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    Thread: How to bleed brakes in my cabrio?

    1. 06-06-2011 04:27 PM #1
      Hi everybody,

      Does someone have a DIY guide on how to bleed the brakes? I've never done it before on any type of car. I have a 92 vw cabriolet.

      I believe my rear brakes are not working. I have to push the brake pedal really hard all the way to the floor to come to a complete stop.

      I was told to check for leaks in the rear wheels and make sure my calipers move when I hit the brakes. Do I do that with the car on or off?
      Check the master cylinder. How do I check that?

      I figured I'd start with flushing the fluid and pouring it back in; in case there is some "air" I guess.

      Please don't hesitate to answer. Yes I'm new with cars, but I'm really handy and can figure things out, take them apart and put them back together.

      Thank you

    2. Member briano1234's Avatar
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      06-06-2011 04:58 PM #2
      Well if you haven't loosened your nipples on the car be warned that you could be replacing them, that is the calipers and wheel Cylinders. I have had that happen on more than one car I have bought the first time I needed to bleed the system.

      If you can remove the bleeder nipples I strongly urge you to wrap the heads with teflon tape. Punch a hole where the bleeder port is.

      You will need 2 folks to bleed the system if you don't have a power bleeder, speed nipples, and or a mighty vac.

      loosen the bleeder with a box end wrench, or a socket , then you can use the open end to bleed.
      If you haven't had the bleeders done in a while I strongly urge you to spray then carefully with PB-Blaster and let them soak for a bit.

      You will need a piece of vinyl tubing that will fit snug over the nipple.
      You will need a bottle to place the free end of the vinyl tubing in.

      Fill the bottle with about 1/2 inch Brake fluid so you can suck free air back into the system.

      Place your vinyl tube over the nipple.
      Now have your helper pump the brakes 3 times and hold the pedal down. IMPERATIVE to hold the peal down and not release it.
      Now crack the nipple and you will see bubbles and fluid flow, the pedal will sink to the floor don't worry, and don't let up on it...
      Tighten the nipple, and have them pump it back 3 times and hold
      Release the nipple and allow to drain in the bottle.

      After you do this 3 times or more per wheel starting at the passenger side rear, then drivers side rear, then passenger side front then the drivers side front you should be done.

      You will need to top off the brake fluid after every 3 strokes of the pedal or once per wheel.

      http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars...enance/4213448
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    3. 06-06-2011 06:12 PM #3
      Thanks briano,

      I know you know a lot about Cabrios. You've helped me in the past before. Should this be the first step I take in trying to figure out the issue I'm having?

      Also, where are the nipples and what do they look like?

      Thank you,


      Sent from mobile Android

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      06-06-2011 06:25 PM #4
      There are a lot of nipples in this thread.

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      06-06-2011 07:16 PM #5
      I want to bleed my brakes as a matter of principle, they work fine, but I'm terrified the nipples will snap off.

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      06-06-2011 08:00 PM #6
      You're afraid of snapping one off? .... Weird. never been afraid of that.
      And you should be able to leave the nipples alone...

      !
      Quote Originally Posted by jconstanza7 View Post
      Also, where are the nipples and what do they look like?

    7. Member sehaare's Avatar
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      06-06-2011 09:45 PM #7
      more likely to round off the flats if you don't use a box end wrench
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    8. Member canucker's Avatar
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      06-07-2011 01:10 AM #8
      i think its best to get someone whos done it plenty of times before. breaks are not something u mess with if you are unsure. Find a local forum and buy beer someone will help
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    9. Member briano1234's Avatar
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      06-07-2011 04:54 AM #9
      Bleeding Brakes isn't rocket science, but it takes methodical attention to detail.

      Bleeding more than one tire, then realizing that the res is dry......

      Cracking the bleeder valve the first time you own the car to find out that the nipple is rusted to the caliper and that you broke it.

      Spray them with PB-Blaster and let it work....

      Brake Fluid even the new synthetic is hydroscopic, and will absorb moisture.

      Never re-use Brake fluid.

      The Speedy bleeder nipples (okay quit chuckling) makes bleeding a one man painless operation.
      The Speedy bleeder uses a ball bearing and a spring to keep air from entering the system while the valve is opened.

      You crack it.
      Put your hose on it in to a bottle,
      Pump the brakes three times then tighten it and move to the next.

