the lever and I keep the wheel and pads in place.
    Now if you have air bubbles trapped in the caliper area, this technique might not help you. You should do the standard full bleed with both syringes.

    Step 1 - Remove the brake lever from your bars.

    Step 2 - Make your brake line as vertical (straight up n down) as possible. I stand the bike on it's rear tire and hang the lever above everything by a shoe string.
    *** see pic below

    Step 3 - The most important step! Turn the Pad Contact all the way IN
    This maximizes the size or volume of your reservoir at the lever. If you want to see this for yourself, remove the bleed port screw after you turn the Pad Contact all in. Now looking into the reservoir thru the hole, slowly turn the Pad Contact out. You'll see how this reduces the size of your reservoir thus pressurizing the fluid in the system.
    Make sure your Pad Contact is all the way IN before proceeding.

    Step 4 - Attach the syringe and gently push fluid into the reservoir. Flick the brake lever a few times. Now gently pull out on the plunger. Repeat these steps, flicking the lever, until all bubbles stop coming out of the reservoir.
    You don't want to overfill the system - your pads will be too close to your rotor!

    If you push and pull on the syringe you should see your brake pads moving in and out. The trick is to get them close but not too close to the rotor. Spin the wheel and make sure the pads are not rubbing the rotor. If they are, pull some fluid back into the syringe thus pulling the pads away from the rotor.

    Step 5 - Remove the syringe from the lever. The brake fluid should be visible in the bleed port and even weeping out a little. Replace bleed port screw. Wipe off brake fluid. Do not reinstall the brake lever back on the bar just yet.

    Step 6 - This is where we turn the Pad Contact back OUT ... thus making the reservoir smaller and pressurizing the fluid in the system.
    With your wheel spinning, turn the Pad Contact back out until you get the pads as close to the rotors as possible without dragging. Your lever should feel nice and hard with only a small throw needed to move the pads.
    You can reinstall the lever back onto the bar now.

    This stuff is probably old hat to many of you.
    I just wanted to share this info with anyone out there suffering from the dreaded Avid brake fade problem. There seems to be a lot of you.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ***Make the brake line as vertical as possible:
    Last edited by client_9; 03-07-2012 at 07:18 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    psycho cyclo addict
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    Thanks for the information... I'm sure it will come in handy at some point. I have both CR's and Juicy 7's. Neither have had issues since they were new in 2009. I've bled the CR's once w/o issues.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, this is just about "topping off" the fluid and getting good pressure in the system.

  4. #4
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    How I fixed my Avid XX brakes was throwing them in the trash and buying XTRs. Absolutely no problems since. The best bike decision I have ever made. I gave up with all these bleedings ALL the time. Nice post, but I think it a shame that you have to go through all of that just to get your brakes to work. Just sayin...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by High Desert Norwegian View Post
    How I fixed my Avid XX brakes was throwing them in the trash and buying XTRs. Absolutely no problems since. The best bike decision I have ever made. I gave up with all these bleedings ALL the time. Nice post, but I think it a shame that you have to go through all of that just to get your brakes to work. Just sayin...
    Yeah, if I were buying hydraulics right now, I'd get something other than Avids.

    Thing is, I have lots of extra pads for the Juicys and Elixirs.

    I'm a thrifty sadist. : D

  6. #6
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    When I bled my Avids for the first time, I didn't get the firmness at the lever that I like. My brakes don't have the adjustable pad contact, so I just made a bleed block (out of paint stir stick, cut and glued into three layers) that is a little bit thinner than the Avid bleed block. That let the pistons out a little more, which allowed more fluid in. I had to push the pistons back in a bit with a screwdriver to get the rotor between the pads, but when I did, I had a nice firm lever.

  7. #7
    Faster it.
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    bookmarked, thanks!

