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  1. #1
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    Shoody Mechanic/Disc Brake Help

    I need your help!

    I have SLX Shimano disc brake and on my own accord I ended up opening up the reservoir on the handle bar and the fluid came out so I then realized I need to bleed my brakes. I then got a kit to bleed it and then started to. I got to setting it up and got to the point were I was using a box wrench on the discard knob and didn't have the right size wrench. I then said screw it and took it to a local new mechanic to bleed it for me.

    Cost $25 and took 24 hours to get it back to me. He was going to charge me $12 to adjust the brake. I'm a low income man who likes to try and fix his own stuff, so I decided to install the pads and brake back on myself. I then installed the pads the exact way the rear pads was installed and then lined up the pads so the brake rotor was aligned in the middle. Took it for a test ride...

    The brake lacks stopping power. Complete lack of it!!! Is it me or the mechanic? I think the lack of stopping power has to do with the fluid and the lack of stopping power. I rode it yesterday, and it is squealing like no other. What do you think?

    If it is the mechanic or me? If it is me how can I fix it? I'm also asking to see if I should trust the mechanic?

    Thanks for your help?

  2. #2
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    Did you get any fluid on the rotor/calipers?

  3. #3
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    Its very hard to diagnose your problems without all of the info needed such as are the brakes new or have you been running them without issue until you attempted to service them? If they are new, there is a break in procedure that must be followed to "bed" the pads before they will stop with full force and if bled properly, the lever will feel hard and not fade when applying pressure. My XT brakes are noisy at times especially after running through water or washing the bike but after a few hard stops the noise goes away.

  4. #4
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    I didn't, but when I received it from Drake Cyclery it looked like there may be some grease or fluid on the brake lever and at the brake caliper. I assumed the mechanic cleaned up the fluid and it was grease or a lubricant that I was looking at.

  5. #5
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    Another thing to note is the Shimano brakes are very particular to their red mineral oil fluid. If you or the mechanic used anything else then that alone could be the problem and what TrueBeliever said.

  6. #6
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    Brakes are not new, and they were working fine until they were serviced. The reason I serviced them was because I was fooling around with the brake lever and unscrewed the reservoir, and then ended realizing I need to bleed the brake I got the kit. The pads are the same from before.

    I rode 10 miles with 5 miles being downhill at the end. The brakes were still squeaking all the way home. At least everyone was able to hear me.

    Thanks for everyone's replies so far!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvdslw View Post
    Another thing to note is the Shimano brakes are very particular to their red mineral oil fluid. If you or the mechanic used anything else then that alone could be the problem and what TrueBeliever said.
    I made it clear to the mechanic to use shimano mineral oil, and he said he was.

  8. #8
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    How does the lever feel? When you squeeze it, does it come back about half way and hold or does it hold then fade? I'm thinking that if it holds well then your problem is more than likely your pads. They must have been contaminated some how. On the other hand, if the lever is fading then there's just not enough pressure being applied to the pads to let them work properly so you will have to figure out how to correctly bleed the brakes. If it were me, I would go back to the "mechanic" and ask him to look at it again. Unless he's a newbie and has no experience whatsoever this should be an easy fix for him. The whole system is quite simple and if you bleed it properly (the lever will not fade and feel the same each time you squeeze it) and have the caliper mounted properly (loosen both caliper bolts, squeeze the brake lever hard and tighten the caliper bolts before releasing the lever) it should just plain work. If it works and its noisy then replace the pads and be sure to clean the rotor thoroughly with some alcohol and maybe a fine scotchbrite pad?

  9. #9
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    Good job! Thanks dvdslw

    Thanks again for all our help guys. I've been working on my own bike by using Zin and the Art of Mtn Bike Maintence, but this thread has been very valuable to me. If any of you are in FoCo, CO give me a PM so I can buy you a beer or two.

    The lever comes back about half way and hold, it feels just like the rear brake (which had no work done on it). I then remounted the caliper how Dvdslw recommended by loosening both caliper bolts, squeezing the brake lever hard and tightening the caliper bolts before releasing the lever. I also removed the pads to look at them and the outside metal edge of the pad had a reddish stain It is working the same as before (lack of stopping power and and its noisy), so I think the pads are contaminated.

    At this point I feel like towards the mechanic because he obviously didn't clean up his mess once he finished the job. From your experience what is the best way to handle the circumstance. I don't think going in there yelling will be much help or very tactful, but there is no way though that I could have contaminated the pads though if he cleaned up his mess, correct? I'm going to go back to the "mechanic" at local bike shop, Drake Cyclery, and show him the pads to look at. I think he just didn't clean up his mess which then meant I installed the pads and the mineral oil contact the pads. Do you guys think it is reasonable for him to have done that. I didn't clean it up obviously before I installed the pads because I assumed he did.

    When I reinstall the new pads and clean it with alcohol and the scotch-brite pad, what type of alcohol should I use? Isoprophyll, whiskey, vodka? And by scotch-brite pad do you mean a sponge or like a SOS Metal Wire scrubber?

    Good news though, I didn't have to ride my bike this weekend because
    Curt Gowdy (where I went to ride) had a free demo day from specialized so I got to ride a 29" Carbon Fiber StumpJumper. It was great riding a great area with a bike that costs more than my car! I also went into Performance Cycles (where I bought the bike a few years ago) and got some good info (similar to what was said here) along with a "bring it in and I'll have a look" which I don't think I need now though. I do think I will be taking my bike there from now on though when I need help/work done on it even though it is a chain and a bit further from home.

    Thanks again everyone!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattNorv View Post
    Brakes are not new, and they were working fine until they were serviced. The reason I serviced them was because I was fooling around with the brake lever and unscrewed the reservoir, and then ended realizing I need to bleed the brake I got the kit. The pads are the same from before.

