AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freely?

Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby blendergasket [OP] » July 28th 2020, 2:42am

Cool, thank you. I got myself a tube yesterday to make one of those.
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Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby blendergasket [OP] » August 2nd 2020, 1:52am

Hi, I've got the calipers on and have started bleeding the brakes. Since I only changed the front calipers my plan was to only bleed the front brakes.

I got the bottle setup working, and the have been pumping the brakes consistently for a good long time. About 1/2 a regular pop bottle of brake fluid has come out. Initially there were bubbles in the liquid at the top of the hose, but now there are not. Also, each time I pump the brakes there is a little splash on the reservoir on top. I'm not sure if its a bubble or something opening and causing a wave.

The process is going very slow though and I'm not sure if a.) I'm done or b.) it's not working.

I have 2 videos. One is of the hose with the fluid in it that doesn't really look like its moving https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a2xaZVpxNw. Originally it was about 6 inches farther down the tube. The second is of the splash at the master cylinder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8aOQje6hbw. The brake pushes easily down about an inch and is then hard to press, but has not changed since I started the job. I've pumped it a couple hundred times.

Another thing that seems strange to me is the brake pads seem very tight on the rotors when the key is out they are not being depressed. My understanding was they were supposed to release?

Did I do something wrong? Is this normal? Thanks in advance for the help.
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Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby augidog » August 2nd 2020, 3:03am

as you described it, it seems like a lot of pumping and bleeding, more than the basic job should entail.

the backsplash at the master cylinder is normal. you're pumping and releasing the brake pedal with the bleeder open, and (unless there's something different about our system I don't know about) that doesn't work. I think the guys were trying to talk you through a standard gravity bleed, then close the bleeder and pump a few times, a few light taps with a hammer, then open the bleeder (don't pump the pedal) to see if any more bubbles rose to the top of the caliper. when only fluid is running into the tube, close the bleeder, test for a firm 1st push of the pedal, done.

then we can try to figure out why the pads seem to be cinching the rotor more than expected.
Last edited by augidog on August 2nd 2020, 3:52am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby blendergasket [OP] » August 2nd 2020, 3:49am

Thank you for the info. I will do it that way.
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Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby augidog » August 2nd 2020, 4:25am

blendergasket wrote:Thank you for the info. I will do it that way.
roger that.

when you think you're finished, all buttoned up, hold the pedal (with only moderate force) and wait to see if it fades. the moral to that story is there's no harm in double checking every fitting you worked with before the test.
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Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby blendergasket [OP] » August 2nd 2020, 5:09am

OK. That seems to be working. I close the valve, pump the brake a few times, hit the caliper with a hammer a few times, then open the valve. A little liquid comes out and travels a few inches up the tube, and there are 1 or 2 little bubbles that come out. That happened on both brakes. I will continue tomorrow when there's more light. I can't see the bubbles anymore. Thanks for straightening me out.
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Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby Mmusicman » August 2nd 2020, 12:54pm

blendergasket wrote:Another thing that seems strange to me is the brake pads seem very tight on the rotors when the key is out they are not being depressed. My understanding was they were supposed to release?

My experience is that this is normal. The pads "seem" to be somewhat tight.. but in reality once you are rolling they will release to their normal resting place. If they hang one good method for checking... that wheel rim will be hotter than the others. Usually the wheel rims are warm to the touch.. but not scalding hot.
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Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby blendergasket [OP] » August 2nd 2020, 6:39pm

I have all the bubbles out of the front driver's side brake, and am still working on the front passenger's side, but it's almost done. I realized the issue with the pads hitting is because I don't have any lug nuts in and the rotor is not totally straight. I assume it'll right itself when I get the tire bolted on.

While bleeding the front driver's side brake I noticed little black flecks in the brake fluid. I am assuming this is tube. The tubes are very old. I got replacement tubes this week but don''t have time to install them. Is it OK to drive this way or a couple to a few weeks til I have time for another van project?
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Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby M_a_t_t » August 2nd 2020, 8:44pm

blendergasket wrote:Hi, I've got the calipers on and have started bleeding the brakes. Since I only changed the front calipers my plan was to only bleed the front brakes.

I got the bottle setup working, and the have been pumping the brakes consistently for a good long time. About 1/2 a regular pop bottle of brake fluid has come out. Initially there were bubbles in the liquid at the top of the hose, but now there are not. Also, each time I pump the brakes there is a little splash on the reservoir on top. I'm not sure if its a bubble or something opening and causing a wave.

The process is going very slow though and I'm not sure if a.) I'm done or b.) it's not working.

I have 2 videos. One is of the hose with the fluid in it that doesn't really look like its moving https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a2xaZVpxNw. Originally it was about 6 inches farther down the tube. The second is of the splash at the master cylinder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8aOQje6hbw. The brake pushes easily down about an inch and is then hard to press, but has not changed since I started the job. I've pumped it a couple hundred times.

Another thing that seems strange to me is the brake pads seem very tight on the rotors when the key is out they are not being depressed. My understanding was they were supposed to release?

Did I do something wrong? Is this normal? Thanks in advance for the help.


Once the fluid has no bubbles you are done. Augidog, did you watch the video I linked to? It explains how it works at the end. I've always done it this way with no issues. I can't usually get anyone to come help with the two man bleed method. Also agree with MMusicman about the rotors not turning. Some cars use springs to pull the pads apart when you release the pedal, if it doesn't it just loosens up while rolling.
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Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby augidog » August 2nd 2020, 10:22pm

M_a_t_t wrote:Augidog, did you watch the video I linked to? It explains how it works at the end. I've always done it this way with no issues.
I did miss it. therefore I did misthink what instructions the OP was trying to follow. guilty as charged for not thoroughly reading before posting.

but, I didn't watch it, didn't need to to understand it. don't disagree with or criticize the method, either, and had bleed bottles in my tool box, as part of an extensive bleeder kit that had a lot of stuff I never used.

the thread seemed hard to follow, apparently it was for me, and I put myself in a rookie's shoes, and did what I'd do given the current situation. I could barely figure out where we were at the moment. I admittedly misread, but I think I hooked OP up ok with a quick end to the job.

honestly, although I sometimes used the vacuum to get things started faster, if the flow was good I never had to use anything but gravity as my 2nd man. as far as sticking pistons or slides, during a drive in courtesy brake check...five seconds with a medium screwdriver and I'd know if there was an issue to investigate further. springs or no springs, the light-pry test told me a lot of information.

I know it's a little early in the day, but I tip my beer in your general direction. no harm or offense intended :cheers:
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Re: AWD 1994 Astro - Should my wheels be spinning more freel

Postby Mmusicman » Yesterday, 12:01am

I use the gravity method initially (for a while)... then at the end do the pumping with the bleeder bottle.
The pumping is usually pointless at this point.. I've never seen bubbles after gravity bleed.

But being old school.. I do both (to be sure)
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