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Hey everyone, new member here! I have a 2005 arctic cat 500 that I can't seem to figure out a brake problem. A while back my FIL drove the atv with the hand brake locked for a while until he figured out why he wasn't moving very fast. Since then my brakes have had an issue like there is air in the lines. I have bled the lines repeatedly and replaced one caliper. Bled the brakes again last night and still have the same issue. Hand brake will get firm and brake fine for a little while and then next time I'm on it it will be soft and no brakes until I pump up pressure again. Could the master cylinder be damaged somehow from what my FIL did? When the system has pressure all calipers are holding like they should and seem to release like they should.
 

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It sounds to me like there may be a leak in the lines. I would try looking to see if you see any wetness or fluid on one of them.
 

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Could also be leaking crush washers (used with banjo-bolts to seal junctions)

Also, you MAY be experiencing INTERNAL brake hose separation and collapsing (making it feel like air is all bled out) by creating a much shorter area for fluid to flow as inner layer collapse’s, imitating a bled caliper? All it takes is 1-hose doing this to create conditions you speak of. When not collapsed, unbled air will compress making for soft mushy lever.
 

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Yes the master could be leaking.
 

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That’s very possible too. Good call. Especially if it’s not leaking externally, it can still leak back past the rams compression cup and offload fluid back into reservoir.

May also be ram isn’t retracting completely either, making for less fluid compression per lever pull (only takes 1-2 mm to cause that)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the replies. So far I have not witnessed any fluid leaking anywhere. One of the bleed screws is new, threads are right and it seats fine but when open for bleeding a small amount of fluid will leak past the threads. When it is closed completely it does not leak. Didn't mention in the first post but all pads are new as well.

I ended up taking it for a couple of short rides and braking hard every 40 feet or so, came to a complete stop and started over. Since then it has had pressure to stop and the hand brake has not gone all the way to the handlebar. Not really sure how what I did would have helped in any way ( just did it out of frustration really.) It still fees a little mushy sometimes but it is still braking and holding. I guess I'll see what it does the next time I'm on it for a little longer than a short ride.
 

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Look for a 'high point' on lines, air can be trapped, check master cylinder mounting as I've seen weird angles trap air. One 'trick' I've used for years is to get either Teflon tape or pipe sealing compound and apply a little to bleeder threads, it prevents leaks while bleeding.(and keeps the paint on various components ) How old are brake lines? If original 15 yrs t'is a long way past recommended change interval which is usually 4 years (although very few people change brake lines that 'early' unless going to stainless steel or kevlar) Check all sliding pins on calipers, the fluid pressure will flex mounting and give good initial feel but if stuck at an angle will 'push back' over a few hours giving excess lever travel until 'pumped up' again
 
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