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One Thing Leads to Another - Now brake lines


iliketoski

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So I decided to repack my bearings and replace my bearing buddies on my tandem trailer, on the last reassembly I had trouble threading the caliper bolt back in so I decided to remove the caliper and clean the screw threads with a tap, to be sure the threads were straight.

When I disconnected the brake line I was surprised at the condition of the brake fluid.  It was very rusty brown in color, so now I'm thinking about flushing and replacing the fluid.  One fear I have is the bleed valves, the one I removed was pretty tough to loosen and it is not allowing flow though the bleeder, so I'm thinking I'll just replace them all, hoping I can get them all to loosen.

The question, have others done this?  Is it worth doing?  Did you just manually pump it out using the brake actuator or did you use a suction tool at each caliper?  How much fluid do you think I'll need to flush and fill?

 

'ski

 

Edited by iliketoski
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If a bleeder is loose, but no fluid, likely means the the bleeder is plugged with dirt. Remove the bleeder from the caliper and you should get fluid. If so, clean the bleeder, reinstall and proceed.  If no fluid with bleeder out, you need a new caliper. 

Id say a qrt bottle will get the job done bleeding in fresh fluid. 

Absolutely worth repairing, if you want working trailer brakes. Whatever issues are there now with the long overdue to be bled fluid, will just get worse, not better. 

I made an adapter to fit the top of the res, and pressure bled mine using a mityvac/pump.

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replacing the fluid is good idea.  Its actually wildly overlooked fluid in general.  Its a fluid.  It breaks down.  it gets contaminated.  Replacing it may not be a fun process, but necessary none the less.  You may not actually see a measurable difference, but it will increase braking ability as well as prolong the life of everything it touches.

I have yet to replace the fluid on my trailer so i cant say how much.  But, ultimately, the amount will be determined by how much flushing it takes to get clean fluid out of the calipers.  If your fluid is as you say it is, i would start the project with 2 large bottles on hand.

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2 hours ago, MLA said:

If a bleeder is loose, but no fluid, likely means the the bleeder is plugged with dirt. Remove the bleeder from the caliper and you should get fluid. If so, clean the bleeder, reinstall and proceed.  If no fluid with bleeder out, you need a new caliper. 

Id say a qrt bottle will get the job done bleeding in fresh fluid. 

Absolutely worth repairing, if you want working trailer brakes. Whatever issues are there now with the long overdue to be bled fluid, will just get worse, not better. 

I made an adapter to fit the top of the res, and pressure bled mine using a mityvac/pump.

I could definitely get fluid when I loosened the bleeder a lot, but nothing out of the center, I took it out and tried cleaning the end, but evidently not good enough.  I've seen the tools that you attach to the bleeder and suck the fluid through never thought of pressure pushing.

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34 minutes ago, justgary said:

I'm pretty sure they use plastic brake hose these days on trailers meant for salt water use.  I like the idea no matter what kind of water it will get used in.

Like that idea. I'm going to do my brakes next spring.

Steve B.

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Horrible Freight makes and inexpensive brake bleeder. Turns it into a one man task. If you buy new bleeders, make sure you get the correct thread, SAE vs metric.

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I did mine 4 years ago and the pin holes were all plugged with dirt/rust. Just some brake cleaner and a pin to clean the holes and I was able to bleed them all 

Edited by SkiPablo
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1 hour ago, SkiPablo said:

I did mine 4 years ago and the pin holes were all plugged with dirt/rust. Just some brake cleaner and a pin to clean the holes and I was able to bleed them all 

Funny how the dirt rises to the top of the caliper.

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12 hours ago, SkiPablo said:

I did mine 4 years ago and the pin holes were all plugged with dirt/rust. Just some brake cleaner and a pin to clean the holes and I was able to bleed them all 

How much fluid did you need to clear them out?  Also, were your pin holes on the side or bottom of the bleeder?

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3 hours ago, iliketoski said:

How much fluid did you need to clear them out?  Also, were your pin holes on the side or bottom of the bleeder?

just a little spray on each and got the crud out - i think mine were stainless and it was probably mostly dirt - they were on the sides if I recall.

