Bleeding an ABS system
Remember the old days when you could rip off a caliper, install a new one, and just bleed the brakes? Well, if you have a vehicle with ABS brake you could be setting yourself up for a trip to the shop after doing that.
ABS systems are VERY sensitive to air bubbles. You know that air rises in the system. Once a bubble gets into the ABS valves, it’s almost impossible to suck it back down even with a hand-held vacuum pump. It’s definitely impossible to do it just by pumping the brake pedal.
There are only two methods left: The first is to use one of the pricey brake bleeding tools that literally pumps brake fluid backwards through the system to force the air bubble into the brake fluid reservoir. Get that special bleeder kit on ebay (below). If you don’t have that tool, you have to use a scan tool that has bidirectional capabilities and ABS software (minimum $500 scan tool).
How can you avoid getting air into the ABS system? NEVER, and I mean NEVER let the reservoir run dry as you bleed the brakes. ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS use a vacuum bleeder. The days of pumping with the brake pedal are OVER. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself. You may skate by.
But if you get air into the system and have to take it to a shop, be prepared to fork over at least $100 for a scan tool bleed procedure. (By the way, you could have bought the vacuum tool for a tad less than that).
For more information on this repair or any others for your vehicle, buy an online subscription to either Alldatadiy.com or eautorepair.net. Click on this link to compare the two services: Compare Alldata and Eautorepair.
If you just need information for a single repair and want to save money,eautorepair offers a lower price 1-week subscription for only $11.99. Or, if you’ll be working on this vehicle in the future, you can buy a 1-year subscription (Alldatadiy.com for $26.99, or eautorepair.net $29.99)
© 2012 Rick Muscoplat
Alldata and Eautorepair are both professional grade shop manuals. You’ll find more in-depth information and more complete wiring diagrams, along with descriptions of how the systems work. And, you’ll get all that at a price you can afford. Check them out!
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