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Soft brakes

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Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Location: Colorado Springs

PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:10 pm    Post subject: Soft brakes Reply with quote

I recently bought a 88 XJ. The first order of business was to replace the under-spec front rotors and change out the cracked brake hoses. Everything went smoothly until it came time to test drive. The brakes were extremely soft and could not be locked up at all. (I dont have ABS) I have since bled the brakes several times with tubing stuck into a container with brake fluid as well as with a vacuum pump. The bleeding was done in the following order: RP, RD, FP, FD (R-Rear, F-Front, P-Passenger, D-Driver). The brakes have stiffened up a bit, but are certainly not up to par. Is there a procedure for bleeding the master cylinder? Or does anyone have any ideas why Im experiencing my problem?

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Joined: 23 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you pump the pedal, does it get firmer? That would be a key indication that there is still air in the lines. How are the rears? If they are out of adjustment the fronts are doing all the work and it would be difficult to lock them up.

Assuming that there is still air in the lines, when you bled the brakes, did the MC ever run dry? That would have introduced more air into the system and would force you to have to bleed the MC. So unless you've run it dry, the only time it should need to be bled is if it's new.

From experience, I've noticed that with a vacuum pump you need to pull the bleeder screws and put some teflon tape on the threads...otherwise it pulls air through those threads and you don't get a good bleed.

Now, since you replaced the front brake lines I would do a gravity bleed since calipers have all kinds of crevices that can trap air. To do that, start on the passenger side and remove the caliper from the rotor and hold it so that the hose is going up hill (from the caliper) and the bleeder screw is at the top. Open the bleeder and tap the caliper with a rubber mallet a few times to knock any air loose. Then close the bleeder and reinstall the caliper on the rotor. Repeat it for the drivers side and follow that up with a full bleed of the entire system (including the rears) with the vacuum pump, making sure to keep the MC topped off with fresh fluid.

If all else fails, the easiest way to bleed the MC is to remove it from the vehicle and put it in a vise, but it can be done with one person pumping the brake pedal and another watching for air bubbles. Basically, you'll need a couple of bleed tubes (which can be made from brake line). You attach the bleed tubes to the MC outlet ports and position the other ends in the MC reservior. Fill the reservior with brake fluid and slowly depress the brake pedal. Then release, allowing the pedal to return to normal height on it's own. Just repeat that proceedure until no more air bubbles are visible and follow it up with a full bleed of the entire system.


97 XJ Sport with a bunch of stuff
Never argue with idiots, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience
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