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Japspec
Japspec New Reader
10/6/19 5:38 p.m.

Hi everyone. I'm looking to do a brake fluid flush on my Miata by myself. However, I have no idea where to start. I've been reading about using a pressure bleeder, gravity bleeding, and vacuum bleeding, but don't know which method to use or which would be best if I'm doing this on my own. Anyone have any ideas or any tips for flushing the fluid on my own? What product do you guys recommend for flushing if I need to use a bleeder of some sort? Thanks!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/6/19 5:46 p.m.

Use a turkey baster to suck as much fluid out of the reservoir as possible and replace with fresh. Open up all four bleeders and let them drool until you see fresh fluid. Keep the reservoir topped up. Close them. 

I’ve never been able to get as firm a pedal with a pressure bleeder and a vacuum bleeder means more cleanup. Gravity bleeding requires no special tools, gets you an awesome pedal and is easy to do by yourself.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/6/19 5:50 p.m.

If that seems too easy, do the reservoir drain and fill. Then put some fluid in the bottom of a dry bottle and put a hose in so the end is submerged. Attach the hose to a caliper, open the bleeder and pump on the pedal. This will move fluid faster than gravity. 

Japspec
Japspec New Reader
10/6/19 5:58 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Awesome thanks! So gravity bleeding is literally just opening up the bleeders and letting them drain themselves? That sounds easy enough. Is it okay if I do two at a time rather than all four at the same time since it'll be my first go at this? Also, since the end of the tube will be submerged if I decide to pump the pedal, I'm assuming that means no air will make its way in?

b13990
b13990 Reader
10/6/19 6:40 p.m.

In reply to Japspec :

If I understand what you're trying to do, I've done it by getting someone else to use the brake pedal to move fluid through the system.

Close all the bleeders except for one. Leave the one open while the pedal is going down, then quickly tighten it before the pedal comes up.

Waste some clean fluid during the process if you really want to purge the system. Similarly, repeat the process at all four corners if you're as fastidious as I am.

I think this is a standard procedure I read in a service manual. Could be wrong.

Japspec
Japspec New Reader
10/6/19 6:43 p.m.

In reply to b13990 :

Yes, thats what I was thinking. I'm looking to just flush out all four corners and prevent air bubbles from going back in. I did the process you mentioned when I changed the MC and clutch slave a year ago with my friend, but he just moved out of state and I have nobody else to help with this, except maybe my mom or dad if they're willing. Thats why I'm looking to see if theres a solution I can do on my own to flush the system.

b13990
b13990 Reader
10/6/19 7:51 p.m.

Got it.

If I absolutely had to do this without help, I'd probably do something like this:

1. Close all drains

2. Jack up front right side of car

3. Add some clean fluid

4. Open rear left drain

5. Wait a while

6. Close rear left drain

7. Jack up front left side of car

8. Add some clean fluid

9. Open rear right drain

etc.

Probably overkill...

ShinnyGroove
ShinnyGroove Reader
10/6/19 7:54 p.m.

Motive pressure bleeder. Worth every penny. 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
10/6/19 7:57 p.m.

Get one of these plant sprayer bottles. Discard the bottle and use a piece of hose to attach to the bleeder screw.

 

Remove the bleeder screw, goop with grease and re-insert loosely. Attach the pump and pump into a container.

 

Pete

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 New Reader
10/6/19 9:10 p.m.

In reply to ShinnyGroove :

Love my Motive. It has bled more brakes in 10 years than any normal (average/boring) person does in 100 lifetimes.

 

Japspec
Japspec New Reader
10/6/19 9:44 p.m.

In reply to b13990 :

Thanks, that sounds like what I would try to do. By drain, you mean the bleeder valve?

Japspec
Japspec New Reader
10/6/19 9:45 p.m.

In reply to Olemiss540 :

Which Motive do you recommend? I see they have a "Euro" version...I'm not sure if that would work with a Miata or if its just some marketing thing.

b13990
b13990 Reader
10/6/19 9:49 p.m.
Japspec said:  By drain, you mean the bleeder valve?

Yup, that's what I meant. Good luck.

codrus
codrus UberDork
10/6/19 9:59 p.m.
Japspec said:

Which Motive do you recommend? I see they have a "Euro" version...I'm not sure if that would work with a Miata or if its just some marketing thing.