      The only thing better is a Power bleeder...

      my home made version:
      http://www.toplessrabbit.com/forums/...hp?f=27&t=2135

      I don't like doing the bleeding either, the up and down is a killer to my knees, and I have been doing it since the 60's.
      Grounds, Grounds, Grounds Replace them things.
      Divorces, Great Coffee, and Electrics, all start with GOOD Grounds.

      Where are my grounds ?
      I am a Commodian. I tell really Crappy jokes.

    10. 06-10-2011 02:22 PM #10
      Ok here's where I'm at. I am replacing the master cylinder and the rear wheel cylinders. I haven't done the bleeding process yet because I am going to replace those parts. Which step comes first now? If I'm replacing the MC, how do I go about emptying the reservoir? Thanks to the vortex community, the process seems simple. I'm just stuck on what gets done first.

      Also, do I hold down the brake on the third pump or do I pump three times and the fourth is where the pedal is held? Two times per tire or when all the fluid has bled?

      thanks guys!

    11. Member MK5CNY's Avatar
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      06-10-2011 03:46 PM #11
      I just did this last weekend, and repaced my master cylinder...the only way to tell if the MC is going is when you first hit the brakes and they go to the floor (try in the driveway before setting foot down the road). And they come back on the 2nd pump of brakes. So I flushed my lines starting with the furthest first and the closest last (per Bentley) and all was going well till I got to the Pass-side front caliper. I can twist the nipple right off and no fluid comes out. This is before I got to replacing the MC. So I left it, in hopes the new MC would get better results. Well, it didn't help me. I can stand on the brakes and no fluid comes out at all. There was rust residue in the MC where that line connects...so I'm assuming theres junk in the line...should I replace the line then?

      BTW if I test in the driveway, that pass-front wheel will lock up and work properly...though I know it isn't, or won't in the near future.
      His: 07 MK5 CW 4dr,2.5L std (114k): 18" RML Snowflakes w/ 225/40/18 Falken 912's, K&N airfilter
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    12. 06-10-2011 04:08 PM #12
      Yeah, my brakes go all the way to the floor.
      So bleeding the brakes is the first thing I do then? What's next? Rear wheel cylinders or master cylinder? I definitely messed one of them up.

    13. Member MK5CNY's Avatar
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      06-10-2011 05:40 PM #13
      Went to the floor and the MC is full? No 'leaks' on the floor where the wheels are? If you keep pumping the brakes, do they come up to pressure? How does your brakeliones look?

      Don't get ahead of yourself. One thing at a time when it comes to brakes. I suspect that maybe someone used DOT3 a while back and now the seals are toast. Only used DOT4.

      I'm sure Briano1234 has DIY out there somewhere for you already. But in your position I would start with the MC. If you can't get pressure, then you can't bleed brakes unless with a power bleeder. And while the MC is out, take a zip tie and dip it down in the vacuum assist where the MC merry's up to it. You'll want to see if fluid leaked out the back seal and into there.

      Oh and in your first post you said you were going to pour the old fluid back in? Maybe I read that wrong, but again only new fresh DOT4...and not something old layin around.
      Last edited by MK5CNY; 06-10-2011 at 05:43 PM.
      His: 07 MK5 CW 4dr,2.5L std (114k): 18" RML Snowflakes w/ 225/40/18 Falken 912's, K&N airfilter
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      Daughter's: 97 Mk3 GLS, 2.0L std (89k): 16" Borbet T's, Sports Plaids, coilovers

    14. 06-10-2011 06:52 PM #14
      I believe it was full the first time I checked. Eventually I did put some fluid in there because it was very low.
      No leaks by the wheels, and the lines look good.
      As of right now if I pump the brakes I do not get any pressure. I was the dummy who pot the DOT 3.
      I got the DOT 4 now.

    15. Member briano1234's Avatar
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      06-10-2011 08:33 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by MK5CNY View Post
      I'm sure Briano1234 has DIY out there somewhere for you already.
      No I don't, I have to leave some of them open for others to do....

      To the poster that broke the bleeder nipple, it is far easier to replace the whole caliper, and re-bleed the system. On the other nipples take them out and wrap the threads with teflon tape and then poke the hole for the bleeder to vent...You will never run into that again. PS,,,,,It also helps when using a mighty vac.

      But I do have Build your own power bleeder...
      http://www.toplessrabbit.com/forums/...hp?f=27&t=2135

      My own Bleeder jar for a Mighty-Vac Also good for sucking one quart of ATF at a time.




