Avid sticky pistons & bleeding – stupid contraptions
The seals need to be lubricated. You might get away with pumping them part way out and using brake fluid to lubricate them but the best way IME / IMO is to remove the pistons completely and smear with red rubber grease and refit. It might be best to have new seals to hand tho as removing and refitting pistons can damage the seals. With fairly new brakes you might get away with it.Posted 8 years ago
TJ, presumably they will need a bleed, once the pistons have been out??
I tried doing this with the pistons in place on the rear, by pumping pistons out (holiding free piston in place to get stickier one out) and cleaning with a cotton bud. When they were as clean as I could get them, I then tried to smear fluid around the pistons and push them back into place. Not sure how successful I was in getting fluid onto the seals, but it doesn’t seem to have made much difference to the rear.
I might get the pistons out, have a proper clean up of the area and lube the seals that way. Is red rubber grease something that my LBS is likely to stock?Posted 8 years agopetefromearthMember
boobs – great forum name
i’m currently stripping down my old Juicy 5’s. i always had problems with pads sticking as well, pistons not returning. you can get the pistons all the way back if you loosen the bleed screw on the lever slightly first. getting the pistons out is a pain. as it suggests in the manual, you can do it by pumping compressed air in there
two of the pistons were worn along one edge where the pad bottoms out against the caliper under braking load, which probably explains why they stick. someone explain why plastic pistons are meant to be a good thing? oh yeah, it’s cheap
speaking of new pads, i just got some Superstar ones too. one of them had actually disintegrated INSIDE the packaging! i’d heard bad things but that’s just sillyPosted 8 years ago
I’m having fun with this too – fitted a secondhand set of Juicy 7s and there’s so little clearance the rotor drags.
Pushed pistons out, used a cotton bud with brake fluid to go around the sides of the pistons, pushed back and forth, seemed to be going nice and freely.
Bled fully, a bit of air came out, nice solid lever feel but still the tiniest amount of clearance as the pads are sat right next to the disc.
Tried turning the pad adjustment dial both ways, no sodding difference. Even tried strapping the levers to the bars overnight – again, no difference.
What’s next? A full caliper service? Or off to the bin/ebay and get some Shimanos?Posted 8 years ago
Is it too late to say you don’t need to take the pistons out?
All you need to do is – with the pads and the wheel out – spray some lube into the calliper. If you do this with the pistons ‘out’ slightly the lube will draw back up to the seal. Leave for a couple of minutes to soak and then gentley pull the lever to move the pistons further out. Clean off any gunk and re-lube. Allow to soak for a minute then ease the pistons back in.Posted 8 years ago
Do not use spray lube – some are incompatible with the seals and will cause them to swell and stick
If you remove the pistons you will need a complete rebleed
Use the correct products for brakes. Brake fluid of the correct grade, red rubber grease or silicon lube for the seals.Posted 8 years ago
Try opening the pad seperator spring up a bit more.
PCA doesn’t move the pads at all but increases and decreases the size of the lever reservior to produce throw on the lever. You should bled the brakes with the PCA all the way ‘Out’ and then move it ‘In’ to get the desired lever throw. As the pads wear you move the PCA ‘Out’ to maintain throw.Posted 8 years ago
So then…..brakes worked excellently until I needed new pads on the rear. Pushed pistons back as required, removed old pads, cursed and swore trying to get new pads in. Got them in…..oh, they bind on the rotor…..
Google……..20 mins later……
….appears to be that the pistons aren’t retracting – common Avid problem and can sometimes be solved by moving pistons in/out while cleaning/lubing…..attempt to do this….one piston seems to be sticking more than the other, another Avid common problem…..but get it to the point where it’s not so bad, although at one point a piston did slip out, so I have probably put air into system……buy bleed kit.
….bled rear brake yesterday having watched video on Youtube. He appeared to leave pads in and use spacer, but I wanted to get pistons as far back as possible (pads were part worn at this stage and didn’t want to bleed with part worn pads). Take out pads and put in bleed block as supplied in bleed kit, which suprisingly doesn’t push the pistons all the way back…..hmmmm. I bled the brake and loads of air came out, but pads are still slightly binding and lever feel isn’t all that much improved.
Move onto front brake as pads need replacing….put new pads in and they also bind slightly, but lever feel is rock solid. Take pads out and check pistons and they are also sticking, more on one side.
Feeling a bit miffed that £270 worth of brakes are working pretty poorly after just one set of pads…..I replaced my Julies with these are they were causing me grief at pad change time, but these seem just as bad. It seems that the only option is to buy a set of piston re-furb kits for them and take them to bits…..? Is this normal??!!
The pads are SSC pads and perhaps are not quite the same size as original Avid pads but I don’t have a CMM to measure this on. Even this though doesn’t explain the sticky pistons…..
And shouldn’t the bleed block push the pistons ALL the way back into the caliper housing??
