Saturday, July 30, 2011

Brake issue solved (let's hope so)

Fact : among the 300+ entries published on this blog, the one that draws the more attention and gets the more hits is a post where I describe how to get rid of the I-ABS system on a BMW. My way to do it seems to have been reported and linked on a few forums (like the R1150R forum, for instance). The truth is - and you won't be surprised if you are a frequent reader of this place - I have been struggling with brake issues since the day I put the brake system parts together back on the bike.

Since I (think I) have solved this brake issue today, it's important everyone reading the famous "how to remove your integral ABS system on my beloved BMW" blog entry is also aware of the potential problems that could be met after completing the described procedure. I still don't know (and probably never know) which part to blame yet, but the feeling pulling the brake lever was awfully spongy.

I remember the first thing I did when I decided to remove the ABS unit was to start with cleaned and verified parts, so I had the calipers rebuilt by an official BMW dealer (that I won't recommend by the way ... let's name them so you don't waste your time there : Boxer Evasion in Lille, France). After 3 weeks waiting, they called to say the calipers were ready and complain about having been forced to order 3 different join sets to find out which one fit the calipers. Like I'm supposed to know better which join set to order ... Now who's the professional ? Anyway ...

To solve the spongy brake issue, every single part of the brake system has either been rebuilt or swapped since. But still, the problem remained unchanged. Well this was until I swapped the Tokico calipers for Brembos which are for the same bike, but without the ABS system. So, if you ever experience the "spongy lever" syndrome after discarding the ABS unit the way I described it in the most-read-post-ever on this blog, then you might have to swap your Tokicos for Brembos ... 

The reason for this ? Well, don't forget that you've just junked the I-ABS unit which not only controlled what pressure is to be put through the brake lines, but also uses a  noisy electrical pump to add extra pressure in the lines whenever you pull the bake lever (which is why you have a huge battery by the way). The question is : can these Tokico calipers work properly without the assistance of the pump embedded in the I-ABS unit ? Well I don't know, because there are still chances that the initial caliper rebuild had been f****d up by a BMW dealer that doesn't know which join set to order ...

Ok then, what's to remember of my experience throwing the I-ABS unit away : 
- do it, it's really worth as it's really heavy and can't really compare with the brake feeling you can experience with a simpler system
- if you dumped the I-ABS unit and experience a spongy feeling, then try with straight braided lines
- if you still feel it could be better and haven't asked an inept dealer to rebuild your Tokicos, then you should look for a pair of Brembos

1 comment:

Yvan said...

I'm glad you finally fixed this issue !
I know a good BMW dealer, but it's a bit far from your place (Rennes). ;-)