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How to bleed the brakes (any car)

Author: Madbrad
Date: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:55 am

When you change the pads/shoes and/or the fluid is dark then you might as well swap in new fluid. It's mandatory after a caliper or cylindar change, to remove air. This is done by bleeding.

Get a jar or similar container, and an approximately 2-3 foot length of clear flexible tubing, of the appropriate diameter to fit snugly on the brake bleed nipple. get a wrench to open and close the nipple. Sometimes a small pair of vice grips left on the nipple works. get the needed quantity of the correct fluid for your vehicle in a new unopened bottle.

Get a friend to sit in the driver's seat. Lift one corner and remove the wheel.

Optional-to cut the time a bit, use a turkey baster to nearly empty the reservoir and fill with new fluid. Make sure reservoir is properly closed.

Put one end of the tubing on the nipple which you will find somewhere at the top of the caliper or top of the back of a drum brake. Put the other end in the jar. Ideally the tube should be fastened to the jar. Make sure the end of the tube is at the very bottom of the jar. Put about a half inch of new fluid in the jar in case the tube sucks anything.

Have your friend pump the brakes 4-5 times, holding them on hard on the last pump. Open the nipple a bit by turning it out with the wrench, nott too far, just enough to let fluid out at a controlled rate. It's threaded like a bolt. Thanks to the friend's pressure, fluid will flow out the tube into the jar. the pedal will drop in the process. Ensure the friend does not lift the brake pedal as this will allow the tube to suck air back up and into the line. Close the nipple as soon as the friend says the pedal has hit bottom. Have friend lift pedal.

You will see that the fluid level in the reservoir has dropped. Top it off with new fluid. Ensure reservoir is properly closed before proceeding.

Now start all over again. Do it as many times as it takes until you see new fluid coming out the nipple.

The important things are to keep an eye on the level in the reservoir so you don't push air in, and that the friend never lifts the pedal while the nipple is open or presses it while the reservoir lid is open.

If you have a hand pump with adapters and a built in jar you can use it to suck the fluid down without an assistant, but I find on rusty calipers the threads of the nipple are so loose as to allow air to be drawn past the threads instead of the fluid.

That wheel is done. Put the wheel on, and do another wheel. Do all the wheels, or strictly speaking, you can just do the end of the car that got new pads/calipers, but don't let the other end go past its lifespan either.
Put the lid on your jar and take it to the hazardous waste depot. Buy a new turkey baster before anyone notices it's gone.
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