Brake/clutch fluid change

Much like the fork oil question elsewhere. I picked my bike up yesterday after getting an eletrical fault fixed and the mechanic said my clutch and brake fluid were dark and could do with a change. He made it sound pretty easy. Then I got out the Haines manual (for a 2000 Firestorm) and they had it down as a three-spanner job. That would be beyond my ability and in any case I wouldn’t want to mess with things like the brakes unless it was as easy as an oil change. So, how hard a job is it? Many thanks.

It’s easy, just prepare everything properly first, and you can do it no problem. I just use a spanner, a plastic bottle and a piece of tubing. You just have to make sure you don’t let any air bubbles in, by not topping up the brake fluid enough whilst you are draining it. It’s definitely not a 3 spanners! :wink: It’s just a bit tricky the first time you do it, better having someone with you to do either the turning of the spanner or the topping up of the fluid, but you can do it with one person.

I don’t know how easy it is on your bike, but I’ve managed to do it on mine (and XV535) under supervision, so it would be well worth getting down and dirty, if you can find an experienced someone to oversee and just check that you haven’t done anything stupid, seeing as it’s brakes an’ all. I am NOT a mechanic and am NOT confident with a spanner so if I can do it, anyone can (depending on bike, of course).

A couple of tips:

Make sure you have plenty of clean glass jars, just in case.

So you don’t just leave brake callipers dangling (don’t know if you have to take your callipers off on your bike) have something handy you can sit them on - an upturned bucket or similar would do.

Have LOTS of kitchen roll around, and a bin-bag to put the rubbish in.

Mop up any spills immediately and thoroughly.

Cover up your paintwork.

Finally, if you have tie your hair back - last time I worked on my bike my hands ended up filthy and so did my face every time I shoved my hair back behind my ears! :smiley:

Thanks, advice much appreciated. Think I’ll give it a go on the weekend.

It’s obviously an important job and one you want to get right for obvious reasons! :)If you are gonna do this I would invest in a mityvac brake bleed kit - just stick the tube on the bleed nipple - pump the mityvac and pour new fluid into the brake/clutch fluid master cylinder - keep an eye on the master cylinder and don’t let it completeley empty befrore you top it up with new fluid so you don’t introduce air into the system.

Look at the clear tube coming out of the mityvac and you’ll see the darker fluid being followed by the clear new fluid - at this point you know that the old fluid is out of the system.

Fill the master cylinder to the upper level and tighten the bleed nipple bolt - but not too tight or it will snap off - tighten lightly from the wrist (not the forearm) until it stops turning - make sure it’s tight but don’t force it - it’s relatively small and delicate and will snap if you force it (I did this when I was learning so that you don’t have to :Whistling: ).

It’s often easier but not essential to have someone else keeping the master cylinder resevoir topped up with fluid while you pump the mityvac.

When everything is tightened and finished pump the brake lever a few times.

Make sure everything is tightened properly and test your brakes at very low speeds and build up to check you did ok!

Link for Mityvac:

i wouldnt bother with these gismos for bleedin brakes,as someone said a piece of tube a bottle and brake fluid…open nippple on caliper depress lever fully,hold lever fully depressed close nipple ,release lever…repeat in that sequence 20/40 times till fluid becomes clear toppin up reservoir as needed…repeat on other caliper till same result…lock all nippples up depress lever and cable tie lever to bar under pressure for at least an hour …check for leaks around fittings nipples,hey presto job done :w00t:

If you’re anywhere near Kilburn, give me a shout and I’ll more than happily show you how to do it. Piece of ****. :slight_smile:


To do the final bleed I squeeze the brakes hard, open the nipple very slowly until fluid starts to come out then close it again whilst the brakes are still on hard. That makes sure there can be no air entering via the bleed nipple. You can also see any air bubbles being launched out very fast as the pressure squeezes them to the point of lowest pressure, the exit by the nipple.

Also bleed the master cylinder.

Many thanks for that offer. I may be taking you up on it at the weekend, depending on what the missus has planned. I’ll pm you if it looks like happening.


Just wanted to thank everyone who gave advice here. It made me realise I could do the job myself, so I did. Ta.

Good stuff! :slight_smile:

well done mate!