/ Avid Juicy Brakes problem

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All the Gear, No Idea on 04 Oct 2013
Hi, first off I have checked on regular biking forums and not found an answer, so this is a long shot.....here goes.
Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic brakes, problem= brake does not stop wheel rotating even when lever is held as hard as possible, on other bikes/brakes I can lock the wheel with one finger on the brake lever.
So what have I tried,,
1 bleed the brakes,
2 replace pads
3 bleed the brakes
4 put old working pads from rear brake into front (faulty) brake
5 bleed brakes
6 swapped rotors
7 swapped rotors back
8 tried different brand of pads
9 yes re bled the brakes
all has resulted in still not improving braking

Has any one had the same problem? and resolved it . it does seem to point at either a faulty cylinder/lever or caliper

? any help appreciated
steev on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:

From my experience it could either be a knackered seal somewhere in the system (if you can't see fluid accumulating on the pads, the lever is the more likely place to start) OR it could be the classic Avid Juicy syndrome. Sometimes no matter what you do they seem to still need bleeding. Chances are a decent LBS would know what to do.

You CAN pick up shimano brakes very cheap these days - they'e much more reliable and easier to bleed too. Worth considering if your Avids are going to cost anything to fix.
T_Mac - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:
In my experience (working in the bike trade), Avids are by far the most unreliable and difficult to work with brakes of the big brands. Shimano are the way to go, the deore brakeset is cheap and super easy to set up and bleed. They get better with age and because they use mineral oil rather than dot fluid, the seals last forever.
Honestly, I would give up on the juicy's. I had a set on a hardtail that i ran for a summer and had nothing but bother with them but as they came on the build I thought I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and persevere. After a full seal replacemement and rebuild they still felt like utter tosh compared to my various Shimano's ranging from entry level up to XT.
My 'working' experience combined with my 'owner' experience has led me to the point where I wouldn't touch Avid with a bargepole.
mountain_bikerider - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea: A friend had an issue with his front brakes just not working and being generally rubbish. He tracked it back to the forks being weak and when the brakes were applied the forks would twist. This would cause the caliper to twist and pull apart the two halves of the caliper. This ruined the caliper and made it not work. He tried new calipers pads bleeding etc. Once he worked out it was the forks he bought a new pair of forks mounted the calipers and hey presto front brakes so good they can now throw him over the bars. An expensive solution but worth it in the end.
All the Gear, No Idea on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to T_Mac: cheers T Mac , though so far the avid Elixir's are fine, but point taken
All the Gear, No Idea on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to steev: Steev, no leaking fluid at all,
Alan Taylor - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea: I had the same problem and was advised to change to Shimano.99 from Merlin Cycles complete.
T_Mac - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:
'though so far the avid Elixir's are fine'
its only a matter of time......:P
Timmd on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to mountain_bikerider:
> (In reply to All the Gear, No Idea) A friend had an issue with his front brakes just not working and being generally rubbish. He tracked it back to the forks being weak and when the brakes were applied the forks would twist. This would cause the caliper to twist and pull apart the two halves of the caliper. This ruined the caliper and made it not work. He tried new calipers pads bleeding etc. Once he worked out it was the forks he bought a new pair of forks mounted the calipers and hey presto front brakes so good they can now throw him over the bars. An expensive solution but worth it in the end.

That's really interesting, in an 'Oh yeah, I'd probably never have thought of that' kind of way.

ebygomm - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:

I've had juicy 5s on my bike for 5+ years and they've never been an issue so it's not a foregone conclusion. Only changed the brake pads twice in that time too :)
johnj on 05 Oct 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:

Are you using the avid bleed kit to bleed the brakes?
chris j on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to T_Mac: As it's the internet, to give the polar opposite view, I don't know if Shimano have changed their bleeding system in the last 5 years but I ditched my old XT brakes because I found I was having to bleed them every couple of rides and it was very difficult to seal the reservoir back up after bleeding without trapping air back in the system. The Avid Juicys on my wife's bike were virtually maintenance free so I replaced mine with Elixirs, and then when I changed bikes as that came with Elixirs swapped mine off the old bike to replace the Juicys. So I now have 5 years of owner maintenance on 3 sets of Avid brakes without a problem.

Back on the OT, to the OP, do the pistons in the caliper move at all when you pull the brake lever? Any bubbling round the piston?
Dave Kerr - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:

They don't call them Avoids for nothing.
gethin_allen on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:
So is the lever feel firm or spongy? Does the lever go all the way to the bars? Are you getting any stopping power at all or does the wheel spin pretty much freely?
Kane - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:

If your lever has a firm feel and doesn't hit the bar then the brakes don't need bleeding - air would make them spongy. Also it means there are no leaks as again this would make them spongy and eventually they would hit the bar.

So the force you exert at the lever is going somewhere and because you've tried different rotor - pad combinations it sounds like a sticky piston. Take the wheel and pads out and have a look at the pistons when you gently squeeze the lever to check if they are moving freely. Don't over do it - squeeze just enough to get movement and it's probably worth pushing the pistons back in first. If one appears sticky then drop a bit of oil on it and work it in and out until it moves freely.

