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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, sorry for the long read in advance. I wanted to start this thread a while ago since there has been a lot of talk of rear brake issues in the past, I just sat back and decided to observe although there hasn't been much head-way made regarding the issue recently. Personally, I honestly am not sure the brake problem is entirely due to a design issue. Here is my reasoning (and please feel free to insert your thoughts since I'm not an expert in the matter and hence could be totally off...).

When I bought my bike, within 2 weeks, the rear brake fluid turned from semi clear/yellow to BLACK. I don't mean a little black. I mean almost all black. Braking was non existent when I picked it up and when the fluid had turned black, but then again, I can't really make any deductions from this since I went from having no rear brake to well... having no rear brake... Luckily after a couple of months the TSB came out so I took it in and got a free flush along with the fitting of the new hardware. Subsequently I did the exhaust change at the same time eliminating the extreme heat that the cat was producing. Well, the rear brake worked a little better than before. However, now after only about 8 months or so, the fluid is almost black again, and the rear brake bite has diminished.

Well, I did a little bit of research and the general consensus for brake fluid turning black is time, moisture absorption, heat, and copper and rubber brake down in the brake lines which apparently leads to brake feel diminishing. But usually this time/heat/moisture absorption is supposed to take a while especially for DOT approved fluids. Honestly with my other bikes I would flush once a year even if the fluid looked and worked great. With my race bike I use Motul RBF 600 which I only flush after each season (which usually lasts about 6 months). I'm mentioning this since fluids used for race/track are supposed to degrade faster and turn black sooner due to their higher boiling point taking away from their moisture resistance. But despite all this information the fluid on the MTS turns black very quickly...

So do you guys think (with the coolant issue that has come up), the type of brake fluid is also to blame for the crappy rear brake?

Has anyone used something other than the Ducati recommended fluid and gotten better brake feel?

Don't get me wrong, I still think there is an inherent design flaw with the braking system itself but could the fluid be exacerbating it?
 

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My take is the fluid they use must not be all that great. Like yours my rear brake and clutch both suffered from the black fluid and i think the performance for both suffered as a result. On my bike i started to notice the fluid getting discolored after a few rides and within a couple weeks it was totally black like coffee.

Elsewhere on this forum someone mentioned using Valvoline synthetic DOT 4 in the clutch for the discoloring problem so i decided to try it in both the clutch and rear brake. I flushed both fully with new fluid about a week and a half ago.

In that time i have gone on 6 or so rides, stop and go work commutes, spirited hooligan rides and a 70 mile benefit ride today. So far the rear brake is much better, its got better feel and a little more power. I can make the abs activate on the rear now any time i want with a good jab at the pedal, i couldn't do that before. I personally don't find the rear that bad, its no different power wise than my buds Ninja or another friends Buell or my old Honda. Mine was just mushy and that feeling is gone now and the fluid is still like new after ~400 miles whereas the original fluid was turning color at ~200 miles.

The clutch to me is where the fluid change seems more pronounced. My transmission shifts a ton better, much more positive, much easier to find neutral and no false neutrals at all any more. Over time my transmission has progressively gotten knotchy as time has gone on(and got worse the more spirited the ride with the extra heat), it was tough to shift when the bike was new, got better as it broke in and then got worse as the fluid broke down more. The fluid change/bleed has totally fixed that, mine shifts buttery smooth now(like better than my old Honda smooth), better than it has ever shifted. Fluid in the clutch still looks new as well.

I'm a pretty happy camper spending ~$5 on something that seems to have been a great improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
^Very good info. I might give that a try as well since I did notice the clutch starting to get more and more black as well. I was going to put the RBF 600 on the mutli too but I think that would be unnecessary so I'll give the Valvoline a try.
 

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Yep it seems ill advised to wait between service intervals to change all fluids.
Changed my clutch fluid at 7000K-much easier to find neutral and change gears now. The rear brake fluid has gone black. Changed it today but can't get the brakes to bleed properly-tried normal and reverse approach with large syringe and tubing-now the rear is just crap.
Changed the engine oil and filter at 6000Kms and will get the front brakes done by a mechanic who will bleed my rear this week.
I heard that the shell fluids they use in the factory are notorious for moisture absorption and they should all be be dumped as a matter of course.
Dunno, love the bike but little things let it down a piece.There are a few of them too.
 

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After numerous bleedings (as per Ducati, ie: remove caliper so that it can be held up high, bleed, reinstall, engage ABS a bunch and rebleed) which would get me about 500-1k miles till the brake went to the stop again, Ducati finally told the dealership to use Castol SRF (around $70. a liter!). This got me to 2.5 - 3k miles until it went south again. So which fluid you use does have an impact, BUT over time it still degrades to nothing. This was the consistent result for both the 2011 S Touring (25k miles) and the 2012 Pikes Peak (10k miles to date) that I have now.

This link: Andrea Forni Interview | Ash On Bikes reveals that Ducati now agrees that the design is flawed, making the rear brake circuit extremely difficult to bleed completely, and they have instituted changes to correct this on the 2013 multis. Installing the 'fix' kit, using different fluids or brake pads, etc...none of these, by Ducati's own admission now, will result in a permanently functional rear brake.

I hate to say it, but I think all of us who have continual rear brake problems need to file complaints w/ the NTSB and hope this gets Ducati to offer the redesigned rear circuit as a retrofit for the '10 - '12 bikes.
 

