Series Land Rovers
Bleeding Brake, take two
by Larry Smith
A letter from Larry Smith - "I don't know if I'm too cheap, watch too much TV, or stupidly plan to do repairs on a Sunday when nothing is open, but I always seem to get stuck and then have to figure a way out. The other day was no exception. We went to bleed the brakes on a friend's dual brake system 109 that has the valve in the system that shuts down the front or back lines if one of the lines fails. I've never encountered one before. (Should have read the book first!). Anyway, we're doing the old pump, pump, pump bleed routine when we hear a mechanical "pop" and the "brake" light on the dash lights up. Ummmm, now what. Finally decide to check the manual. Supposed to have pumped up the brakes slowly and then bleed. No problem, it gives the procedure to use if the valve pops. Only one thing - seems the valve is stuck. Take apart lines and remove valve from under frame, under the right footwell. Take it apart and sure enough; rust, grunge, etc. Clean up valve, blow out the lines with a compressor, and reinstall. Can't seem to get fluid to the rear by using the brakes or a suction bleeder. Look for a pressure bleeder. Can we get one - Noooo, its Sunday. Sit down, drink a beer, and think. Remember a segment on the "Shadetree Mechanic" where they used a bicycle inner tube to pressure check a radiator. Have old tube and a spare reservoir cap. Enlarge vent hole in cap, cut tube to about 18 inches long with the valve stem in the centre, tie a loose knot in one end, slip the other over the outer edge of the cap and hold in place with a hose clamp, screw the cap on the reservoir and pressurize with a bicycle pump.
We slowly begin to get fluid through the bleed screws. Too Slow! Use a compressor with about 10-15 PSI. Because I loosely tied the tube, it acted as a "safety valve" and didn't blow a seal or the reservoir. After about five minutes - clear fluid. Bled the rest, topping up the reservoir as needed. Inquiring minds might like to know..."
Reprinted from the OVLR Newsletter, February 1997