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Technical Bleeding brakes on a virgin brake system?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Crazy Legs, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. Crazy Legs
    Joined: Sep 3, 2008
    Posts: 266

    Crazy Legs

    Hey guys,
    I've bled brakes a ton of times but never on a completely new system before, (never had fluid in the master cylinder, lines, or calipers/wheel cylinders, etc)

    My question is, I need to bench bleed the master cylinder like always but I'm wondering on the lines. Do I start at the RR wheel as always & leave all the other bleeders closed like normal? Or some other procedure?
  2. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 6,041



    I'd go through it twice for good measure.
  3. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,888

    from Michigan

    Same as you said. Just takes a few more pumps than usual for all the air and then finally only fluid to come through. Go for it.
  4. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,227

    Da Tinman

  5. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,518


    Get yourself some speedbleeders to make the job easy.
    Also, use DOT 5 silicone brake fluid. It does not absorb water.
  6. hendo0601
    Joined: Aug 24, 2013
    Posts: 288

    from Tacoma, WA

    Once you bench bleed the master you can open all 4 bleeders and leave the cap off of the master cylinder to "gravity bleed" the long as your MC is above the wheel cylinders/calipers. Leave the bleeders open, make sure the MC is full and go have a beer or five, when you come back you should have fluid dripping from the bleeders. Close the bleeders and start from the RR then LR the RF then LF as usual. It will save you a lot of leg effort doing it this way rather than trying to purge all of that air with your foot.

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  7. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 6,041


    Not to start shit but I disagree with the silicone fluid suggestion. It's incompatible with regular fluid and, though water doesn't mix, if it does get in it pools somewhere and corrodes. Pain in the ass that stuff.
  8. mustang6147
    Joined: Feb 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,847

    from Kent, Ohio

    On a virgin system, I bench bleed the M/C, then install it, with the lid off or loose, I open the furthest bleeder. Normally RR. The once fluid comes out, I go to LR, the RF the LF.... I let gravity have at it first, it makes it easier, to me anyways...
  9. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,299


    Drum brake usually do not gravity. That is part of what the check valve in the cylinder does.
  10. cryobug
    Joined: Jun 6, 2005
    Posts: 362


    I always fill the master cylinder and then pull a vacuum at each wheel until I get fluid to it and then I bleed them the old fashion way.
  11. Crazy Legs
    Joined: Sep 3, 2008
    Posts: 266

    Crazy Legs

    Sounds great guys,
    I wondered about the gravity filling them to get the majority of the air out.
    I'll probably stick with the DOT4 just cuz its what i've always used and it seems to work really well.
    Yes the M/C is above all 4 brakes and mounted on the firewall.
    I've got a vacuum bleeder I always seem to fight but it might work really well for this app.
    Thanks again guys, I appreciate it!
  12. Vacuum bleeding is the best at first then a few pump & bleed till the pedal is firm.
  13. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    from NB Canada

    Agreed. I do the same for any bleed job, vacuum pump is helpful also if they won't gravity bleed.
  14. fortynut
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,038


    Double ditto on what mustang6147 posted. Make sure you keep checking the fluid level in the master cylinder and top off as needed. Have a 2nd person pump. "I'm holding," from them indicates the same. "OK, you can let it off," works well for the one doing the bleeding, after the valve is opened, and the fluid exits, and the valve is re-tightened. Sounds simple, I know. But, if you use someone who has no idea of exactly what's going on, like your wife, you need to k.i.s.s.
  15. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531


    I bought a Phoenix brake bleeder that pushes fluid from the wheel to the MC and it works great. All of the air gets pushed into the MC and you don't have to bench bleed. They make a metal one for pro shops and a simple plastic unit for home use. I think it was about $75.
  16. Jpriebe66
    Joined: Jul 12, 2011
    Posts: 141


    Nice thing about the Phoenix system is that you are pushing the air out of the lines UP toward the MC where mother natures wants it to go already rather than trying to force the air DOWN and out the wheel cylinders. I've used mine on my last two cars, that is a firm pedal!

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  17. I never had that problem with drum brakes, older fellow taught me about gravity bleeding about 50 years ago, gravity still worked for me a couple months ago.

    Residual valves are free flow out, pressure is retained on the way back.
  18. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547


    only problems I have with gravity flow is like on the old pontiacs and chevys where its lower than the MC , then I use a pressure pot to bleed it out never put vacum on a system as it can pull the seal lips in at the wheel cylinders causing a air leak that will not disapear . pressure out is how they designed the system .
  19. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 36,075


  20. Make yourself one of these and you will never fight another brake system when bleeding it.

    I have a steel tank made by K-D Tools that they no longer offer similar to this. I make threaded adapters to fit the master cylinders on older cars and use the flat plate with the rubber gasket and clamp that came with my tank on more modern systems. Add fluid to the tank, add a 5 PSI of air once it is connected to your master cylinder then got to each wheel and open the bleeder. I usually put a piece of clear tubing on the bleeder and catch the fluid in a jar. It is a one man job to bleed the entire system and takes about 20 minutes. I've been using mine for over thirty years and wouldn't bleed a system any other way.
  21. Christom
    Joined: Nov 3, 2011
    Posts: 217


    Totally agree! Good top quality regular type fluid - change it 3 years or so and no problems to be had.
  22. bulletproof1
    Joined: Feb 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,080

    from tulsa okla

    99% of the time I work alone... when I bleed brakes ,I fill the master, then open the right rear bleeder, then go do some other stuff,, after a few minutes it will start dripping, close it.. then open the left rear,after it drips ,close and move to the right front, then the left. it does speed up to bench bleed the master... make sure and keep an eye on the fluid level...

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