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[47.8a] Bleeding brakes (manual method)

Manual Bleed Method
From: Keith Hughes
Year(s):  All
Model/Type:  Vanagon
Bentley Page(s):  47.8a
Symptom(s):  Spongy Brakes

Clearly a pressure bleeder is the way to go if you must do the job by
yourself. But, the only reason you "go round and round and round,
trying to get a better pedal" is because you're making *the* most common
mistake with brake bleeding...PUMPING the pedal. Pumping does two
things, pressurize the system, and foam the brake fluid. It's the
foaming part that screws up the whole process and keeps you from
efficiently removing the air. The quick, easy, foolproof method is:

1. Fill the MC with fluid.
2. Start at the bleeder farthest from the MC, i.e. right rear.
3. Open the bleeder first.
4. *Slowly* (allows you to see what's going on in step 7) depress the
brake pedal and HOLD. DO NOT depress the pedal all the way to the floor. This can damage the master cyl. See Comments section.
5. Close the bleeder.
6. Release the brake pedal.
7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 until you get clear, clean, fluid for two
or three iterations.
8. Repeat the process for LR, RF, then LF wheels. Make sure you do
step 1 a lot.

I've done hundreds of vehicles this way, and you never have to do it
twice unless the MC has a problem (or you forget step one).

Keith Hughes
'86 Westy Tiico (Marvin)

NOTE: Edited to correct pedal travel while bleeding.

See Comments on this entry (F.W.I.W.)

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