Front brakes still don’t work until pulled all the way - Honda ATV Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Hello,

(Atv is a 1986 Honda TRX350 Btw)

About a month ago I posted about my brakes not working until pulled half way. I was recommended to buy new brake shoes (which it needed no matter what) and was told how to properly bleed the brakes (although I forgot to adjust brakes all the way out). The brakes worked perfectly for a 2 weeks but as time went on I had to pull the lever closer and closer (probably due to the touching brake pads starting to burn off).

Today I put a vice grip on the line next to the master cylinder to and the lever became very stiff, I then put a vice grip on one of the lines near a brake and then the lever became stiff, I then took the grip off and put it on the other and it became stiff again but when I took the vide off the line i had to pull it all the way again. I also put two vide grips on both the lines near both brakes and the lever became very stiff so I’m pretty sure the break lines are fine.

Before doing all of that I adjusted my brakes a little more to see if it would make a difference and it did but it is at the point where if I do it anymore my shoes will be touching too much.

Any ideas would be a big help
Thanks!

Last edited by 86Hondatrx350; 05-13-2019 at 06:29 PM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 08:32 PM
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I don’t use vise grips on my lines.

Set the shoes like the book says. Two adjusters on each shoe--run them all down then back them off two flats each. When you bleed the brakes all the shoes have to be locked down to force out old fluid.

When air is trapped in the line you can try to push it out but some rises up to the master cylinder. Use a flat screwdriver to gently take out that flat rubber puck–that’s where the air gets trapped. Jiggle the lever to let air escape past the master cylinder—you’ll see bubbles rising out of the master cylinder orifices

I use clear hose that fits over the bleed nipples–inverted U into a jar–i open the valve and run the fluid up into the hose. So you’re squeezing, it locks the brakes, open the bleed screw and the lever starts to move again. Near the end of the stroke, close the valve. Push air and old fluid out. The fluid in the hose Keeps air out.
LedFTed and retro like this.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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I don’t use vise grips on my lines.

Set the shoes like the book says. Two adjusters on each shoe--run them all down then back them off two flats each. When you bleed the brakes all the shoes have to be locked down to force out old fluid.

When air is trapped in the line you can try to push it out but some rises up to the master cylinder. Use a flat screwdriver to gently take out that flat rubber puck–that’s where the air gets trapped. Jiggle the lever to let air escape past the master cylinder—you’ll see bubbles rising out of the master cylinder orifices

I use clear hose that fits over the bleed nipples–inverted U into a jar–i open the valve and run the fluid up into the hose. So you’re squeezing, it locks the brakes, open the bleed screw and the lever starts to move again. Near the end of the stroke, close the valve. Push air and old fluid out. The fluid in the hose Keeps air out.
Thanks, just bled the brakes by pumping then opening the bleed valve this time and the nasty fluid came out. I did not take the plunger out in fear that I would brake it but I am going to zip tie the lever pulled for a few days to let the air out (not sure if it’s going to work but I’ve hear of it before). Adjusted the brakes and it seems to work fine now but hopefully it holds up and works this time. Thanks
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 06:05 AM
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Zip tying the lever won’t do anything except maybe prove the piston seal is worn.

If your lever won’t hold, buy a master cylinder rebuild kit ($20).

Remove the lever
Gently remove that piston dust cover–i used needle nose but try not to tear it. The new kit comes with a new cover.
Use snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring from the housing–you’ll probably curse blue smoke trying this. Then remove the piston.

The piston seal goes in one way–take careful note Of the position.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goober View Post
Zip tying the lever won’t do anything except maybe prove the piston seal is worn.

If your lever won’t hold, buy a master cylinder rebuild kit ($20).

Remove the lever
Gently remove that piston dust cover–i used needle nose but try not to tear it. The new kit comes with a new cover.
Use snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring from the housing–you’ll probably curse blue smoke trying this. Then remove the piston.

The piston seal goes in one way–take careful note Of the position.
I've actually had good luck zip tying the lever back IF you are having trouble bleeding air out of the system. It won't help for anything else, and sometimes it doesn't even get all the air out of the system, but it's a cheap and easy "leave it till tomorrow" trick to try if you're having trouble bleeding the system. I've done it a couple of times and come back to a wheeler with a nice firm brake lever.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goober View Post
Zip tying the lever won’t do anything except maybe prove the piston seal is worn.

