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Old 07-19-2012, 07:43 PM   #1
Many330i
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Brake bleeding without power bleeder

I'm not very happy spending money on a bleeder that I know will use once in a blue moon but my car could really use a bleed. I was wondering if there is a way to accomplish brake and clutch bleeding without the motive tool or something expensive like that. Specifically, is there a manual process that someone can direct me to. This will be a one man job!
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:54 PM   #2
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I'm planning on building this.

http://www.bmw-m.net/TechProc/bleeder.htm
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:00 PM   #3
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you need two people to do it without a power bleeder.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:06 PM   #4
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Even with a Motive bleeder, manual bleeding is really the only way to go in my opinion.

Some will say you will over stroke the master cylinder and cause it to fail, if over stroking causes it to fail, it needs to be replaced anyway. If you have a brake hose or caliper fail, your master cylinder will need to over stroke and you do not want to find out your master cylinder is bad at that point.

So a compromise is to get some phone books or scrap wood and put them under the pedals so they do not stroke much further than the normal pedal movement.

You then pump the pedal 3 times, hold the pedal down and have someone open a bleeder screw, let the pedal drop, hold it there until the bleeder is closed and repeat as many times as you want. Just make sure you check the brake fluid level often so you do not drain the master cylinder.

As for the clutch, not sure the E46 is the same as my E39, but to bleed it correctly, you have to remove the clutch slave cylinder, but a clamp on it and turn it so the bleeder screw is at the 12 o'clock position. Again, make sure you keep the master cylinder topped off during bleeding.

I am sure you will get a lot of other opinions, but this is the old school way that works and is still used today, even with Motive type bleeders. The Motive unit and similar are flushing systems and not bleeders in my opinion, not enough pressure!
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:19 PM   #5
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This will make it even cheaper and simpler ... just like me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by voidopolis View Post
I'm planning on building this.

http://www.bmw-m.net/TechProc/bleeder.htm
That's pretty good but this will make it simpler and cheaper if you already own a bicycle pump with a pressure gauge on it:
1. Substitute bicycle pump for sprayer.
2. Used a valve stem from a bicycle tube for the valve fitting. Go to the bike repair shop and get an old tube for free. Ask for one with a regular schrader type valve that is threaded on the outside over its complete length They are very common and fit all bike pumps. You must also get a nut for the valve stem. Just cut the tube and take out the whole stem with a little circle of rubber around it. put it through a hole in the cap and secure it by using the valve stem nut to keep it secure. It will be air tight that way.

Enjoy bleeding away!

Last edited by M6BrokeMe; 07-19-2012 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:07 PM   #6
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I used a motive. Loved it. Bled great. took no time at all. well worth the 50 bucks or whatever it was.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:09 PM   #7
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I used a syringe to pressurize the line while another was pumping the clutch pedal when I replaced my slave cylinder on e36 325is. Worked first try.
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:08 PM   #8
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I agree with JFOJ, manual bleed is still the best option. Get a friend to pump the pedal for you, or even better to do the legwork/getting brake fluid on yourself part of the job while you pump the brake pedal.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:37 AM   #9
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Although I haven't used them on my vert, ... I have had satisfactory results using "Speed Bleeders" on other vehicles that i have worked on.
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brinkley View Post
I agree with JFOJ, manual bleed is still the best option. Get a friend to pump the pedal for you, or even better to do the legwork/getting brake fluid on yourself part of the job while you pump the brake pedal.
Why is manual the best option? I'm thinking of building a DIY Motive clone and it seems many people have good luck with them. I can see that as long as one makes sure to use the block of wood or phone books, the manual way should work fine, but I'm wondering why it is BETTER than using a pressure bleeder. I mean if I take it to the shop are they really gonna have two guys on it with one pumping the pedal and the other opening and closing the bleeder screw over and over?

I'm just trying to figure out today what is the best and easiest place to get a dummy reservoir cap that will screw on tight. Some of the posts are older and refer to an ATE Master Cylinder Cap or some aftermarket clone that fits GMs, but then other posts said they no longer sell it. If anyone has done the DIY Motive Clone using a sprayer bottle recently and they have a good tip for which store sells the cap, let me know. I live in the burbs so I have everything - AutoZone, OReilly, Advance, Napa, Carquest, WalMart. I'd prefer not to order it sight unseen from Ebay or something if possible. Would also prefer not to go to a junkyard and go hunting around for old BMWs and Volvos to get my $5 cap.

Thanks
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:40 AM   #11
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Harbor Freight sells a cheap bleeder pump that connects to the bleeder if you dont want to waste money on a fancy bleeder....bleeder bleeder

Last edited by Custom3; 07-24-2013 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:11 AM   #12
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The bleeder is worth it IMO. I did a fluid flush in 30 minutes with it easily by myself. I broke all the lugs free, then removed the wheels one by one and bled the brakes. Go Rear Right, Rear Left, Front Right, Front Left, done.

