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  1. #1
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    XT-XTR BR-M785 Warranty Brake Leaking Issue

    Hi All,

    So I thought I'd post as a Public Service Announcement.

    I have the new design 2011 XT Trail Brakes. First and foremost, let me just say they are the BEST brakes I've ever ridden hands down. So, don't let this post deter you from purchasing a truly great product at what I think is a good value.

    But, after wrestling with an issue on my front brake for a few weeks and consulting with one of the best LBS's here in CO I finally have an answer.

    It appears that LBS's are beginning to see a common leakage issue with these brakes in the factory lines. The leak takes place right above the banjo nut where the fitting intersects the line itself (left side of the caliper) and trace amounts of mineral oil get down onto the pads/rotor. Apparently this is becoming "known" so check yours if you're having issues. I am getting a new hose warranty etc... I'll explain more below.

    As far as symtoms, I had a noticeable loss of power (because oil was on the pads/rotors). It was even to the point of my being able to push the bike with the front brake on hard. But, this went away if I used them on an extended downhill because it burned the oil off and then the power would increase again. You can also have howling and noise although I didn't have too much of that. The giveaway is that if you ride in dusty conditions like I do, you will see the dirt gather on the oil all over the caliper. Compared to my rear brake (that does not yet have this issue) it was easy to see the difference. Of course the final thing is that you will get some air in your line which I also notices when I tipped the bike upside down or on the back wheel and back down (the lever went nearly to the grip but "pumped" up again once the bike was again level.

    So anyway, I think I saw a post on this awhile back. I'd be interested to hear if others have had this issue. Again, I think the brakes themselves are OUTSTANDING and for me, Shimano is standing by this and giving me new lines etc. I am assuming the LBS will also get reimbursed for the subsequent bleed oil/labor from Shimano as well. The only component I'm not sure on is the pads. They did get mineral oil on them and I have heard that can damage them. We will see what happens but at $45 a pop I wouldn't mind a warranty pair of those as well.

    Let me know if you have had or heard of this issue as well.
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    Helpful post thank you, I guess the next question is whether Shimano has redesigned the hose and if Jagwire or others offer a good aftermarket alternative

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by baltik View Post
    Helpful post thank you, I guess the next question is whether Shimano has redesigned the hose and if Jagwire or others offer a good aftermarket alternative
    Yeah, I hope whatever they give me for a warranty is a redesigned one. I just saw another post on these and this banjo nut leak issue has been experienced by others on the XT's and XTR's. I'll have to watch my rear one as well.

    The jagwire has mixed reviews but it does come in an array of colors. I don't know if they have a different banjo nut that comes with them and/or whether that would be better. The Shimano hose itself seems to get good reviews less this banjo bolt leakage issue.

    I would be interested to know whether anyone makes stainless braided cables for these. If so they would probably be $$$. A quick search found one UK company...HEL Performance Mountain Bike Brake Line Kits
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    The same thing happened to me. Both front and rear were leaking where the hose went into the fitting. My LBS quick fix was to heat up the pads, scuff the rotors and crazy glue the line at the leek to keep them from seeping and saturating the pads again. Here is my problem...they tell me Shimano refuses to believe there is a problem with the brakes. So now I have $400 worth of brakes that make noise, dont stop worth a damn and need hoses and pads replaced. Its been a week on Friday, gonna call them tomorrow and see whats up. If not, then Shimano gets the call from me.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayMac View Post
    The same thing happened to me. Both front and rear were leaking where the hose went into the fitting. My LBS quick fix was to heat up the pads, scuff the rotors and crazy glue the line at the leek to keep them from seeping and saturating the pads again. Here is my problem...they tell me Shimano refuses to believe there is a problem with the brakes. So now I have $400 worth of brakes that make noise, dont stop worth a damn and need hoses and pads replaced. Its been a week on Friday, gonna call them tomorrow and see whats up. If not, then Shimano gets the call from me.
    Well, keep on it for sure and let your LBS call the reps. It sounded to me from my LBS guys that Shimano is beginning to acknowledge the problem and it sounds legitimate based on what you see on other threads on this forum.

    I also thought about some ways to do a "quick fix" but apparently they are getting my warranty line in a few days. I can still ride on mine and it actually works good on long DH's when the rotors get hot and the mineral oil burns off. Mine is not leaking like crazy either...but enough.

    Anyway, despite all this I still have to say that they are awesome brakes. Shimano may just need to address this issue and make it right. Funny how the smallest link (banjo nut fitting) can mess with an otherwise amazing system.
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    As stated, this is a known issue at shimano and if the dealer calls them they will send out a replacement, provided you send in your leaking one. I called our rep and got it all taken care of, including pads. The hose and fitting look exactly the same, i was told it was an issue with the crimping machine using not enough force and all has been remedied now.