The base Motive is the same, it's a plastic bottle with an air pump handle at the top and a hose coming off of it.  The part that's car-specific is the adapter that goes on this hose and connects to the top on the master cylinder.  The base Motive comes with a generic one with a cone and chains to pull it down onto the master, but it's kind of a PITA to put on and off when you need to refill the master.  They have a nice anodized billet aluminum adapter for the Miata master, so as long as you haven't changed out the master for something else, that's what you want.  (FWIW, if you swapped in a 1" master from a mid-90s Mazda 929, the BMW adapter will fit that).

I have a Motive, I've used it, and it does work.  I've also used a vacuum bleeder, and that works too.  I think I prefer the vacuum (the kind that uses shop air to make a venturi to make the vacuum -- not a hand-pump like a mity-vac) over the Motive.  Neither of them works as well as the old-fashioned two-man approach, though.

 

Japspec
Japspec New Reader
10/6/19 10:19 p.m.

In reply to codrus :

Thanks! I'm going to try convincing my dad to help me by pressing the pedal. Thats definitely the best way to this it seems.

DHBomber
DHBomber New Reader
10/6/19 10:57 p.m.

Speedbleeders are amazing. Never tried any but the OGs which Russell sells now.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/6/19 11:55 p.m.

I’ve never been as happy with a pressure bleeder as any other method. If I was working flat rate, definitely. It’s fast. On my cars, no. I think they introduce micro bubbles into the fluid. And yes, the one I’ve used is a proper Motive with the proper Miata adaptor.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/6/19 11:56 p.m.
Japspec said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Awesome thanks! So gravity bleeding is literally just opening up the bleeders and letting them drain themselves? That sounds easy enough. Is it okay if I do two at a time rather than all four at the same time since it'll be my first go at this? Also, since the end of the tube will be submerged if I decide to pump the pedal, I'm assuming that means no air will make its way in?

Yes, yes and yes :)

No need to jack up one corner, the caliper is already below the master. 

redstack
redstack Reader
10/7/19 4:00 a.m.

+1 for speed bleeders. So simple and effective. 

RevRico
RevRico PowerDork
10/7/19 8:20 a.m.

Speed bleeders are nice, if you have a spare phone or tablet, skype or another video chat service works pretty well to keep an eye on things from the driver's seat.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog Dork
10/7/19 8:33 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
Japspec said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Awesome thanks! So gravity bleeding is literally just opening up the bleeders and letting them drain themselves? That sounds easy enough. Is it okay if I do two at a time rather than all four at the same time since it'll be my first go at this? Also, since the end of the tube will be submerged if I decide to pump the pedal, I'm assuming that means no air will make its way in?

Yes, yes and yes :)

No need to jack up one corner, the caliper is already below the master. 

 

 

I have no dog in this fight, BUT.... Keith has been around more Miata's than I have read about on GRM.  Take his advice.  I've done gravity bleeding on vehicles, and it works, albeit slow, but it does.

FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy Reader
10/7/19 9:00 a.m.

Just watch the ChrisFix video on how to bleed your brakes.

He goes over the single-person brake job and it's the gravity way that Keith told you about.

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
10/7/19 9:29 a.m.

I use two methods.  Gravity only works sometimes for me.

First method:  Get one of those cheap bleeder bottles.  It is a little catch bottle with a magnet.  You hook up the hose in the bottle so that it's below the level of the fluid in the bottle.  As you pump, it can't suck air back in... but you have to be careful not to open the bleeder too far or it can suck air back in around the threads.  They're $5 at any auto parts store.

Second method: Buy a piece of plate steel and a similar-sized sheet of 1/8" or so rubber.  I used an old inner tube.  Cut a 1/2" ish hole in the middle of the rubber and glue it to the steel plate.  Drill and tap the steel for 1/4 NPT and screw in a male air hose fitting.  Clamp it to the top of the reservoir, set the regulator on your compressor for about 10-20 psi and connect the hose to the plate.  Now go to each wheel and crack the bleeder.  With this technique (since you aren't cycling the pedal) you have to do a proper bench bleed on the master cylinder

Image result for steel plate brake bleeder

Here is the only picture I could find on the web for the steel plate idea.  Mine is similar but has a male air fitting instead of this threaded schraeder valve thing.

Image result for brake bleeder steel plate air

ebelements
ebelements New Reader
10/7/19 9:29 a.m.

Never tried the Keith Tanner™ version but I might have to. Sounds easy, and man, do I like easy.

Although I will say, when you can get a Mityvac sealed correctly(not often the case), you can bleed brakes so well you'll think you did a MC upgrade. 

MrFancypants
MrFancypants New Reader
10/7/19 9:45 a.m.

I use speed bleeders. I like being able to remove a couple of quick pumps worth of fluid from the calipers as a part of my post track day maintenance and with these it only takes seconds per corner. 

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