Checking brake fluid - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
DL650A - 2017+ DL650A - 2017 (L7) and later

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post #1 of 12 Old 07-05-2019, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Checking brake fluid

I had my wee at its first service check.

The repair guy told me that the front brake fluid was old, so he changed it. He said the back fluid was ok.

How do I check it myself?

The reservoir for the front is on the steering, and there is a mark that says "low" - or similar... but:

1) how do I find the current level - everything in the window looks the same
2) how do I know if it is old?

The back reservoir is located under the seat, and I can see it from under the seat. But... the same is valid here... I can't find the level.

Regards, Lars.
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-05-2019, 01:02 PM
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If the window looks all the same, chances are that the fluid level is above the window. When it gets low, you will see an obvious line / bubble.

When the fluid ages (i.e. absorbs water / humidity) it will start to turn darker as it oxidizes. Brake fluid should be almost clear or slightly tan colored. It will eventually turn to a dark brown almost black (this is WAY past the recommended change interval). Look at the brake fluid in your car. Good chance it has already gone that far (unless a new car) Nobody every flushes their car's brake fluid.

If the brake fluid is starting to look like applejuice, then it is about time to change it.

If you want to check it beyond using the sight glass, there are two screws on top of the reservoir. There is a metal cap, a plastic cap, then a rubber boot that will lift off after removing the screws. Take care not to get any crap or moisture in there. Nothing other than the appropriate type of brake fluid should ever be added. The correct type should always be stamped or molded into the cap. For these bikes, at least my Vee2, it is DOT4. I give this as an example of what you are looking for...DOT#..., use only what your cap (or manual) says.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-05-2019, 01:09 PM
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I missed your question about the rear level. Someone with the 2017+ will have to help out there. On my 2014 DL1000 the rear brake uses a plastic reservoir visible from the side of the motorcycle and you can easily see the level standing next to the bike.

I imagine that what you see under the seat is just the fill cap. See if you can get a look from the side. Follow the pushrod from the brake pedal up to the master cylinder, if the reservoir is not incorporated into the master cylinder, then follow the tube that goes "up" to find the reservoir. (The tube that goes down should lead to the brake caliper.)

Last edited by Grimmer; 07-05-2019 at 01:12 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-05-2019, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Yup - found it... And the level can be viewed from a hole in the side, thanks!

Everything looks the same in there... so it is either full or empty..., haha

Regards, Lars.
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-05-2019, 02:05 PM
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Is this the 600 mi first service. If it is you got ripped off. Fluid change at the first service? The shop should be ashamed of themselves.
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-05-2019, 02:28 PM
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I will never ever add new fluid to old fluid.

A number of times in my life I have seen adding fluid cause problems, each time the callipers have pushed the pads against the discs when things got hot, this caused things to get even hotter and caused more pressure.

Here is a couple of EG's:

I had a 1976 R100RS BMW with the MC under the tank, before a big trip I was looking over the bike and the fluid level was at the low point so I put in enough to get it to the high level.

While on the trip the pressure kept building, about every 10ks I had to stop and release the presser at the bleed nipples.

Both front discs cracked from the heat, a very expensive fix in those days.

A friend purchased a second-hand car in Sydney and was to drive it up to Queensland, the brakes kept coming on when things got hot, I rang the original owner who we knew and he told me he had no problems with the brakes but he did top up the fluid just before we picked up the car, the brakes would come on enough to stop forward motion but the discs never cracked.

In both of those cases a complete fluid change fixed the problems.

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post #7 of 12 Old 07-05-2019, 03:23 PM
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Check the production date of the vehicle on the tag on the left side frame. That's when the bike was built and thats how old the fluid is, even if you only have 600 miles on it.
(I bought my 2016 as a leftover new bike in Aug 2017, bike was built in Sep 2015, so the fluid was almost 2 yrs old when I bought it.)
If the fluid in the front needed to be changed, so did the rear. It's a bit harder to get to the master cyl, so maybe the mechanic just blew it off.
This is important so as not to screw up the abs module, which is expensive. Brake fluid attracts moisture, so 2 yrs is recommended change interval, regardless of mileage.

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post #8 of 12 Old 07-05-2019, 06:32 PM
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I let mine go for years. Then I got speed bleeders from Kirby. http://kirbysbrakebleeders.ecrater.com/ Simple operation. The rear was a bit of a bother 'cus I have the factory bag frames on and the plastic side panel doesn't want to move much but with long tube on a hand pump I didn't spill on the paint.
Oh, that thing about the fluid being black and bad? Don't look at new BMW's. My 800ST and the G650GS fluid was black from the factory.
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-05-2019, 06:38 PM
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I don't know why people ignore this.
It's cheap maintenance and not remotely hard to do. Just buy a bottle of fluid and change it every couple of years. It gives you a perfect chance to check your brake pads, make sure the pistons are moving properly, make sure the calipers themselves are moving properly, check the condition of the lines ... there is nothing to lose here.

Every time there's a thread like this someone will come out of the woodwork and brag about how they've never changed the fluid in their bike in twenty plus years, then get all huffy when confronted with the fact that bragging about their laziness is no smarter than failing to do proper maintenance.

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post #10 of 12 Old 07-06-2019, 08:05 AM
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My 2017 has coffee coloured fluid already, so it is due (overdue)

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