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hayes nightmare

Alex's picture

By Alex - Posted on 21 November 2007

had huge brake issues over last 3 weeks, first with a seeming air bubble making front lever go all the way to bars without gripping at random times (usually when i needed it most!) tried bleeding myself *slap* and made it worse, then foolishly squeezed lever with no pads in and popped out piston, then tried to push piston back in, slipped and broke off post, then bought new piston and tried to reinstall, rounding the bridging bolt in the caliper using a worn allen wrench, subsequently tasking it to a shop to get drilled out and rebuilt...THEN got it home to find 5 hours+ of re-bleeding had no effect (i must suck at bleeding)..then took it back to where i bought to find they had bled it in a day and was fine!!???!!

Moral:anyone hears about me bleeding my own brakes again shoot me!

Question: Does anyone own hayes mags/hfx9's ? if so, when you squeeze the lever and it locks the pads on the rotor, is there any more play in the lever i/e, can you keep sqeezing it beyond that point (even though the brakes are locked on and not spongey) just curious, cause its always been the case for me, and i thought the levers were supposed to stop in there tracks as soon as the brakes are fully on...this was partly why i bled in the first place, but bleeding has no effect on this..

question 2: the 2 screws above and under on the master cylinder that holds the lever on have always been a bit loose, is this normal? bike shop guys been giving me the run around about it, just wondering if anyone else with hayes notice this too, i dont want to tighten them as it seems i turn brakes to poo when i touch them in any way!!..


Flynny's picture

You'll always get a little bit squishy feel to the Hayes Mags or nines. it's almost impossible to get all the air out of the lines..

As for the bolts they can't be too tight otherwise it will squeeze and lock the lever. that said there is a plastic washer either side of the lever, if they are terribly worn the lever may feel looser.

Brian's picture

As I only have been riding for a few months on a bike with hydraulic brakes (Hayes Sole) I don't have much experience with these. I am sure Hayes Sole are at the lower end in their range and when I brake once mine are applied there is no more movement. Mine are adjusted so at half the brake lever travel the lever stops dead. How much play are you talking about?

Alex's picture

well its about 1/2 travel before they lock in, then if you squeez really hard (prob shouldnt, but do when riding!) you can get them to squeeze almost right to the bars, but they really feel like they are bending at the lever area, rather than a bleed issue..then again, i dont know what the hell im talking about!

-flynny, u serious? so there is always air in the lines of hayes? isnt that like not good at all?? i suppose it would explain things a bit, but erm, wow...

GAZZA's picture

sorry to throw a spanner in the works guys but my hayes nines on the big hit were perfect from day one. the best brakes ive tried on a mountainbike so far, couldnt fault them!

Matt's picture

Gazza - that's cause you never had to bleed them! They're a b@st@rd to bleed. In theory it's the best method with forcing fluid in from the bottom getting all the air out the top, but in practice Shimano/Hope etc are 10* easier to bleed.

In operation you should get some modulation (movement) on the lever once the pads have contacted the disc, that's how you decide how much friction and braking force is applied, if it were just zero or maximum braking force with no modulation you'd get a lot of OTBs! It varies by brand, Hopes modulate lots, Shimanos a bit and Hayes not much, what you prefer is a personal choice.

I reckon there will always be a small amount of air in most brake systems but if you keep it to a minimum it makes little difference, just think of all the nooks a bit of air can get trapped in a caliper and a lever and it must be pretty rare that you'd get it all out.

What can make a bigger difference with Hayes is the quantity of fluid in the system (though you'd think [total volume = air + fluid] there's a direct relationship) if you get it too full I found the pads won't retract fully, too little and very spongey lever.


Flynny's picture

Coming from a mining background I know if you want to keep gas from accumulating in high and low pockets you need to set the ventilation so it sucks air out through the mine. Pushing air in does nothing to move the gas.

With most bleed systems you are pushing fluid through, allowing small amounts of air to get trapped in high pockets. these are normally small and not worth worrying about.

You'd have to be completely anal about bleeding to get it all out in this fashion.

Even then, if you have a look at the avid system, you put the fluid into a closed syringe and subject it to a vacuumed in an effort to pull all of the trapped air out of the fluid. It surprising how much air you can get out of the fluid.

Alex's picture

ahh that makes sense, i just thought i was pushing fluid through and squeezing the lever a couple of times till no bubbles came out, sounds like there is much more too it then that! to the shop every time for me now i think...

Alex's picture

im still wondering about those 2 screws though, do they simply hold the lever on? is that there only function? cause if so, surely they shouldnt be loose?

craigs's picture

I have two sets of hayes that have been faultless.
Bled one set a little bit too well and have very little modulation. Havent worked out how to fix that yet!
Ever bled brakes on a car with the pedal down and up process. Same works well on a bike if you have enough hands and a good set up to ensure there is a constant flow of fluid.
I wouldnt think the 2 screws should be loose but they shouldnt lock up the movement either.

hawkeye's picture

I have some Hayes Nines that I retrofitted to a Mongoose Tyax Super. The hoses that came with the set were too long for the bike, so I cut them and then of course had to bleed them after reassembly.

