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What is the proper way to bleed the brakes on this bike with ABS?

Proper way to bleed the brakes on this bike with ABS

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  • Paul Witham
    Paul Witham Apr 18, 2015

    I need the instructions from the 04 Ducati ST4s ABS service and shop repair manual on how the bleed the brakes on the ABS model of this motorcycle.

  • Paul Witham
    Paul Witham Apr 18, 2015

    I have read that some motorcycles require the bikes computer to be put in a brake bleed mode. I don't know for a fact if this Brembo/Bosch system is that advanced, but I want to be sure before I start the job. Are there no Ducati technicians around......?

  • Paul Witham
    Paul Witham Apr 18, 2015

    Bill, Your last comment makes a lot of sense, thank you. My big concern was whether the computer had to be programmed/adjusted for the brake bleed. Thanks for your input Bill.

  • Paula Hamilton Apr 19, 2015

    Hi,when you find out let me know what the machanic sied maney thanks



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Hi,I had a yamaha fj1200 that had abs and when bleading the brakes I just blead the brakes in the normal way,I found that it makes it easyer to blead,open resouveor cap and top up and put a rag around the resouvor to protect any paintwork then get a bungie tie and slowly pump the brake lever slowly as not to creat lots of air bubbles in the system,then rap the bungie around the lever and handle bar to keep the lever pulled in,then go to the back caliper and put the tube in a glass and fill with brake fluid untill it covers the end of the tube,put the other end on the blead nipple a slowly open the nipple just so you can see the fluid coming out,when it stops flowing tighten the blead nipple and do this again untill all the air is out and you have clean fluid coming through,the do the same to the front,job done.
there is a self bleading tube with a valve on the end so that the air dose not go back in the system,there is also a brake bleading system on the market that is a self bleading system where you have tube that connects to the resouvor with its own lid, and a tube that runs from that to a bottle which you put the brake fluid in,and a tube runs from that to a connector like the one that is on a foot pump,that connects to a wheel wich supplies the presure to push the fluid through the system,so with this system all you have to do is open the blead nipple and lock it again when done.
I hope this was some help.
Ive explaned it becouse not every one knows how to do this,so sorry if im telling you how to suck eggs.

Posted on Apr 18, 2015

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  • Paul Witham
    Paul Witham Apr 18, 2015

    Thanks for your advise. I recently purchased a Mityvac MV8500 and I'm going to use that for the job. My main concern was the ABS unit and how it would effect a brake bleed. Apparently some of the newer bikes computers have to be put in a brake blled mode, so I wasn't sure how this method would work. I might go to the local Ducati dealer and see if the mechanic will allow me to photocopy this section in his manual for guidance. Thanks for taking the time to email me in such detail.....Kindest Regards. Paul.

  • Paul Witham
    Paul Witham Apr 19, 2015

    Hi Paula, He said, bleed them the same way you would on a bike with no ABS. The bike that I was told the computer had to be set for brake bleed was the BMW. I asked the Ducati mechanic and he told me that the BMW is the one that the computer has to be set up to bleed the brakes. Figures BMW would do that so you can't avoid their ridiculous service charges. Apparently if you bleed them the normal way, you have no brakes on your BMW. So on the 04 Ducati ST4s ABS you and Bill were correct, bleed them the same way as a normal bike that doesn't have ABS. What are you riding now Paula?

  • Paul Witham
    Paul Witham Apr 19, 2015

    Hi Paula, I'm in Oakville, Ontario....where are you?


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Always start with the longest line and bleed as per 2 wheeled car
pull the brake lever and hold applied while you open the bleed screw. close the bleeder and re-pump the lever and repeat the process until there is no air coming out
repeat the process for the front brake

Posted on Apr 18, 2015

Testimonial: "That is standard brake bleed instructions for a bike without ABS. The 04 Ducati ST4s ABS has an ABS control module and my big concern is are there any special instructions for how to handle the ABS system when doing a brake bleed on this motorcycle?"

