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  1. #1
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    Odd problem with Avid Elixer

    I think I have an odd problem. The rear brake on my wife's bike started to drag slightly. It was gripping, but not letting go. Like it had constant, light, pressure. We were close to the trailhead, so we got back, loaded up and drove home. That was about 45 minutes-1 hour. By the time we got home the brake was pretty much "relaxed". Any suggestions on what to do, to prevent this happening again?

  2. #2
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    I have a pair of Elixirs that get real tight and drag if I leave them in the hot Sun (95 degrees + )

    After putting away my bike in the basement, they always "relax" like you mention.

    Weird. I would think brake fluid wouldn't be affected at those temps.

  3. #3
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    I would look through the other brake threads there are some good ideas there. First make sure the caliper is centered over the rotor. All brakes will drag if they aren't centered. Assuming you already knew that, there are two common things to look for.

    1. The Avid levers get sticky after a couple years because the little plastic piston inside gets very tight in the bore and does not return all the way. This can trap the fluid in the brake line and as it heats up and expands it will compress the pads against the rotor and cause drag as you described. When the lever is returning properly the fluid can expand into the reservoir so the brakes aren't normally sensitive to temperature. The only solution for sticky levers is the rebuild the lever assemblies, or replace them.

    2. The caliper pistons tend to get dirty and sticky. You can help that by removing the caliper and pads and squeeze the lever slowly to extend to pistons. Wipe around the pistons with some clean brake fluid on a Q-Tip and then compress the pistons completely and repeat a few times to get them loosened up. Usually you will notice one piston sticks while the other moves freely. If this cleaning/lubricating does not free up the caliper pistons the calipers can be rebuild or replaced.

    Not everyone is comfortable doing this type of work so seek out a good LBS if you can't do it yourself. For reference my son's bike had sticking Juicy 3 lever assemblies and it was so bad that when I took the bike out of the rack, after some time in the sun, it wouldn't even roll at all. After carrying it a few times I bought repair kits and rebuilt the levers - problem solved. When I took the levers apart the plastic pistons were so tight in the lever bore that I had to drive them out. Once I saw that I knew I had found the problem.
    Good luck figuring yours out hope it is easy !

  4. #4
    cowbell
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    One thing not mentioned here, some Elixers come from the factory with "too much" brake fluid in them. If the brakes are making contact with very little lever pull, that's what you've got. In most instances, you can *carefully* open the bleed screw, and a couple drops of fluid will force themselves out, then tighten it back up, and you're good to go.

  5. #5
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    Thanks folks. It sounds like Cotharyus may have hit the nail. The brakes are fairly new. I was also thinking about the heat/expansion thing, but it wasn't THAT hot that day. We used the bike a few times early in the summer in N.C. with no problems. Maybe traveling with it in the car rack in the rain caused some problems. I'll check it out, just needed a little advice on where to start.

  6. #6
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    Opening the bleed screw might solve it, but be ready to do a complete bleed. I have had that problem before (it gets 100F here), and doing a complete bleed solved it. Happens to other brake manufacturers too (last year on my Formulas).

  7. #7
    cowbell
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    DOT brake fluid is hydroscopic - which is to say, it attracts/absorbs water. It's the water that the brake fluid has attracted and absorbed that is affected by "those temps". Brake fluid can pull moisture out of humid air, so simply having a bottle open while filling syringes to bleed brakes can get water in it. It's really not that unusual.

  8. #8
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    Alright, I need to revive this a little bit.
    I haven't done anything about it yet, but I did order a bleed kit. Now, it is my assumption that if I do a complete bleed, I will have the same amount of fluid in there as it came from the factory. Hence causing the same problem. Or does the bleed not force as much fluid in, and get rid of any water?
    Can/should I just connect a syringe at the lever, and try to pull a little out? Without opening the bleed screw at the caliper.

  9. #9
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    If you ordered the bleed kit I would just bleed the brakes and see if the problem goes away. That is the first thing most people recommend anyway. It is a little messy and slow the first time but nice to know how to do it. Follow the process on YouTube AVID Bleed Procedure - YouTube. I just took my laptop out in the garage and watched as I worked. Probably hit the pause button 25 times. If you do this you will have fresh fluid, no air bubbles and the correct level of fill. If it still doesn't work then report back and we can all give you more bad advice

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