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brake fluid change


zzzz1486's Avatar
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03-25-05, 03:11 PM   #1  
brake fluid change

I want to change my brake fluid on a 93 grand am 18k miles, original brakes and fluid. How do i do this? just open the bleeder screws and add more fluid? How much fluid does it take and how do i know when ive changed it all?

Thanks,
Bill

 
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03-25-05, 07:19 PM   #2  
The best thing to do is use a brake bleeder. But there are more conservative and cheaper methods. If you just open the brake bleeders and let them drip it could take forever, especially since you say the brake fluid has been in there for 12 years. Plus it will likely cause air to get in the system. It should have been changed 6 times by now. But not many people do it near that often. You can get a MityVac from any parts store and use it to pull vacuum through the brake lines, by hooking it up at the bleeders. It will go very quick this way and will be much less likely to introduce any air to the system. If you dont have a brake bleeder then after you get the fluid changed I would suggest you get a helper to help you bleed the brakes to make sure you dont have any air in there.
Hope this helps ya,
Billy

 
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03-25-05, 09:52 PM   #3  
thanks Billy

I just bought the car a few weeks ago from my grandma and I am hoping it will last me through college so I am in the process of doing some preventative maintenance on it.

Do you know around how much a mityvac costs?

 
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03-26-05, 04:13 AM   #4  
They start around $40.00 and go up from there. You can also get the same thing at Sears, but its probably going to be a little more expensive. With that few miles and that many years, you should pay real close attetion to all of your fluids, hoses and belts and the such.
Good Luck with it,
Billy

 
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03-31-05, 09:06 AM   #5  
a cheap start is to suck out the old fluid in the top with a $1 turkey baster and top it back off then drive till you can do it correctly, the fresh brake fluid does help to start cleaning the old crud out

 
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03-31-05, 09:22 AM   #6  
Changing the fluid in the master cylinder only changes the fluid in the master cylinder, it does nothing for the calipers. But it's a good start to any brake flush, though.

There's a couple of ways to change the fluid. Everytime I try using the vacuum method, air gets past the bleeder screw, so I don't recommend using vacuum methods.

I always use a clear length of hose attached to the bleeder to see what's going on. If the fluid is 12 years old, you should see when the clear new fluid replaces the dark old fluid.

You can use a two-man method, whwere you open and close the bleeder screw while a helper is slowly pumping at the pedal. I sometimes use a one-man method where I crack open the bleeder just a bit and pump away at the pedal. There's enough resistance on the return stroke so most of the fluid movement is outward. The clear length of hose prevents any air getting slurped back into the system. It has always worked for me.

For reference, one car of mine specifies 250 ml bled from each wheel every two years. One liter should do the job. I believe this is generous and you may not need the whole liter, but it's a good reference point.

Total cost: one liter brake fluid + 2 ft of clear hose, not bad for a student on a budget!

Make sure the master cylinder never runs dry!

 
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03-31-05, 09:36 AM   #7  
i did mean the crud that builds up in the mastercyl. most will bottom out the brake pedal and mess-up the seal's inside,(when bleeding) then a month later it goes out

 
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03-31-05, 11:23 AM   #8  
It's a little more complicated than that. First, I usually buy one of the large containers of brake fluid and that is enough for the whole job. I guess its about 32 oz size. Second thing I do is a little cheat, I suck a lot of the old fluid out of the master cylinder with a turkey baster (i've used paper towels before too to soak it up, just don't get any on the paint). Don't go all the way to the bottom with it, just close. Then fill with new fluid (keep the lid off the master cylinder during the process). Go to the wheel with the longest brake line (usually right rear). Open the bleeder screw there. If you are concerned with getting brake fluid wherever you are doing this, connect a tube to the bleeder screw and empty into a jar. Once the screw is open, have someone depress the brake pedal as you are at the screw. MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT GO UP WITH THE PEDAL AT ALL UNTIL YOU SAY ITS OK. When the brake pedal is almost to the floor, have them tell you but not let go. You then tighten the bleeder screw. Once the screw is tight, they can slowly let go of the pedal. Repeat this process until you see new fluid coming out (probably 4-6 times per brake). Be sure to refill the master cylinder every 2-3 times because it will end up emptying out. Repeat the process at each brake, working from the furthest to the closest. After you are done, recap the master cylinder and start the car. Go slowly to test. If its mushy, you let air in the line (probably from the master cylinder getting too low during the process) and you have to start over again.

Good Luck!

 
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04-01-05, 05:05 PM   #9  
Some of these suggestions are making this way too difficult and also giving off suggestions that will certainly cause air to be introduced into the system. If you know how to bleed brakes as if you had replaced a component (ie... a caliper or wheel cylinder) then you are ahead of the rest. Just go ahead with the same procedure and you should be alright.
Good Luck with it,
Billy

 
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04-02-05, 10:07 PM   #10  
thanks everyone for all your help

 
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