Since you asked for a manual process, JFOJ's process is the standard one. That is how it's always been done since the beginning of hydraulic brakes.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:19 AM   #13
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Harbor Freight sells a cheap bleeder pump that connects to the bleeder if you dont want to waste money on a fancy bleeder....bleeder bleeder
Not sure I can envision that but I'll look. The DIY I was looking at is only gonna be 15 or 20 bucks I think, using a 1 gallon plastic sprayer which is coincidentally all that the "fancy" Motive uses for more $$$.

I still am curious (posted also in the DIY forum) as to why several people have said that the manual method is "better" or gives a "firmer pedal". Doesn't make sense to me. There is fluid in all the lines at the start, you change the fluid and so there is also fluid in all the lines at the end. It's not as if the system now has MORE fluid or something that would give it a HIGHER PRESSURE so I can't see why the pedal would now be "firmer" by using the manual method than if you did it with a Motive-type pressure bleeder.

Thoughts? I'm assuming it is normal urban legend/placebo/lack of ability to actually compare one vs the other at the same time on the same vehicle as I can't see the technical reason why this would be a possibility.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Hogan773 View Post
Not sure I can envision that but I'll look. The DIY I was looking at is only gonna be 15 or 20 bucks I think, using a 1 gallon plastic sprayer which is coincidentally all that the "fancy" Motive uses for more $$$.

I still am curious (posted also in the DIY forum) as to why several people have said that the manual method is "better" or gives a "firmer pedal". Doesn't make sense to me. There is fluid in all the lines at the start, you change the fluid and so there is also fluid in all the lines at the end. It's not as if the system now has MORE fluid or something that would give it a HIGHER PRESSURE so I can't see why the pedal would now be "firmer" by using the manual method than if you did it with a Motive-type pressure bleeder.

Thoughts? I'm assuming it is normal urban legend/placebo/lack of ability to actually compare one vs the other at the same time on the same vehicle as I can't see the technical reason why this would be a possibility.
I think it's the fact that you're actively moving the pedal so any air in that piston and the master cylinder will be more effectively removed.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Many330i View Post
I'm not very happy spending money on a bleeder that I know will use once in a blue moon but my car could really use a bleed. I was wondering if there is a way to accomplish brake and clutch bleeding without the motive tool or something expensive like that. Specifically, is there a manual process that someone can direct me to. This will be a one man job!
one man = power bleeder or some kind of home made bleeding tool
two man = old fashion way. one person pumping pedal, other person bleeding.

Since you've asked this will be a one man job, there is no way around it other than using power bleeder.

Also, when I tried bleeding clutch by pumping clutch pedal method, it didn't quite work. Fluid drained out, but new brake fluid didn't suck in, therefore clutch pressure was gone.
I had to do reverse bleeding to get the pressure back.

Next time, I'm getting power bleeder for sake of easiness.
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:14 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by WDE46 View Post
I think it's the fact that you're actively moving the pedal so any air in that piston and the master cylinder will be more effectively removed.
Aha - that could make sense (I knew someone smarter than I might be hanging around)

That said, I'd think you could also just lightly pump the pedal a couple times while doing a flush to dislodge the air in there, if any. I realize that could be a little more challenging in a one man operation. I envision 1) making sure your reservoir is full 2) make sure bleeder is pressurized 3) open bleeder screw so fluid is flowing 4) run over to brake pedal and give it a few light pushes.

Who knows - we're probably obsessing about a couple small bubbles of air here. I don't think my car has been flushed in at least 5 or 6 years so any method will probably yield some positive benefits.
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:21 PM   #17
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I second the Speed Bleeder recommendation. They're $7 apiece, simple bleeder nipples with a built-in check valve that replace the calipers' original nipples. Loose a quarter turn, pump the pedal until there's no bubbles, tighten. Done and done.

They're great...I've had them on the last five cars I've owned. You'll never need to find a helper to bleed the brakes again.
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:53 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by bee-em-dougle-u View Post
I second the Speed Bleeder recommendation. They're $7 apiece, simple bleeder nipples with a built-in check valve that replace the calipers' original nipples. Loose a quarter turn, pump the pedal until there's no bubbles, tighten. Done and done.

They're great...I've had them on the last five cars I've owned. You'll never need to find a helper to bleed the brakes again.
You still have to do the "block of wood under the pedal" to ensure you don't overstroke the master cylinder I assume.

If you really want to be cheap can you take them off the car when you sell it and put back on the original bleed screws I'd think?
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:36 PM   #19
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http://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-17...ple-bleed.aspx
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Old 07-24-2013, 06:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bee-em-dougle-u View Post
I second the Speed Bleeder recommendation. They're $7 apiece, simple bleeder nipples with a built-in check valve that replace the calipers' original nipples. Loose a quarter turn, pump the pedal until there's no bubbles, tighten. Done and done.

They're great...I've had them on the last five cars I've owned. You'll never need to find a helper to bleed the brakes again.
^ x3. Have used them for about 15 years now on a number of vehicles. Just $7 a corner makes for a clean, one-person job...although you're still running back and forth to know when the fluid is coming out clean. They now sell a hose/bleeder bag combo that removes the mess element entirely.
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