Historically, bleeding your...
Historically, bleeding your Mopar's brakes has been a two person project. This month, we'll show you a great way to do it yourself with a handy tool from Phoenix Systems.
Of the variety of systems your Mopar features, the braking system is likely the most important in terms of safety. And while most brake work is pretty straight forward, the one procedure that can be a real pain when performing brake system maintenance is bleeding the brakes. If you're like this author, you always seem to complete your brake work when there's nobody available to pump and hold the brakes, while you crack bleeder screws open, leaving you having to improvise, inconvenience a family member, or just gravity bleed the brakes, which takes forever. Fortunately, we found an innovative new brake bleeding system from Phoenix Systems that allows one person to bleed the brakes on any vehicle, even ABS equipped cars, in ten minutes or less.
1. Bleeding a car's hydraulic...
1. Bleeding a car's hydraulic brake system can be a hassle, with one person required in the car to pump the brakes and another to open bleeder valves under the car and allow air to escape. And don’t forget to add fluid or you’ll pump air into the brakes and need to start over. Isn’t there a better way?
As a hydraulic system, the brakes of Mopar vehicles (an all modern vehicles) utilize pressurized fluid to force the pistons of the calipers or wheel cylinders out, applying the friction lining to the rotor or drum to stop the vehicle. This fluid pressure comes from application of the brake pedal, which moves a piston in the master cylinder and forces brake fluid toward the individual wheel brakes. As a way to transfer energy, hydraulic systems offer many advantages including simple installation, easy proportioning, and the ability to amplify the initial force through proper sizing of the piston(s) in the master cylinder. The one downside to a hydraulic brake system, however, is the necessity to remove all of the air from the system in order for it to operate properly. Air in the lines equals a soft pedal, and stopping distances can be increased often to dangerous levels.
There are several ways to remove air from a braking system, the first being to simply allow gravity to bleed the brakes by opening the individual bleeder valves and waiting for the fluid to force the air out of the system. While the gravity bleeding method works ok, it takes a long time and we always wonder if all the air really bled out. The next method most of us are familiar with is for one person to pump the pedal and force fluid to the individual wheels, while another opens the bleeder valves individually to release air. This is also an adequate method, but requires the help and coordination of another mechanic, and by virtue of the process air can actually be sucked back into the bleeder valves and get trapped in the brake system.
2. Vacuum bleeders can make...
2. Vacuum bleeders can make the bleeding process easier, but you’re attempting to suck the fluid, and air, down through the system opposite of the way air would naturally want to flow. Think of it this way, have you ever poured brake fluid into a cup of air? You’ll notice the air goes to the top, and the fluid goes to the bottom because the fluid is heavier than air.
The MAXPRO reverse brake bleeder from Phoenix Systems eliminates the disadvantages of traditional bleeding methods, pressurizing the brake system from the bottom at the wheel cylinders or calipers, and forcing air up and out through the master cylinder. In aviation, this is called "pressure bleeding" and is required on most aircraft braking systems, so we're glad to see the technology applied to the automotive industry. The MAXPRO reverse brake bleeder is a complete system, and they advertise that any mechanic can bleed a car's brakes or clutch single-handed in ten minutes or less. Since we love a challenge, we decided to test their claim and put our '09 Challenger on the lift since ABS brake systems are more, well, "challenging" to bleed. We were pleasantly surprised with our results, and can say that this tool definitely makes bleeding a car's brakes an easy, one person job, giving our car a firm brake pedal in just under ten minutes.
|Phoenix Systems Maxpro
*Price as of today. Might change tomorrow.
3. Phoenix Systems offers...
3. Phoenix Systems offers a solution to traditional brake bleeding methods, offering their MAXPRO tool which pressure bleeds the brake system from the bottom up, forcing air out the top of the brake system at the master cylinder. This method has been standard practice in aviation for years, and we’re glad to see the technology applied to the automotive industry.
4. After reading the instructions,...
4. After reading the instructions, we decided to test the MAXPRO brake bleeder on our '09 Challenger since it has ABS. Even with the additional plumbing of ABS, we had no problem bleeding our brake system in the ten minutes advertised by Phoenix Systems.
5. After bleeding our car's...
5. After bleeding our car's brakes, we were impressed by the firmness of the brake pedal and response of the brake system. Our car is still limited by tire size when it comes to stopping distance, but we're now sure that all the air is out of our hydraulic brake system.