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Brake Fluid Change


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#1 CapitalTruck

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 07:40 PM

Has anyone done a full brake fluid change on their own? Do you just open the bleed valves and pump the brakes while somebody else is pouring new, clean fluid into the resevoir? It's been two years and I think it's time for a change. I would like to do it myself, is it this easy?

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#2 pm26

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 08:00 PM

Here is is best way to do it.. Get a 4 ft long piece of clear plastic tubing that will slip tightly over the caliper or wheel brake cylinder bleeder valve nipple. Place the other end of the tubing in a 1 quart bottle partially filled with clean brake fluid. Crack the bleeder valve open about 3/4 of a turn. Remove the cap or cover from the brake master cylinder. Get in the vehicle and pump the brake pedal about five times. Before you do this, make sure that the plastic tubing is firmly attached to the bleeder vavle nipple, and the other end is fully SUBMERGED in the bottle with some brake fluid in it (do not use the original brake fluid container that you buy).

Check the fluid in the plastic bottle - you should see some darker fluid being expelled. Top off the master cylinder with clean fresh brake fluid. Press the brake pedal and release five more times. This should purge all old fluid from one caliper or wheel cylinder. Repeat this process for all brake calipers(or wheel cylinders if you have rear drum brakes). Do only one caliper/wheel cylinder at a time, starting with the one farthest away from the brake master cylinder (this would be the right rear wheel one).

After pumping the pedal about ten times for each bleeder, tighten the bleeder, replenish the brake fluid in the master cylinder before going to the next one.

This is a one man method of bleeding the brakes;. It works very well if done correctly. Just make sure the tubing fits tightly on the bleeder nipple, make sure the other end stays fully submerged in the brake fluid in the bottle. Take care that the bottle does not tip over (secure it upright). Do not open the bleeder valve too far to prevent air from being sucked in.

Fresh brake fluid should be light honey color, the old brake fluid is usually dark brown. Dark brown fluid indicates it is time to bleed the brakes. Be careful not to overtighten the bleeder screws. Just tighten them snugly. Mke sure you get the correct brake fluid for the truck - probably DOT 3. DOT4 is the same chemical base as DOT 3, but has a higher boiling point. Do not use DOT5 silicone brake fluid unless the vehicle is specifically configured for it.

Edited by pm26, 27 October 2006 - 08:05 PM.


#3 Mr. Smith

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 10:51 PM

Has anyone done a full brake fluid change on their own?  Do you just open the bleed valves and pump the brakes while somebody else is pouring new, clean fluid into the resevoir?  It's been two years and I think it's time for a change.  I would like to do it myself, is it this easy?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I use my bleeder that uses compressed air to vacuum the fluid out. It has a filler can that will automatically keep the reservoir full. Holds about a quart. I don't pump brakes anymore.

#4 C & A s Dad

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 11:13 PM

Pete, this sounds like a good method for one man. I elected to draw my fluid out of my m cyl resevoir with a suction gun and refill it with new Valvoline SynPro fluid. I did this and then drove the truck for about a week and did it again. I then drove it for another week or two and did it again. Each time the fluid would be clean after I did it and over the next week or so, you could see it get a little darker. After the 2nd or 3rd time, it stayed clean (honey colored).

I realize this likely did not flush it as well as your method but it is still nice and clean in the reservoir. Valvoline claims their SynPro fluid is better than std fluid at resisting moisture which is the enemy of brake fluid.
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#5 az'03Silverado

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 11:30 PM

I had Sears do it when they rotated my tires. Took them 20 minutes and I didn't get my hands dirty.
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#6 CapitalTruck

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 12:08 PM

Thanks for advice guys, I think I'll use the four foot tubing method. That was kind of my plan. I'll bring a buddy of mine out with me to make sure stuff stays submerged/doesn't tip over.

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#7 pm26

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 07:47 PM

Pete, this sounds like a good method for one man. I elected to draw my fluid out of my m cyl resevoir with a suction gun and refill it with new Valvoline SynPro fluid. I did this and then drove the truck for about a week and did it again. I then drove it for another week or two and did it again. Each time the fluid would be clean after I did it and over the next week or so, you could see it get a little darker. After the 2nd or 3rd time, it stayed clean (honey colored).