If the calliper pistons are not the problem then something is wrong internally and this would require a complete strip down and knowing what to look for.
Kane - on 05 Oct 2013
I have a Juicy 7 on my bike - bought 2nd hand for 30 quid 2 years ago (no idea how old it is) and it is one of the most powerful brakes I have used. Never bled it, it always is firm. I just adjust the bite point (tool free - which is handy) as the pads wear down. I have tried shimano XT brakes and they were worse than the juicy and my other brake, an old Hayes 9.
itsThere on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea: I had a mate from the local shop bleed my avids, some time later and many many bleeds. He still was not happy. When i got my own bleed kit, i bled the rear better than the front. I dont know how. They are very hard to get all the air out, as the rubber pipe on the cheap bleed kit lets air in when you try to get air out of your brakes.

When they do work they are great brakes for the 45 I paid for them. They are very very hard to bleed right. Lots of modulation but not that much power.

Pain in the ass to bleed. Unless your lucky
shantaram - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to T_Mac: I had Avid Juicys on a Commencal and persevered with them despite numerous problems. The pistons constantly stuck, the braking felt really juddery with them and they were a PITA to bleed.It got to a stage where I hated pulling the brakes on long descents. Earlier this year I changed them for Shimano Deore and what a difference. They are fantastic. I can't believe I put up with the Avids for so long and that Avids seem to be the most common brakes around when they are so rubbish.
All the Gear, No Idea on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to johnj: Its got Avid written on it. also, besides bleeding is bleeding
All the Gear, No Idea on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to chris j: took pads out and operated brake to move both pads out to full extent, all ok there, pushed them back in and refitted pads, and not clamping disc, to any appreciable amount
All the Gear, No Idea on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to chris j: and No , no bubbling around the piston, no fluid leaks of any kind
johnj on 06 Oct 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:

How hard is the lever when you've bleed it?
All the Gear, No Idea on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to gethin_allen: to be fair, the wheel does stop, but on with a moderate turn of speed it will not stop me, and if I pedal with brake fully on i can still make forward progress,,,,,slowly,,,,
Lever is as firm as you would like, and does not touch the bars or even come close,
I also have with the help of a friend gripped the lever as tight as possible and still been able the rotate the wheel by hand, with effort,
johnj on 06 Oct 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:

sounds like the pistons are sticking in the caliper, if you take the pads out and apply the brake the pistons should move quite easily
All the Gear, No Idea on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to johnj: lever is as you would like it, nice and firm but with a little working movement, as far as a brake lever goes,,,nice and solid
johnj on 06 Oct 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:

This is what you often find with sticking pistons the lever or brake pedal feels solid, due to the fact the pistons are sticking hence why the brake doesn't work, it is possible that it's the master cylinder but the caliper gets covered in a lot more dirt so you need to rule this out first.
All the Gear, No Idea on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to johnj: fairly happy that the pistons are moving freely, in and out,,,,no leaks, no air seeming to get in, i have barely got any air bubbles out on last three bleeds so happy that system is bled, puzzled to say the least.
as mentioned that effort is going somewhere
johnj on 06 Oct 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:

so if the pistons are moving freely and the system is bleed with no air, and the applied pressure is going to the disc, what is the condition of the disc/pads, are they glazed, contaminated, or new(and not bed in)?
All the Gear, No Idea on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to johnj: Discs used have been in fair/good condition
pads varied from old to new and new and new, all given time to bed in, old pads a little glazed, glaze then removed with wire brush, all combinations really, even taken old pads, working fine in rear brake, out and fitted them, and they just the same as all the others in the front...
All the Gear, No Idea on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to johnj: and defo no contamination
johnj on 06 Oct 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:

Well that's all you can do, in theory they should be working, but if they are not the fault still remains, without looking at them, I'd still go for the sticking pistons, visibly the pistons can look like they are moving but they can be flexing on the seals and returning to the same position, all I'd do at this stage is remove the caliper from the bike, use some compressed air to pop the pistons out of the caliper, clean and remove all traces of dirt, fit new seals and rebuild.
T_Mac - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to shantaram:
Avids seem to be the most common brakes around when they are so rubbish.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thats because Sram (they own Avid, Sram and Rockshox) are good at getting their product to big bike brands for mucho cheapness. Most brands would rather spec Shim but the cost is prohibitive when they're building to price points. Sram are prepared to punt their groupo's out at silly money to the likes of Trek for full builds but IMO they dont back it up with solid build quality.
T_Mac - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to T_Mac: no disrespect to Trek intended by the way.
All the Gear, No Idea on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to T_Mac: I do personally feel SRAM geartrains are superior to shimano, having used both side by side, though to be fair Shimano are perfectly acceptable,
Rockshox forks also do the job with a few minor issues,
But Avid brakes do seem to be letting the side down,
I have been using the Juicy 3's for three years now, and Elixir 5's for a year with no current issue, and now Formula on my third bike for 9 months.
Am considering a total switch to Formula
T_Mac - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to All the Gear, No Idea:
Very true, Sram and Rockshox are perfectly good and great respectively. Avid lets the side down for sure. Formula make rapid brakes, I'd happily run them but spares are harder to find. hopefully that will change as they gain market share and more shops stock them.
Good luck with your switch!
All the Gear, No Idea on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to T_Mac: Thanks for the insights and advice, and thanks to all who replied it is useful getting feedback good and bad, and not just reviews "I bought these 2 weeks ago and they are ace" type stuff.

speak soon everybody

AGNI

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