  7. #7
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    My rear M785 brake started leaking at the banjo / hose junction. I bought mine from treefort bikes, they got me a RA# and I sent it back to Shimano. I asked if I could just send in the line since the lever and caliper were fine, but I had to send in the whole thing. My replacement is on its way to me in the mail. No issues with my front brake (knock on wood), but I'll be watching the hose like a hawk.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by avbcon12 View Post
    As stated, this is a known issue at shimano and if the dealer calls them they will send out a replacement, provided you send in your leaking one. I called our rep and got it all taken care of, including pads. The hose and fitting look exactly the same, i was told it was an issue with the crimping machine using not enough force and all has been remedied now.
    Everyone knows when it comes to ho(ses) that crimpin' ain't easy...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayMac View Post
    The same thing happened to me. Both front and rear were leaking where the hose went into the fitting. My LBS quick fix was to heat up the pads, scuff the rotors and crazy glue the line at the leek to keep them from seeping and saturating the pads again. Here is my problem...they tell me Shimano refuses to believe there is a problem with the brakes. So now I have $400 worth of brakes that make noise, dont stop worth a damn and need hoses and pads replaced. Its been a week on Friday, gonna call them tomorrow and see whats up. If not, then Shimano gets the call from me.
    WOW!! Your LBS SUCKS!! I'd be on the phone with Shimano yesterday.

    I just had this issue on Saturday with my rear brake and it pissed all the oil out during the last 3-4 miles of my ride. Luckily I have two sets and was able to use one off another bike, but my LBS called Shimano and got a new hose and pads coming under warranty. Shimano knows about the issue, and doesn't have a problem doing the right thing. \\ Wonderful brakes otherwise!!

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  10. #10
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    Have the same problem with both m XTR brakes. Thank you very much for the info!

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    My M775's leaked at the front outside piston.

    Shimano replaced with M785's.

  12. #12
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    Good job! Follow Up

    Wanted to post a follow up on my warranty issue.

    So Shimano is sending me a new line, new pads, and apparently a new ICE tech rotor! Oh, and taking care of the labor I believe as well but not 100% sure on that yet.

    My LBS really came through for me and Shimano apparently agrees that once a brake has this issue and mineral oil gets on the pads and rotor, all those components need to be replaced. So, that was a nice surprise. I didn't know the rotor was included...and it was an ICE Tech at that...so between that and the pads there's some $$$ there in this warranty.

    Anyway, everything is on it's way so hopefully I'll get this resolved in the next week or so. Since this causes such an issue when the failure occurs I am thinking about proactively changing the rear brake line...or maybe I'll just wait and see if it develops an issue and then take it in for warranty as well IF that happens. I haven't decided yet.

    Anyway, a kudos to my LBS, Wheat Ridge Cyclery in CO here for taking care of me like they always do. Support your LBS. I don't buy everything at the LBS due to lower prices online but I do make an honest attempt to give them business in both service and parts...even sometimes when it's a few bucks more. Also, thanks to Shimano for making things right and standing behind their product.

    And as I've said along and will continue to say...even after this these are the BEST brakes I have ever ridden!
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  13. #13
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    I just got my new warranty replacement rear brakeset from Treefort. I mounted it up, and everything's looking good after a few rides, no sign of leakage at the banjo. I noticed that the crimp lines on the new brake line look more defined than the ones on my front brake line. I'll be keeping a very close eye on both banjo fittings.

  14. #14
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    I'm having a lot of the same symptoms with a rear XT brake. It has been squealing and has a loss of power. After storing the bike upside down for a few days, the lever would bottom out on the handlebars, but then pumped back up after many pumps. I'll have to take a closer look at the banjo fitting and see if the there is leakage there.

    Has anyone called Shimano directly instead of working through a dealer?

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    Just fitted these myself,but as id started seeing reports on different forums regarding the hose leaks I bought the components seperately and opted to fit Jagwire Hy-Flow lines instead. But I had leakage from the lever end as Jagwires supplied Olives werent holding the hose correctly,my LBS corrected this and I think that they used the Shimano olives on the Jagwire hose,so far no leaks and great braking.

  16. #16
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    I've also been running Jagwire hi flow hose on my front and rear xtr trail brakes for several months with out issue. Great brakes now that they are working right. Both my front and rear shimano hose's leaked right form the start.

  17. #17
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    Still waiting..

    I'm still waiting for my parts from Shimano...hopefully next week.

    In the mean time, I put super glue around the banjo nut...seems to help. Temporary fix.

