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Gravity bleeding brakes #4976311
01/11/19 04:32 PM
01/11/19 04:32 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 2,492
The Northeast
mclasser Offline OP
mclasser  Offline OP
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 2,492
The Northeast
I've usually let my indy shop handle brake fluid changes but the Accord will need front brakes in the coming future and I thought I'd DIY the fluid as well.

I've watched YT vids on the different ways to do this and I feel the most comfortable with gravity bleeding. I know it takes some time, but it doesn't need special equipment and seems to work very well. I don't want to do a traditional pedal bleed and possibly damage the 16 yr old master cylinder. Here are my questions about GB:

- Does the MC cap need to be open or closed during the process?
- Can I crack open all 4 bleeders at once?
- Besides being less messy, is it necessary to fit a tube over the bleeders, or I can I just let them drip bare?
- Do I have to pump up the brakes before cracking the bleeders?
- Do I have to touch the pedal at all during the process?

Any tips you guys can offer will be very appreciated. Thank you!



2018 Hyundai Elantra VE
2013 Honda Pilot EX-L 4WD
2002 Honda Accord EX-L

Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976329
01/11/19 04:57 PM
01/11/19 04:57 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,223
VW Fanboy Island
maxdustington Offline
maxdustington  Offline
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,223
VW Fanboy Island
Waste of time imo. Makes bleeding the brakes a real chore.

Gravity: safe but SLOW
two-man: high potential for damage without an experienced foot.

Vacuum is the safest. Might not be perfect but you can always vacuum the junk out and then use another method for the finishing touches.

Power bleeding is the best but not everyone bleeds enough brakes to own one. A vacuum extractor is much more versatile and makes sense for a DIYer to own.

EDIT: Cap open, I am curious if cracking all four at once is better than a single circuit at a time? Just pull the cap, crack the bleeder(s) and let it drip if you want. A hose on the bleeder makes the progress visible. I wouldn't really want brake fluid dripping everywhere, I'm pretty sure I have brake fluid spots on my car from being clumsy with a hose or my hands.

Last edited by maxdustington; 01/11/19 05:00 PM.

03 Jetta AWP/09A 205k kms
Edge 0W40 + Mann 719/30
Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976337
01/11/19 05:01 PM
01/11/19 05:01 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,144
The Midwest
skyactiv Offline
skyactiv  Offline
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,144
The Midwest

full-55018-2194-dsc_0036.jpg

Wife: 15' Audi A4 quattro 6 speed manual
Me: 13' VW GTI 3 door 6 speed manual
Wanted: 2019 Ford Ranger
Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976339
01/11/19 05:03 PM
01/11/19 05:03 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 31,270
NY
demarpaint Offline
demarpaint  Offline
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 31,270
NY
I've done it several times with good results. I remove brake fluid from the MC, being sure not to suck out too much and allow air into the brake lines, fill it to the top with fresh fluid and cap it. I do the rear wheels first, keeping an eye on the MC and topping up as needed. When done with the rear, tighten up the bleeders put on the wheels and move to the front. I don't touch the brake petal. You can put a hose on the bleeders, I do that and put a large oil catch pan under the rotor. The hoses are cut long enough to clear the rotors and hang about an inch above the catch pan, I bottle it to give an idea of how much each caliper drained. The flow can be controlled via loosening or tightening the bleeder. Mine don't drain very fast. The job can be done with about a quart or so of brake fluid. I usually buy three quarts and do both my Jeeps on the same day.

Last edited by demarpaint; 01/11/19 05:07 PM.

God Bless Our Troops

Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976340
01/11/19 05:04 PM
01/11/19 05:04 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 347
Cheshire, England
barryh Offline
barryh  Offline
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 347
Cheshire, England
I've only ever gravity bled one wheel at once. I do use a short length of tube into a jar just to keep things clean although there is no need for the tube to be submerged in fluid. If you don't bleed into a jar you have no indication of how much fluid has been bled on that wheel. I keep the cap off the reservoir because you need to keep an eye on it and top it up. Don't touch the pedal at all, You will find a big difference between the flow rate between front and rear wheels with the rears taking much longer. Other extreme is gravity bleeding on the front brake of a motorcycle which is very quick. Low viscosity Dot 4 bleeds faster than the regular type.


Barry

1979 BMW R45 (Triple QX 5W40)
2009 Mercedes C180K (Shell Helix Ultra 5W40)
Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976342
01/11/19 05:07 PM
01/11/19 05:07 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,635
wv
krismoriah72 Online content
krismoriah72  Online Content
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,635
wv
Its going to be a small chore getting to all bleeders without removing the wheels. Unless your fluid is contaminated or cooked i would just do the turkey baster method and swap out 3/4 of the fluid a couple or few times.

Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976344
01/11/19 05:10 PM
01/11/19 05:10 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 6,486
MI
doitmyself Offline
doitmyself  Offline
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 6,486
MI
Be mindful that brake fluid can dissolve paint.

Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976353
01/11/19 05:18 PM
01/11/19 05:18 PM
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 3,882
Columbus,Nebraska
Yah-Tah-Hey Offline
Yah-Tah-Hey  Offline
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 3,882
Columbus,Nebraska
Install Russell Speed Bleeders.

Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976385
01/11/19 06:02 PM
01/11/19 06:02 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 309
South Carolina (SC)
RyanY Offline
RyanY  Offline
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 309
South Carolina (SC)
This is the easiest method I have found for replacing fluid or bleeding brakes. My Honda is not back to front, so yours may also have a unique sequence.

https://youtu.be/ag-Q_lP0dOk


2007 Cadillac CTS 3.6L >117k miles (Castrol Magnatec 5W-30 + AC Delco filter)

2012 Honda Odyssey EX-L >93k miles (Pennzoil Platinum 0W-20 + Fram Ultra filter)
Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: skyactiv] #4976391
01/11/19 06:11 PM
01/11/19 06:11 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 13,056
Central NY
Miller88 Offline
Miller88  Offline
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 13,056
Central NY

This absolutely!


18 Forester 2.5I 6M
00 Jeep XJ
01 F-350 4x4 5M
Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976417
01/11/19 06:31 PM
01/11/19 06:31 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 481
Ajax,Ontario, Canada
Pelican Offline
Pelican  Offline
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 481
Ajax,Ontario, Canada
Your life depends on those brakes! Do you feel qualified to gamble with it?

Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976425
01/11/19 06:38 PM
01/11/19 06:38 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 667
Hawaii, USA
anndel Online content
anndel  Online Content
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 667
Hawaii, USA
You get many different procedures so I'll add mine which is a little faster than gravity.

- Start with the farthest wheel and I use a Mityvac vacuum system.
- Remove the MC cover then use a turkey baster and remove some fluid but do not empty and introduce air into the system.
- Remove the wheel, connect the hose to the bleeder then loosen bleeder.
- Pump several times (make sure valve on Mityvac is on vacuum not pressure (can act as a pump on some models).
- Check MC and make sure to keep topped off with fresh brake fluid. Make sure you use fluid your vehicle specifies.
- Pump until fluid is clear and keep MC topped off.
- Go to the next farthest and repeat.
- Check the FSM as you may have to bleed the ABS as well.
- Rinse any spilled fluid on paint with water as it will eat paint.


1993 Toyota 4x4 p/u, 2.4L 22RE 4 cyl - M1 EP 10W-30, Fram UG Filter
2005 Toyota Avalon XL, 3.5L V6, PP HM 5W-30, Yota OEM Filter
2014 Toyota Tacoma 4.0L V6, Amsoil SS5W-30, Yota OEM Filter
Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976478
01/11/19 07:43 PM
01/11/19 07:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 468
Suburban Washington DC
atikovi Offline
atikovi  Offline
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 468
Suburban Washington DC
I use vacuum but gravity works fine too. I would remove the reservoir and clean it first to get off to a good start.

Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: mclasser] #4976504
01/11/19 08:11 PM
01/11/19 08:11 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 716
MN
14Accent Offline
14Accent  Offline
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 716
MN
How are you going to hurt the MC by doing a 2 person bleed? Is it because the MC stroke is longer than normal so the seals might catch on some lip in the bore?

I've never once ruined a MC by doing a two person bleed, even on old cars. The only time I've had an issue is when the car comes in with a blown component that caused complete fluid loss. Master's don't like being run dry, but as long as you keep the fluid full I don't see the issue.


2013 Chevrolet Volt - Saves enough in fuel to pay for itself!

2003 Cadillac Seville STS - The winter "beater", it uses the Volt's fuel
Re: Gravity bleeding brakes [Re: 14Accent] #4976512
01/11/19 08:20 PM
01/11/19 08:20 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 2,793
Central Maryland
HangFire Offline
HangFire  Offline
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 2,793
Central Maryland
Originally Posted by 14Accent
How are you going to hurt the MC by doing a 2 person bleed? Is it because the MC stroke is longer than normal so the seals might catch on some lip in the bore?

I guess... I've heard this about my Honda, so I put a chunk of 2x4 under the pedal to limit the stroke. It still bleeds just fine.

Also, I don't feel snookered by buying, and using, a Mity-Vac. It was all of $35, and I've already used it for more things than I count. Brake bleeding is just one thing. Yes, I use it along with a partner pushing on the brake pedal. The vacuum part just helps make sure I don't drip or leak.

That A1Auto video... pretty good, but I always use a box end wrench on the nipple. Rust belt and all that. A 12 point box end has always been OK here, but the one time I used an open end wrench (was in a hurry) I immediately rounded it off.


Various musings: http://hangfire.net
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