Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby mainer [OP] » November 18th 2008, 3:43pm

I have a 2002 Astro AWD that i just had a rear brake cylinder leak. I found it blown apart. The problem i'm having is that I can't get the brake line to bleed. I tried applying pressure on the brake peddle and opening the bleeder (after replacing the cylinder), but I can't get any fluid to pump out. I even took off the bleeder and i still don't have any fluid. How long should it take before i see fluid coming out? I don't hear any air sounds and no air pressure out of the hose. The fluid level is fine (and it never went dry).
I'll check the other rear brake tonight. Maybe it's gone too.
Also, when i press the brakes with the van off, the peddle goes to the floor, but when it's turned on i get some pressure (from the booster i guess).

Please advise. Thanks!!
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby NorwegianAstro » November 18th 2008, 6:06pm

Same problem with my -90 Astro Van. Tryed to bleed rear brake lines, but no pressure. Nothing comes oute when we open, with full pressure on the brakes...

What is wrong???
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby mainer [OP] » November 18th 2008, 6:18pm

I'm thinking there may be air in the modulator, but i want to rule out any reset switch or anything else to do with the abs. I just found this article http://74.125.45.132/search?q=cache:xuI-Lsy7IyMJ:www.aa1car.com/library/abs_kelseyhayes.htm which explains the braking system very well.

Any other advice?
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby astro355 » November 18th 2008, 8:24pm

Call me Captain Obvious but did you refill the master cylinder before you tried bleeding it? And if so, was the rear circuit fully drained? If all of the fluid drained from the rear circuit, you will have to work the air out of the circuit.
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby mainer [OP] » November 18th 2008, 9:18pm

What do you mean by refill the master cylinder? The resevoir is not low. Yes, the driver's side rear drained significantly when the wheel cylinder failed, so if i still have air in the line how do i work out the air?
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby astro355 » November 18th 2008, 9:31pm

When I said master cylinder, I should have said reservoir. Was either reservoir empty? Getting air out of these systems sucks. If that is the case, what I would recommend is to open the passenger side rear bleeder first and gravity bleed it. Getting the first drops of brake fluid out of that bleeder may take a long time but you will have to watch the fluid level in the reservoir. If that level gets too low again, you will have to start over. Once you get fluid flowing, you can then bleed them normally. And only open up the passenger side rear bleeder, not both rear bleeders.

Of course, this is assuming that there are no other leaks.

Is your brake booster rusty? Especially around the mounting flange with the master cylinder.
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby mainer [OP] » November 18th 2008, 9:51pm

No rust. The brake fluid hasn't gone down after i was doing this for 10 min. How long should i anticipate for bleeding this? I took the bleeder completely off and there's no sign or sound of fluid coming out. This is an ABS system. I'm wondering if I should be resetting something? Maybe in need to bleed the modulator?
Could the proportioning valve have something to do with it?
Is there another joint or cylinder before the wheel cylinder that i have to bleed?
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby astro355 » November 19th 2008, 12:00am

mainer wrote:No rust. The brake fluid hasn't gone down after i was doing this for 10 min. How long should i anticipate for bleeding this? I took the bleeder completely off and there's no sign or sound of fluid coming out. This is an ABS system. I'm wondering if I should be resetting something? Maybe in need to bleed the modulator?
Could the proportioning valve have something to do with it?
Is there another joint or cylinder before the wheel cylinder that i have to bleed?


There is nothing to reset. No to the rest of the questions. Once air gets in those systems, is a PITA. This is why shops use pressurized bleeder systems which forces the air out. It seriously could take hours.

Do you have a vacuum pump? What you could try is attaching the vacuum pump to the loosened bleeder screw and suck the air/brake fluid do to the wheel cylinder.

Is either of the brake idiot lights lit?
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby kidhauler » November 19th 2008, 7:27am

If you had a huge leak the valve in the master cylinder might have slid to shut the fluid off to the rear brakes. They do this in the event of a massive leak so that you don't blow all the fluid out and run out of brakes.
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby astro355 » November 19th 2008, 12:31pm

kidhauler wrote:If you had a huge leak the valve in the master cylinder might have slid to shut the fluid off to the rear brakes. They do this in the event of a massive leak so that you don't blow all the fluid out and run out of brakes.


And if that's the case, one of the idiot lights will be lit.
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby mainer [OP] » November 19th 2008, 6:11pm

Thanks astro355 and kidhauler! Success! Incidently, i left the brake line open before leaving for work. When i arrived back last night the fluid leaked through (obviously nothing is holding it back). I refilled the resevior and pressed the brake for about 1/2 hr and it pumped through fine. I guess i wasn't waiting long enough.

The van now brakes fine with no sponginess. i think you're right about the master cylinder sliding shut too becuase my brakes were working fine in the front even though had a massive leak in the back.
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Re: Rear Brakes Won't Bleed

Postby astro355 » November 19th 2008, 8:03pm

Glad you got it done.
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