    See pic...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails XT-XTR BR-M785 Warranty Brake Leaking Issue-img_0575.jpg  

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  18. #18
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    Yep

    Quote Originally Posted by jabrabu View Post
    I'm having a lot of the same symptoms with a rear XT brake. It has been squealing and has a loss of power. After storing the bike upside down for a few days, the lever would bottom out on the handlebars, but then pumped back up after many pumps. I'll have to take a closer look at the banjo fitting and see if the there is leakage there.

    Has anyone called Shimano directly instead of working through a dealer?
    Sounds like a classic case of this and you've got air in the line for sure now if your lever is doing that. You can ride it but it's not great. Check that banjo nut. It's a slight leak...more like a seep but typically if you have a thin layer dust on the caliper and lines you can see it.
    Last edited by GL1; 05-12-2012 at 11:34 AM. Reason: misspell
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    awe...man. I want to get a set of these but is worth the hassle.....?

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    Quote Originally Posted by big JC View Post
    awe...man. I want to get a set of these but is worth the hassle.....?
    There really isnt any hassle, not everyone is having this issue and if you do shimano fixes it.


  21. #21
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    Same issue with me on front and rear. The front drips onto rotor. The rear still leaks but drips on the underside of the caliper and has not infected the pads yet. I see a dust sludge trail like the front. Getting both replaced under warranty hopefully. I will let u know the results soon.

  22. #22
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    How do I request for warranty repair if you did a self install? Anyone have an experience.

    Thank you for posting this information, very helpful.

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  23. #23
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    Has anyone tried retrofitting the new XT/XTR's with braided lines?
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  24. #24
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    Ended up having the leaking front hose, I epoxied it because I have a race this weekend. I might end up replacing it in the long run for Jagwire Hyflow or Goodridge lines since I doubt Shimano will replace the brakes since I bought them over Ebay. I also have a leak of my rear brake but at the lever this time... I wonder if the seals might have been damaged when riding in freezing temps this winter. Anyhow, bad situation before a race! At least they stop enough for me to race this weekend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil View Post
    I might end up replacing it in the long run for Jagwire Hyflow or Goodridge lines since I doubt Shimano will replace the brakes since I bought them over Ebay..
    I replaced my front and rear leaking shimano hose with Jagwire hyflow and has been leak free since. I didn't want to try shimano hose again because I had heard of people getting replacment shimano hose and have it leak again. Heres a picture of the jagwire hyflow setup.


  26. #26
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    I bought my 785s on eBay so I just put goodridge lines on. So far so good. You need the 108 fitting kit. You also still have to use the stock bolt that bolts the banjo to the caliper. Works fine, no leaks and good feel at the lever. Chain reaction has the best price.

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    I left mine at shop today and they are going to try and get me a new pair. If not it will be new updated lines and pads. I am selling them once I get them back. Bought another pair in the meantime as I cant wait to get them fixed. Lemme know if anyone interested in them. Have extra pads and oil and bleed funnel not used.
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  28. #28
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    Yep

    Quote Originally Posted by OO7 View Post
    Has anyone tried retrofitting the new XT/XTR's with braided lines?
    Yep, that's a great question. I did a quick search and didn't find anyone making them. If you know of anyone who makes them let me know. That would be cool. Jagwire is probably the next best thing.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by GL1 View Post
    Yep, that's a great question. I did a quick search and didn't find anyone making them. If you know of anyone who makes them let me know. That would be cool. Jagwire is probably the next best thing.
    If the banjo bolts and fittings are the same as previous model years (which I realize they may not be since the redesign), Goodridge does have kits. If you could figure out which banjo fitting and compression washers are needed, you could probably get one to fit.

    I'd just wait a touch longer . . . can't be long before goodridge has something readily available. They may already to be honest.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimarin View Post
    I bought my 785s on eBay so I just put goodridge lines on. So far so good. You need the 108 fitting kit. You also still have to use the stock bolt that bolts the banjo to the caliper. Works fine, no leaks and good feel at the lever. Chain reaction has the best price.
    Thanks for the info! So I see the goodridge lines but I'm confused. It looks to me like the Hose Kit 107 is what you need but that also doesn't look like braided cables. The kit 108 you refer to is just the fittings and says it's for Saint.

    Also, this thread XT M785 brakes & goodridge hoses Singletrack Forum seems to indicate it's kit 107 for the new generation XT's but let me know if you know before I buy anything.
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    I put a 108 kit on my trailbike last week and on my dh this week (785s on both). Look at the fittings in both kits. The 107 has banjo's for both ends. 108 is the right kit. All goodridge are braided. The ones you saw are probably black, which don't really show the braid.




