Random soft front brake lever issue on '16 1000F - Suzuki GSXS1000 Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Random soft front brake lever issue on '16 1000F

The front brake lever on my '16 GSXS1000F randomly goes soft after sitting for a while. Feels like air in the lines but a couple pumps brings the feel back to normal. The time it takes to do this might be a few hours to a week or more.

I know there was a brake recall on these bikes but checking my VIN on Suzuki Cycles - Recalls doesn't bring anything up. That particular recall seemed to deal with external leaks and the calipers, lines and reservoir are spotless on my bike. Fluid actually looks overfilled in the sightglass (factory fill, i've never opened it). I'm guessing I have some kinda internal leak allowing fluid by either the master or slave cylinder(s)?

Bike only has 5500 miles or so, I bought it new in march of '17. Hasn't been abused, don't think I've even tripped the ABS on the front yet....still on the original tires with a little more life left.

Anybody had this issue? Anything I can try before getting a dealer to look at it?
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 09:49 AM
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I would replace the fluid.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 03:06 PM
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You need to bleed the brakes first, and flush out with new fluid. Sounds like air in the system. There is a bleeder nipple at the master cylinder as well.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 07:06 PM
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As mentioned it would be worth replacing the brake fluid and fully bleeding the system if it is still the original fluid. Also try cable tieing the brake lever fully on over night, I believe they are called zip ties on the other side of the pond.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 07:29 PM
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My brakes have been feeling a little soft lately and donít have as much bite as they used to.
Hereís what I did.
First I cracked open my front clipper bleed nipple and squeezed out a bit of fluid from each side.
Then I took one calliper off at a time, removed the brake pads and squeezed the pistons out evenly about 3mm.
Next I got some brake cleaner and a toothbrush and gave it all a good soaking and scrub. Washed all the cleaner off and after removing the reservoir cover, pushed all the pistons all the way back in.
Same treatment to the other side. I also gave the rear of the pads a good scrub with a wire brush as there was some small signs of corrosion on them.
Put it all back together and the mushiness was gone.
As an extra I also used a small drill and used it like a hand reamer to scrape out all the old brake dust caught in the drill holes in the disks.
All the feel and the bite has come back and the brakes feel as good as new again

One other thing I have just thought of whilst writing this.
Has your front wheel ever been taken off? If it has, make sure it has been put back together properly aligned. If the disks arenít central in the calliper the pads could be getting pushed back by pressure from the disks. Same thing could happen on a slightly warped disk too, check them by spinning the wheel and look for drift


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post #6 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 09:29 PM
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My 2016 did the same thing. I have not done a thing to the brakes other than installing aftermarket levers and pads, but it seems to have cured itself. Haven't had to pump the lever in a very long time. I think you just have an air bubble in the line. Mine worked itself out apparently.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-12-2019, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barstewardsquad View Post
As mentioned it would be worth replacing the brake fluid and fully bleeding the system if it is still the original fluid. Also try cable tieing the brake lever fully on over night, I believe they are called zip ties on the other side of the pond.

This is correct advice. ZIP TIE (or something else) to apply continuous, hard pressure on the brake lever over night. This apparently forces any air to the top of the system (brake fluid reservoir) and then you get your hard, firm lever again.


But since your bike is a 2016 and it is nearly mid-2019, the brake fluid is due to be changed anyway, so when you flush/bleed the system, that should fix the issue.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-12-2019, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. My gut instinct was to flush/bleed the system but wouldn't air in the system just make the lever soft all the time? I know the fluid eventually breaks down/picks up moisture but it's still incompressible. By going soft I mean I come into the garage after the bike has sat overnight or longer and I can sometimes pull the lever to the bars with a good squeeze. 3 or 4 pumps later and the lever stops maybe 1/2 of it's travel from the bar like it's supposed to.

Barstewardsquad/frog4aday: I used to use the cable tie trick with a couple KTM 300 dirt bikes and it worked well enough. Funny though, both those KTM's had brembo's as well that did pretty much the same thing now that I think about it. The lever still would go soft if the bikes sat long enough even though I bleed them several times.

Beaker: I've never had the front wheel off. Going to need tires soon so I'll give the calipers a good once over while it's off.

Supercharger: I saw your replies while searching the forums https://www.gsxs1000.org/forum/suzuk...e-lever-2.html . Wonder what the OP ended up doing? My bike is 100% stock.

Will change/bleed the fluid and hope for the best. I'd have to drive a good 2+ hrs to find a competent suzuki dealer in my area. Thanks again for the help.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-12-2019, 10:56 PM
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Garage
Sounds like a leak to me, but if you don't see any fluid, then maybe at the reservoir cap?
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-16-2019, 11:50 AM
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Ideas to try to fix spongy brakes up front

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead Nuts View Post
<SNIPPED STUFF> By going soft I mean I come into the garage after the bike has sat overnight or longer and I can sometimes pull the lever to the bars with a good squeeze. 3 or 4 pumps later and the lever stops maybe 1/2 of it's travel from the bar like it's supposed to.<SNIPPED STUFF>
Well, that's not good at all! I'd be afraid to ride the bike if I had to pump the lever several times to build up pressure in the system initially. Here are some thoughts:
If your brakes are spongy and soft or require several pulls of the lever to build pressure, here are the most common problems to look for:
Air in the Lines: This is the #1 most common cause for having to pump your brakes to get them to work.
Low Brake Fluid: If your brake fluid is low, then the system will be unable to create enough pressure for normal operation. Generally, low fluid is caused by a leak somewhere in the system.
Failing Master Cylinder: This is rare but it can happen. If the master cylinder has begun leaking, brake performance will degrade, creating a safety issue.
Moisture in the Fluid: If your brake fluid has absorbed moisture (which happens over time), brake performance will be degraded, even to the point you will need to pull on the brake lever a time or two to get adequate pressure in the lines.
Damaged or Missing Bleeder Valve: Each caliper has a brake fluid bleeder valve. If one is loose or damaged, fluid can be leaking out and air can be sneaking in.

Bleeding brakes is a pain. And you are right - with three years on a new bike, even though the fluid SHOULD be flushed, you shouldn't be having THESE problems.

A quick thing to try would be to get some BRAKE CLEANER (spray can) and zip tie your brake lever tight while you spray the crap out of the exposed pistons (behind the pads) on both calipers. It could be debris built up or something trapped that's affecting the normal function of the pads moving in and out freely. It might work. If nothing else, you have cleaned up your brakes and that's never bad.

If that doesn't work, then I think you need to at least "burp" each bleeder. Get brake pressure (firm'ish lever pull), open a bleeder valve enough to let some fluid (air?) out, then close it again before releasing the lever. Do the left caliper first, then the right, then the one up by the master cylinder last. WASH ANY BRAKE FLUID OFF THE BIKE AS SOON AS YOU ARE DONE!

Again, this isn't a full bleed job, BUT it might get an air bubble out that's causing your problem and you probably won't even 'lose' enough fluid to require topping off the master cylinder, so it's quick and easy to try.

If that doesn't do it, you are going to have to do a full bleed job and get out all the old fluid. It's a PIA, I know. But what else are you going to do? You can't ride the bike the way it is. Sooner or later, it's going to lead to a crash. NOT WORTH IT.

Keep us posted. Sorry you are having to deal with this.

Last edited by frog4aday; 05-16-2019 at 08:56 PM. Reason: changed 'line' to 'lever'; 'piston' to 'pistons'
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