Painless Brake Bleeding - Fuelly Forums

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Old 02-11-2007, 06:34 PM   #1
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Bleeding shouldn't be a blood-letting...

If you get some basic tools, bleeding brakes and clutch hydraulics can be pretty painless; even as a shade-tree mechanic like me. I know there are pressure bleed systems that can cost a lot, but I don't think you need anything that elaborate. I used to do the 2-person method until I squirted myself in the eye. Then I bought a very simple tool whose name escapes me. It was overpriced at the time at a whole $15. All it was was a clear plastic tube with a one-way valve at one end. BTW, you can use these kind of simple tools by yourself, or you can use a helper on the pedal and make it go even faster.

Also, to minimize how much fluid you'll need to bleed and to minimize the chance of introducing air, start with the farthest bleeder from the master cylinder and then do all 4 corners. On left-hand drive (LHD) cars, it's usually the right rear (RR) brake first. Then progress to the LR, RF, and finally the LF brake. All cars I've done used less than a quart of fresh fluid total. Always use fresh fluid whose seal has just been broken.

I follow a bunch of very simple steps:

1. Take a turkey baster and suck out as much old fluid from the master cylinder reservoir as you can. It's important to do this before you draw any more of the old dirty/damp fluid down into the lines. Also, you'll easily be able to see when the fluid runs clear and bubble free at the bleeder ends.
2. That done, pour the new fluid into the reservoir until full. I usually wrap a wrag all the way around the master cylinder to catch the inevitable drips that can otherwise eat the paint off hard-to-reach surfaces.
3. Take the cap off the bleeder if there is one and put it aside where you won't lose track of it. Put the appropriate box end wrench on the bleeder and make sure the valve will open. Be careful not to turn it the wrong way and end up twisting it off. It's of course a lot easier to do this when the wheel is off but not absolutely necessary. A hydraulic floor jack is a huge time saver here, just don't get under any part of the car without it being supported with a sturdy jack stand.
4. Fit the non-valve end of the clear hose over the bleed nipple. The other end goes in whatever container you use to collect the old fluid.
5. Now to bleed do the actual bleeding. Open the bleeder and then go pump the brake pedal a bunch of times, checking periodically on your progress:
5a. Don't let the level in the reservoir get too low or you'll suck air in and have to start over from the beginning. Refill as the fluid gets to the "Minimum" level.
5b. Watch the fluid in the bleeder hose go from dirty maple syrup (or even black) to pale yellow/apple juice color (don't get confused and take a swig ). Also check for no bubbles.
6. When clear and clean, close that bleeder, remove the bleeder hose, wipe off the bleeder, and replace the cap. Move on to the next brake in sequence.

I found this to be straightforward enough that I don't mind a bi-annual system flush. It's great to have nice tight brakes, besides reducing dirt and moisture can also reduce internal wear and corrosion on parts throughout the system.

Bleed a clutch slave in the same way.

Note: some fluids are available in different colors, so if you flush often (e.g. racing), you can see the difference as you alternate from one color to the other.

Safety goggles aren't a bad idea either.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:45 PM   #2
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I still cant' remember the name of the bleeder hose tool I use but it appears similar to this one : http://www.toolsource.com/ost/produc...7FJ2DWVGVH9P84
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:26 PM   #3
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I use this, cheap and easy, with no mess

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=37201
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red View Post
I use this, cheap and easy, with no mess

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=37201
Yeah, I like it. Thanks for the great tip.
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Old 07-01-2007, 02:55 PM   #5
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After my rear diff rebuild, I replaced the brake hose and line across the axle. After Mr.Murphy paid a visit I made up the lines again and to bleed them I just opened the bleeds a very small amount, pushed on the pedal a couple times then let them gravity bleed. After a few minutes I closed the bleeds and presto, a hard pedal
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