    Last edited by jimarin; 05-18-2012 at 07:35 PM.

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    My LBS got just hoses for me that they installed on Friday. I wasn't happy with just lines and felt that the pads should be replaced because of contamination (rotors should be fine). I called Shimano myself, and other than no toll free number and being on hold forever, they are sending the LBS replacement pads for me no questions asked..that easy! Don't know why that couldn't have happened when the call was made for hoses.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayMac View Post
    My LBS got just hoses for me that they installed on Friday. I wasn't happy with just lines and felt that the pads should be replaced because of contamination (rotors should be fine). I called Shimano myself, and other than no toll free number and being on hold forever, they are sending the LBS replacement pads for me no questions asked..that easy! Don't know why that couldn't have happened when the call was made for hoses.
    Yeah, pads for sure. I am getting those. I was mistaken on the rotor. I am not getting a rotor and I'm okay with that.

    jimarin, thanks for the info on the goodridge. I am looking into those. Kit 108 then for sure! Thanks!
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuenstock View Post
    I replaced my front and rear leaking shimano hose with Jagwire hyflow and has been leak free since. I didn't want to try shimano hose again because I had heard of people getting replacment shimano hose and have it leak again. Heres a picture of the jagwire hyflow setup.

    Ordered the Hyflows with a new lever for the rear brake and new pads (without fins this time). Hopefully everything will get back to normal as I'm tired of the lack of power.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabrabu View Post
    I'm having a lot of the same symptoms with a rear XT brake. It has been squealing and has a loss of power. After storing the bike upside down for a few days, the lever would bottom out on the handlebars, but then pumped back up after many pumps. I'll have to take a closer look at the banjo fitting and see if the there is leakage there.

    Has anyone called Shimano directly instead of working through a dealer?
    If you did the "bleed free line shortening" the levers will likely go to the bars after hanging the bike upside down. Mine did.

  36. #36
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    what are the item i need to get if i would like to change the m785 front brake host? any recommendation?

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    Thank you for posting this. I have had my brakes for a couple of months and thought they were the greatest brakes ever. But all of a sudden the rear started to howl, and the front lost it's great power and modulation. Looking at the rotor shows a darker substance on both the front and rear, and I have had problems with both levers pulling to the bars after longer downhills. I'm so glad to hear that this is a simple fix, and especially one that Shimano will pay for, good on you Shimano. And luckily for me, I just ordered a new set for my wife, so looks like I will use those while I wait for my warranty returns.

    But what is best to clean the rotors, as they definitely have a little bit of a film on them?

  38. #38
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    just wipe them down with isopropyl alcohol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GL1 View Post
    I'm still waiting for my parts from Shimano...hopefully next week.

    In the mean time, I put super glue around the banjo nut...seems to help. Temporary fix.

    See pic...
    Glad I found this thread, because my front line started leaking at the end of the crimp to the banjo nut, exactly where circled in the above picture. I've had them since mid-September and absolutely love the brakes. Great performance for the price, too bad there is this little quality issue. But it's good to know there is a fix since mine didn't work so well on today's ride with oil on the pads.....

  40. #40
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    Glad you found the thread. Let us know if your LBS will help on the warranty. They should. As you've seen from the the thread the pads are toast once they get mineral oil on them. So a decent LBS warranty should include a new line with banjo nut, bleed, and pads. Then clean the rotor with 90% alcohol really good. Since my warranty, zero issues and that was almost a year and 60 rides ago. Still the best brakes I've ever owned!
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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    If you did the "bleed free line shortening" the levers will likely go to the bars after hanging the bike upside down. Mine did.
    This isn't a problem with the brakes at all, or at least it's not related to the OP's topic of leaking XTs at the caliper end.

    If your master cylinder has air in in, when the bike is turned upside down, the air being lighter than the mineral oil rises to the top, which ends up in the caliper. That's why the levers go all the way to the bar, because the levers when squeezed are pushing air into the caliper...not oil. Unsurprisingly, turning the bike back to normal will again cause the air to move upwards, but back into the MC, and it's just a matter of time before the levers become firm again.

