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DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

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Volvo Repair Database DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Post by cn90 » Sat May 01, 2010 9:36 pm

DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit for those with Air Compressor!
This is a DIY cap-hose combination, to bleed the hydraulic system using an existing Air Compressor.

In theory, you can use "Motive Power Bleeder", which is nothing more than a modified garden sprayer bottle. However, it costs around US $50 or so.

But for those who already owns an air compressor, you can do the following DIY, this way you:
- Can invest minimally using my DIY (about $15 total)
- Do not have to clean the Motive Bleeder after the job. Also keeping the Motive Bleeder Bottle clean for the next 2 years (until you bleed again) can be a challenge (dirt collecting inside the bottle etc.).
- Using my DIY cap-hose combination, you simply bleed and then store the DIY cap-hose combination away after use. Just use a Ziploc bag to cap both ends and tie it so dirt does not get in this device.

General Notes:
- Brake Fluid is very corrosive to paint work, so wipe off any spill on paint work ASAP.
- Use a small funnel to pour brake fluid into the reservoir to avoid spill.
- Wrap the area around the reservoir with some rag to absorb any spill.
- The Air Compressor: use minimum 10 psi, max 15 psi. Do NOT exceed 30 psi (risk of damage to reservoir although I do not know for sure what pressure it takes to rupture the reservoir).
- Do not ever allow air to enter the hydraulic ABS system, because once air is inside the ABS Modulator, it is very difficult to get rid off. If you allow air to enter the ABS Modulator, then you need to visit the dealer so they can use their computer device to bleed the air out of the ABS Modulator. Now you are talking big expense!
- If you fill Brake Fluid to within 1 inch of the cap, you can safely bleed using the standard small catch container as in the pic (sold at many auto parts store) twice before refilling the Brake Reservoir again.
- When in doubt, stop and check the reservoir to be sure it does not fall below "Min" level.
- Do this on a dry day so moisture from the air does not enter the compressor. Avoid rainy days at all cost!!!
- I have a 1998 BMW 528I and 1998 Volvo V70, with both using ATE Brake System. So buy the standard 45-mm ATE cap from FCP Groton (or local Volvo dealer). Just get the cap from a 1991 Volvo 240 or 740. Back then those caps did not have Brake Fluid Level sensor. It was a plain simple 45-mm cap.
- This 45-mm cap can be used to bleed hydraulic system in any car with ATE reservoir such as: MB, BMW, Audi, VW, Volvo, SAAB etc. Check to be sure if using it on other cars. Japanese cars use different caps.
Brake-Bleeding-04.jpg
1. To make my DIY cap-hose combination:
- ATE Brake Reservoir Cap from FCP Groton or local Volvo dealer; Volvo PN 1272107, used in many Volvo cars since 1960's through 1990's ($5.00):
http://www.fcpgroton.com/search.php?nod ... rm=1272107

- You can simply buy a 1/4" NPT fitting for $0.50 (or buy a kit for $3.99 at Harbor Freight) and attach it directly to the brake cap:
- 1/4-inch nut ($1.00)
- 1/2-inch washers ($1.00)
Brake-Bleeding-02a.jpg

---------
- Drill a 1/2-inch hole in the ATE cap and clean any debris.
- Insert 1/4" NPT fitting into the cap, washer on both sides.
- Small bead of Silicone under each washer and the hose male end's threads.
- Tighten the 1/4-inch nut hand tight.
- Let the Silicone Caulk cure for one day before using it.
Brake-Bleeding-01.jpg
2. To bleed:
- Open the bottom drain valve of the Air Compressor and turn the Air Compressor on to expel any water inside the Air Compressor. Then close the bottom valve.
- Keep air pressure within 10-15 psi (this works best for me). Do NOT exceed 30 psi!
- Using a Turkey Baster, suck out as much old brake fluid from reservoir as possible.
- Using a Small Funnel, add Fresh Brake Fluid until it is about 1 inch from the top. Avoid spilling or overtopping!
- Attach the cap-hose combination.
- Connect to Air Compressor using the quick disconnect.
- Keep air pressure within 10-15 psi!!!
Brake-Bleeding-03.jpg
- Start bleeding, remember you can bleed about 2 small containers before you need to refill the reservoir.
- To refill reservoir, disconnect air hose at "quick disconnect", refill reservoir to within 1 inch of the top. Re-connect hose.
- For each car, I use about 70-80% of the 32-Ounce (946 mL) Brake Fluid Bottle. I use Valvoline Synthetic Brake Fluid (DOT 4).

