Tell me what I'm doing wrong (avid bleed content)

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  • Tell me what I'm doing wrong (avid bleed content)
  • muckytee

    I bleed my Avid elixir 5s according to pinkbike’s tech tuesday video using an Avid bleed kit and motul DOT 5.1 fluid, but I also tap the calliper when bleeding it (get a few more bubbles out, I find a lock on grip is good for this).

    Also I’ve found that when bleeding the lever, if I pull back on the syringe and hold it, then pump the brake lever it pumps bubbles into the syringe (all in a similar manner to bleeding a car brake) If I don’t pull the syringe and hold it, I simply cannot activate the lever.

    In the amount of times I have bled my brakes, I have never had any air come out when bleeding the line.

    The brake feels solid, however it goes back to the bar further than I would like and I have achieved a similar result before and after 3 rides the lever went all the way to the bar and the brake needed bleeding again.

    Am I missing something?

    Cheers MT

    Shove some fluid back into the system by squeezing the syringe. That’ll sort it.

    Premier Icon franksinatra

    Do you have a leak, fl uid escaping from the system very slowly?

    Premier Icon househusband

    Best videos I found when I had Juicy’s were the SRAM tech ones on youtube.


    I press each syringe prior to removal. I pressed the lever quite firmly and held it, no leaks.

    +1 for pushing some more fluid in, especially the lever but be ready with a rag and the screw to stop and catch any overflow.


    +1 for pushing some more fluid in, especially the lever but be ready with a rag and the screw to stop and catch any overflow.

    I’ve just done that, when I removed the syringe fluid came out of the bleed port. No improvement 😥

    Has anybody got any Avid Bleeding secrets they’d like to share?

    Also do Shimano M596s have more clearance between the pabs and the rotors, my elixirs don’t rub, but mud/grit/snow gets in and it’s annoying.

    First things first…. are the calipers centered on the discs?

    Yes ok……….

    Sounds a little like the piston seals are pulling the pistons back into the caliper body`s too much. This would mean a long lever pull to make the pads press hard on the disc.

    Make sure the pistons are moving freely and none are sticking.
    With the wheel / disc out and pads removed lift the piston seals slightly and spray a little lubricant in (WD40 silicon spray etc).
    Pump them out carefully so they don`t pop out the calipers and slowly ease them back again.
    Watch one don`t pop out as you push the opposite piston back!

    Then put some old pads in and use the red dummy disc spacer or lolly stick etc, and bleed the brakes. Have a look and see if the pistons keep pulling back as you release the lever. That causes the long lever syndrome. Is also the reason why when you bleed no bubbles are seen.

    You need to lubricate the pistons so they can be pumped out and stay out.


    Callipers have had new seals and pistons in the beginning of Feb, I pumped the pistons out and cleaned using a cotton swab soaked in Dot 5.1 fluid, after I would lubricate them with the fluid and push them back in, I did this twice prior to bleeding.

    Calliper is aligned with no rub at all.

    All things aside, I’ve wound the reach all the way out, now when I press the lever it is exactly parallel with the bar, is this right? How do your brakes compare?

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    Tell me what I’m doing wrong (avid bleed content)

    I have Juicy 3’s and they are just a faff and arse to bleed right. Like you they just seem to be hit and miss on the bleed, despite having done it for 4 years.
    Mrs_OAB’s Hope Mini’s and my old Shimano Deores did not need touching in 7 years use, apart from new pads as they wore and a good clean occasionally.

    Found a reliable way to bleed avoids after lots of near but not perfect tries with my ultimates. It will be easier with a mate to help. Remove the calliper from the bike and also remove the pads. Push pistons fully back. Loosen lever body on bars, and retighten with bleed hole at its highest point. Remove bleed screw from lever, and fit syringe of new fluid. Get mate to hold caliper above the height of the lever. Get him to undo the bleed screw( or hose fitting if doing ultimates.) wrap a rag round calliper to catch fluid. Press down on syringe and push most of the new fluid through the system. Tighten up the calliper bleed screw, keeping it higher than the bars, and the hole at the top. Lower the calliper back down, remove the syringe and refit bleed screw. Clean up any spilt fluid, refit everything back on the bike. Only takes a couple of minutes, and has worked for me every time. Ps I only use organic pads as I find sintered squeal all the time.

