How to: Bleeding The Brakes

Some heavy grease wadded around the top of the bleed nipple will seal it up pretty well. Here's some of the other things I do. For catch bottles, old plastic peanut butter jars are perfect. Drill a hole in the lid for the hose to go through. This keeps it in the bottle for you and if knocked over, little if any fluid will spill. I have several, a couple for DOT3-4 and one for DOT5. You can store the bleeder tube right in the jar .....


At the bleed nipple, I put a wire clip on so the hose doesn't pop off .....


To keep the catch jar from tipping, I bungee it to a leg on one of my mechanics stools .....

Im thinking that if I do this right it could take like 15 or 20 minutes to do both sides…..right…..We're not talking about a lot of fluid in these lines.

In principal your just pushing the fluid from the top and out the bottom while not letting the MC go empty….thus using the fluid to force out the extra air…..which Im pretty sure I know how I got it in there now….
I couldn't get the hose to fill with fluid completely. Just about an inch or two out the top of the nipple. Saw some air bubbles. My helper didn't "Pump" the lever the first round....instead released it all the way out and in all the way....I think this may have allowed more air from the hose back into the nipple. Damn it.....When I saw this I said just pump it,...not full in and out... Hope I'm right there....

I have to go to the airport now but when I get back I will try again.

Had to turn the handle bars to level the MC.

I think now that the hose may not need to fill with fluid and go all the way into the jar, but just needs to exit the nipple and push the air into the hose. When you tighten the nipple the fluid stays outside of the nipple blocking air from coming back in.

Release the lever. Pull the lever. Crack the nipple. PUMP the lever....hold lever in...tighten nipple......Repeat.....Small amount of fluid stays in the hose just above the nipple...

If the hose is supposed to completely fill with fluid all the way to the jar....then I have a small problem....cause that don't happen.

I'll get it. :thumbsup:

Advice? Direction?

thanks everyone...


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EvenmoreXS, if you're interested, I described a method back in post #5 of this thread that I use where no helper and no back-and-forth between lever pump and bleeder nipple is necessary. It seems a lot simpler to me and I'm surprised more people don't do it...
You hook a long clear tube from the bleeder nipple to the jar which is hanging from the handlebar. Open the bleeder and pump the lever slowly, adding fluid as it gets lower in the reservoir, watching the bubbles in the clear hose. When the bubbles stop, close the bleeder. That's it. If you're doing a complete fluid exchange, pump until the old fluid is completely displaced before closing the bleeder.
" Pump " is not FULL in and OUT….Just small pull release motions…..?….correct?

With Either method……is the hose supposed to fill COMPLETELY and flow INTO the jar…..?

Thats what my original expectation was…….

I may get a longer hose while I'm out and try that if my current setup fails next try.

Thank you very much for the quick response….Leaving soon so my next reply may be a bit delayed.

Thanks everyone.
You don't pump with the nipple open. Pump before you open it several times to build up pressure, hold, open bleeder, close bleeder when the lever nears the bar- but before it gets completely there. You really don't need a helper.
What are the symptoms of a bad m/c. I'm pushing fluid through slowly but still no change in feel. Seeing very few air bubbles. It builds no real pressure. Lever bottoms out.
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So, just got a '75 XS650 and the front brake definitely needs fluid, so I'm going to do this. The label on the M/C says DOT-3 and I have a can of that in the garage, but it's plenty old. Does this stuff go bad?
So, just got a '75 XS650 and the front brake definitely needs fluid, so I'm going to do this. The label on the M/C says DOT-3 and I have a can of that in the garage, but it's plenty old. Does this stuff go bad?

Brake fluid absorbs moisture. Go buy a new QT. Then you will have plenty to bleed the system thoroughly
When you are pumping it, release it all the way out and back in again until it gets kind of hard, then hold it and crack you bleeder valve slightly until the handle goes back in and hold it in until you re-tighten your bleeder valve.
Do this again and again until the air is out.
Dont release your brake lever until your bleeder valve it re-tightened after each time though.
I forced the air our through the bottom of mine with a syringe full of brake fluid,
Brakes work great now.
I am trying to bleed my front brake and have followed the instructions, the tube to the bottle of fluid stays empty. When I was cleaning the bike and I had take the brake lines off the reservoir and the coupler under the headlamp. The reservoir was empty and the lines did leak some fluid after removal. I reinstalled the brake line with new copper washers. What am I doing wrong that the fluid doesn't travel through the brake lines?
Any help would be appreciated.
When I attempted to bleed the brakes there is air pushing through the drain tube to the drain bottle so I am thinking the lines are clear. But there doesn't seem to be any fluid moving from the master cylinder down through the brake lines. Do you think that the brake caliper hose manifold could be and issue or is there an issue with the master cylinder? I was told to get the Mityvac would help in drawing the fluid through the lines.
The MityVac is a wonderful tool but a little expensive for one time or limited use. You can accomplish pretty much the same thing using a large plastic syringe. You're trying to apply suction to your brake system to pull the fluid down through it from the MC.

Once you get the fluid coming through, you can revert to the normal pump-the-lever bleeding to finish.