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how do YOU bleed brakes?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 49ratfink, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 16,183

    from California

    I hate bleeding brakes. always have.

    just did my 61 dodge last night. used a piece of rubber hose in a beer bottle, had my buddy pump while I bled. my hose fell off twice and squirted brake fluid all over me, and I managed to let the master cylinder run dry once which let air back in.

    I had those one way brake bleeder valves in one of my other cars. those seemed to work OK.

    it was getting late and I had enough brakes to stop the car so we quit for the night. ( not driving it yet) still need to go back and give it a few more tries, plus I really think I need to flush out some of the crud in there so the fliud comes out clean.

    lucky for me I have a lift, so I wasn't rolling around on the floor doing this, but it is still a pain in the ass.

    what do you guys do, and do you have any special equipment like bleeder hoses that won't pop off when you least expect it.
  2. umassjj
    Joined: Jan 4, 2011
    Posts: 45

    from MA

    I use a Mityvac. And even then, sometimes I'll yell from underneath the vehicle for my wife to come outside and step on the brakes a bit. Between those two, no problems.
    Joined: Feb 13, 2010
    Posts: 63

    from Virginia

    I vacuum bleed, starting closest to master cylinder and proceeding away to farthest. I use one of the hand vacuum pumps. Has always done me well.
    Joined: Sep 9, 2002
    Posts: 930


    get or make a pressure bleeder. the best thing ever. Oh and they make hose ends that are specifically for fitting on bleeder screws.
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  5. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 38,751


    I have been using a power bleeder that I got from NAPA about 10 years ago. Its called a MightyVac cost me about 14 bucks back then. it works like a champ. You plug it on and squeeze a little handle it dumps into a jar so you can go back and dump it back into the master cylinder if you want.

    I have a real expensive one in the big tool box that belonged to the Ol' Man but I have never used it.

    Power bleeder is the only way to go.
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 37,019


    get my wife to push the pedal, do it outside, rinse everything off with the garden hose when I'm done.
    Joined: Dec 16, 2008
    Posts: 2,515


  8. PhilJohnson
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 906


    For me it depends on the location of the master cylinder. If it is up on the firewall I gravity bleed. I crack all four and walk away for a while, checking up the fluid level of the master cylinder every 10 minutes or so and add as needed. I then surf the net, or eat a snack. After about an hour or so I tighten them up and viola, I'm ready to roll. If the master is under the floor boards I can't be quite so lazy. I have to find a willing helper and bleed the brakes the old fashioned way.
  9. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 13,401


    Jar, hose, and helper. Same way my Grandfather showed me how to do it as a wee lad. Never a problem, yet.
  10. Wives are good for something once in a while... once you educate them on the fine points of brake bleeding.. more reason to keep them around aside from standing around and looking pretty...

    Mine has been the pedal person for the last 25 years or so.

  11. chubbie
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,098


    i use a large syringe from the veterinarian and a peice of small hose. 2- 3 dollars, and works 10 times better than a mighty vac.!!!! now if your MC is on the fire wall finish with gravity. open the MC and crack the bleeders one at a time. let them drip s l o w l y. if none of this works, you may still have a leak somewhere
  12. rustyford40
    Joined: Nov 20, 2007
    Posts: 2,170

    from Mass Bay

    I use a hand held vacuum pump. And I start at the furthest away from the master cylinder.
  13. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,835


    FWIW I've tired the 2 person pumping method, mity vac, power suction compressor driven deal, and finally I just use speed bleeders and a plastic coke bottle with some plastic hose I got from home depot for a few bucks.

    I just do the slow strokes and keep an eye on the mc level.

    I used to hate bleeding brakes, but since i've had to do it a million times converting my rears to disc and switching masters, etc I've gotten so I can knock it out pretty quick.

    Actuallyl I still hate doing it I'm just faster :D

    With a new master after I've bench bled it(I use these plastic syringes from riteaid to inject fluid into the ports-works for me since i've never had any luck with those damn hoseback into the reservoir-always shoots everywhere) basically I can just pump each corner until the reservioir has gotten close to empty once or twice, loook under the car and make sure the lake of fluid isn't too huge and it looks like the air bubbles are gone-and keep going around.

    I'm still pissed at how fast my $30 mityvac fell apart , and those stupid 1 man brake bleeding kits from the parts store that don't hold any fluid at all and always fall off the dumb magnet.

    Speed bleeders continue to be the best money I've ever spent when it comes to brake systems. Genious, those things are.
  14. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,835


    I got one off ebay for a horse, cost $5 or so. I use it on the MC but didn't think about trying it out on the wheel cylinders. Gotta be better than that damn mityvac!!!!
  15. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 16,183

    from California

    seems like I had a mighty vac around here somewhere, but last time l used it to check a vacuum advance it was all vacuumed out.
  16. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 38,751


    I would gladly loan you mine but I never leave my neighborhood. :D

    My little brother used to crack all his bleeder valves rock the peddle to get it started and then go away for a few hours. But that won't work on one with the master under the floor board. I don't recall him ever owning one with the master under the floor, he liked '60s cars.
  17. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,431

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    cut em with a sharp knife.

