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  #1  
Old 08-03-2012, 12:36 AM
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Default Spiegler brake line drama

Well, now I'm decidedly unhappy.

I was not able to get a reliable seal between the two stacked banjo fittings at the front master cylinder. Spiegler's replacement bolt is a double-wide version that accommodates two stacked banjo bolts. This requires 3 crush washers.

Suzuki specs 16.5 lb/ft for that bolt. Spiegler says to use only aluminum crush washers. I followed both directives.

I rode the bike for a couple of days before I noticed the leak, because it's only detectable when the lever is under hard pressure. It takes a few seconds to appear.

To try to remedy the problem, I advanced the bolt by 1/4 turn or so twice, checking the fitting each time with a paper towel. It continued to seep with lever pressure. I took the fitting apart, checked all surfaces for contamination, scratches, or other damage, and found everything in good order. Using new aluminum washers from Spiegler's kit (they supplied lots), I reassembled and refilled the MC. It still leaked.

This time, I went farther; I advanced the torque by 1/4 turn at a time past 16.5 to try to get the crush washers to deform sufficiently to seal. I knew I was taking a chance by doing this. At about the 25 lb/ft mark, with the fitting still seeping against steady lever pressure, the bolt finally deformed. Photos:

http://www.flyingjoke.org/motorcycle...r/P1040453.JPG

http://www.flyingjoke.org/motorcycle...r/P1040451.JPG

At this point, I'm dead in the water. The stacked banjo bolts with three crush washers simply don't seem to deform evenly and sufficiently enough to create a seal.

I've emailed Spiegler, who have been very responsive in my previous interaction with them, hoping they can explain what the problem might be. If I can't get a reliable seal without overtorquing the fitting, I'll have to go back to OEM parts. That would make this a very expensive adventure, especially if they're not able or willing to refund the front kit.

Has anyone any insight on this problem?
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Last edited by dtalk; 08-03-2012 at 12:38 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2012, 09:39 AM
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I've installed lots of double banjo brake fittings with no issues like this. It's a perfectly valid design, so you must have a defective part somewhere.

- I've had the exact same issue in the past with aluminum crush washers from a local shop that were too hard and wouldn't seal. I remedied this by ordering up 100 sealing washers from Spiegler, and I've never had a problem with them.

That said, perhaps Spiegler has gotten a bad batch of washers. You might try another brand.

- How are the threads in the M/C?

- Are the threads and mounting surfaces parallel?

You shouldn't need these:
http://www.truechoice.com/Earls-Stat...info/ERL+1780/
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Last edited by bwringer; 08-03-2012 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwringer View Post
I've installed lots of double banjo brake fittings with no issues like this. It's a perfectly valid design, so you must have a defective part somewhere.
That's what I thought too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwringer View Post
I've had the exact same issue in the past with aluminum crush washers from a local shop that were too hard and wouldn't seal. I remedied this by ordering up 100 sealing washers from Spiegler, and I've never had a problem with them.
That's odd. My suspicion was a hairline crack or irregularity in the mating surfaces that I can't see. I didn't consider that the washer material might not be right. Granted, the problem doesn't appear unless I clamp the brake lever down hard with a velcro strap for a minute or two, but that's still not acceptable, regardless.

I'd bet copper will seal much better, but I'm sure the reason Spiegler doesn't allow that is because of the aluminum banjo fittings (copper + aluminum will corrode quickly at their interface).

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwringer View Post
How are the threads in the M/C?
They look fine. I knew I was taking a risk by overtorquing them, but the OEM bolt still threads into the MC smoothly with just finger pressure and torques correctly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwringer View Post
Are the threads and mounting surfaces parallel?
I doubt my naked eye could tell if they were not, but I can't see an obvious misalignment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwringer View Post
You shouldn't need these:
Earls Stat-O-Seal-truechoice
Hey, those look really slick -- maybe I'll cheat and use them!

Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:09 PM
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Heard back from Spiegler, who offered to send a replacement bolt and fistful of washers. They offered no opinion on why I can't get a seal.

He also said that using OEM copper washers was fine. Hasn't yet answered my (quite obvious) next question, which is why the instructions specify aluminum crush washers only.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:38 PM
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In my case, the difference between the proper soft aluminum washers and the too-hard aluminum washers was apparent the first time I tightened the connection -- I felt a nice, even squisssssshhhhhh for half a turn or so instead of a "hard" stop.

Hopefully the new bits will solve the problem for you!
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwringer View Post
In my case, the difference between the proper soft aluminum washers and the too-hard aluminum washers was apparent the first time I tightened the connection -- I felt a nice, even squisssssshhhhhh for half a turn or so instead of a "hard" stop.
I felt a nice squissssssshhhhh too, but it turned out to be the bolt deforming.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:34 PM
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Default done with Spiegler

I'm done messing with the Spiegler lines, and am going back to OEM.

My saga with the weeping Spiegler lines left me with fine metal particles in the master cylinder bore , shaved off the threads due to the overtorquing. I discovered this when I saw particles stuck to the deformed bolt, which clued me in to the problem. Since I hadn't yet refilled and pressurized the system, I figured I was still in time to fix that before all that gunk circulated into the calipers and ruined both them and the MC.

I tore the whole MC down, cleaned the plungers and bore thoroughly with Q-Tips and clean brake fluid, reassembled, primed it, and re-attached the old OEM line with new OEM crush washers. Wouldn't you know it: everything worked right the first time.

I'll leave the Spiegler rear on, since I went to a lot of trouble to make that one right and it seems to work fine. Spiegler is sending me a new double banjo bolt and a fistful of new crush washers; I'll package those up with their front brake lines and give them to anyone who'll pay shipping.

Life (and the Pacific Northwest "summer"!) is too short to futz around with not-quite-right third-party parts. I want to ride, not wrench for the two dry months of the year.
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Last edited by dtalk; 08-04-2012 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:45 PM
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P.M. sent.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:53 PM
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So I take it you didn't try copper crush washers? I've never had them leak. I have had aluminum leak. Just curious.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtalk View Post
I tore the whole MC down, cleaned the plungers and bore thoroughly with Q-Tips and clean brake fluid, reassembled, primed it, and re-attached the old OEM line with new OEM crush washers. Wouldn't you know it: everything worked right the first time.
What a pain in the arse!!! You have my sympathies for sure....we've all been down that type of rabbit hole, once or twice.

Hope you had a few beers along the way to ease the mind warp!
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