Shame - Scorch

Some of you know that I went to Tim many times over the last few months, for various jobs and I was generally pleased with his work. Well, not this time. Not at all.

When I replaced my tyres the guy at FWR noticed that one of the pads in my left hand caliper was much more worn than the other. It was pretty clear that the pistons on one side of the caliper were seized/lazy (Tim cleaned both calipers the last time I replaced my pads, but that’s another matter). I went to him, he cleaned them again, said that the pistons on one side of the caliper were lazy and that he would take the calipers apart and do a deep cleaning when I come back with new brake pads (the pad operated by the working pistons was completely worn out by this point).

I bought new pads and the following week I went back to him. As I had some problems with the rear brakes as well, Tim decided to deal with them first, so he took the caliper apart, cleaned it, replaced the fluid and bled the brakes. The wheel did stop when he applied the brakes, so I was happy. Had no idea, at that time, that the rear brake was now very spongy.

Anyway, going back to the front brakes: this time the lazy pistons that he cleaned the previous week were completely seized. He tried to take the caliper apart but couldn’t (broke one of his tools in the process). As it happens in the shop next door a newer Busa than mine was being stripped for parts. I bought the two front calipers. They were pretty clean, so Tim fitted them to my bike and bled the system, but the brakes were really spongy. Let the wasting of time and money begin!

Tim said we should flush the system and replace the fluid. I went along, even though the brake fluid was new (he replaced it a couple of months or so ago). Surely enough, replacing the fluid didn’t change a thing: the brakes were as spongy as before! Next he suggested taking the new calipers apart and clean them (even though he said they were clean just minutes before). Taking them apart revealed they were indeed clean, but we decided to give them a deep clean anyway. Needless to say that didn’t change anything: the brakes were just as spongy as before.

Next he suggested replacing the master cylinder. Even though it was working just fine on my way to him, he wanted to rule out all the usual culprits. No surprises when he finished: the brakes were just as spongy as the very first time! No improvements whatsoever!

Then he started talking about braided lines, Brembo master cylinder and other things. I told him I didn’t need BETTER brakes, I needed WORKING brakes!

So after spending time and money on useless operations (replacing brake fluid, deep cleaning the new calipers, replacing the master cylinder) I left his shop with spongy-as-hell brakes. I can easily touch the throttle grip with the brake level; one or two finger braking is no longer possible, due to the lever travel required; as for the rear brakes, they are unusable now, due to the pedal travel required.

Assuming the impossible happened (two master cylinders were faulty, even though mine was working just fine on my way to the garage), how come the rear brakes have the exact same problem? Did the rear master cylinder break as well, all of a sudden?

Now I have to find a mechanic who knows how to bleed brakes. Any recommendations?

I’m not even going to dignify that stream of nonsense with a reply. Good luck, hope you find the issue.

wow, that’s something different. Scorch, it would be nice to hear your side of the story

Its always good to hear from both sides. Whats the deal?

I would hazard a guess that in the time frame for the job the fluid has not had time to settle during the fiddling and still contains bubbles that need time to work through and settle themself in bleedable places . I always bleed once to useable … have a ride , leave it overnight and bleed again . Little bubbles can sit in pipes and joints and need time to join together to move through the system .

sounds like it’d be fixed by zip tying the lever to the bar overnight.

We be on the same page of the brake bleeding brain file then :laugh:

I’m not sure I have much to add.
As Adrian so eloquently outlines:
I came in on my day off to fit him some new pads and release a sticking caliper.
The caliper was seized solid, no amount of brake pressure would release them (weak master cylinder?)
I wanted to take the calipers off and split them to clean them inside and out, I broke 2 T40 bits in the attempt.
Given the general state of the calipers, and his history of brake problems, I suggested I break into Dans unit and pinch some newer substitute calipers.
The calipers looked generally clean and had 4mm or so of meat left on, so I plugged them in to try them. Spongy brake.
I split the new calipers, removed the pots, removed the seals and spent an hour or so cleaning and reassembling them. Spongy brake.
So I also took the master cylinder from Dan’s donor bike and replaced that too. Spongy brake.
On each occasion I bled the fluid through with a vacuum bleeder, and also the old school method. I even tried cracking the banjo on the master cylinder to see if there was air trapped there.
I reckon I went through a litre of brake fluid all told, just to be sure that wasn’t the issue.
Ultimately I had to send him away with a spongy front brake. I ran the bike round the block myself to ensure they were at least safe, and while they didn’t offer any ‘feel’ from the front, they easily stopped the bike.
So if anyone can think of anything else I could or should have done at 7.00pm on a Sunday evening to try and resolve his brake problems, I’d be genuinely glad to hear it.

I’m not in the least bit interested in a slanging match. I would like to think that anyone who has had work done by me can attest to the care and attention I put into each job, and I don’t think this was any exception.
In reality I was working with second hand parts , not to mention 6 pot calipers (see google for reviews)
I have a suspicion that ultimately he will end up replacing lines and/or master cylinder seals to remedy the issue. I did suggest that the master cylinder was at fault, suggested trying new master cylinder seals (not something I have on the shelf) and possibly replacing the aging OEM lines with braided lines. I also suggested that a ‘belt and braces’ solution was to switch from 6 to 4 pot calipers.

