Is there an easy way to bleed just the brake lever on an SRAM Guide brake?

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Is there an easy way to bleed just the brake lever on an SRAM Guide brake?
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Posted: Jun 7, 2016 at 12:34 Quote
I had to shorten the brake hose on my SRAM Guide RSC brakes on my Bronson.

It feels like a little bit of air got in there as they won't hold full pressure for longer than a couple seconds now. I want to avoid a full bleed if possible.

I watched this video on how to just bleed the upper with Shimano brakes using this little funnel:

Is there a way to do this for SRAM brakes? Wanted something quick/easy like that. I do have the SRAM bleed kit, but again, looking to just do a quick bleed of the lever, not the whole brake system.

I'm a complete noob on doing stuff like this so looking for input geared toward a noob. Need to learn this stuff though as I want to start to do my own maintenance.

Posted: Jun 7, 2016 at 20:50 Quote
A basic overfill will work fairly effectively to help your issue.
Things you will need:
- Bleed syringe
- Appropriate DOT fluid
- Pad spacer (Ideally a few millimetres wider than your rotors to ensure a proper pad gap)
Fill a syringe with dot fluid and degas it as you would with a bleed. Then remove your rear wheel and open up your lever bleed port. Screw your syringe in and slowly add fluid while you pump your brake lever until your pads contact each other. Once the pads have contacted, pump and flick the lever a bit to try to get as much air as possible out of the line. You can then remove your syringe. Now insert your pad spacer between the pads and leave it between the pads, but try not to lever it side to side. This will remove the excess fluid from the line. Now you can close the bleed port and lever the pad spacer side to side a bit. This should give you a perfect pad gap and a solid lever feel.

Conversely, you could try doing just the lever portion of a full bleed where you connect just a syringe at the lever and try to suction as much air out of the system before repressurizing the system and closing it off. I haven't however tried this method while working on bikes so I cant vouch for its effectiveness. I can say though that the other process that I outlined above is extremely effective at removing air from the line and the lever.

Posted: Jun 8, 2016 at 0:44 Quote
Hmmm...that sounds almost as complicated as just following the 5 min SRAM video on the full bleed:

But it's probably just because I'm unfamiliar with the whole process. I don't think I'd feel comfortable doing what you said without a full video, etc. as I'm just not following you, so I might just do the full bleed following the video. Then maybe it'll make more sense.

Thanks for responding though. The Shimano way looks so much easier.

Posted: Jun 8, 2016 at 7:31 Quote
The process that I described isnt actually that difficult, but like you said it can be a little difficult to visualize if you've never done it before.
If you'd rather not do that then the full bleed would be the best option, although if you want you could probably skip the caliper bleed portion and just do the lever.

Posted: Jun 8, 2016 at 22:08 Quote
I did the full bleed per this video (I have RSC Guide brakes, this is only affecting the front brake):

The issue seemed to go away, but then came back after riding around the neighborhood to test afterward. I called my LBS, they said it could be a small leak, maybe even something from where the hose goes into the lever (this problem started after I shortened my hose). I ended up just dropping it off with them as I want to get it fixed to ride this weekend.

Will update thread with cause once I get it back. It's possible I f'd up the bleed as it was my first time.

Posted: Jun 9, 2016 at 7:50 Quote
If something went wrong during the shortening process (I.E not a clean cut on the hose, or barb not installed properly, or olive not compressed fully), that could cause a leak in the line so that could potentially be the issue.

hopefully your bike shop can get things sorted out.

Posted: Jul 22, 2020 at 23:56 Quote
I know this is really old, but this worked like a charm. Thanks @rileyager!

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