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Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes #5081595 04/21/19 10:55 AM
Joined: May 2013
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jims5600 Offline OP
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I was working on a 05 Buick Century for a relative. They worn the front pads down to metal,I mean
metal. Rotors of course where garbage. Right front went well with new rotors and pads. on the left
front (this was the worse side) the caliper piston was sticking out quite far, I had difficulty pushing in
that caliper piston. Anyway,the terrible squeal is gone but the stopping power seems weak to me.
The pedal is low,I bleed that caliper and it seemed to help some on pedal feel but not for the
stopping power. Im thinking I need to rebleed??? I have done alot of brake jobs and never experienced
this. In bleeding is the answer what is the quickest,easiest way to gravity bleed? Always work alone so
two person is out. Maybe something else is causing the low pedal and poor stopping?
Open to any and all suggestions.
Thanks For listening

Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: jims5600] #5081609 04/21/19 11:12 AM
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Reddy45 Offline
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If you are solo then you have no choice but to gravity bleed, or buy a Motive tool which can pressurize the master cylinder. If it's safe to do, you could also jack up the driver front corner of the car so that the brake fluid reservoir is higher up than the rest of the car, which may help with gravity bleeding.

You could also buy speed bleeders but doubt you'd do that for a relative's car.

Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: jims5600] #5081622 04/21/19 11:25 AM
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eljefino Offline
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I think that heap still has Delco ABS VI. http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=146855

You could try getting the ABS to run by braking on sand/gravel, might bump a bubble loose.

Take it for a spirited stopping drive and use an infared thermometer to see if both sides are roughly the same heat. Could have something binding in that caliper. Might be sticky, even, which explains the worn out brakes.

Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: jims5600] #5081630 04/21/19 11:36 AM
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slacktide_bitog Offline
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Speed bleeders are awesome smile

Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: jims5600] #5081658 04/21/19 12:01 PM
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Eddie Online Sleepy
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I have read that different vehicles have different bleeding sequences. Ed


2014 CX5 Touring 2.5L :-)
Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: jims5600] #5081700 04/21/19 12:49 PM
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WobblyElvis Offline
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The flexible brake hose to the caliper may have deteriorated inside and plugged up with a rubber mud. Usually this leads to the pads not retracting all the way and the brake dragging. Or maybe the line is bulging slightly when you apply pressure.

Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: jims5600] #5081717 04/21/19 01:05 PM
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mk378 Offline
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If you didn't open the hydraulic line you shouldn't need to bleed. Considering the situation it is likely there was something else wrong all along. Did you check the back brakes? Will the brakes lock up before the pedal reaches the floor? GM cars always seemed to have a "low pedal" to me but they do stop.

Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: jims5600] #5081985 04/21/19 06:04 PM
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Trav Offline
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Rear disc or drum?


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: Trav] #5081988 04/21/19 06:06 PM
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jims5600 Offline OP
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Rear disc

Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: jims5600] #5082144 04/21/19 08:21 PM
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Trav Offline
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That's good, no rear horseshoes to mess with. If you did not open the system I doubt air is the cause for a low pedal, check the brake hoses for softness.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: jims5600] #5082347 04/22/19 03:38 AM
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Lubener Offline
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Wouldn't doubt if the caliper pistons are hanging up some. They were extended out for a long period, corrosion sets in and you mentioned piston on left was difficult to retract.


The "thinking" man's friend.
Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: jims5600] #5082459 04/22/19 07:40 AM
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supton Offline
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If it took force to push the piston back in, I'd suspect that caliper. Might be time to replace those front calipers.

Recently my truck seemed to have awful brakes. Upon disassembly I found that the front pads were frozen in place (it sits a lot). I wonder if your fronts, despite having free pads, just aren't doing anything.

I think HF has a hand actuated vacuum pump. When I've done brakes I've had reasonable success in gravity bleeding--just leave the bleeder off until it fills, insert bleeder, let it drain. I try to work fast so that the line is not disconnected for a long period of time. That gets most of the way but pulling a vacuum seems necessary, and it seems lately I have to the job twice. This past time I put some Sil-glyde on the bleeder threads so as to get a better seal on the bleeder for when I apply a vacuum. Oh and for some reason my truck needs to be driven after messing with the rear calipers, otherwise the pedal always goes to the floor. I don't know if air bubbles have to be jostled up or what, but a local mechanic told me that it was "normal" and that some cars just need to be driven a bit. Just an FYI in case the pedal keeps going down despite all the bleeding.

Cheapest method though is to just get some 1/4" ID PVC hose and let it drain into an empty soda bottle. Walmart has cheap brake fluid.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 189k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 153k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 211k, his
Re: Easiest Way to Gravity Bleed Brakes [Re: eljefino] #5082737 04/22/19 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by eljefino
I think that heap still has Delco ABS VI. http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=146855

You could try getting the ABS to run by braking on sand/gravel, might bump a bubble loose.

Take it for a spirited stopping drive and use an infared thermometer to see if both sides are roughly the same heat. Could have something binding in that caliper. Might be sticky, even, which explains the worn out brakes.

Any of the Delco and Kelsey-Hayes systems do need a Tech II or a capable aftermarket scan tool to "home" the modulator pistons or cycle the valves in order to bleed the ABS portion. I had to bleed a Delco VI system once, I forget how I got the system to do its homing routine without a scan tool.

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