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On 12/2/2020 at 4:19 PM, electricjohn said:

Horrible Freight makes and inexpensive brake bleeder. Turns it into a one man task. If you buy new bleeders, make sure you get the correct thread, SAE vs metric.

All you really need for a one man job is

1. A clear jar 1/2 full of brake fluid 

2. a piece of vacuum/fuel hose With a weight on the end. That is the right size to flip over the bleeder valve. 

Drop  the end of the hose in the jar, under the brake fluid and pump till no more bubbles come out. 
 

I have been bleeding braked like this for years. 

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On 12/5/2020 at 12:36 PM, Sparky450 said:

All you really need for a one man job is

1. A clear jar 1/2 full of brake fluid 

2. a piece of vacuum/fuel hose With a weight on the end. That is the right size to flip over the bleeder valve. 

Drop  the end of the hose in the jar, under the brake fluid and pump till no more bubbles come out. 
 

I have been bleeding braked like this for years. 

I've also done it by elevating the tongue of the boatless trailer.

Edited by electricjohn
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Well, another job complete!  I was surprised at how nasty the fluid coming out was.  Contrary to what several have said (and some Youtube videos), I found that sticking the hose into fluid did not work, when I released pressure, the fluid would leak out of the hose into the jar and leave an air gap next to the caliper, what I did find that worked was that after I pumped a lot of fluid through and I was ready for the final bleed, I actually drained the hose then put the loose end above the caliper, that way, as fluid and air (if any) went into the hose, the air would surface to the high end of the tube and there would only be fluid in the hose at the bleeder.

I was also surprised how little fluid the reservoir actually holds, I was adding fluid after every 2 strokes.  

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I'm a big fan of reverse bleeding these days.  Basically a big syringe full of brake fluid with a hose that attaches to the bleeder.  Hold the whole assembly up in the air until the air is at the top, open the bleeder and start pushing.  Start at the furthest line away.  You need to make sure to empty the MC out or toss a towel on the floor but it works really fast.  Takes all the work out of it whether it is a trailer or motorcycle.

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Ive been bleeding brakes for 30+ years. Revers-bleeding seems like you are pushing the dirty fluid from the end (the calipers) up stream the the cylinders. This goes against all theory. Can you elaborate on your reverse-bleeding? Gravity bleed means you crack a bleeder and let the fluid flow. Active bleeding, you either put pressure to the master cylinder and force fluid out or you put negative pressure (vacuum) on the end, sucking the fluid out. None involve pushing fluid back up stream. 

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55 minutes ago, MLA said:

Ive been bleeding brakes for 30+ years. Revers-bleeding seems like you are pushing the dirty fluid from the end (the calipers) up stream the the cylinders. This goes against all theory. Can you elaborate on your reverse-bleeding? Gravity bleed means you crack a bleeder and let the fluid flow. Active bleeding, you either put pressure to the master cylinder and force fluid out or you put negative pressure (vacuum) on the end, sucking the fluid out. None involve pushing fluid back up stream. 

Really only thing in the fluid is condensation from heating and cooling. Which the turns to air pockets from moisture boiling, Reverse bleeding is exactly what @oldjeep Said. You can use a big shot syringe or even a little pump. Hook on at the furthest caliper bleeder and push till overflows the master cylinder reservoir or can stop and suck reservoir out ever so often with another syringe. It’s the easiest way to do alone and be positive you get all air out. Then move on to next furthest and next furthest till all are done.   The problem with gravity bleeding alone even with end of hose in brake fluid or making a loop with oil in hose is if you don’t use a thread sealant on the threads the drain port it will always suck a little air back when you release the brake lever. May not ever notice. But in a case like on motorcycle any air is significant. 
 

hope that helps 

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What spike said.  Super easy to get all of the air out, especially on bikes since the air wants to go to the mc naturally.  If the fluid is ever so contaminated that I would be worried about pushing it up through the system, everything needs a complete rebuild anyway.

