I'd have my Dodge back in service now if I hadn't pumped the master cylinder too low when I tried to bleed the brakes. For about a week I've been keeping the reservoir full and pumping the pedal 50 to 100 times a day. So far I'm pumping mostly air. Anybody know a way to get fluid back in the lines without taking the thing out?
Get some hose and barbed fittings. Screw the fittings with the hose into the master.Put the hose into the master resevor(full of fluid) and pump the brake. The master will then be bled and then you will have to hook the lines back up and bleed them at the wheels.
Steve: Do you have a hand vacuum pump? If you do, connect it tone of the bleed screws on a wheel cly and start pumping. BE SURE TO KEPT THE MASTER CLY FULL!! Harbor F. sells a kit that will have all you need. Dan
Justin - I think he has air in the brake lines.
The only way I know to bleed the lines is to do it at the wheel cylinders. It usually takes two people -one to press on the brake pedal and the other to work the bleed valve at the wheel. The presser guy should not release the peddle unless the bleeder valve is closed.
Another way to do it is a pressure bleeder that uses air to make a vacuum that"sucks" the brake fluid from the valve at the wheel. I have one but prefer to have someone pump the brake because it is too easy to run the master cylinder out of fluid and then you have to start all over again.
You make some excellent tools. That master probably has a screw cap. Adapt a air line fitting to the master use the air pressure to pressure bleed the system. They make pressure bleeders for modern cars that will also work on the old masters. I use a vacuum bleeder that you put on the wheel cylinder and suck the fluid through the lines. Best way if you are alone.
I would definitely start with a vacuum pump at the wheel cylinders. They can be had cheaply. Mine is a Mityvac MV8000 that I got on Amazon for about $30.00. It will set this right, just go in the proper order
Steve just has not been taught the "Steve Jelf" way yet. Just pump the brakes up as best you can and with the pedal down,jamb a block in place to hold the pedal down and walk away. Come back the following day and re-check the brakes. With a little luck most of the air in the master cyl and lines will have worked itself out.
I have a stupid little English car with the master cyl almost below the wheel cylinders and shy of using fancy equipment this is the only way that works for getting all the air out.
Don't try this on a Ford T
Easy way by yourself, slip a small hose over the wheel cyl bleed screw after loosening slightly, start at left rear, put hose into a container of fluid making sure hose is submerged, slowly pump pedal and keep reservoir full. This will keep air forced out and suck only fluid back up the hose, go to each bleeder and do this starting at furtherest away. May take a couple tries, always pump slowly. KGB
The easiest way I have found to bleed brakes is with a brake fluid pump, It is a simple hand pump with a rubber hose, you connect it first to the furthest slave cylinder from the master (be sure to clean the bleeder valve so you do not pump dirt into the system) Just pump the fluid into the slave, and the air will be moved toward the master, move to the next furthest and do the same and by the time you get done the master will be full, probably overflowing. Do not fret about the wasted fluid, as you would have wasted just as much by bleeding the normal way. This method takes only one person, I got the pump at my local carquest dealer, it fits into a one gallon brake fluid container. You also need to take care not to run out of fluid while pumping, because if you pump air into the system, you are back to square one.
That's a cool old Dodge pickup Steve. 52 or 53?? Flathead six, fluid drive, slow and gutless but run forever. We had several of those on the ranch, couldn't park them on a hill because the hand brake never worked but they were tough and worked hard all their lives.
So back to bleeding brakes. Get a quart jar with a steel screw on lid. Solder a piece of copper tubing that goes almost to the bottom, say within a quarter of an inch. Put another piece in the top with a bend down so it doesn't get dirt in -- this is just a vent. Put a couple inches of brake fluid in the jar so it covers to bottom of the copper tubing. Run a hose from the copper tubing to the bleeder on the wheel cylinder. Just pop the bleeder enough so it will allow the brake fluid to flow, pump the brakes half a dozen times slowly, close the bleeder, move to the next wheel cylinder, do the same, the fluid in the jar keeps the air from sucking back in to the cylinder or the lines, you are up front where you can watch the master cylinder and in a little while you will have brakes. Start with the cylinder the furthest from the master, the right rear, then the left rear, right front left front. Probably should check to see if your Dodge has two wheel cylinders per wheel, some of those old Chrysler products do, a lower and an upper. They can be hard to bleed but this should work. Keeps you from spending a dime and I know you are parsimonious to the extreme so the pleasure of not spending money for a Chinese suckem tool is also yours as well as brakes. My experience with those suckem tools is that you suck the master cylinder dry because you are still getting air bubbles and have to start over because you squeezed the handle one too many times.
