Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Duluth, MN
Car: XT6, 4Runner, Celica, Outbacks, SVX, Brat, E150
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Here's what I do when the brake pedal just doesn't feel right.
Check brake fluid in reservoir, if it's not clean, pull it out with a baster and replace.
Jack up and support vehicle, remove wheel/tire.
Drain pan/hose from bleeder
C clamp from back of caliper through opening in the front to the outer pad
Crack open the bleeder, slowly compress the caliper, then close the bleeder again.
This does 3 things:
1. Removes almost all the old fluid from the caliper. This is usually the most contaminated fluid in the system, and bleeding the system is not effective at replacing the fluid in a caliper, especially if the piston is extended (pads aren't new). The lines themselves don't hold that much volume of fluid. If the fluid from the caliper looks nasty, I'll push some fresh fluid through the lines with the brake pedal, but rarely.
2. Allows you to check the slide mechanism of the caliper (with the piston compressed, even with the pads in place, you can slide the caliper back and forth on the pins by hand). Most importantly, that they are working together. I have seen calipers where a slide pin moves pretty well by itself, but bolted to the caliper, the system binds.
3. Ensures that the caliper piston itself is not stuck
If everything moves freely, I put the wheel back on
Step on the pedal until it feels firm again (re-extending the piston in that caliper)
Then refill the reservoir to replace the fluid pushed out of the caliper