    I rode 10 miles with 5 miles being downhill at the end. The brakes were still squeaking all the way home. At least everyone was able to hear me.

    Thanks for everyone's replies so far!

    Your brakes were working until you opened up the reservoir and introduced air into the system, and I'm pretty sure you probably contaminated your pads at that time too. Mineral oil most likely ran down the hose to the caliper where it got on your pads.

    Use denatured alcohol to wipe away oil/fluid.

    What did you pay the mechanic to do exactly? Just bleed? Seems like there's some missing information here. Your mechanic should be well aware of the need for Shimano brakes to use mineral oil. I'm sure he appreciated you making it clear to him that he was to use it though.

    Honestly, what I think happened here is you knackered your stuff, brought it in, and had the mechanic do a bleed. He did, and this is evidenced by your saying that the levers feel the same again (F&R). But he overlooked the fact that the pads were contaminated already, and thus your brakes have no stopping power whatsoever.

    He should have cleaned up the entire system during the bleed, and taken the pads out during as well...this would have indicated to him that your pads were contaminated. It sounds like he didn't do a thorough job, I'm wondering why.

    In your last post you mention that you don't think that you need to have the bike brought in to a shop now. I completely disagree. Don't mix up having a Zinn's book, and some responses on an MTBR forum with having the know-how and experience to have your bike working properly. These are your brakes, and they need to stop you. Your front brake is the one that actually stops you, (unless a tree is preferable) and therefore you need to have a reputable wrench get your brakes sorted out until you have the ability to sort them yourself. Not meaning to be offensive, it just so far is indicated that you don't.

    Have some trust and respect for the mechanics that you bring your bike to, and have them give you an honest opinion about what your bike needs. Don't roll in there telling them what it needs.
    Stay aware of those who hide in plain sight.

  11. #11
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    And you don't need to use a scotchbright pad on your rotor, just a clean rag with denatured alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is ok too, but look for the 90% stuff.
    Stay aware of those who hide in plain sight.

  12. #12
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    I went into the shop where I got it bleed. They weren't much help, didn't even have the pads in stock. I then ordered them off Jenson USA and they through in a spacer for free.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    Have some trust and respect for the mechanics that you bring your bike to, and have them give you an honest opinion about what your bike needs.
    While I agree with most of your post (particularly with regard to what likely happened to the OP's bike), I have to disagree here. I've taken my bikes to many different mechanics and I finally gave up a few years ago when I took my bike to a reputable bike shop to work on my brakes. I knew very little back then but knew enough to see that my caliper came back poorly aligned and the brakes worked no better (and it cost me 40!). So I spent time learning how to work on my bike and received many hours of help from a long-time car mechanic (he had many awesome tips that apply to bicycles).

    I know there are top-notch bike mechanics, but how do you know before they actually work on your bike? I've only experienced one who was excellent.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsilva View Post
    While I agree with most of your post (particularly with regard to what likely happened to the OP's bike), I have to disagree here. I've taken my bikes to many different mechanics and I finally gave up a few years ago when I took my bike to a reputable bike shop to work on my brakes. I knew very little back then but knew enough to see that my caliper came back poorly aligned and the brakes worked no better (and it cost me 40!). So I spent time learning how to work on my bike and received many hours of help from a long-time car mechanic (he had many awesome tips that apply to bicycles).

    I know there are top-notch bike mechanics, but how do you know before they actually work on your bike? I've only experienced one who was excellent.
    I am sorry to hear that. I worked as a mechanic for many years and it bums me out that your experience was crappy with multiple mechs. It has more to do with the air and vibe of a shop as well.

    That being said, your experiences don't really discredit the quote of mine that you have responded to. What I mean by that is, if you are going to bring your bike into an establishment for service, respect the people who will be doing the work. If you can't do that, then maybe you shouldn't be bringing your bike in there. Alternately, if you bring your bike in, and they screw it up, then don't go back there, easy as that. Or, go back to the shop, inform them that you are not satisfied with the way the work was done and see what they say/do. Nine times out of ten, they will be glad to get the feedback and will make it right. Maybe it was a new guy, or guy that needs to be gotten rid of that did the sub par work, or maybe someone just made a mistake and missed something? The shop needs to know what is coming out of the repair area. Making a blanket statement about not having trust and respect for people that you are willingly bringing your bike to because of having previous bad experiences elsewhere is flawed.

    If you know more about the issue than the shop or the mech, don't even walk through the door. Do it yourself.

    Or if you think you know more, but want/need it done by someone else, keep your condescending ego outside. No wrench wants/needs to deal with that.
    Stay aware of those who hide in plain sight.

  15. #15
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    To add to what I have said above though, the same thing goes the for the wrench. If a shop or a wrench is coming off like an egotistical D-bag, I wouldn't put up with it. Take your business elsewhere.

    Respect, humility are two way streets. Unfortunately, in this ego filled sport we do, there isn't much of it to go around.
    Stay aware of those who hide in plain sight.

  16. #16
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    My comment was a feeling of frustration rather than arrogance. Of course if you're going to take your bike somewhere to be worked on it is silly to not leave it in their hands (i.e. if you can do it yourself why are you taking it in?). But, that doesn't mean you trust them or expect good work. It just means you made a choice

    I suppose it's like any profession. Many professionals, not many experts.

  17. #17
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    Fixed

    It's all fixed! Bought some new pads, not going back to that shop again...

    I have a new problem though. I was cleaning/lubing my bike today and noticed this little guy. Any comments/recommendations? It still shifts fine... a.t.m.

    Shoody Mechanic/Disc Brake Help-2013-06-06-18.08.40.jpg

    What should I do? It looks like I can wrap it again and try to seat it in one of the various notches?

    Thanks

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