I realize this likely did not flush it as well as your method but it is still nice and clean in the reservoir. Valvoline claims their SynPro fluid is better than std fluid at resisting moisture which is the enemy of brake fluid.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The main purpose for flushing the oild brake fluid out and replacing it with new fluid is that DOT 3 and DOT 4 fluid are glycol based and hygroscopic, i.e. they attract moisture which will dissolve in the fluid and start corrodin the interior of the brake parts, such as lines and calipers. By sucking out just master cylinder brake fluid you ar enot replacing the brake fluid in lines and calipers/wheel cylinders.

There are several methods for bleeding the brakes:

using a power bleeder (shops normally use this method

two man manual bleeding by having one person open and close the bleeder valve and another person pumping the pedal. This can be messy if the brake fluid is allowed to squirt from the bleeder under pressure

one man bleeding method as descibed using vinyl tubing. It is the cheapest and cleanest method, as nothing gets spilled, and eliminates possibility of sucking in air into lines if the helper in the two man bleeding forgets to close the bleeder and the brake pedal is released

one man bleeding method using a vacuum pump. This has never worked well for me.



And LOL, that vinyl tubing does not have to be exactly 4 ft long. Make it as long as necessary to reach the bottle with brake fluid. It is important to buy the right diameter tubing which slips tightly over the bleeder nipple. The beauty of this technique is that it makes no mess as brake fluid does not squirt all over the place, and all you need is a piece of vinyl tubing which will cost probably a dollar at Ace hardware, and an old clear plastic or glass bottle. And the tubing and the bottle do not even have to be clean - as you ar enot going to use the old fluid or suck the dirty fluid back in.

Edited by pm26, 28 October 2006 - 07:52 PM.


#8 Midwest GMC

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 09:05 PM

I have a Motive pressure bleeder I used on my Corvette, It worked great. My Gmc is next. :cheers:

#9 dewfpo

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 11:49 PM

I have a Motive pressure bleeder I used on my Corvette, It worked great. My Gmc is next. :cool:

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X2, The Motive Power Bleeder is a piece of cake and pays for itself the first time you use it.

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#10 Lancer033

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 04:41 AM

I've used speedbleeders on my corvette for the last 3 years and will put them on my truck as soon as I get it. Just losen the bleeder 1/4 turn, put a rubber tube over it and pump the brakes.

http://speedbleeder.com/

Edited by Lancer033, 29 October 2006 - 04:43 AM.


#11 C & A s Dad

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 09:31 PM

Pete, I guess my thinking in pulling the fluid from the MCyl and driving it a week or so was that the fuild that is in the lines does get circulated into the M cyl at some point. I know it does not get back into the reservoir instantly but after a week or so of driving I would think it would be mixed pretty good.

I have not attempted to bleed the brakes on a late model veh with ABS and have heard horror stories of some who have. I guess I just need to either bite the bullet and try it or take it to a prof tech and let him do it.

Thanks for the info.
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#12 asilverblazer

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 10:04 PM

I used the two person method. Sucked all old fluid from reservoir and added new. Opened the bleeder valve had a professional assistant (Ok, it was just my wife) pump the brakes, starting with right rear, left rear, right front, left front. Topping off the reservoir as needed. It took many pumps to get the old out, upwards of 30 at the right rear. I noticed a much better pedal feel too.
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#13 pm26

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 11:49 PM

Pete, I guess my thinking in pulling the fluid from the MCyl and driving it a week or so was that the fuild that is in the lines does get circulated into the M cyl at some point. I know it does not get back into the reservoir instantly but after a week or so of driving I would think it would be mixed pretty good.

I have not attempted to bleed the brakes on a late model veh with ABS and have heard horror stories of some who have. I guess I just need to either bite the bullet and try it or take it to a prof tech and let him do it.

Thanks for the info.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The fluid from the caliper and lines does not get back to the master cylinder. There is no return circuit. The fluid does not flow - it merely gets pressurized to move a piston in the caliper or wheel cylinder very slightly.




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