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Bleeding The Brake System
When any part of the hydraulic system has been disconnected for repair or replacement, air enters the lines causing spongy pedal action (because air can be compressed and brake fluid cannot). To correct this condition, it is necessary to bleed the hydraulic system to ensure all air is purged.
Always begin bleeding the brake system from the furthest wheel cylinder or caliper from the master cylinder; the right rear.
The right side of the vehicle is the passenger side. The sides of the vehicle are determined from the driver's perspective. This reference is taken from sitting in the driver's seat, facing forward.
Maintain a full reservoir during the bleeding operation. Never use brake fluid that has been drained from the hydraulic system, or from an open container, no matter how clean it is. Always use brake fluid from a new, sealed container. The front and rear reservoir will drain as the front or rear brakes are bled.
- Park the vehicle on a level surface. Place the vehicle in PARK (automatic) or REVERSE (manual) with the engine OFF, and apply the parking brake. Chock the rear wheels to prevent vehicle movement.
NOTE: Wheel chocks may be purchased at your local auto parts store, or a block of wood cut into wedges may be used.
- Loosen the lugnuts from all four wheels, but do not remove the lugnuts until the vehicle is raised and supported properly.
- Use an approved jack and raise the vehicle high enough to place jack stands under all four corners of the vehicle. Place the jack stands under the frame or axles of the vehicle. Ensure that the front of the vehicle is raised higher than the rear.
- Remove the wheels from the vehicle.
- Clean all dirt from around the master cylinder fill cap. Remove the cap and fill the master cylinder with brake fluid until the level is within 1/4 in. (6mm) of the top edge of the reservoir.
- Clean the bleeder screws at all four wheels. The bleeder screws are located on the back of the brake backing plate (drum brakes) and at the top of the brake calipers (disc brakes).
- Attach a length of rubber hose over the bleeder screw and place the other end of the hose in a plastic jar.
- Have an assistant place and hold pressure on the brake pedal.
- Open the bleeder screw 1/2 - 3/4 turn. As the bleeder is opened, the brake pedal will travel to the floor. Have the assistant inform you when the pedal has bottomed out.
NOTE: Do not remove pressure from the brake pedal once it is bottomed out. No movement to the pedal should occur until the bleeder is closed and the assistant is made aware of the situation. Failure to do this will draw more air into the system.
- Close the bleeder screw and tell your assistant remove their foot from the brake pedal. Continue this process to purge all air from the system.
- When bubbles cease to appear at the end of the bleeder hose, tighten the bleeder screw and remove the hose.
- After bleeding each wheel, check the master cylinder fluid level and add fluid accordingly.
- Repeat the bleeding operation at the remaining three wheels, ending with the one closet to the master cylinder. The pattern is, RR, LR, RF, LF.
- Fill the master cylinder reservoir to the proper level and install the reservoir cap.