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I have no problem pumping the brakes manually. On a motorcycle, I can - and prefer to - do it by myself. With a car, a helper that pumps the pedal works well. I've used a Mity-Vac kit and didn't like it.

Whatever works for you.
 

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It's nothing on a motorcycle since the brakes hold very little fluid. On the motorcycle, I use a piece of vinyl tubing unless I have the equipment out, already. If I don't, It's not worth the clean up.

The pads are very easy, too.

Cover the painted surfaces, under rhe master cylinder, with aluminum foil or saran wrap. Brake fluid eats paint.
 

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I like to flush the system yearly, so I use one of these. It makes it so easy.

 

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It's nothing on a motorcycle since the brakes hold very little fluid.
Very true. A bike doesn't take much to bleed, especially the rear. Last Xmas, my son and I swapped out the single piston calipers on our Kia Stinger with Brembos (6-pot front and 2-pot rear). We went through more than one 32Oz. bottle of DOT4 until all 8 nipples bled clear clean fluid. Still, with a 2-man crew, bleeding manually was a piece of cake. Personally, I prefer my son pumping the brake pedal with his leg, than me squeezing a vacuum pump by hand. I'm too leery of carpal tunnel for that.
 

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These are the things I have and I do it yearly:

Motion Pro Mini Bleeder, 8mm
CRC Silaramic (Maybe not worth it if you only do your bike) or Silglyde

Your choice of compliant brake fluid

Bucket, soapy dish soap, brush, crc brakleen, 9005NA sand paper, long zip ties, clear bottle
I clean it out once a year for mine - calipers, pads, bobbins! - don't forget these, and flush brake fluid once or twice a year.

TheSussexBiker, STG and Delboys garage have great videos for this task!
 

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The best method I've found is the pressure bleed method (all vehicles). Get a $7 one gallon bug sprayer and a replacement master cylinder cap. Drill hole in master cylinder cap and use the sprayer nozzle parts to attach (some modification necessary). For about $15 you can make a excellent pressure bleeder. I have master cylinder caps of all my vehicles. It makes bleeding super easy for one person. Plus I find that since you push fluid at a high velocity it helps to drag even the smallest bubbles out.
 

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I've been using the venturi style bleeders like SKF for a long time (10 years?) to one man bleed/flush brake fluid. Simple and reliable...but it requires a substantial compressed air source. A typical 25gal 2stage 120v 'home' compressor would be plenty to do a bike, but flushing the fluid on my truck i'd have to let the compressor recover between corners. It makes my 80gal 5hp squeezer work. Mine is an older model - maybe the new ones are easier on the air source..

That said, at the track, we've flushed a bazillion gallons of brake fluid w/1 person pushing the pedal and another open/close on the bleeder. If u have a 2nd pair of feet who are willing to help, can't beat free. And the results are just as good..

Decent fluid changed often trumps super fluid never changed. Except SRF - that stuff is witchcraft and not to be trusted. Seriously, its crazy expensive and does work..but I'd rather just change it occasionally.. Even parts store dot4 is more than enough for street riding.

ahm
 

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Harbor Freight hand vac. Takes a little finessing to make sure the tube stays on, but it goes pretty quick once you have the technique down. I think the kit is $10 or so.
 

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Tcullum, I had one of those. It's a fake "mighty vac", isnt it?

It worked really well. I liked it because it held the spent fluid and you dodnt need a separate container. Almost no chance of a spill. That's important, as you guys know, because brake fluid will eat paint. It's especially bad if you get fluid on the frame or swingarm. That paint is so thin, the fluid destroys it, in seconds. It was a good tool, though. Especially if you clean it, 100% , after using it.
 

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Nobody mentioned the zip tie trick! Get the brakes bled decently using a Mity Vac or manual method. Then let the zip tie work for you overnight. See:

 

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Tcullum, I had one of those. It's a fake "mighty vac", isnt it?

It worked really well. I liked it because it held the spent fluid and you dodnt need a separate container. Almost no chance of a spill. That's important, as you guys know, because brake fluid will eat paint. It's especially bad if you get fluid on the frame or swingarm. That paint is so thin, the fluid destroys it, in seconds. It was a good tool, though. Especially if you clean it, 100% , after using it.
Yep. Just be wary of how you tilt the little mid line reservoir or else you'll fill the hand pump with brake fluid. Not a big deal, but a pain to clean.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Bump...

Is there anything extra I need to do if my bike has ABS?

Another noob question: is it ok to change brake pads without doing a brake fluid flush/change?
 

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Just pretend the abs isnt there. There is no difference. When you are done, you can activate the rear abs, if you want to, but no big deal.

Pads with no fluid? Sure. No problem, but be aware of this. Step 1 has you pushing the pistons back into the caliper. Make sure the pistons are clean before you do this. The sides are the key area. If they have junk on them, it will push past the seals.

When you do this, the fluid level in the master cylinders will go up. Make sure you have room , in the reservoir, to deal with this. If not, the reservoir isnt sealed and you can push fluid out of it. Brake fluid destroys paint. I use aluminum foil to protect the painted surfaces if I'm messing with brake fluid.

If you havent done this much, do the rear brake first. If you have your tools ready to go, figure maybe 5 minutes to completly flush the rear brake.
 

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Reverse bleed. Instead of forcing air bubbles down a system where air rises to the top and always chasing stray bubbles you get a big syringe and force fluid through the bleeder and push the bubbles up and out the brake reservoir.

Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design Font
 

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Reverse bleed. Instead of forcing air bubbles down a system where air rises to the top and always chasing stray bubbles you get a big syringe and force fluid through the bleeder and push the bubbles up and out the brake reservoir.

View attachment 32245
I have no experience with reverse bleeding. It looks as if it should work well, but setting it up to catch the overflow seemed a lot of trouble. How do you do it?

I have a power vacuum pump, so now I use that along with a reservoir from a cheap venturi-type vac bleeder that I couldn't get to work.

One trick to using vacuum is put brake grease around the bleed nipple to stop air leaks.

Also, the Harbor Freight vac bleeder works fine, but don't allow brake fluid into the pump. It attacks the rubber flapper valve inside. I managed to destroy one that way.
 

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I have no experience with reverse bleeding. It looks as if it should work well, but setting it up to catch the overflow seemed a lot of trouble. How do you do it?

I have a power vacuum pump, so now I use that along with a reservoir from a cheap venturi-type vac bleeder that I couldn't get to work.

One trick to using vacuum is put brake grease around the bleed nipple to stop air leaks.

Also, the Harbor Freight vac bleeder works fine, but don't allow brake fluid into the pump. It attacks the rubber flapper valve inside. I managed to destroy one that way.
It would be too long to explain in a post so here's a video.

 

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Reverse bleeding works well, but only if there is not already air bubbles trapped at a high point somewhere in that circuit. On a lot of brake calipers, the bleeder nipple sits at a high point - if not the highest point - of the caliper. This a good for purging air bubble inside the caliper when bled the normal direction. For reverse bleed, you'd have to get rid of those bubbles first before bleeding the rest of the line.
 
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