      Speedy Bleeders
      Last edited by briano1234; 06-10-2011 at 08:50 PM.
      Grounds, Grounds, Grounds Replace them things.
      Divorces, Great Coffee, and Electrics, all start with GOOD Grounds.

      Where are my grounds ?
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    16. Member MK5CNY's Avatar
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      06-12-2011 03:03 PM #16
      I believe that if you had DOT 3 in there, then you'll need to replace calipers, rear wheel cylinders, and MC. Anything that is rubber, though I'm not sure about the brake hoses to the calipers, anyone want to chime in? Start with the MC and then go to the rear brakes, and then finish closest to the MC as the last bit of bleeding will take place there.
      His: 07 MK5 CW 4dr,2.5L std (114k): 18" RML Snowflakes w/ 225/40/18 Falken 912's, K&N airfilter
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    17. Member briano1234's Avatar
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      06-12-2011 03:21 PM #17
      DOT 3 and ruining seals is for Natural Rubber only. The Generic Fluids would dissolve them quickly.

      Since they stopped making natural rubber seals in the 70, and have gone Synthetic with the rubber DOT3 usually doesn't affect them the same. (Try replacing the entire Brake and Clutch system on a MG that you had just rebuilt everything on, and find out that the Brits used natural rubber.) That is why I stick with Castrol GT/LMA as it don't hurt either.


      I would take the master Cylinder back and get a new one. I have had 2 remanned units be bad at the start.
      Grounds, Grounds, Grounds Replace them things.
      Divorces, Great Coffee, and Electrics, all start with GOOD Grounds.

      Where are my grounds ?
      I am a Commodian. I tell really Crappy jokes.

    18. 06-21-2011 10:57 AM #18
      The master cylinder I got was a refurb from NAPA. I tried bleeding the MC last night.

      I used the fittings that I got with it and hooked the clear tubes to them and ran them to the reservoir (where the cap screws in). Then I started puming the brakes. Still went to the floor

      I only had two lines push the fluid through. The two others, the fluid did not push all the way to the reservoir. But the two lines that were not pusing were the ones with the reducers, I think is what they are? (they look like the 2" cylinder things)

      Are those cylinder thingys bad? Is my booster is bad? Or does that mean I should go back to NAPA and have them give me another MC?


    19. Member MK5CNY's Avatar
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      06-21-2011 11:34 AM #19
      Whilst you had the MC out of the car, you could have done the bench bleed. Have 2 lines hooked up to a jar of pure brake fluid, cap the other 2. Fill res full, and with cap on...pump piston by hand 3x only going 1/2 to 3/4 pump (not full travel of piston). This would allow you to see the bubbles being pushed out into the jar.

      Switch everything over to the other 2 connections, repeat.

      Then carefully attach MC back onto the vac-assist, and reattach brakelines.

      Then go about bleeding out the rest of the lines per Benltey.

      On the bench you'll quickly know if it is the MC.

      GL-man
      His: 07 MK5 CW 4dr,2.5L std (114k): 18" RML Snowflakes w/ 225/40/18 Falken 912's, K&N airfilter
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      Daughter's: 97 Mk3 GLS, 2.0L std (89k): 16" Borbet T's, Sports Plaids, coilovers

    20. 06-21-2011 12:23 PM #20
      Thanks MK5CNY,

      I'll try that.

      Does it matter what two lines I use? Do I bleed it with those two cylinder shaped things on?

    21. Member MK5CNY's Avatar
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      06-21-2011 12:27 PM #21
      The 2-cylinder things are you proportioning valves. You can leave them on. No it doesn't matter which 2 you do first ( I went with one front and one back) since all 4 will be done before you reinstall.

      Make sure that you only clamp the MC at the flange where the bolt holes are (NOT THE BODY) IN A VICE.
      His: 07 MK5 CW 4dr,2.5L std (114k): 18" RML Snowflakes w/ 225/40/18 Falken 912's, K&N airfilter
      Hers: 13 B7 UG Passat 4dr, 2.5L Tiptronic (30k): LED interior, SS Pedals,
      Daughter's: 97 Mk3 GLS, 2.0L std (89k): 16" Borbet T's, Sports Plaids, coilovers

    22. 06-21-2011 12:45 PM #22
      Got it!

      Thank you!

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