Good Luck and enjoy this one-man kit if you already own an air compressor. It is a breeze to bleed the brake this way!
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Re: DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Post by matthew1 » Mon May 03, 2010 1:31 am

Thanks CN. What a cool idea, and clean execution. Added to the VRD in the Tools category.


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Re: DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Post by Hoov » Mon May 03, 2010 11:27 pm

Ditto to Matts comments! Well written.
This is great timing for me as I was just looking at the "one man" bleeder kits. I need to do this chore & am by myself.
Thanks!,

Hoov



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Re: DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Post by cn90 » Tue May 04, 2010 6:51 am

YES, don't waste money on "Motive Bleeding Kit" because "Motive" is simply a glorified garden sprayer and that is it.
Plus the Motive kit costs some $50-60.

For those who don't have an air compressor, consider a 4-6 gallon air compressor ($70 at Harbor Freight or Menards hardware store): not too small, not too big.

A 4-6 gallon air compressor is good enough for:
- Carpenter trim work at home (nail gun)
- Air Tool in your garage (you may have to wait between firings)
- Bleeding small home yard sprinkler system in the winter.
- Inflating car tires
- 1-man bleeding as in this DIY.

For the ATE 45-mm cap plus adaptor, washer, silicone caulking: these cost less than $10. And this adaptor is good for many many years to come.


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Re: DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Post by DeRail » Thu May 06, 2010 1:09 pm

That's pretty awesome actually. I also have to do a brake fluid refresh on my 760GLE this year. So, when you have the compressor running, you can just walk around and bleed each caliper? (Obviously whilst paying attention to how much is in the reservoir) I've never used a power bleeder, that must also mean that you won't blow the seals on the MC when your buddy pushes down too far on the brake pedal? :P



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Re: DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Post by gjz30075 » Thu May 06, 2010 1:30 pm

YOu don't even need an air compressor. I've used my spare tire for the pressure needed. It doesn't take much pressure to push the fluid, something like 10psi.


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Re: DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Post by cn90 » Thu May 06, 2010 2:33 pm

DeRail,

No, you turn the compressor off.
Most compressor is calibrated to run until it hits 90-100 psi then it shuts off.
Many compressors have the side regulators that you can adjust down to 10-15 psi.
Excessive pressure will blow out the MC seals. Search bimmerfest and you will know why.

I find it best to run compressor to 10-15 psi (it takes about 15-30 seconds to build it to 10-15 psi), then shut it off. Then bleed the brake. And once in a while turn the compressor on for 15 seconds or so to build pressure back up.

----------------
gjz30075,

Sure you can use pare tire but it is cumbersome and you have to deflate the pressure down to 10-15 psi (Most spare tire has around 50-60 psi!).


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Re: DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Post by Diycompressor20 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:05 am

Air compressors are a wonderful time-saving, labor-saving device. These fabulous units come in a variety of sizes with varying features depending on the needs of the user. Air compressors work by storing, compressing and pressurizing air. When the air is released, it's in a short powerful burst of energy. This powerful burst of energy helps covert electric and gas energy into kinetic energy.



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Re: DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Post by bobice » Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:47 pm

A question: Do you need to press the piston with a c-clamp to remove all old fluid in the piston? Thanks!



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Re: DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit using Air Compressor!

Post by pfmet » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:32 am

As I mentioned in a post yesterday I am doing brake work all around currently. I like this bleeder system cn90, and will be making one. An addition to your system that might help eliminate the moisture issue is and inexpensive moisture trap sold at HD (Husky brand). We use these in cold weather to help keep ice crystals from destroying o-rings in nail guns and when using HVLP paint pots or anything else where you don't want moisture in your air. I have no idea what the ultimate efficiency of this unit is but it does remove moisture. DRAIN your compressor DAILY! (We use them everyday) The brakes on this car werelast serviced in 2010. I have no idea if the system was flushed. there is a service sticker stating the brake system was flushed at 72 k and that was over 80 k ago. I gotta do it. Can someone direct me to a tutorial on this? I really haven't searched for it yet so I am just being lazy here asking! Also what should I use for fluid. Is synthetic the way to go and can it just be pushed through the system to flush out the old fluid? Good luck to all with today's projects. Studying, preparation , and patience are great, but as they say, sometimes being lucky is better than being good. Thank, Peter



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