I'm going to be doing the brakes on my new Jeep Pickup in a few days. We have had it running, got the carb cleaned, starter working, gas tank drained, etc. but no brakes. Probably will load it up and bring it in to town where I can get the super smacker wheel puller on those back hubs to get in to the wheel cylinders. I'll challenge you to a slow race. (I have two speed transfer case so can out-slow you) Top speed race you'd win. I'm good for about 45 down hill with a tail wind.
This is a Yellowstone Park Fire Support Truck, last run in 86. I sure with they hadn't sprayed primer all over it. It has 38,650 miles on it from new. 1954.
Your master cylinder likely has crud in the bottom of it so when your pedal went to floor it picked some up and now you have a leaky master cylinder. It may be time to take it apart and clean it or put a kit in it.
Steve,1 of 2 things come to mind. There is still air getting into the system or you can use a process called gravity bleed.
Simply crack each bleeder with a full reservoir and walk away for lunch. Come back and fill reservoir and check each bleeder. if each 1 is dripping fluid, close them then use the bleeding process's explained above.Also, allways start with the right rear wheel, furthest from the master cylinder.
My bet is a cracked,rusted brake line letting air creep back in.
The way I found the problem on my daily driver was hold steady pressure on the pedal for several minutes, the rusty spot finally couldnt hide anymore.
Using Stan's method, you need to clean the bleeder valves, any time you have fluid moving into a slave cylinder, it is important to make sure that dirt does not go with it.
Steve, I'm assuming that you're running the original single piston master cylinder. A way to bench bleed the master that has worked for me in the past is to put a cup or rag under the master cylinder and crack the fitting on the line coming out of the master cylinder. Then, pump the brakes, being sure to keep the master cylinder full of brake fluid. The fluid and air will bubble out of the cracked fitting instead of going down the brake lines. Once you have solid fluid coming out of the master, then tighten the output fitting and bleed the brakes per the normal procedure.
I don't know if you've been driving your Dodge regularly, but one thing that sometimes happens to the master cylinder is the LITTLE tiny weep hole that is towards the rear of the cylinder bore gets clogged, and then you don't get good pedal.
I have then next model after yours, the B4BEX (1953). In about similar condition!
Oh, the other thing that can go bad is the check valve (first thing you put in the bore when rebuilding, the return spring goes against it)
Just pop the bleeder enough so it will allow the brake fluid to flow.........
If you just barely crack the bleeder screws as I suggested in my post, there will be nothing sucked back into the wheel cylinders.
I should have probably added that you need to just pop the bleeder open enough to allow the brake fluid to escape but still leave pressure against the brake pedal. I've bled brakes with this method for 50 years and it's the only way I have ever found to do it by myself that works.
Do it however you want but this works for me and has for years.
Come on guys, I know how to bleed brakes. What I don't know is the master cylinder part. All the times I've done it before, on the Packard, the Dodge, or whatever, I've been smart enough not to run it dry. Not this time. I'll start with the simplest suggestion first, and move on to the next if that one doesn't do the trick. I'm sure the M/C is OK, just dry. It was rebuilt just a couple of years ago.
Stan, your Jeep takes me down Memory Lane. The first vehicle I bought when I got back from Korea was a 1953 Willys pickup. The engine was a 283 Chebby, and you could put it in low low and 4WD and idle up a hill until it got too steep for the wheels to hold. It had lap belts when I got it, a rarity in those days, and they saved me when I fell asleep at about 50 MPH and tangled with a tree. I still have the scars from that adventure. I survived but the truck didn't.
Stationed at Fort Huachuca, 1966. I'm the guy with the black hat.
Steve: With the vac pump I was talking about it should bleed the MC.
They are also good for checking float valves on T carbs, use as a vac gage to check engine valves. Dan
It's not a good idea to push old fluid back to the MC, especially if your modren has ABS.
All of them have black hats.
I almost never have help bleeding brakes and on all the simple old cars I don't need the bottle with the hose going in it or the vacuum pump or anything else.
I fill the master and leave the cover loose, just sitting on top.
Open a bleeder, usually the right rear.
Next I get in and pump the pedal down, let it up for a split second, push it down again not too fast) about 4 times, then close the bleeder.
Next I fill the master and do the same on the right front.
Then the left brakes. Just keep the master from running dry.
Any car with 4 wheel drums has a valve in the master cylinder to keep about 4 lbs. pressure on the brake line.
If the bleeder is open it will NOT suck fluid in when the pedal is let up.
After bleeding free floating brakes it helps to readjust the shoes, the old Dodges and other Chrysler and '48 & older Fords and Mercurys have anchor pins, so that isn't needed.
If there is air in a line and the master cylinder is mounted under the floor you will never get the air out without pushing it out a bleeder.
