View Full Version : brake fluid flush

12-09-2005, 10:18 AM
I got a 1998 e36 328i. I noticed after changing my winter tires for the past couple of years, my back brakes don't work - lol, I know. The rotors are not even being touched. Front are being used and worn out much faster. So I'm assuming I need a proper brake flush. Anyone have a tool I could borrow, or is willing to to it for me for a small fee, or should I take it to the $tealer?

12-09-2005, 10:26 AM
from the sounds of it, you need a brake job. Just take it somewhere and get it looked at. It'll be cheaper to fix it than to go through your front pads and rotors like crazy.

P.S. It's an E36 3 series. Not E39!

12-09-2005, 11:49 AM
thanks for your response - I do need a "special tool" right?

12-09-2005, 12:00 PM
No you dont need a special tool. They do have tools, but they are ment to help you get it done faster by urself.

You have two options, you can gravity bleed the system by making sure the resivor is topped up and opening the bleeding screw on each caliper one at a time for a few mins to let the fluid dip out.

Ur other option requires two ppl, one person pumps the brake pedal a few times and then holds it down, while the other person opens the bleeding screw for a second to let the pressure out. A few times to each side is good.

I'd gravity bleed it if you have time to let it sit.
Colourd fluid helps you know when the new fluid has reached the side your bleeding.

If you've never done it before, you should get a friend who has or get someone to do it for u.
Its not overly difficult, but brakes is not something you wanna mess up.

12-09-2005, 12:24 PM
I thought you need something special to "pump" it through the ABS system.

12-09-2005, 03:37 PM
If you have traction control, use a power bleeder.

Personally, I wouldn't do a brake flush without a power bleeder. It makes life a lot easier.

12-09-2005, 05:16 PM
what'sa power bleeder?

12-09-2005, 05:34 PM
i dont know, but i assume a power bleeder is a tool to assisst in bleeding :P

ps - why not take it to Canadian Tire and have them do a free brake inspection, just so you can be sure of what it needs?

12-09-2005, 05:42 PM
a power bleeder taps onto your brake fluid resevoir and using a pump, forces all the old brake fluid and contaminants out the with the new fluid out of the bleeding hole

12-09-2005, 06:55 PM
I think i'll have canadian tire do it for me, just buy better brake fluid.

i know someone with a e36 who does oil changes like that. 14 dollars for the oil change + brings her own oil (yes, her:D:D)

12-09-2005, 09:43 PM
Wouldn't let Canadian Tire do anything on any of my vehicles.....

12-09-2005, 10:00 PM
Wouldn't let Canadian Tire do anything on any of my vehicles.....

No one touches my car but me.

and if i had to, there would be alot of places i wouldn't take my car to.

12-09-2005, 11:02 PM
so anyone got a power bleeder?

12-09-2005, 11:18 PM
well, oil change?

i mean you can screw it up, sure, but...

Justin e36
12-09-2005, 11:45 PM
Ok, back up a minute.

Your brake fluid is not your problem here. If you had air in your brake lines your brake pedal would be very very very soft and even your front brakes would barely work. Now it is possible that there is something clogging your brake line under the body of your car before the T valve which splits to your left + right brakes. I've worked on someone's e36 where this happened.. .took me a bit to figure it out. I used the compressor and pumped air in there until the stuff came flying out the other end. Problem solved.

On your vehicle you have what is called an Equalizer Valve.. (although the proper name BMW uses is the Proportioning Valve). It is what regulates the pressure between the front / rear brakes. The harder you slam on the brakes, the more pressure it sent to the front wheels, and less to the rear wheels. This is especially important if your ABS system is disabled or malfunctions as it prevents premature lockup of the rear wheels. It is possible this valve needs replacing.

And the most likely possibilites are that your brake shoes were installed incorrectly, or your calipers are seized.

You should do a brake fluid flush anyway.. and bleeding your rear brakes will help determine if the line is clogged or not. Also, for BMW's you require a pressure bleeder. You want at least 20 pounds of pressure (PSI) when bleeding. Do it in the following order: front left, front right, rear left, rear right. Also be careful with the brake fluid and make sure to spray it off any body panels, or if they get on your rims.

By the way, the product you need (pressure bleeder) is available for $15 at Canadian Tire: http://www.canadiantire.ca/assortments/product_detail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=140847439 6669501&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524443283219&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=1408474396670271&bmUID=1134186344031&assortment=primary&fromSearch=true

You will need to remove your existing cap from your brake fluid reservoir. Remove the sensor from the top, then attach the appropriate sized vinyl hose from this bleeder to the cap. Make sure the rubber gasket inside is fit snug otherwise you'll get air leaks. Screw it on tight, and pump it up to 20psi... then bleed away.

12-10-2005, 01:48 AM
wow, thanks for the awsome response!!

12-10-2005, 08:02 PM
Justin, I went to Canadian Tire - the bleeder you mentioned fits on the actual caliper, and has a oneway valve - is this what I need? or do I need a bleeder that fits on the filling resivor in the engine bay?

Justin e36
12-10-2005, 09:06 PM
Hmm, my bad... that's the wrong part. I thought it was a pressure bleeding system that fits on the brake reservoir on the engine bay.

I fit fits on the bleeder nipple, then that is a vacuum bleeding system. It will work just as effectively. I've read literature that supports when vacuum bleeding the order should be reversed:

- Right Rear Caliper
- Left Rear Caliper
- Right Front Caliper
- Left Front Caliper

Be sure to keep an eye on your brake fluid reservoir after every caliper to ensure you don't run out of brake fluid, otherwise you'll have to start over.

12-11-2005, 03:36 AM
I use a Mity Vac fluid extractor (for oil change) + brake bleeding accessory.

Works fine, I have DSC on my e46. Pretty much doable as a 1 person.

1-Fill reservoir
2-Bleed rear passenger
3-Top up reservoir
4-Bleed rear driver
5-Top up reservoir
6-Bleed front passenger
7-Make sure it does not go below minimum line (air might get in)