  • 3 more comments 
  • Bill Boyd Apr 18, 2015

    cars with abs brake systems are bled as I described. There is no difference on the make of bike

  • Bill Boyd Apr 18, 2015

    The abs system only produces pressure in the hydraulic system when the wheels are skidding and the pressure compenstaes for the loss of brake fluid when the brakes are released and reapplied by the abs system. The abs operation is the same as in a car. the bleeding of the system is the same as in a car

  • Bill Boyd Apr 18, 2015

    All ABS systems work on the same principle. They were originall invented for planes to stop the under carriage being ripped off on problem runways, and were adapted to auto use. regardless of whether they are computer controlled or not as all are computer controlled anyway. They work on the principle of sensor input from the wheel rotors and when that input is broken ( stopped wheel) the valve in the ABS for that line opens and releases the pressure to that wheel. when a signal is again being sensed the valve closes and the brakes are reapplied. Basically all the ABS is amounts to a computer controlled hydraulic pump that supplements pressure for your control ( foot or hand). If the wheels keep turning under brakes then the pressure being applied is what your foot/hand and the brake booster supply to the hydraulics through the ABS unit, so bleeding is the same as apply the brakes normally

  • Paul Witham
    Paul Witham Apr 18, 2015

    Bill, why is there any difference on which wheel you start with on a motorcycle. I can see the difference with a car but a motorcycle has two separate master cylinders. So whether I do the front of the rear they are independant of each other. Just wondering if it really makes any difference if I do the front or rear first under these conditions. Kindest Regards, Paul.

  • Paula Hamilton Apr 20, 2015

    Hi again just wanted to say thanks for letting me know.



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1 Answer

ABS light and traction light and no cruise control

how on earth would the blind know what is wrong.?
scan it? yet?
btw, newer cars cut cruise feature for any signs of danger.
new laws...
the traction needs ABS to work ,so forget that and fix ABS.
ABS needs 2 things to work , brakes and ABS.

so if brakes are bad, then ABS will get upset.
after all, if it cant brake right, how can the puter save you?
if brakes are known to be ok (inspections work here)
but in this case it was BREACHED by you, with out reading the book first.
then scan the ABS. (omg? code for dead sensor?) nah, you caused it..

ABS resets every key on. so...
my guess, if ABS was happy before your actions( you never said)
then you got air in to the system. and failed to follow the FSM instructions on bleeding brakes, in ABS car.

front caliper, did you block the hose with cap, so it didn't allow air to the modulator? oops... never just let them drip... or . max pain.
bleed it again, (using any or all 5 ways to do so, bleeding is skill thing) (many modulators can not just be simply bled)

now Ill quote the 2012 fSM for you , under brakes

Data: -----------------------------------------------------------------
ABS Brake Bleeding

ABS system bleeding requires conventional bleeding methods plus use of a scan tool. The procedure involves performing a base brake bleeding, followed by use of the scan tool to cycle and bleed the HCU pump and solenoids. A second base brake bleeding procedure is then required to remove any air remaining in the system.

Perform base brake bleeding, (Refer to Brakes - Standard Procedure)(Refer To List 1).

Connect scan tool to the Data Link Connector.

Select ANTILOCK BRAKES, followed by MISCELLANEOUS, then ABS BRAKES. Follow the instructions displayed. When scan tool displays TEST COMPLETE, disconnect scan tool and proceed.

Perform base brake bleeding a second time, (Refer to Brakes - Standard Procedure)(Refer To List 1).

Top off master cylinder fluid level and verify proper brake operation before moving vehicle.

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Hi there, to bleed the brakes properly you need 2 people, 1 to supply pressure to the pedal and the other to release the air from them bleed screw, it is a very teedias job, and you can spend a lot of time trying to bleed the system, you can do it alone, fill up the reservoir and loosen the bleed screw from the caliper, it will drain by gravity, just keep check on the amount of air from the system and make sure you top up the reservoir after each brake bleed

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1 Answer

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Post more information and I can try to give you some help, but you will have to remove the fuel tank etc. You need a few special tools to bleed the ABS brakes on this bike.

Awaiting your comments.....

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