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Old 06-20-2002, 12:06 PM
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Replacing XJ11 Rubber Brake Lines with Stainless Steel Lines (S/S)

Replacing XJ11 Rubber Brake Lines
with Stainless Steel Lines (S/S)

by Bill Bowman

First, this is not going to be a primer on brakes. Some knowledge on using tools and brakes is assumed.


Look at your bike, get an idea on where the lines run and how they are connected. Since you are going to have the brake system apart and purged, this may be a good time to give your master cylinders and calipers a good cleaning. (No additional tech tip here, just an idea.)

S/S lines are less flexible then rubber, but that is the idea changing to S/S. They are also smaller in diameter. It is important to match the new lines with the old ones - One at a time. The ends should be the same angles, both the fitting and the direction. When fitting the new lines, attach both ends, snug the banjo bolts - do not tighten - make sure the bolts and fittings are correctly aligned, then torque to 19 ft/lbs.

The XJ11 has a dual braking system. Right hand grip activates the right front caliper. Foot pedal activates the rear caliper and the left front caliper. The rear master cylinder (m/c) has a proportioning valve sticking out the back (see Photo 1).

Photo 1

Two brake lines are attached to the valve, one for the rear and one for the front.

The lines from the rear m/c will require a little more effort and some creativity. The original hook up from rear m/c to front left caliper is in three sections (see Photo 2).

Photo 2

Rubber hose to hard line fitting under the right side cover (See Photo 3 right upper quarter).

Photo 3

Hard line along the frame under the gas tank. Hard line to rubber connection just under the stearing head on the frame (See Photo 4).

Photo 4

Chris and I have replaced these with a single S/S line, that will route the same as the original. The end of the three piece run connects to the left caliper line under the chrome trim piece on the forks below the headlight (See Photo 5).

Photo 5

You will need 15 new crush washers. These should be available at regular auto parts stores. Check the banjo bolts when you take them out. Inspect them for crud, wear and corosion. Clean or replace as needed.

You will also need some rubber hose to cut, slit and wrap around the s/s lines for several clips that help route the lines and keep them away from moving parts like wheels and such.

Starting the Process

Remove the seat. Remove the right side cover. Remove the chrome trim piece below the headlight on the forks. You may want to remove the gas tank, it is not necessary, but will help. Get something to catch the brake fluid from the hoses.

Right Front Brake

The line for the right front caliper is a simple swap, for the uninitiated, you may want to start here to get familier with brake fluid spills, banjo bolts, and bleeding.

Pull off the rubber cap that covers the connection at the front m/c on the handle bars. You will be reusing this cap. Remove the m/c cover. Remove the banjo bolt. Remove the banjo bolt on the right front caliper. As you pull the old line out, put the new one in, the path should be the same.

Check the m/c for crud. Carefuly pull the "boot" off the old line and put it on the end of the new s/s line. Hook the new line up with new crush washers, torque the bolts, fill the m/c with brake fluid and bleed away.

Rear M/C Lines

There are several options here. I removed the rear m/c to take off the original lines. I found it easier. It is possible to remove the lines from underneath - your choice. The same goes for the gas tank. I found it easier to remove it. The old straps holding the hard line can be cut with out tank removal. New wire ties can be put on, also. Again, I found it easier to take the tank off. My description is based on taking the m/c out and the tank off.

Take out the banjo bolts on the left front caliper, the connector under the head light. Take out the bolts holding the mounting plate on the frame under the streering head. (See Photo 4, again) Remove the slip clip holding the hard line to rubber connector. Leave the hard line setup in place for now. At the right side of the bike, spread the clip apart the holds the rubber/hardline connector. Disconnect the rubber line. Remove the screw on the clip that holds the rubber line going to the rear caliper. Spread the clip behind the shock that holds the rear brake line. Remove the banjo bolt at the rear caliper.

With a screw driver pry the "mud" flap from the frame, go up two tabs. Remove the two bolts holding the rear m/c. Pulling the mud flap back, work the rear m/c backward and pull it out of the frame. Watch out for the foot peddle activator rod. It enters the rear m/c from the bottom through a rubber boot. Remove both brake lines from the proportioning valve. R & R the rear m/c.

The rear m/c sits between two vertical frame members. Route the front (the longest one) s/s line on the outside of the front frame tube and inside the rear one (See Photo 1). Connect, but do not tighten it to the valve. Connect, but do not tighted the rear caliper hose to the valve. It should look just like Photo 1.

Stop here a minute. You need to "loose" fit these lines and insert the rear m/c back into the frame to check the position of the fittings. The fittings to the valve must be positioned so the lines do not kink. This may take you a couple of tries. When you are sure the positions are correct, note, mark, whatever, the positions. Take the rear m/c out again, torque the banjo bolts to 19 ft/lbs. Re-install the m/c, put the brake peddle push rod in the rubber boot socket. Make sure the rod is seated, and the s/s lines are at the correct angles, then bolt the m/c in place. Tighten to 17 ft/lbs.

Route the line to the rear caliper, through the removable clip and the crimp clip; cushion with rubber hose or gromets of your choice.

Route the s/s line to the front, following the hard line. Cut the hardline wraps and install new ones for the s/s line. When you get the line to the welded bracket piece under the steering head, creativity comes into play. I haven't set up a fixed replacement for the other half of the bracket. The line should be attached in this area of the frame so it doesn't flap and chafe. Home made rubber bushings (slit rubber hose), wire ties, a u-clamp - here you are on your own, until someone comes up with a complete reproducable solution. The fitting end of the line attached and under the headlight where it joins the line to the left caliper.

Replace the left front caliper line, torque the banjo bolt to 19 ft/lbs. Join the caliper line with the line from the rear m/c at the connector under the headlight, torque the bolt. Bleed both the front and rear calipers together.

When the brakes feel good - you are done.

Put the side cover back on, the tank, the seat and the trim plate on the forks. Take a test ride, make sure all brakes work well - if not "bleed" again.

You are done.

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