If the cylinder is mounted up high you may get air out by just pumping the pedal and waiting, depending on where it is.
I see no reason to catch the brake fluid in a bottle when bleeding an old car's brakes, just flush the lines and let the old fluid go on the ground or floor.
If the car has a nice clean chassis then use a small hose on the bleeder and one end in a bottle, works best with someone holding the bottle.
If I replace all five cylinders and the steel lines and flex hoses it takes usually just over a pint of brake fluid to bleed the system, with old lines I use a little more to get the fluid coming through clear and clean.
Should take about 15 minutes to bleed the system, including going back to the right rear and right front a second time.
It's not as easy on cars with disc brakes, but almost as easy. They don't have the residual line pressure.
you should "bench bleed" the master first. in the vise with outlet ports up hill, just cover with your finger when back stroking, and make a mess on the floor. then put it in the truck.
I read about how you gotta 'bench bleed' or you'll never get good brakes.
I've only been doing this a little over 60 years and I think I may have bench bled one master cylinder.
A waste of time.
Bolt it to the truck or car frame, hook up the pedal, put in some fluid and install the brake line. Leave the line loose and pump the pedal a couple of times if you think you gotta bench bleed the master.
I just did a '49 Chev and a '64 Corvair this week.
Replaced all cylinders and even the master cylinder and all hoses.. Took about 15 minutes to bleed the '49, about 10 to do the Corvair. Got good, high, solid pedal on both cars.
After a frustrating time having no joy in bleeding the clutch hydraulics on my ute I discovered that my Wife was "pumping" the brake pedal. Boy of boy
Get some one way speed bleeders.
I ran into the same problem as you not long ago on my Dodge Power Wagon. I pumped it dry bleeding the brakes and could not get the master cylinder to pump into the lines after that. What I did was disconnect the line from the master cylinder, remove the lid and fill the reservoir. I simply took my thumb and pressed on the outlet creating a small pressure/vacuum sequence with the seal of my thumb. A small air bubble would appear in the reservoir every time I did this for a few minutes and then presto, I had fluid to the lines. It may take a time or two of doing this but it should work. Those old single master cylinders are easy to air lock if pumped empty. It has nothing to do with how you are bleeding the brake lines.
I've seen cases where they couldn't get the brake bleeding started because the push-rod to the master cylinder was adjusted too long.
The piston has to come back far enough so fluid can drop into the cylinder in front of the piston.
The push rod can not have pressure against the piston.
Best to have slight free play in the rod..
If you have room you can stand a piece of radiator hose where the filler plug goes and blow into the master cylinder on top of the fluid to get it started too.
Sometimes they can be stubborn about getting started.
I prefer the hand vacuum pump at each brake bleeder valve like Dan posted. Esp. if a new master cylinder has been installed. Start at the furthest brake and work toward the master cylinder. Keep pumping the hand pump till no bubbles appear and shut valve. No need to keep pumping the master cylinder. Just be sure to keep it filled. Some one told me once that this is how they do aircraft brakes. Don't know if that's true or not though.
Don't know if this has been mentioned (long thread), but one good way to make sure your reservoir doesn't run dry is this:
Bleed as you normally would until your sure the brake fluid is running clean. Then connect about 15 feet of clear vinyl tubing to the bleeder nipple. (select diameter for a snug fit.) Lead the other end of the tubing back to the reservoir and fix in in position with a clamp or clothespin (leave an air gap).
Now pump away - you can't run out of fluid because the reservoir is being constantly refilled. You may have to add fluid once until the tubing is filled.
Steve, any update, or have you switched efforts to the roadster rear axle?
The problem with Bill's (from Adelaida, CA) method is that brake fluid is designed to absorb water. Leaving the system open for a day will contaminate the fluid. His system will work-we have always called it gravity bleeding, but once you get a solid brake pedal, you need to pressure-bleed the system as the fluid will be contaminated. If you live in an area where the relative humidity is practically zero, you can disregard the above.
OK. You're obviously doing this alone and that's part of the problem. Listen to this. It's what I do to bleed brakes alone. Fill the master. Open the right rear bleeder and stick a length of vacuum hose on it. Reasonably snug/push-on fit. The other end goes into a glass jar with a bit of brake fluid in it. Enough to submerge the hose end. Pump the pedal looking at the jar. when the bubbles stop that line & wheel cylinder is full. Of course you must keep the master full so check it often. Lock up that valve and move to the left rear and so on. I guarantee a pedal if you follow these directions. Experience talkin' here.
i do it alone all the time. like one of the other folks said, just jam a 2x4 or what ever between the seat and the pedal. works fine, no fancy stuff required. i do like stans jar idea though
Tried the simplest thing first, blocking down the pedal. Left it that way overnight. No soap. I'll try another suggestion tomorrow. Spent most of today on another project to get ahead of predicted rain.
