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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
I have a question about the front brake fluid reservoir and brake lights. I went out and wanted to check the brake fluid level and opened up the reservoir without know a lot about it. Anyway I pick up some DOT 4 fluid then I was watch and YouTube channel and the person stated not to open the brake fluid reservoir after I already did and I should get another gasket if you do. Anyway I was do a t-clock check and noticed that when I squeezed the front brake lever my brake light did not come on but they came on when pressed the rear brake pedal. My question is What happened so I can get my brake lights to work when I squeeze the front brake lever? Is it fluid level? Do I need to add the brake fluid and bleed the brakes? All thoughts welcome
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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15,949 Posts
It should have a sight glass to see the level. Don't worry about the gasket if it is still good and can seal to top OK.
The level and the brake switch are not related.
Take the two wires off the switch and touch them together with key on.
Does the brake light work then? If so replace the switch.
Soak up the old fluid with a rag and put in new fluid would be the best thing to do.
Protect your paint however, brake fluid eats it !
 

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1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
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3,585 Posts
I don't think I've read to replace the gasket in any of my Honda manual reading, obviously you must if it is damaged.
I think my gasket must be as old as the bike and the brake fluid was root beer color when I got it.
That reminds me that brake fluid should be somewhere between clear to light amber, so if it isn't at least change the stuff in the reservoir.
@swifty2014's method works well for that, don't squeeze the lever while doing it as then you will end up bleeding the brakes to get the air out and just to reinforce it, protect your eyes and the paint as brake fluid is surprisingly evil stuff.
 

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2001 Shadow Spirit 750
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425 Posts
I also saw a video telling you to ALWAYS replace the gasket if you open the reservoir. A little overkill. I have not changed one yet.
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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15,949 Posts
I never have either. If it is soft and not damaged it will do the job.
 

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2003 VT1100C Spirit
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347 Posts
As long as the prescribed brake fluid is kept reasonably fresh in the brake system, the reservoir gaskets should last the life of the bike. My 24 year old Valkyrie's reservoir gaskets (front brake, rear brake and clutch) are all good.
 

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As long as the prescribed brake fluid is kept reasonably fresh in the brake system, the reservoir gaskets should last the life of the bike. My 24 year old Valkyrie's reservoir gaskets (front brake, rear brake and clutch) are all good.
I actually changed my gaskets in my Valkyrie. The clutch gasket was crumbly and so was the rear brake. Both had black fluid in the bottom of the reservoir so I decided to change the gaskets out. Bike is 21 years old so why not, can't hurt and I think it was needed. Usually I don't change that gasket, it's just over kill in my book. When I saw the black crap in the reservoirs that was a bad sign to me. Actually it surprised me, I've never had one of those gaskets feel like that but I bought the bike two years ago knowing nothing about what happened before me>
 

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I've never changed gaskets either. If they are good I reuse them. If they are damaged then I would.
As for the fluid I think the book recommendation is to change it every two years. It can go a lot longer than that but if I am going to replace the fluid in the reservoir I would flush the whole system especially if the fluid in the reservoir was dark or gooey.
Brake fluid is designed with properties to absorb water even moisture from the air. It is like this so it protects the brake system from corrosion by sacrificing itself. That is why it needs to be replaced periodically and also why it is important to keep the reservoir properly closed and also why you should always use new fluid from new sealed container.
 
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