  8. #8
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    I dunno what you call this a 'lever bleed'? Anyhow works to my logic, if there was significant air build up near the caliper, the brakes wouldn't work at all, plus surely the air rises up the system, so unless it's time to change the fluid this makes complete sense. I do it ever time I change the pads, I find flicking the lever works really well.

  9. #9
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    I guess as the pads wear and the pistons push out further and further, this makes more room in the system for additional fluid?

    That said, if I put a brand new set of pads in right now they might be too tight.

  10. #10
    Weekend Warrior
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    Just bleed my brakes that came used, and despite firm pressure and a good bleeding, my other bike with regular V-brakes stops just as fast as this one with hydraulic elixir 5
    Realtor/Photographer and weekend warrior.
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  11. #11
    May contain nuts
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    Quote Originally Posted by High Desert Norwegian View Post
    How I fixed my Avid XX brakes was throwing them in the trash and buying XTRs. Absolutely no problems since. The best bike decision I have ever made. I gave up with all these bleedings ALL the time. Nice post, but I think it a shame that you have to go through all of that just to get your brakes to work. Just sayin...

    That's called the Shimano Fix Kit. Works great on any Avid brake.

  12. #12
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    All great stuff.

    Does anyone have any idea what I can do about my Avid Elixir 1 brakes, which don't have the pad travel adjustment?

    Thanks.
    Vlad

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir1720 View Post
    All great stuff.

    Does anyone have any idea what I can do about my Avid Elixir 1 brakes, which don't have the pad travel adjustment?

    Thanks.
    Vlad
    Before anything, move the pistons out ~mm (you want your pads as close to the rotor as possible). Then top off / bleed.
    Bottom line: put as much brake fluid in the system as possible without overfilling.

  14. #14
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    yeah - I did try doing that, but I didn't use any "protection".

    I was inserting extra fluid into the system and watching out for piston movement. Before I knew it, the piston shot out and DOT fluid went all over the floor. I didn't even know that could happen...

    I ended up just putting the piston back in, wiping down the fluid and then rebleeding normally, using the brake block. I needed to ride off to uni.


    Then - an idea. I measured the bleed block and it appears to be exactly 10mm wide. So I am thinking that it would be a good idea to construct another bleed block - but narrower.

    So I'm wondering - would you a recommend a 9mm block, or 8 (or even 7mm)?

    Cheers

    Vlad

  15. #15
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    You can try using an Avid pad spacer with the pads in the caliper as well. Or, as mentioned above, just find something a little narrower than the supplied bleed block. If you have Elixir 1s that you've bled a few times that will not stay air free its probably time contact SRAM. They had a bad run of Elixir 1s.
    Full disclosure; I sell and repair bikes for a living: http://blackstonebicycles.blogspot.com/

  16. #16
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    They've always been cruddy - I've just been putting up with them.
    Unfortunately - the bike and brakes are 2.5 years old now. Are SRAM still going to care (for lack of a better phrase)?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir1720 View Post
    yeah - I did try doing that, but I didn't use any "protection".

    I was inserting extra fluid into the system and watching out for piston movement. Before I knew it, the piston shot out and DOT fluid went all over the floor. I didn't even know that could happen...

    I ended up just putting the piston back in, wiping down the fluid and then rebleeding normally, using the brake block. I needed to ride off to uni.


    Then - an idea. I measured the bleed block and it appears to be exactly 10mm wide. So I am thinking that it would be a good idea to construct another bleed block - but narrower.

    So I'm wondering - would you a recommend a 9mm block, or 8 (or even 7mm)?

    Cheers

    Vlad
    I made an 8.5mm block, then pushed a little harder on the plunger during the bleed. It seems to have overfilled the system. It might be possible to just use the normal bleed block and when doing the final pull/push with the bleed, push a little harder before capping with the bleed screw. The extra pressure seems to be from the bleed pressure more than the slightly smaller bleed block.

    Of course, don't do this if you are about to replace pads soon, because the new pads might not fit in without rubbing.

    I suggest nothing less than 9mm for a substitute bleed block.

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