OK -I'll bite ... what the heck are you building ?
Cistern ? Drain ?
You are never too old to build a fort in your backyard
Osage Orange was a wise choice for the poles. You might want to skin 'em.
Hey Steve blocking the pedal down isn't going to do squat. The MC piston moves past the ports in the cylinder that feed it fluid and blocks them off which, by the way it's supposed to do. You get one shot of juice into the lines and there it stops. Period. Crack a wheel cyl bleeder when you block the pedal? The line drains out over night and you've accomplished the affore mentioned squat.
'ANOTHER FINE MESS YOU GOT US INTO': Seems like many of us T'ers are DIY people? This gets me/us into a lot of predicaments. I just put up Crown Molding around some cabinets. Crown molding was a new experience for me. Cost me $150 for the jigs and had to buy a new mitre saw last night($150-10") versus my old 8-1/4" which wouldn't give me a full cut; been cheaper to have someone else do it; but I always figure by DIYing, I have new toys/part when I am done. Steve, looks like you are building a very shallow well? See my sand point well I just installed. Notice how I 'pounded' in my well pipe. Now I have a second water source. Also they sell Hedge Balls in SD for 89 cents each; most people probably don't know what they are.
Bud, it's a sump for the sinks and the shower. I replaced the cover about twenty years ago, but made the mistake of using fiberglass. It deteriorated and recently started collapsing, so a new cover is in order. There were originally three hedge wood supports. The thickest one, about four inches, was still solid after more than sixty years. But the other two, only a couple of inches thick, were starting to go. The four fresh logs I cut for it this week, six inchers, will outlast me by several decades.
Two thoughts. 1. Port from reservoir to cylinder is plugged. (Front one)
2. Make yourself a pressure bleeder. (see below)
Take a can or plastic bottle with a tight cap and drill two holes in it. Take two lengths of tubing and fit them in the holes and seal with JB weld, one tube should reach to about 1/4 in above the bottom of the bottle, the other just enough to reach past the cap. Next make a tight plug/cap for the MC reservoir, drill a hole in it and insert a short length of tubing in it. Again seal the tube to the cap with JB weld. Connect the tube from the MC res. cap to the deep tube in the bottle with a hose, then attach the other tube in the bottle to an air source. Fill the bottle with brake fluid, open a bleeder (right rear) and apply about 1-2 lbs. regulated air pressure to the bottle. When fluid runs clear from the bleeder, close it and repeat the operation at each of the remaining bleeders. Do not let the bottle run low on fluid. 10-15 minutes later Brakes bled, job finished.
Threads like this are fun to read and usually turn into a learning experience
I have a single person brake bleeder that uses air pressure to produce the vacuum but was not aware of the hand held vacuum pump.
I also realized that having a short hose on the wheel cylinder with the other end in a jar with brake fluid could work as a one man bleeder.
The pressure bleeder is also a great idea.
And as usual Steve comes up with a strange project!
By the way - has anyone asked Steve how he takes pictures of himself?
He has a little midget that runs around with him and takes the pictures.
Trouble is he keeps getting distracted when a airplane fly's over. :>)
Mack, now that is funny! Dave
To be politically correct they are little people not midgets.
And he is concerned about drones not airplanes
Actually, Ford called them midgets. Ford Times, May 1914
Justin, let's have the rest of that Ford Times story. I love the style.
Here is the whole story. I just found a bunch of 1914 & 1915 "Ford Times" magazines that make for some interesting reading.
The "Mr and Mrs Tom Thumb" in the article may have been another couple than the couple of Barnum fame since the original "Tom" (Charles Sherwood Stratton) died in 1883 at 45 years of age. Ok, his wife Lavina lived to 1919, so maybe she remarried?
These stories are pure marketing genius. Almost the entire article evokes a sense of nostalgia for the past and at the end ties it to a Ford by way of Mr. and Mrs. Thumb (Who, according to the article, were in their declining years. I'm sure no pun was intended).
By the way, I wonder if Steve dug out his sump with a Roman nose...
Blocking down the pedal did zilch. The solution was a rubber plug in the reservoir with a piece of old brake line through it, and another rubber plug taped into a shop vac hose with the same brake line through it. With the shop vac blowing pressure into the reservoir while I slowly pumped the pedal, the master cylinder was soon working again. Tomorrow when I have daylight I'll see if I can finish bleeding the lines.
ah, just like my 47 pontiac, way the heck down there where it is hard to reach!
Very ingenious, glad it finally worked out.