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 Post subject: Can't bleed my brakes!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:29 pm 
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Location: Moon Township, PA
Year and Trim: 2000 Pontiac Bonneville SLE, GM 3800 Series V6
So put in some new lines and went to bleed the brakes (rear). RR caliper bled just fine. LR caliper bleed screw is hopelessly frozen and starting to strip. So a couple of questions:

1. A shadetree mechanic friend of mine said that I could easily bleed the caliper with the offender by first compressing the piston with a large C-Clamp and using the brake hose nut to bleed. This sounds pretty bogus to me. How would that flush the air out of the caliper? Is this truly something that works? I doubt it.

2. I don't want to waste anymore time with trying to free up that stuck valve, but if I want to give it another shot, does "pinning" the bleed screw (i.e., inserting a nail, aluminum welding rod, etc into the bleed hole before trying to shock out the screw) really work? Will that keep me from torquing off the nipple?

3. Or, should I just be happy that by doing my own lines I've saved a couple of hundred dollars in parts/labor and just go and buy a new caliper for 70 or so bucks and put it in myself?

Regards, folks.

E.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:03 pm 
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I've bled brakes at the brake line many times when I had the same problem you're having. The air will find the way out! I'd spray the bleed valve with liquid wrench (best tested penetrating oil) and let it sit over night. I'd then use vice grips and possibly heat if needed. Once you get it out, replace it with a new one. But if you don't feel like messing with it, bleed it at the brake line. No need to press pistons in, or whatever your friend told you to do. Just bleed as normal, but at the line.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:58 am 
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Personally, I would never do this. First, air rises and the whole reason of placing bleed screws toward the top of the caliper is to provide a means to get all the air out. Brake fluid is of course a non-compressible (or virtually, for this purpose) fluid while air, being comprised of gas really can't get much more compressible. Therefore, the brakes may work with some air in the calipers, but they won't work as engineered. Second, the copper washers at the brake hose are meant to be compressed once and then replaced. Bleeding the brakes this way may seem okay, but this may also allow a path for air to enter the system. Some will argue that copper is a soft metal and will likely conform to the mating surfaces each time the banjo bolt is tightened down. Regardless, in my opinion, it's a poor practice. These are the brakes...

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:32 am 
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Also, a flare nut wrench is a cheap investment and will come in handy for keeping a good grip on the nut.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:04 am 
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So, No solutions or recommendations, just criticism for my advice.
very helpful guys.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:59 pm 
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Just to let everyone know, I bled the caliper at the banjo bolt and it gave me enough pedal to safely drive it over to my mechanic (slowly on side streets at night, but only 1.5 mi). Now, unless he "effs" something up, I'll have saved a good chunk 'O change.

So, thanks oldman. While this is something I wouldn't do as a matter of course (a nod to you ddalder, I think its unsafe at any speed), as a temp fix it worked just fine.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:04 pm 
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Glad it got you to a repair guy. Thanks for the feed back.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:29 am 
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Good to hear you're on the way to a solution. Hopefully your technician can get the bleed screw loosened without too much trouble. Fortunately, the caliper isn't all that expensive should it come to that.

I probably would have just replaced the caliper, but I'm a bad person to ask because I tend to replace a lot of parts that aren't at the point of needing to be changed. When I'm completing a more involved repair, I'll consider how difficult it would be to replace other wear items later versus while things are already all apart. Obviously not the case here though since you don't need to take much apart to swap a caliper. In any event, I'll never fault anyone for not replacing a component that can (relatively) easily be serviced.

Oldman, for the record, it's not that I was trying to criticize your suggestion. My personal belief is that when a repair involves a safety related system, to stick with industry accepted practices. I'm not a professional technician, but I do feel that if I give advice and something was to go wrong, I would own part of that.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:54 pm 
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ddalder:

I quite agree with you. I am an analyst by trade so I tend to sometimes over-diagnose issues. But I'm also on a budget. So I try to find out as much as possible about the problem before I leap into things. And that's possibly a double-edged sword.

I mean, paralysis-by-analysis does have it own advantages. For example I learned through research that its not all that hard to replace a brake line (depending upon the line's location). Nor is it a big deal to replace a brake caliper. So good for me. And, thanks to oldman, I found a way to get the car temporarily road-worthy at little to no expense.

Here's the flip side. After getting the car back it started throwing a P0303 misfire code. Well, hell's bells! This is the second P0303 code in two years. This time, I started with the most obvious solution - bad plug. Replaced it and, yeah that worked. But it gave me the opportunity to drive locally and I also have the whole weekend to trace through the fault tree and find the actual problem (ignition, fuel or air).

The takeaway is this: Diagnose and fix what you can with what you have. Never skimp on safety, but listen to and respect all points of view.

Well, except for those folks who reply to a particular issue with an unrelated one. Hmmm... ;)

So again, thanks folks. You're, collectively, my number one source.

Regards,

E.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:12 pm 
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As my name implies, I've been around a while. My first job at 15 (1975) was working at a service station. Yeah, "ding ding" when you drove up to the pump, and I was the guys that asked: "Fill it up and check under the hood sir?". Yeah, that was me. I started hanging out with the mechanics and was quite impressed. It was a neighborhood kind of place, and we had a lot of regulars that we knew by name. The owner and the mechanic knew who worked on their own cars and who needed to be told then the oil needed changing. We knew who was struggling a little financially and we helped them out all we could. I learned a lot of tricks. Cars were different though then. You had to know some tricks. My boss used to check the strength of the spark by grabbing a plug wire in one hand and holding a finger on the other hand about a half inch away from the fender. If the spark would arc between his finger and the fender, the ignition system was pretty good. He adjusted points that way too! If someone had a bad radiator or leaky water pump, but needed to make it to payday, we'd pour a box of pepper in the radiator. I've seen that fix a leak for over a month! We had a customer that kept blowing fuses (the glass cylinder type), and his headlights would go out, but he didn't have time to leave it with us until we could hunt down the problem. The owner showed him how he could wrap the fuse with the aluminum foil in a cigarette pack to get him home if he didn't have a spare fuse. I learned very quickly that on the first "cold snap" of weather, the owner and others came in early because we knew that folks with "iffy" batteries would need a jump and they would call the station, and we would go to their houses and jump their cars off so they could make it to work. It was a great experience! We knew our customers. We knew the lady with 3 children whose husband ran off and left her. We knew she was really struggling and we saved decent tires when someone bought a full set and one or two still had pretty good tread. The owner let her "sign" for her gas, but I'm pretty sure he never kept any actual records.
So, I know a few shortcuts that may not be suitable for today's vehicles. We got people going, knowing that we would see them regularly and make sure that the repair was working out.
Anyway, I've never recommended anything here that I have not done successfully myself. I realize that in giving advice, I take on some responsibility if things go badly. There are things that I would putt off doing to my car that I'd never let slide on my wife's vehicle. I like to help others, and I consider carefully before I suggest something to others.


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