Can brake calipers leak?

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  • Can brake calipers leak?
  • Premier Icon rossburton
    Subscriber

    Around last Spring I rode my hardtail, which I then put in the garage hanging vertically on the wall as usual. The brakes were fine. Yesterday I wanted to go for a ride on it (arguably I should sell this bike!) and discovered that the brakes needed a pretty hefty top-up of fluid as the levers were pretty much empty, and once that was done I realised that the pads or rotors were contaminated with oil/fluid/something as there was literally no bite. I actually left home before discovering the brakes were ineffective and had to do an old-school stopping-with-my-feet brake.

    So is it a thing that brakes can slowly leak fluid out the calipers and basically slowly lubricate the pads? These are Deore M615s, if that’s relevant.

    Premier Icon rossburton
    Subscriber

    I guess a follow-up question I forgot was: is this just something I need to deal with if I leave a bike hanging up for 9 months, or are the calipers broken?

    qwerty
    Member

    Could be that the caliper seals have perished and leaked fluid onto the rotors & pads = loss of brake fluid volume & contaminated rotors & pads = ineffective braking.

    If my bikes been hanging for a bit it usually takes a couple of “pumps” of the levers to get everything tickity boo again.

    I’d guess your leak is from aging as opposed to hanging.

    Shimano brake spares are notoriously difficult to find, you may need to buy new calipers or even a new brake set.

    Premier Icon rossburton
    Subscriber

    Right, I’m aware that whilst I love Shimano Deore brakes for bang-per-buck, if they break they’re disposable. I keep on looking at the Hope Tech brakes, but I think that might be quite an overkill solution!

    Maybe I’ll strip the bike down for a clean and have a look in the calipers to see if they’ve obviously perished.

    Premier Icon oldnpastit
    Subscriber

    Leaking is a known problem with some models of shimano caliper. If less than two years old you may be able to warranty them.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Yes, loads of threads on this. Shimano have had lots of trouble with leaky calipers exactly as you describe. Also does not help if you haven’t used genuine Shimano unicorn jizz for fluid.

    Premier Icon kneed
    Subscriber

    The question isnt “Can brake calipers leak” – it should be “Can Shimano make a brake caliper that does NOT leak”. Well I exagerate (more than) a bit. 🙂

    But yes – calipers certainly do. At least they have a 2 year warranty that seems to be quibble free IME. And the levers are generally fine so sometimes you can swap in a new / different caliper.

    mariner
    Member

    My Spykes never have that problem.

    philjunior
    Member

    Yes they can/do, spares tricky to get, but then again new calipers can be had for not much money. (just got some XT’s for about £35-40 each, other calipers available for less, I think I’ve bought non-series Shimano brakes for about £45 for full brakes f&r a couple of years back)

    Oh and wash your mouth out about selling it!

    Premier Icon rossburton
    Subscriber

    I don’t ride it because I have another bike 🙂

    Premier Icon colin9
    Subscriber

    Yes the Deore M615s are notorious for the micro leak. The lever feels fine but there is howling and no power when braking. Often happens after a period of no using. I have them on my second bike, after replacing the calipers twice over a couple of years I now make sure I give the brakes a good squeeze every few days when I’m in the garage to keep the seals active. I don’t know if it really helps but it seems to be so far. I keep planning not to buy Shimano brakes except they’re so good for the money when they’re working.

    stevextc
    Member

    Dont know if its worth postage but I happen to have a brand new BOXED MT200 CALIPER ONLY… WITH resin pads… you’re for the price of the new pads and postage (£6 + P&P)
    (only the pads are of any use to me and I’ll have to buy new pads sometime or you can have the calipers without pads for P&P)

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