I must admit I don't really understand what the problem is you've been having. I thought bleeding them was really, really straightforward, even without a bike stand. Would have been even more so if I'd had the correctly sized wrench for the bleed nipple on hte caliper instead of having to use a shifter.

The brakes have been faultless through roughly 3,000 commuter kilometers so far, although compared to the SHimano's on my Jekyll they are a bit on/off.

Alex's picture

yeh, have to say the rear seemed easy to bleed..hit up ourimbah on sat and had more front failure, which i now believe to be an actual master cylinder/lever problem, both were professionally bled, yet the front lever still pushes right to the bar on occasion, and now actually if you squeeze the lever till the pads lock on the rotor, and continue to hold, the lever moves inward to the bars bit by bit in steps almost, and make a slight clicking noise when it does, as if oil is squeezing past something when it should be stopped at maybe an o ring or something??..with a rebuilt caliper, new pads, and fresh bleeding, i think this sounds/feels like the only remaining problem...anyway, ill keep yall posted how it turns out in case it happens to anyone else! taking it in to bike shop tomorrow..might just buy a new front bloody brake if all else fails! im over it lol

dez_b's picture

Hows the shoulder Alex ? Bugger now every time I see that gap jump coming up my mind will see you in a heap between the rocks and probably take the B line . So Im holding you fully responsible for my shrinking gonads.

Alex's picture

haha yeh was a weird crash thats for sure! shoulders a bit sore, thigh is black, knee is bruised and have had headache for 3 days but feeling better for brakes, my local says its master cylider, which is $138!!! for replacement (less through net shops obviously but still) plus labor so its like a $200 job!, you can actually get a whole front brake set for less then that, in fact one online shop is doing a full front and rear hayes 9's HD 8" set for $160 lol..anyway shitty, i called clarence st, and spoke to the guy who sold me it and he says it sounds like warranty and hell look after me if i can wait till next week to bring it in cause their so flat-out which is fair enough, but if it ends up i gotta pay any more $$ im just going to get some nice new brakes, maybe even fork out for codes Eye-wink we'll see

Brian's picture

That makes some sense as master cylinders are fitted with a primary and secondary seal. The primary seal forces fluid to the caliper when the brakes are applied giving you the stopping power. The secondary seal stops the fluid leaking out the back of the master cylinder where the brake lever applies the pressure. If you have a small leak in the primary seal you will get an initial braking force but then as the fluid leaks past the primary seal the brake lever will continue. Depending in the leak would determine how quick it moves in to eventually touch the grip.

Alex's picture

ahh.. that feels like exactly whats going on..wonder why a new bike, new brake seal would just go though..oh well, ill find out next tues, if thats it, hopefully all will be well..if not, im getting new brakes!

Rob's picture

Sorry, but I haven't been taking much notice of this thread, but...

I once fell and the frame must have trapped the rear brake line between itself and a rock. It looked fine and no fluid was leaking but apparently these lines are dual layer.

The rear brake would work for a fraction of a second when force was applied to the lever but then the brake would let go and be useless and you held the lever in.

How the boys at BA explained this was that the inner brake hose lining was ruptured. The hole would be so small that when you pull the lever all the fluid can't possibly escape from there into the outer lining and you get a moment of braking power. However, sustained pressure on the lever meant the fluid would have all the time in the world to run into the outer hose lining. Release the leaver and it's all sucked back into the inner hose for next time you want half a seconds stopping power (no, not very useful!).

Sound similar or not really?

dez_b's picture

Yeah Alex as I was saying up at Ourimbah get your seal inspected as Rob is on the money with that being the most likely and or Brian's advice about the hydro lines , more likely than a failed lever.
A lot less expensive than what I am looking at , when I put the bike in to re-attach my hydro line and bleed after using a tree to help in stopping , I asked about my forks having some stickshon , seems it isn't the oil or seals but TWISTED FORKS
Ouch not only did I taco the wheel but twisted the forks = lots of $$$$ for new forks BUGGER!!!!!!!!!

Alex's picture

ouch thats no good dez! rob- sounds very similar, but i dont loose power to the pads is all, the lever just continues pulling in toward the bar gradually, till it hits the bar, but the force is still applied to the caliper itself.. anyway, clarence should hopefully sort this one out this time! otherwise, its a pair of codes for me Smiling

Alex's picture

ok so i hope this may help others that may experience a similar problem, but got the bike back finally today, was professionaly bled twice, new pads, totally re-built caliper and finally a new master cylinder, and it looks like the latter was the problem, as so far *touch wood!* the lever retains pressure on the pads when squeezed for longer than a sec.. much debating, headaches and a very, very expensive exercise, with master cylinder alone costing $150 to replace.. my recommendation, if anyone experiences a simliar problem, look into replacing the whole system, as it might prove cheaper in the long run (would have for me) especially, if noone knows why its happening! only thing left to replace now was the hose, which apparently was inspected and is fine....basically hayes are a good system, but damned exy to replace parts..and some systems (shimano for example) can be dismantled with minor parts replacable, without having to do a whole lever system in one go for a simple leaky o-ring or something...
evidently, a m. cylinder also is not a waranty issue, as apparently the only way to damage it is through knocking from a stack or something, and apparently is quite fragile in that regard too..for that reason alone, i think hayes mags might be a choice in brakes i never make again!

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