    To avoid this, ensure that there is no air in the MC i.e. fill it right to the top. Then it won't matter if your bike is upright, sideways or upside down, as no air will ever get into the caliper.
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  42. #42
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    Dumb question here:
    If your (metallic) pads are contaminated w/ oil, can't you just spray them down w/ disc brake cleaner or soak them in isopropyl alcohol to break up the oil? Hell, worst comes to worst, when you pull them out of the alcohol bath, set them on fire for a few seconds to burn off the oil/alcohol, then smother w/ a water dunk? Wouldn't this not work, instead of shelling out for another set of pads?
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    Good luck with that...try it out and let us know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    Dumb question here:
    If your (metallic) pads are contaminated w/ oil, can't you just spray them down w/ disc brake cleaner or soak them in isopropyl alcohol to break up the oil? Hell, worst comes to worst, when you pull them out of the alcohol bath, set them on fire for a few seconds to burn off the oil/alcohol, then smother w/ a water dunk? Wouldn't this not work, instead of shelling out for another set of pads?
    Of course they can be salvaged. 20s in a natural gas flame takes care of the contamination very well. I ride with the original pads after having replaced the leaking BH90 with BH59 and XTR banjo a couple hundreds miles ago.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayMac View Post
    The same thing happened to me. Both front and rear were leaking where the hose went into the fitting. My LBS quick fix was to heat up the pads, scuff the rotors and crazy glue the line at the leek to keep them from seeping and saturating the pads again. Here is my problem...they tell me Shimano refuses to believe there is a problem with the brakes. So now I have $400 worth of brakes that make noise, dont stop worth a damn and need hoses and pads replaced. Its been a week on Friday, gonna call them tomorrow and see whats up. If not, then Shimano gets the call from me.
    I have had this problem as well.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    Dumb question here:
    If your (metallic) pads are contaminated w/ oil, can't you just spray them down w/ disc brake cleaner or soak them in isopropyl alcohol to break up the oil? Hell, worst comes to worst, when you pull them out of the alcohol bath, set them on fire for a few seconds to burn off the oil/alcohol, then smother w/ a water dunk? Wouldn't this not work, instead of shelling out for another set of pads?
    They just replaced mine with the warranty but at near $50 a pair it would be worth a try to salvage them.
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    The reason I ask is I just got my mitz on a set of the 988s for a pretty good deal and was researching these for Goodridge hose replacement (answered) before I pay the guy, and saw all the issues that you guys are having, specifically w/ contaminated pads. I've been an Avid guy since moving from Hayes and the resolution for dealing w/ DOT contaminated pads is a simple rinse w/ water. Mineral oil being different than DOT, I'd imagine you can just use a different rinse fluid, or in the worst case, oxidize the oil by heat (reads as burning) so it can be rinse w/ water...
    Anyway, the other issue was bleeding, ala Avid style, by degassing the fluid. Top to bottom method is fine and all, but doesn't do much for dissolved gases already in the fluid. Here, I think Avid has DEF go their act together. So, has anyone managed to get a proper seal at the caliper end to pull a vacuum and degas the fluid in the system? I saw a vid of some guy using an olive threaded on the tubing, then pushed up against the bleeder nipple once the tubing is attached to get a solid connex. Do any of you know if this creates the proper seal to pull negative pressure via a syringe?
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  48. #48
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    I've burned metallic pads with good results. I just tried a set of resin pads and
    would say that was a failure. Oh well, I 'll just buy metallic from now on.

    @Pau11y - I use the push pull method like you would with Avid brakes and it works fine.
    I bought the Avid bleed kit and gave the DOT to a buddy with Avid brakes. The brass threaded
    end thingy fits perfectly into the reservoir on the levers and I just push the plastic tubing over the bleed nipple on the caliper. It work perfectly.

    I did discover that if you overfill the reservoir you will get oil weeping from under the cover for awhile.
    I was worried that it was leaking, but its just the oil that spilled between the cap and the actual reservoir.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mestapho View Post
    I've burned metallic pads with good results. I just tried a set of resin pads and
    would say that was a failure. Oh well, I 'll just buy metallic from now on.

    @Pau11y - I use the push pull method like you would with Avid brakes and it works fine.
    I bought the Avid bleed kit and gave the DOT to a buddy with Avid brakes. The brass threaded
    end thingy fits perfectly into the reservoir on the levers and I just push the plastic tubing over the bleed nipple on the caliper. It work perfectly.

    I did discover that if you overfill the reservoir you will get oil weeping from under the cover for awhile.
    I was worried that it was leaking, but its just the oil that spilled between the cap and the actual reservoir.
    Hehehe... yeah, I didn't think the resin pads would be a good candidate to be set on fire
    Maybe just a alcohol bath w/ those...?

    And, thanks for the clue on using the Avid bleed method and that the tools work I'm kinda invested in the Avid tools...pro bleed kit...so it's nice to know I can reuse
    Naysayers never apologize. Critics go to their grave thinking everyone else is wrong.
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  50. #50
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    I have the same problem!

    Who did you contact? You LBS or Shimano directly? If Shimano, a phone number would be awesome.
    I ride a bike, therefore I am!

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