Brake Bleeding - The Easy Way

Bleeding brakes can be a real pain. You can spend lots of time only to end up with mushy brakes from leftover air bubbles, and have a big mess to clean too. We at desertmx.com donít believe in doing anything the hard way when there is an easier way.

The first thing I tried, with limited success, was a $30 brake bleeder, Mity-vac or something like that. It seems like it should work well, all you do is hook it up to the bleed bolt and suck out the old fluid. In reality, it didnít work so well. I still had to keep tightening and loosening the bleed bolt, the tube kept popping off the bleeder, and if I set it down the vac would ingest fluid Ė maybe this could be made to work, bit for my $30 it was a disappointment and a waste.

Apparently some people have had success with it, as I found several pages dealing with this tool:
http://www.xs11.com/tips/maintenance/maint6.shtml
http://www.bmwmoc.org/gallery/BrakeClinic99/Brakes.htm

The "Sucky" Mity-Vac

So, with $30 down the drain and the aggravation the Mity-Vac had created, I made a visit to the workshop  refrigerator to contemplate this "bleeding of the brakes". 12 ounces (or so) later I had regained my thoughts and questioned... If the best things in life are free, perhaps the best solutions to problems such as brake bleeding are free too?

 I recalled hearing something about using tubing with a loop in it to easily bleed brakes, so set out to try for myself Ö

I had just purchased some ľ inch inside diameter clear tubing for my gas line, and had a bunch left over. Also present in my workshop was some electrical tape, an empty bottle of water, and small hose clamp.

The clear tubing Electrical tape Water bottle Small hose clamp

 

Securely fasten tube to bottle
Start off by taping the tube securely to the water bottle using the electrical tape, or duct tape would work nicely!
The all important loop
The expertly crafted loop once again held together with electrical tape. Don't forget about the small hose clamp.

 

For the Rear Brake

Ok, you don't have to remove the rear wheel to bleed the brakes, but since the bike was already torn down for other maintenance it was a good time to bleed the brakes. Notice in the picture the hose attached to the brake bleed bolt with the expertly designed loop held in place with the electrical tape. Also make notice of the wood block used to securely hold the water bottle. Perhaps the most important thing to notice is the top of the loop is above the level of the bleed bolt and the bottom of the loop is below. Also be certain the end of the tube and container is below the level of the bleed bolt.

For the Front Brake

Again notice the positioning of the loop and reservoir container. It is difficult to tell but make certain that the same rules used for the rear brakes apply for the correct positioning of the tube and container.


Getting the Job Done

Now to actually bleed the brakes all you will need to do is open up the bleeder valve, continue to pump the brake lever until all the old fluid is drained out into the waste container and all that is coming out is clear, then finish it up by closing the bleeder valve and topping off the brake reservoir. You should end up with clear fluid in the brakes and the nasty stuff in the bottle. Of course pay no attention to the label on the bottle as "purity" is no longer guaranteed!

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