If your lever won’t hold, buy a master cylinder rebuild kit ($20).

Remove the lever
Gently remove that piston dust cover–i used needle nose but try not to tear it. The new kit comes with a new cover.
Use snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring from the housing–you’ll probably curse blue smoke trying this. Then remove the piston.

The piston seal goes in one way–take careful note Of the position.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepwm69 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goober View Post
Zip tying the lever won’t do anything except maybe prove the piston seal is worn.

If your lever won’t hold, buy a master cylinder rebuild kit ($20).

Remove the lever
Gently remove that piston dust cover–i used needle nose but try not to tear it. The new kit comes with a new cover.
Use snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring from the housing–you’ll probably curse blue smoke trying this. Then remove the piston.

The piston seal goes in one way–take careful note Of the position.
I've actually had good luck zip tying the lever back IF you are having trouble bleeding air out of the system. It won't help for anything else, and sometimes it doesn't even get all the air out of the system, but it's a cheap and easy "leave it till tomorrow" trick to try if you're having trouble bleeding the system. I've done it a couple of times and come back to a wheeler with a nice firm brake lever.
I have left the zip tie on overnight and the brakes are still on proving everything is sealed properly.

Does anyone have any tactics to removing the black plunger at the bottom of the resovoir? Scared to take it off and can it cause any damage besides to the plunger?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 01:14 PM
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I wouldn't worry about messing it up. If you think it's the master cylinder you can get a new aftermarket one cheap or buy a used OEM Honda one for just about any ATV and it will bolt right in.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goober View Post
Zip tying the lever won’t do anything except maybe prove the piston seal is worn.

If your lever won’t hold, buy a master cylinder rebuild kit ($20).

Remove the lever
Gently remove that piston dust cover–i used needle nose but try not to tear it. The new kit comes with a new cover.
Use snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring from the housing–you’ll probably curse blue smoke trying this. Then remove the piston.

The piston seal goes in one way–take careful note Of the position.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepwm69 View Post
I wouldn't worry about messing it up. If you think it's the master cylinder you can get a new aftermarket one cheap or buy a used OEM Honda one for just about any ATV and it will bolt right in.
How exactly should I remove it, can’t really see see what you’d pry on it where to grab on to it with pliers?
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Hondatrx350 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goober View Post
Zip tying the lever won’t do anything except maybe prove the piston seal is worn.

If your lever won’t hold, buy a master cylinder rebuild kit ($20).

Remove the lever
Gently remove that piston dust cover–i used needle nose but try not to tear it. The new kit comes with a new cover.
Use snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring from the housing–you’ll probably curse blue smoke trying this. Then remove the piston.

The piston seal goes in one way–take careful note Of the position.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepwm69 View Post
I wouldn't worry about messing it up. If you think it's the master cylinder you can get a new aftermarket one cheap or buy a used OEM Honda one for just about any ATV and it will bolt right in.
How exactly should I remove it, can’t really see see what you’d pry on it where to grab on to it with pliers?
just pry it up and out, it just rest down in there. a mech pick, pocket knife, anything that you can wedge in between the rubber part, then just pry it up and out, nothing to it :-).

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadetree View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Hondatrx350 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goober View Post
Zip tying the lever won’t do anything except maybe prove the piston seal is worn.

If your lever won’t hold, buy a master cylinder rebuild kit ($20).

Remove the lever
Gently remove that piston dust cover–i used needle nose but try not to tear it. The new kit comes with a new cover.
Use snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring from the housing–you’ll probably curse blue smoke trying this. Then remove the piston.

The piston seal goes in one way–take careful note Of the position.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepwm69 View Post
I wouldn't worry about messing it up. If you think it's the master cylinder you can get a new aftermarket one cheap or buy a used OEM Honda one for just about any ATV and it will bolt right in.
How exactly should I remove it, can’t really see see what you’d pry on it where to grab on to it with pliers?
just pry it up and out, it just rest down in there. a mech pick, pocket knife, anything that you can wedge in between the rubber part, then just pry it up and out, nothing to it 🙂.
I’m looking at it and don’t know what to pull off, there’s an outside rubber layer, then a harder inside layer then on the lowest point there’s a rubber ring then the plunger with slits in it at the very bottom. What should I pry up?
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