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  1. #1
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    Re-routing XTR hydraulic hoses

    Simple question here folks - I just picked up a used bike with XTR M965 Dual Control Levers and matching discs. I need to switch the routing so that the rear brake is on the left. As this is my first bike with hydraulics, I just want to make sure I know exactly what I need to do and if there is anything special I will need to do this swap. Can I just unscrew the lines at the levers and swap them, then bleed the brakes?

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by jedediah; 05-26-2009 at 08:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hello, and welcome to MTBR.

    "Can I just unscrew the lines at the levers and swap them, then bleed the brakes?"

    Yes, although you may find that the front hose is too short.

    With reference to your title, it's worth pointing out that hydraulic brakes don't use cables, they use hoses.
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  3. #3
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    Ok, thanks. If I just swap them at the lever end (and leave them connected at the caliper) it looks like there shouldn't be any trouble with length. Hopefully that'll be the case...

    Title fixed.

  4. #4
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    I've heard of this trick where you stroke the pistons out (by squeezing lever w/o rotor) reroute hoses, then push pistons back. Saves you a bleed.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jedediah
    Simple question here folks - I just picked up a used bike with XTR M965 Dual Control Levers and matching discs. I need to switch the routing so that the rear brake is on the left. As this is my first bike with hydraulics, I just want to make sure I know exactly what I need to do and if there is anything special I will need to do this swap. Can I just unscrew the lines at the levers and swap them, then bleed the brakes?

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks.
    You will need to get at least one brake-line kit.

    There is a crush washer called an olive that needs to be replaced every time you crack open the hose connection at the Master Cylinder. There is also an insert that you can pull / cut out of the hose end and reuse

    The brake line kit comes with at least one olive (maybe 2?) and a new insert... $35 or so and you can reuse the rear line for the front, and put the new line on the rear.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by forkboy
    You will need to get at least one brake-line kit.

    There is a crush washer called an olive that needs to be replaced every time you crack open the hose connection at the Master Cylinder. There is also an insert that you can pull / cut out of the hose end and reuse

    The brake line kit comes with at least one olive (maybe 2?) and a new insert... $35 or so and you can reuse the rear line for the front, and put the new line on the rear.

    You can buy just the olive at a decent bike shop and you don't have to replace it necessarily. I have reused the same olives many times. They are just compression fittings, and like I said you can buy them alone, but I don't know the part number. If the bike shop doesn't know what you are talking about when you ask for an olive for the hydraulic line for shimano brakes then they are not a very good bike shop to begin with.

  7. #7
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    "There is a crush washer called an olive that needs to be replaced every time you crack open the hose connection at the Master Cylinder."

    Does this not only apply if the connectors are being removed/switched? Surely the lever can be separated from the hose connector without having to remove the connector from the hose?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    "There is a crush washer called an olive that needs to be replaced every time you crack open the hose connection at the Master Cylinder."

    Does this not only apply if the connectors are being removed/switched? Surely the lever can be separated from the hose connector without having to remove the connector from the hose?
    I'm going over the Shimano Technical documents now and this certainly looks to be the case. The banjo nut is sealed via o-rings on each side of the banjo bolt, but I see no reason why the Olive and Connecting insert would need to be removed or replaced unless I needed to cut the hose. Can anyone confirm?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Does this not only apply if the connectors are being removed/switched? Surely the lever can be separated from the hose connector without having to remove the connector from the hose?
    Shimano's tech-docs say not to re-use the barb OR the olive....

    You'd might be OK just disconnecting them and reconnecting them.

    I don't know how much of the sealing depends on the olive being crimped down each time.

    I also don't want to be a cheapskate on my brakes. I like them to work... all the time.

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    "I also don't want to be a cheapskate on my brakes. I like them to work... all the time."

    Nobody is suggesting that he cuts corners. It just seems unlikely that spare parts are required to switch a hose from one lever to another. If the barbed insert isn't removed, then the plastic cover/shroud should be able to come off as many times as one feels like.

    Why should the barb need to be removed to disconnect the hose from the lever? The shroud clearly needs to be unthreaded, yes, but does the barb/olive? This is what the OP needs clarifying. Personally, I can't see why they would need removing.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Why should the barb need to be removed to disconnect the hose from the lever? The shroud clearly needs to be unthreaded, yes, but does the barb/olive? This is what the OP needs clarifying. Personally, I can't see why they would need removing.
    I was actually thinking of the newer M975 levers. Much more likely to need shorter / longer hoses to make a clean install.

    Yeah - if you don't need to shorten the M965 hoses, you shouldn't need new olives...

    But you may very well need new rubber o-rings.

    And bleeding the M965's is awesome. Plan for about 10 times longer than you think you'll need.

  12. #12
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    Thanks. Can you clarify why bleeding the M965's is difficult, and perhaps share any experiences or tricks? Thanks a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jedediah
    Thanks. Can you clarify why bleeding the M965's is difficult, and perhaps share any experiences or tricks? Thanks a lot.
    I don't know why they are difficult - I just know it takes a long damn time every time I do mine. Always on the rear brake.

    The best success I've had is putting the bike in a stand, and elevating the front wheel all the way off the ground so that the brake line is almost perpendicular to the ground. It's a lot quicker if you have a helper. I think it only took about an hour that time.

  14. #14
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    Well, made the switch today and everything seems to have gone reasonably well. Physically switching the lines was cake, although enough oil dripped out that I needed to bleed the brakes. Frankly I wanted to do this anyhow, as the bike was used and I wanted to flush the fluid entirely. The process wasn't too bad, although it did take a couple of flushes to get a reasonably firm lever. Anyhow, not so bad all in all. Thanks for all the assistance!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by forkboy
    I don't know why they are difficult - I just know it takes a long damn time every time I do mine. Always on the rear brake.

    The best success I've had is putting the bike in a stand, and elevating the front wheel all the way off the ground so that the brake line is almost perpendicular to the ground. It's a lot quicker if you have a helper. I think it only took about an hour that time.

    That is why the instructions say to have the brake line hang down vertically. Just let it hang, then zip tie it back on and bolt caliper up, easy peasy.

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