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Would be nice to JUST get it fixed without going thru all the outside sources getting involved...
Fix it in House and be done with it...
We deserve a decent brake...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After numerous bleedings (as per Ducati, ie: remove caliper so that it can be held up high, bleed, reinstall, engage ABS a bunch and rebleed) which would get me about 500-1k miles till the brake went to the stop again, Ducati finally told the dealership to use Castol SRF (around $70. a liter!). This got me to 2.5 - 3k miles until it went south again. So which fluid you use does have an impact, BUT over time it still degrades to nothing. This was the consistent result for both the 2011 S Touring (25k miles) and the 2012 Pikes Peak (10k miles to date) that I have now.

This link: Andrea Forni Interview | Ash On Bikes reveals that Ducati now agrees that the design is flawed, making the rear brake circuit extremely difficult to bleed completely, and they have instituted changes to correct this on the 2013 multis. Installing the 'fix' kit, using different fluids or brake pads, etc...none of these, by Ducati's own admission now, will result in a permanently functional rear brake.

I hate to say it, but I think all of us who have continual rear brake problems need to file complaints w/ the NTSB and hope this gets Ducati to offer the redesigned rear circuit as a retrofit for the '10 - '12 bikes.
Very good info, thanks. So brake fluid will help but the design itself has a major problem that we can't fix. I will definitely write DNA and see where it takes me.

Would be nice to JUST get it fixed without going thru all the outside sources getting involved...
Fix it in House and be done with it...
We deserve a decent brake...
Agreed, it would be nice.
 

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Very good info, thanks. So brake fluid will help but the design itself has a major problem that we can't fix. I will definitely write DNA and see where it takes me.



Agreed, it would be nice.
I agree with both of you. Please keep us posted as to what progress you make w/ DNA...and please ignore those who say "What rear brake problem?" or think we are whining. I have been dealing with this for a looong time. I worked my way up the DNA CoC to the point that the rep I was dealing with offered me money or an extension of my warranty and I told him that I just wanted a rear brake that worked! They have been unable to deliver. I hate to go the NTSB route, but now that they have admitted publically that it is in fact a design flaw which is now fixed on the '13, I do not know of any other way to move this forward and get their attention focused on all the guys that actually need a functional rear brake. I am open to suggestions.
 

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Yeah a DNA fix would be nice...I rely totally on the front brakes since I have almost zero rear brake unless I stand on the rear brake lever (super long lever actuation) which is next to impossible when doing spirited riding or worse in a panic.

As others have said it would be nice to have a rear brake since we paid for one :think:

Until then, I will keep changing fluid regularly...
 

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Nice, that'll probably help! Thanks!
After much deliberation, I went ahead and filed a report. I have spent an incredible amount of time letting DNA try to fix my rear brake. I have finally run out of patience. We'll see if anything comes of it. My home dealer is once again trying to get DNA to respond to the problem, and I sent them the link to Ducati's public admission of the problem and that the 2013 model will have a new rear brake setup. And again...we'll see. Please keep us posted as to the results of your efforts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
After much deliberation, I went ahead and filed a report. I have spent an incredible amount of time letting DNA try to fix my rear brake. I have finally run out of patience. We'll see if anything comes of it. My home dealer is once again trying to get DNA to respond to the problem, and I sent them the link to Ducati's public admission of the problem and that the 2013 model will have a new rear brake setup. And again...we'll see. Please keep us posted as to the results of your efforts.
Will do! You do the same. I just moved to Chicago so I'll be dealing with a whole new dealer that came highly recommended from AMS Ducati in Dallas so we'll see what they say first.
 

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As mentioned earlier I replaced my rear brake fluid and could not get it to bleed properly. I felt pretty dumb as I have done plenty of fluid changes on other bikes in the past. Spoke to the dealer who said the caliper needed to be taken off and raised abve the brake to bleed. They will do it tomorrow. To my mind this is a crappy outcome.There is no way any of the fluids (brake, clutch and engine oil)will last the full 12,000 km service intervals Ducati are recommending.
I am not keen on the need to remove the caliper to bleed every 4-5kms.
Ducati just needs to sort this. The deal confessed that the brakes apart from engine heat issues are just too small anyway-great and comforting admission.
 

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I just had a recall performed on my 2011 Touring. According to the paperwork (i.e., procedures to be performed), they only exchanged the brake lines and positioned the master at 50 degrees. I don't know what kind of fluid was used, but it's very light yellow (almost clear).

I took it for a 60 mile ride after it was done and... well, it still doesn't work. Before I can stand on the brake pedal and nothing would happen. Now, if I stand on the pedal it ssssllllllllllooooooowwwwwllllllyyyy starts to slow down (it is ABS and the wheel does not lock), but I would imagine if I slam on the brake it should lock-release-lock-release.

I haven't informed the dealer yet (going on a +2K mile trip on Thr), but I will see if it takes some "breaking-in" in order to start to work properly (should not be the case). If not, I will have to call them and see if they have any suggestions...
 

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Guys, read the link in post #7above. No bleeding procedure, or fluid change is going to work for very long, as per Ducati's admission. The real fix is apparently a repositioning of the components and lines, which they have implemented on the 2013.
 

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Complaint filed with Nhtsa.

Update done yet I have a p.o.s. rear brake! The greater number of complaints filed with the Nhtsa makes for a greater chance of a resolution.
 

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Update done yet I have a p.o.s. rear brake! The greater number of complaints filed with the Nhtsa makes for a greater chance of a resolution.
Amen Bro!!! Let's hope that enough join us to make it count.
 
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