    Premier Icon speedstar

    What Peterfastlane has said might just do it. Personally I gave a set of juicy 3s away due to the intense frustration they caused me. Go for Hopes next time.


    Cheers, I’ll give that a whirl.

    I’ve got some Shimano M596’s in my basket on CRC. I’d feel guilty selling my Avids – I’d would be like placing a curse on someone.

    Premier Icon JoeG

    my elixirs don’t rub, but mud/grit/snow gets in and it’s annoying.

    I’ve noticed this on my Elixir 1s. I don’t have this issue with my Magura Marta brakes, so I guess that the Avid pads are closer to the rotor than other brakes. It can be a bit annoying! 😕

    My OEM Elixir 1s were new in late Dec; they lasted less than 2 months before both levers pulled to the bar on the same ride. 🙁 I don’t have a DOT bleed kit, so had the LBS do a bleed on them. They’ve been fine so far.

    Premier Icon vincienup

    +1 on piston seal lube, although if you’re doing this do it properly and remove the piston, clean all surfaces (piston bore, piston sides etc) with some totally non greasy solvent, absolutely NOT brake fluid (which is an oil… ) or white spirit (turps). Meths in a pinch is good, proper brake cleaner (aerosol from motor factors or ToolStation) is best. Lint free cloth for any cleaning, blow out and then solvent allowing it to flash off is best.

    If your piston seal is less than 100% perfect you have found your problem and nothing else makes sense without replacing it. (cleaning is required after handling) If working with the piston you should have scrupulously cleaned the faces in the calliper as otherwise you risk accidental contamination of seal damage.
    Personally I would use ForkJuice of the products likely to be near a bike for lubing the piston seal. Don’t go crazy. A quick psht is all that is needed.
    Refit piston carefully- the closer to square when inserted the lower your chance of damaging the seal on insertion.
    At this point your system will be voided and contain no fluid so will need a proper bleed.
    Grit etc in the threads of the bleed screws at the calliper or master cylinder (lever) will cause trouble by preventing a proper seal.
    Poor seals where union barbs enter hoses (eg from shortening) may cause issues.

    Imperfect seals in bleed syringes and hose may cause problems. Brake fluid is corrosive and destroys the seals in your bleed syringes and the bleed hoses you’re using with them. Nothing you can do about this, they need replacing periodically.

    Brake fluid that has not been taken from a brand new, foil sealed, previously unopened container may cause problems- brake fluid absorbs water from the air and there’s nothing you can do to stop it and no way you can tell the water’s there til your perfectly bled brakes boil unexpectedly causing fade. Your choice.

    The Avid syringe method becomes easier with the master cylinder pointing up so the bleed screw is the high point of the system but as its a positive pressure bleed it really shouldn’t matter if all the seals in the system and any additional bleeding tools connected are good. Don’t know about the procedure on Pinkbike – havent read it – the procedure on Sram’s site is correct; there may be many like it.

    The alternative method holding calliper above master cylinder and bleeding by expulsion should work reasonably although is likely to be messy and awkward: you should try to close the bleed nipple while fluid is still being injected with this method to avoid ingress at the bleed nipple – assuming that there are no sealing issues. Some cars require this method for bleeding the cooling system as they were designed to be filled under pressure with tools not generally available (TU engined Peugeots in particular)

    The positive pressure syringe method should be fine if the tools being used are good and results in minimal mess.

    If you suspect trapped air there’s no substitute for running fresh fluid through under pressure until you’ve got it clear.

    Long post. Sorry. Good luck!

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