Aside from that, rear brake was really easy to bleed but am a bit peeved with these sticky pistons….I don’t really fancy 6hrs of brake drag on Sunday at the Enduro6.Posted 8 years ago
Nope, even with the pad separator spring so open it’s tricky to get pad in, give the lever a couple of pulls and the inside piston is sticking out a mm or two and the pad drags the rotor. Nuts.
LBS charges £35 a caliper for service/overhaul. More importantly, I want to ride this weekend and my old brakes are already on my mate’s bike. 🙁Posted 8 years ago
I run Avid’s with 5.1 DOT. I’ve cleaned my brakes as above for three years or so. I haven’t had any seal failures – except for one on a s/h calliper and I was preping it before use – no sticky pistons either.
Now I’ve said that, I’ll probably have complete failure of all my brakes this weekend 😆
As my lube supply is running low I think I’ll look at the silicone lubes as replacements.
Simon_g, realign the calliper and it should now stop deragging.Posted 8 years agou02sgbSubscriber
Had huge problems with my 5’s but seem to have fixed them. I think the first set of seals may have finally gone (after spraying disc brake cleaner into the caliper and destroying the seals… ahem.. wouldn’t advise doing that:). Was having problems with them before this though.
1) get a new seal kit (called a “pressure foot kit”) for £10 and not the £25 one with all the screws from chainreaction.
2) dissasemble, you can use a track pump with the plastic “inflatables” adaptor to blow the pistons out. Be careful I took a chunk out of my wall as it flew across the room.
3) replace the seals and wipe them with red rubber grease (I got some off ebay for about £5).
4) reassemble and bleed.
Mine have been rock solid ever since, the rubber grease should also make the pistons move more smoothly. Was quite disappointed they packed in so quickly though. The front brake that hasn’t had degreaser in it seems to be leaking a bit too and it’s only two years old.
I’ve replaced one of them with an avid Elixir, which is a much nicer brake and hasn’t had any problems with bleeding so far.
Stu.Posted 8 years ago
u02sgb – think I will be giving this a go and perhaps regularly removing pads, cleaning up inner caliper and re-greasing with this red rubber grease stuff.
If I still have issues then I will be getting shot of them, as soon as I have some spare cash.Posted 8 years ago
I’ve got the service manual for the calipers, but how easy is it actually to do?u02sgbSubscriber
If you can bleed them, you can strip and reassemble them. I found bleeding to be a bit difficult to start with. A few tricks that made it easier:
1) Follow the instructions to bleed the caliper and hose then remove the caliper syringe.
2) do a quick bleed of the lever, in between trying to pull air out with the syringe pull the lever to activate the brakes (this builds up the pressure in the hose and pushes the air up to the top of the system). It also helps to dislodge the air bubbles around the lever mechanism.
3) Now pull the lever and zip tie it to the bar so it’s permanently on.
4) Leave overnight or for a couple of hours, then rebleed the lever.
The air takes a bit of time to work it’s way up to the lever sometimes so it’s worth taking a bit of time over it. If you find the brakes are at all spongy you probably only need to rebleed the lever end.
One other thing, if you store the bike upside down any air will work it’s way back to the calipers and give you spongy brakes again. This probably won’t happens straight away but you’ll probably get a little air working it’s way in over time. I also found it was worth cleaning the discs with proper disk brake cleaner every couple of months. Just don’t spray it into the caliper!
They’re amazing brakes when they’re set up properly but there are quite a few problems with them.
Stu.Posted 8 years ago
So what we're saying is, don't use brake cleaner to clean the brakes? does it phuck em?
Or are we saying to use it on the pads but NOT the caliper?
Short of fleeBay, Where can I get some 'o' this red rubber grease stuff? Is there an alternative? or will the PACE grease be reet? The PACE stuff is specifically for forks, so would imagine it's o'reet on brake seals?Posted 8 years ago
1 massive thing that AVID left off the bleed instructions that make your brakes as hard a slab of over-done, 3 month old flapjack, is that you need to push fluid back to the caliper/lever.
No need to disassemble, just spray the pistons with some GT85 (with pads removed, durrrrrrrrrr) then pump the brake to get the pistons moving, repeat if necessary. You can remove the GT and brake fluid from the caliper prior to pad installation with a mixture of demineralised water and Isopropyl alcohol, don't use brake cleaner, it's sh1t.Posted 8 years agoahwilesSubscriber
i use the following technique to get my avid brakes working like a charm:
1) don't touch them until they're knackered (about 2 rides).
2) dump them in the bin.
3) replace with shimano deore/ lx/ slx.
my 'avid' brakes now work very well thanks…
(i arrived at this process after spending thousands of hours trying to force the pistons back in, so i could fit some new brake pads to a set of juicy 5's).
anything that requires as much tlc as avid brakes is incompatible with having a life.Posted 8 years ago
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