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Heres a test for you guys that want to push fluid from the caliper up to the reservoir. Gravity bleed a little fluid from the caliper into a clean clear container first. Then suck a little from the res with a clean syringe, and put in another clean clear container. Then compare the two jars and let me know if you still want to push that fluid in the caliper, up into the master cylinder/actuator. 

 

12 hours ago, spikew919 said:

The problem with gravity bleeding alone even with end of hose in brake fluid or making a loop with oil in hose is if you don’t use a thread sealant on the threads the drain port it will always suck a little air back when you release the brake lever.

 This would not be gravity bleeding. This is pressure bleeding. Close the bleeder prior to letting off the actuator. 

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I would not have wanted the fluid that first came out at the calipers to go back up stream, it was nasty brown and very contaminated.  If I had the tool, I think the ideal way would be to suction from the caliper.

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6 hours ago, MLA said:

Heres a test for you guys that want to push fluid from the caliper up to the reservoir. Gravity bleed a little fluid from the caliper into a clean clear container first. Then suck a little from the res with a clean syringe, and put in another clean clear container. Then compare the two jars and let me know if you still want to push that fluid in the caliper, up into the master cylinder/actuator. 

 

 This would not be gravity bleeding. This is pressure bleeding. Close the bleeder prior to letting off the actuator. 

It’s virtually impossible to gravity all the air from a especially systems with loops. Unless gravity where you live is way more efficient than anywhere else in the world. But then again I like really firm brakes. You may not notice a little air In yours 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

wheb I was racing dirt bikes I changed fluid ever race, heck a 24hr race we changed it 6 times. I never let my fluid in anything get dirty enough to worry about it.   
 

and as far as boat trailer, I added Ekectric over hydraulic. And will never do surge again. Literally just pull the breakaway so pump is steady on and bled 2 then filled reservoir, bled 2 more filled and 2 more on the 3 axel trailer.  Once you have electric over hydraulic. Will wonder why ever had the others. 🤦🏻‍♂️
 

i mean I did it for prolly 15 or 20 years the old inefficient way too, but when I found the better more efficient way to easily do it as a one man job. I embraced it. 😏

 

 

 

Edited by spikew919
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6 hours ago, iliketoski said:

I would not have wanted the fluid that first came out at the calipers to go back up stream, it was nasty brown and very contaminated.  If I had the tool, I think the ideal way would be to suction from the caliper.

If the fluid is contaminated I rebuild the calipers and MC and flush the lines.  No amount of clean fluid fixes the problems caused by contaminated fluid.

 

Edited by oldjeep
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On 12/2/2020 at 2:15 PM, MLA said:

I made an adapter to fit the top of the res, and pressure bled mine using a mityvac/pump.

 

1 hour ago, spikew919 said:

It’s virtually impossible to gravity all the air from a especially systems with loops. Unless gravity where you live is way more efficient than anywhere else in the world. But then again I like really firm brakes. You may not notice a little air In yours 🤷🏻‍♂️

You must have quoted the wrong person or did not actually read the entire post. Ive not talked about gravity bleeding air the system. 

32 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

If the fluid is contaminated I rebuild the calipers and MC and flush the lines.  No amount of clean fluid fixes the problems caused by contaminated fluid.

Brake fluid is either fresh from the bottle or in some degree of contamination. 

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8 minutes ago, MLA said:

Brake fluid is either fresh from the bottle or in some degree of contamination. 

Jeebus LOL.  If it makes you feel better, do it your way.  Not sure I understand why you care which way the fluid goes, but the reverse bleed works fine for me and results in rock hard brakes that I trust up to 140MPH.  I've done it a variety of ways over the last 30+ years, pushing on the pedal with a friend at the bleeder, the jar on the bleeder, my motive power bleeder, vacuum bleeders.  This is the best way for me so far - basically a bucks worth of hose and a plastic syringe you could get at the farm store.

Edited by oldjeep
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1 hour ago, MLA said:
1 hour ago, oldjeep said:

 

Brake fluid is either fresh from the bottle or in some degree of contamination

Well heck if your that technical. When seal is broken on bottle then it’s contaminated. Hope you buy new every time. 🤦🏻‍♂️

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