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  1. #1
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    Shimano BR-M486 hydraulic brakes - too much lever play

    The problem I have is that the hydraulic brake lever has too much play and almost strikes the handle bar before activating the brakes. The pads are only about half worn and I have bled the system so there is no air in it.
    Is this excess play normal?
    Is the only way to reduce lever play by installing new pads?
    Are the brakes supposed to self adjust to allow for the pad wear?

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you got a bad bleed and still have air trapped somewhere. You shouldn't be bottoming out at your handlebar. Hydros are supposed to self adjust for pad wear.

  3. #3
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    self adjusting could be the problem

    Quote Originally Posted by dharel1705 View Post
    Sounds like you got a bad bleed and still have air trapped somewhere. You shouldn't be bottoming out at your handlebar. Hydros are supposed to self adjust for pad wear.
    Thanks for your response. I bled the brakes in accordance with the Shimano instructions so I think there is no air in the system.
    When the brake lever is depressed there is immediate movement of the caliper pistons and pads, but the gap between the pads and rotor is large, so it takes full depression of the brake lever to close the gap and achieve any braking.
    This indicates to me that the brakes are not self adjusting like they are supposed to.
    Any suggestions on getting the self adjusting system to function?

  4. #4
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    How old are the pads? Are they severely worn?

  5. #5
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    The pads are only about 50% worn. They were replaced in April 2013.

  6. #6
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    Do you have a bleed block or half of the Shimano hose cutting tool? I recommend trying to re-bleed the brakes. However, after you push the pistons back in with a soft tire iron or equivalent and insert the bleed block, is the lever firm? If so, the pads are most likely worn too much. I just had a similar issue with my SLX brakes, the pad looked 50%, but the lever went too close to the bars for me. New pads solved the issue with no bleeding. Also, the M445 (similar to the M395 & M486) all use the same pads as the older Deore M525 & Tektro Auriga series. The stock M445 pads are not good for me and have lasted only a ride or 2 since I ride in the Northeast since they are Resin. As long as your rotors are not resin specific only, you have a wide choice of pad compounds. If they are, you may have to buy pads more frequently or new rotors and better pads. As long as you don't have a leak, it sounds pad or bleed related.

  7. #7
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    just press the levers 3/4 in without rotors in between, that way the pistons will seat closer to the rotors and stay there.
    Is just as simple as take the wheel off, press lever 3/4 or till the pads are almost touching itself, let go, put wheel back in, done.

  8. #8
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    Just be careful not to press the lever too much, or you will have a lever with TOO LITTLE free play, like I did, then you will have to force the pads apart with a plastic tyre lever and start again!

    It's all part of the learning process. The next time you will have got a feel for what do do, and be better at it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewart44 View Post
    Thanks for your response. I bled the brakes in accordance with the Shimano instructions so I think there is no air in the system.
    Ignorance.... there is still air in the system. Either the pads are worn and need replacement or bleed your brakes again properly until no air bubbles come out.

  10. #10
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    I had this issue and although the pads looked OK, replacing them cured the excess play in the levers.

    Brake pads cost next to nothing. Why not try a new set?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotusdriver View Post
    Brake pads cost next to nothing. Why not try a new set?
    All things are relative I suppose. My pads, Shimano F03C Metal Pads for the XT and XTR run around $35 -$39 per caliper. Perhaps tax and or shipping and I'm looking at $75 to $95 bucks depending on urgency. You might find them on eBay for a little less, but I question some eBay brake pads that are a little too cheap.

    I might venture to say that lotusdriver could have an advantage when it comes to the disposable income department. Because $75 - $95 for me personally, isn't chump change.
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  12. #12
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    That's more expensive than l thought.

    When l needed new pads for my Deore calipers l found them on ebay for 12 (less than $20) for two sets.

    They were not OE Shimano, but had good reviews and seem to work just as well as the Shimano ones.

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