    serioulsy though, I have never needed to use a Vac. to bleed brakes in my life.
  18. davedeltadog
    Joined: Aug 8, 2008
    Posts: 174


    I'm with you brother, just open the bleeders and walk away for a while and it takes care of itself.
  19. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,313


    Yup, my method too. EVERYONE in my house ('cept the dogs) are well versed in the 'pump', 'hold', 'okay' commands. My stepdaughter has been helping me bleed brakes since she was strong enough to push the pedal.
  20. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,672


    Whatever you do don't take the Drums off while bleeding!!! :D
  21. headrust
    Joined: Jan 9, 2010
    Posts: 12

    from MN

  22. Iceberg460
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 880


    Pressure bleeder (BG brake flush machine) for me. Seals to the M/C cap and forces brake fluid through the whole system. Start cracking the bleeder on the RR, then LR, RF, then LF wheels. Takes all of 5 minutes to flush out all the old fluid and air from the system, or about 1 min. to blead one wheel if thats all your doing.
  23. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,114


    I use a piece of hose that fits the bleeder. ( window washer hose) Run it into a clear jar, half full of brake fluid. Open the bleeder and pump the brakes till no bubbles come out. 99% of the time it works. No helper involved. All stuff from the scrap pile.
  24. MAD MIKE
    Joined: Aug 1, 2009
    Posts: 184

    from 94577

    Tried the two man, I've never been able to get a helper who 'gets it'. Communication always seems to fall apart. How hard is it to get the ole " Open... Down... Closed... Up" chatter going? Apparently its very hard.
    Gravity bleeding has worked for me in the past, but it just takes all damn day. I finally broke down and bought a Lisle brand vacuum pump with the one man bleeder kit. With the exception of having to break down the pump every now and then to clean it and relube it with mineral oil, its trouble free.

    I learned the hard way a couple of times that some MCs even when new, can be failed by bottoming out the piston:mad: If the piston in the MC is pushed beyond its normal travel the built up crud, where the piston normally does not travel, can tear up the seal. With a new MC, depending on the port configuration, the freshly machined bore may have a port with a slight lip that can slice the seal. Depending on the amount of pedal travel I put a 2x4 or 4x4 under the pedal to prevent bottoming out.

    If the car has a booster, I pump the brakes to remove the assist. I then take a mental note of how hard/soft the pedal is. If I'm feeling really anal, I'll measure pedal travel.
    Before even touching the brakes I make sure that none of the wheel cylinders are not leaking or wet. And check the bleeder screws as well. They will often be full of crud and will need to be removed and cleaned before you can bleed the brakes.
    -Pop open the MC, and with a turkey baster, remove all the old fluid from the reservoir, and remove all the crud at the bottom.
    -Refill the MC with new quality fluid, don't ever reuse old, or opened bottles of brake fluid.
    -Starting at the wheel farthest from the MC I begin to bleed. RR, LR, RF, LF.
    -The small cup that comes with the bleeder kit is just the right size. Once it's full it's time to top off the MC again.
    -I keep bleeding the longest run first, until no more crud is floating in the fluid. Even if the fluid is clear there will still be bits of junk, rust, crap floating. The clear hose is key for this.
    -Once clean/clear fluid comes out, I switch to the LR from the RR. Then run up front to the RF and finally LF.

    Things that have bitten me in the ass over the years:
    -Helpers who can't keep track of what to say or do.
    -Bottoming out the MC.
    -Purchasing a 'rebuilt' MC over a new unit, or R&R'n the old one myself.
    -Not checking the bleeder screws are clear.
    -Not checking the self adjusters are working correctly. You will always get a soft pedal if the adjusters crapped out.
    -Not making sure the wheel cylinder pistons/cups move freely.
    -Using old hose to bleed the brakes, and it does not seal against the nipple.

    The three things you need to check for with the vacuum pump/bleed cups.
    Make sure the pump is well lubed and capable of pulling 20inHg.
    Make sure the hoses used for bleeding have not hardened or softened.
    Make sure the bleeder cups lid seals to the cup, a bit of wheel grease helps there.
    Never let brake fluid enter the vacuum pump.
  25. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 13,401


    Oh sure, now you tell 'em!;)
  26. yblock292
    Joined: Oct 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,938


    i too hate bleeding brakes, best i've found , welded a air hose nipple in the top of a junk MC lid, put about 5 PSI in it, and go around and crack the bleeder valves,works great but gotta be careful not to run outta brake fluid while you do it.
  27. Thats my method, I also find the brake fluid helps to clean the oil off the driveway from last months oil change !
  28. henryj429
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,026


    I did my Zephyr on the weekend. I did all 4 with the Mityvac first, then had my wife help to re-check them all the old way. The mityvac gets the bulk of the air out quick, but it won't find a leak because it will suck air through the leak rather than drip fluid. With the old way, a leak become obvious very quickly.
  29. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 569


    Check out Headrust's post and make your own pressure bleeder, his link described almost exactly the same thing that I did about three years ago. He got a better price on some of his parts so he assembled it a little cheaper but came up with basically the same device. Good Job Headrust!!!!
  30. Merlin
    Joined: Apr 9, 2005
    Posts: 2,520

    from Inman, SC

    I used to do the two person thing but I use speed bleeders on everything now.

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