This sort of thing bothers me, I hate sending people away without having truely resolved the issue, so having spent some time trying to get my head round the problem I messaged Adrian suggesting that we fit the new pads he ordered (although the pads that came with the ‘new’ calipers had a fair bit of mileage left in them). Just a theory, but perhaps being six pot calipers with well worn pads in. the sheer volume of fluid in the system was contributing to the problem. I considered this a logical step before buying new parts.
That was met with a fairly offensive private message, suggesting that I don’t know how to bleed brakes.
I have suggested that if he remains convinced that his problem is air in the system, to find another mechanic to bleed them for him.
I’m not sure what it is he expected me to do, but whatever it is I clearly don’t have it, whatever ‘it’ is, so as far as I’m concerned the matter is over.
It’s more than a little upsetting to have my unblemished ‘praise post’ record spoiled, I didn’t get them by accident, but I suppose you can’t please everyone, however hard you try.

I suggested that too, Adrian tells me that doesn’t work.

I’m sure the sheer number of “Praise Scorch” posts on a weekly basis will outway the odd upset customer post.

i read the title and honestly thought it would be a joke, like “shame scorch, he didn’t have my favorite choccy biscuit” or something, i feel this was rather more anti climatic…i leave un-pleased having expected to find something funny in this thread. shame on you.

Bleeding old brakes is really annoying. 99% of the time it just works and all is good, but that 1% of the time it’s basically impossible to work out the cause without swapping each component until the problem goes away, and even then there’s a good chance that it’s just that that time you happened to get the better fluid or put the banjo on just-so such that the imperfection doesn’t quite line up with the hole in the bolt or just got some other near-voodo luck. And new (not even necessarily braided) lines will help almost all the time, but nobody just has the tooling for that knocking around.

Either way, it’s nice to know Scorch is fallible, I was beginning to suspect an LB-wide conspiracy… :slight_smile:

Tim don’t take it personally unfortunately there’s always someone who is impossible to accommodate no matter how hard you try. I don’t agree with the shame post at all, what this should have been instead is something along the lines of Scorch tried everything he could, has anyone else got any ideas?

I honestly hope you’re just a bit upset Adrian, as we all know Tim goes a great deal out of his way before throwing the spanners and giving in on a problem.

as for me, Bendix are on order and will be in soon to get some care and loving for the R6 :smiley:

What is bendix? Does that stop you riding on the right… :-). Only joking, wish spring was here…

That’s a bit unfair. I wrote “Praise Scorch” posts myself. What about the truth? As you said, I wrote nothing but the truth. So it’s OK to write praise posts, but not shame posts? Because, at the end of the day, that’s all this is: a shame post based on facts. Just like my praise posts.

I admit I was pretty upset and did imply that you did not know how to bleed brakes. I’m sorry about that. How would you feel if you were me?

Spongy brakes had plagued a private job I did in the past, and the ‘old skool’ meth of pumpy pumpy open squirt close release is a bloody tiring process. To be sure a zip tie to the bar works. Can’t win em all, Timbo mate :unsure:
You’ll have another stream of satisfied punters in good time

Bendix are only the best brake pads I’ve ever had Ian :smiley:

I had several episodes were I’ve left other workshops with the bike not in the same way it was when it came in, see running on 3 cylinders after a valve clearance. Went back and problems got rectified without much struggle.

sometime **** happens but to go write a bad feedback is only necessary when you get a shite service and get sent off without compliments, which is not the case here.

just unfair in my opinion Adrian.

I like to think i can work a spanner
But when I did the brakes on my srad 600
I could not get them right , I stopped counting how much I spent after £500 and a gallon of brake fluid
In the end after changing the master cylinder, both calipers and put braded lines on
That was after I refurbed the one on the bike
I still had spongy brakes the lever would pull back to almost the handle bar
The only way I could get them to work was to put a spacer on the lever by the master cylinder
Scorch I will still use you but to put your mind to rest
AdrainD have you taken the bike to a main dealer if so what did they do to get over the spongy brakes

I’ve had the spongy brake thing too on a Sprint RS with Nissin calipers. The lines were stainless, over mudguard ones. Replaced the master cylinder, new pads, split and cleaned them at OMC and fitted new seals etc… still spongy. They were bled through with Mittyvac system as well. When I changed to racing lines, so one line per caliper, braided, it was two finger stopping power. No sponginess, no boudoir biscuits, grab your arse so it does not overtake your head stopping power.

Fellow I sold the bike to texted me that afternoon to say that they were better than his GSXR1000 brakes.

The real story is that brakes are a pain in the arse to sort sometimes, and sometimes you have to replace lots of bits to get to the bottom of the problem. Sadly this is what is happening here and given the time Tim has to fix things, on a Sunday afternoon/evening, not an ideal time frame.

Hope it gets sorted, but it is one of those situations. I’d use Scorch for my bike work if he was not in the arse end of London :wink:

I wasn’t aware that Watford was actually considered London! :wink: