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2002 Camry
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I completed this procedure at 117,000 km on my 2002 Camry 2.4L 4 cylinder LE. Officially, Toyota does not mention brake fluid in its maintenance schedule. Unofficially, however, it is recommended to change the brake fluid every 3-5 years. The brake fluid in my 10 year old Camry has never been changed before, so it was overdue. I have not been experiencing any problems with the brakes. This is purely a preventative maintenance procedure.


Why Change Your Brake Fluid?
Click on the link below for some compelling information.

http://www.aa1car.com/library/bfluid.htm


What About Camry’s Equipped with ABS?
The following procedure is OK to use with a Camry equipped with ABS brakes, however, it is my understanding this brake fluid flush will not get the old fluid out of the ABS brake module. I have read that you need a special diagnostic tool to exercise the ABS module in order to exchange the fluid in it. It is not something that is easily done by a DIYer. I left the old fluid in the ABS module and hope that it will get diluted with the new fluid in the winter months. Please post if you have any suggestions to get the old brake fluid out of the ABS unit.


Disclaimer
Use this guide at your own risk! I assume no responsibility for any damage to your vehicle or personal injury as a result of following this guide. Any comments to improve the procedure will be gratefully received and incorporated into this procedure where possible.

Time Required
It took me about 3 hours from start to finish, including time to take photos and make notes. No special tools are required. If I had to do this again, I think I could reasonably pare this down to 1.5 hours.



Tools & Supplies:
a) Two 946ml (32 oz) Prestone DOT3 Synthetic Brake Fluid $24.84 CAD (Canadian Tire)
b) Turkey Baster $1.13 CAD(Dollar Store)
c) Water Bottle with graduations $1.41 CAD (Dollar Store)
d) Two feet of 3/16” ID x 5/16” OD clear vinyl tubing $2.51 (TSC store)
e) Bent coat hanger wire or similar (optional)

Total = $29.89 (taxes included)




Let's get started...


1. Drill a 19/64” diameter interference hole through the lid of the water bottle and force the vinyl hose through the hole into the bottle. You want a tight interference fit.



2. Loosen lug nuts. Raise and support the car on jack stands. Remove the wheels. Remove any residual vacuum from the brake booster by pressing the brake pedal several times with the engine off. You will notice the brake pedal get stiff when the vacuum is gone.



3. Remove the master cylinder reservoir cover and set aside.

Caution! …Brake fluid eats paint. I have read that within 20 seconds, it can permanently damage your paint. Keep a clean rag close by. If you spill any brake fluid on your paint, wipe immediately and flush the area with clean water.



4. Twist the strainer ¼ turn and lift it out of the master cylinder reservoir.

[EDIT: Mar. 22, 2012]: Here is a tip from TN member hardtopte72....
You should mark the level the master cylinder is at before you drained it and only fill it back to that level. The reason is unless you just put brand new brakes your brakes have some level of wear. When you do a brake job and compress the calipers/wheel cylinders the master cylinder is going to overflow brake fluid all over the place. This can damage your paint and eat up rubber parts it lands on. So if you master cylinder is at 3/4 full after bleeding put it back to 3/4. It will save you a driveway or engine bay mess later. [EDIT]




5. Suck out the brake fluid using the turkey baster. To avoid drips, I covered the end of the baster with my finger when transferring the fluid to a storage container. You will notice that the reservoir is divided into two chambers. I believe that the front chamber supplies brake fluid to two diagonally opposite wheels and the rear chamber supplies fluid to the other two diagonally opposite wheels. There will be some residual brake fluid remaining that you cannot suck out with the baster. Don’t worry about this residual fluid. It will get drained later when you flush the brakes.



6. Note that I was able to suck a total of about 400ml (13.5 oz) out of the reservoir.



7. Slowly refill the reservoir with clean brake fluid. Use a funnel if needed to prevent spillage. You may observe some bubbling as the fluid pours over from the one chamber to the other. Fill the reservoir right to the top with new brake fluid. Set the cap loosely down on top of the reservoir to reduce the exposure of the new fluid to moisture in the atmosphere.




8. It is generally recommended to bleed the wheel furthest away from the master cylinder and work toward the wheel closest to the master cylinder. For the next several steps, however, I used photos from the left front wheel, because the photos are easier to take. The procedure is similar for the other wheels. Remove the rubber dust cap from the bleed screw.



9. Using the box end of a 5/16” (8mm) combination wrench, loosen the bleeder valve slightly, then tighten it to a point where it’s snug but can still be loosened quickly and easily. If the bleeder valve is stuck, it may be necessary to use some penetrating oil to loosen it up. Mine were very tough to turn, so I decided to remove the bleeder screws, one at a time and clean them up. Pinch the rubber brake hose. If you don’t have a brake hose clamp, you can improvise as I have done here with two wooden dowels.



10. Carefully remove the bleeder screw. I had to slowly work mine out by rotating the wrench back and forth. To loosen the bleed screw, rotate it counter clock wise (CCW) when viewing the screw from above.



11. Wire brush the threads and bleeder screw and apply a very light coating of antiseize on the threads. Wipe off any antiseize that gets on the part below the threads.



12. Thread the bleed screw back into the brake caliper and snug it up with a wrench (CW when viewed from above). Do not over tighten. After cleaning the threads and applying the antisieze compound, my bleed screws turned freely. Remove the brake hose clamp. Apply a coating of grease on the exposed threads and around the base of the bleed screw. This is to prevent any air from getting sucked through the threads back into the caliper when the bleed screw is loosened later on.

[EDIT March 22, 2012]: According to TN fourm member Donald E. George...
I wouldn't use any petroleum grease on the bleeder threads. I think something like a Permatex brake caliper grease would work better. That stuff is very viscous and is compatible with brake fluid. [EDIT]



13. Push the vinyl hose over the tip of the bleed screw. I originally tried a ¼” ID hose and it kept falling off the bleed screw. 3/16” ID hose is very tight and a bit tough to get on, but it does not fall off. Note that if you are interested, I measure the diameter to the tip of the bleed screw. It measured 0.292” (7.5mm) in diameter.



14. Open the bleed screw about ½ - 1 full turn. Let the fluid drip by gravity into the collection bottle. On the front wheels, I got about 2 drops/second. On the rear wheels, I only got about 1 drop/second. I found that it took approximately 20 minutes to bleed 100mL(4oz) of fluid out of the front brakes and 50 minutes to bleed 100mL(4oz) out of the rear brakes. It was ridiculously slow, so I resorted to pumping the brakes as described in the following steps.

Caution!....Frequently check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder and top up to prevent the master cylinder from going dry.



15. Place a 2x4 block of wood under the brake pedal. The purpose of the block of wood is to prevent the brake pedal from being pressed all of the way to the floor. I have read that pressing the brake pedal all of the way to the floor, could damage the shaft seal in the master cylinder as the piston is not used to travelling that far and the shaft may be corroded beyond the normal stroke. I am not sure how true this is, so I used the wood block just to make sure.



16. Hang the brake fluid collection container up above the height of the bleed screw. Any air bubbles that exit the bleeder screw will rise up in the hose, preventing them from getting sucked back into the brake cylinder. Press the brake pedal all of the way down until it hits the block of wood and then slowly release the pedal. A squirt of brake fluid will come out of the line each time you do this. I found that I had to pump the pedal 6 times to flush 50ml (2oz) of fluid.

Caution!....Frequently check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder and top up to prevent the master cylinder from going dry.



17. Close the bleeder valve, remove the flexible hose and replace the rubber dust cap. Remove the block of wood. Start the engine and press the brake pedal several times. Ensure there is no brake fluid leakage. If there are leaks, fix before proceeding. Ensure that the pedal is firm and not spongy. If spongy, then re-bleed the brake until all of the air bubbles come out of the bleeder valve. Install the wheels and torque the lug nuts to 80 ft.lbs.

The rubber dust caps on the rear brakes were so badly deteriorated that they crumbled when I removed them. I will probably get flamed for this, but was too cheap to buy new OEM rubber dust caps, so I just used some left over plastic caps from some wire shelving. If anyone knows a cheap source or rubber dust covers, I would be interested to know where to buy them.

18. Repeat this procedure for each wheel. The recommended order is right rear wheel, left rear wheel, right front wheel, then left front wheel.

19. Check the fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir. If necessary, top up or take away brake fluid to achieve a brake fluid level to the MAX line. Replace the master cylinder reservoir cover.

20. Before driving the vehicle on the road, drive back and forth several times to test the brakes.

21. Over the next several days, check the brake fluid level. If the level is falling, this is an indication that there is a leak somewhere that must be fixed.

22. I am not 100% sure how much brake fluid is necessary to completely flush all of the old fluid out. Since mine was overdue, I used up two 950ml (32 oz) bottles. I suspect that this is overkill, however, once you have opened a bottle of brake fluid, it starts to absorb water and goes bad, so you might as well use it all up. Next time, I think I can get away with one bottle. Here is a summary of the fluid used:

Replenish the Master Cylinder = 400 ml (13.5oz)
Front right wheel = 300mL (10 oz)
Front left wheel = 300 mL (10 oz)
Right rear wheel = 400 mL (13.5 oz)
Left rear wheel = 400 mL (13.5 oz)

Total = 1800 ml (61 oz)
 

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2005 Corolla CE
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14,606 Posts
Awesome write up. One more thing to add is this.

You should mark the level the master cylinder is at before you drained it and only fill it back to that level. The reason is unless you just put brand new brakes your brakes have some level of wear. When you do a brake job and compress the calipers/wheel cylinders the master cylinder is going to overflow brake fluid all over the place. This can damage your paint and eat up rubber parts it lands on.

So if you master cylinder is at 3/4 full after bleeding put it back to 3/4. It will save you a driveway or engine bay mess later.
 

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932 Posts
The shop maunual for my 04 says that the brake bleed sequence is RR,LF,LR and RF.It's a split system so you complete one line and then the other. I don't know what the internal fluid passage are in the ABS unit, but the two lines from the MC go into and four lines to the wheel cylinders go out of the ABS unit.. I think you get most of the fluid out of the ABS unit when you bleed the system. I installed Russell speed bleeders on my Camry so I can do the job myself without help. Also, I wouldn,t use any petroleum grease on the bleeder threads. I think something like a Permatex brake caliper grease would work better. That stuff is very viscous and is compatible with brake fluid. Regards
 

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Premium Member
2002 Camry
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450 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Awesome write up. One more thing to add is this.

You should mark the level the master cylinder is at before you drained it and only fill it back to that level. The reason is unless you just put brand new brakes your brakes have some level of wear. When you do a brake job and compress the calipers/wheel cylinders the master cylinder is going to overflow brake fluid all over the place. This can damage your paint and eat up rubber parts it lands on.

So if you master cylinder is at 3/4 full after bleeding put it back to 3/4. It will save you a driveway or engine bay mess later.
Thanks for the kind words. Good tip! I have added it to step 4. Thank you for your input!
 

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Premium Member
2002 Camry
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450 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The shop maunual for my 04 says that the brake bleed sequence is RR,LF,LR and RF.It's a split system so you complete one line and then the other. I don't know what the internal fluid passage are in the ABS unit, but the two lines from the MC go into and four lines to the wheel cylinders go out of the ABS unit.. I think you get most of the fluid out of the ABS unit when you bleed the system. I installed Russell speed bleeders on my Camry so I can do the job myself without help. Also, I wouldn,t use any petroleum grease on the bleeder threads. I think something like a Permatex brake caliper grease would work better. That stuff is very viscous and is compatible with brake fluid. Regards
Good tips. I did not check my shop manual on the brake bleed sequence. I have added your tips to step 8 and 12 of the procedure. Thank you for your input!
 

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Good tips. I did not check my shop manual on the brake bleed sequence. I have added your tips to step 8 and 12 of the procedure. Thank you for your input!
I made a mistake in the bleed sequence. My Toyota shop manual for the 04 Camry does not give a sequence for bleeding the brake lines. I was thinking of the Honda I drove before I purchased the Camry. RR,LR,LF and RF would work unless the builder specifies a sequence like Honda.Regards.
 

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Premium Member
2002 Camry
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450 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I made a mistake in the bleed sequence. My Toyota shop manual for the 04 Camry does not give a sequence for bleeding the brake lines. I was thinking of the Honda I drove before I purchased the Camry. RR,LR,LF and RF would work unless the builder specifies a sequence like Honda.Regards.
OK- brake bleed sequence removed.
 

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So This is simply a gravity bleed, no pumping? I ask because of the widely sold brake bleeder screws/valves, etc. I'm at 202k, never been done!
 

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2002 Camry
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450 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Ahh I got you, the block controls the foot pump, which is very minor. Cool thanks I did not know to do that
I originally planned a gravity bleed only, but I got impatient and decided to pump during step 15 & 16. The block of wood prevents the pedal from going all of the way to the floor when pumping.
 

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2001 Camry XLE 1MZ-FE
2001 Camry XLE
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I originally planned a gravity bleed only, but I got impatient and decided to pump during step 15 & 16. The block of wood prevents the pedal from going all of the way to the floor when pumping.
OK thanks again, your way is the easy way...
 

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2002 Camry
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450 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
DZ63 (aka The King of Clubs), you are the industrious type, make yourself one of these: :D
Ha Ha! You've been reading my GEN3 Camry timing belt procedure. Now that I sold the '96 Camry, the poor old club is just collecting dust in the basement.

Nice brake bleeder setup. :thumbsup:

There was a guy on another forum that rigged up $15 worth of plumbing parts, including a rubber plumbing coupling to attached a compressed air line to the top of his master cylinder reservoir. He regulated his air compressor down to 20 psi, pressurized the master cylinder reservoir, opened up one bleed screw at a time, and voila, the brake fluid came out in a nice steady stream. I wish I had bookmarked that thread, because I can't find it anymore. It was a very cheap way to build a pressure bleeder. Just be careful not to over-pressurize the master cylinder reservoir and blow it apart - that would get real messy and expensive too! :eek:
 

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2001 Camry XLE 1MZ-FE
2001 Camry XLE
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Ha Ha! You've been reading my GEN3 Camry timing belt procedure. Now that I sold the '96 Camry, the poor old club is just collecting dust in the basement.
Your epic thread got me through my first timing belt change. Without your efforts putting together that DIY it would have been l lot harder to get the job done. And I would have never thought to make one of those Clubs to hold the crankshaft pulley.

Without one, I'd still be trying to figure out how to tighten the Crankshaft Bolt to 130 ft/lbs. Even though I didn't have any 3" bar stock laying around, using your design, I was able to fabricate one out of a floor flange, and some pipe, and it got the job done. I've used mine several times on friends cars and they think I'm a genius for coming up with the idea. Little do they know.

Just be careful not to over-pressurize the master cylinder reservoir and blow it apart - that would get real messy and expensive too!
Right you are about that statement.

I had to laugh when you mentioned pressurizing the master cylinder. I recently did my front and rear brakes and decided to flush the entire system. I set up my Powerbleeder changed out the rear pads, and bled the system. Then I changed out the passenger side front pads, bled the lines and for some reason I got a temporary case of the dumb ass, and crimped off the line going to the master cylinder from the brake fluid supply bottle. My reasoning was to keep the fluid from possibly spilling while I was changing out the driver side pads.

I got the front driver side caliper off, and removed the pads and went to compress the piston with a C-Clamp. It was stiffer than it should have been, but I just cranked down on the C-Clamp, macho style, knowing it would eventually compress. Then I hear this loud POP coming from the engine compartment. :eek: I looked inside the engine compartment and there was brake fluid everywhere. By me crimping off the tube to the brake fluid supply, I sealed up the system, and by me not thinking about what was going on, forcibly cranking down on the piston pressurized the system enough to blow off the cap on the master cylinder, that was of course, secured with a hose clamp.

So now I know that the PowerBleeder setup is air tight but the next time I use it, I will remember not to crimp off the line, rather suck out some brake fluid, compress the piston, check the fluid level, rinse and repeat. Which is what I did on the other three corners.

To add insult to injury, along with having to stop what I was doing to clean up the splatter of brake fluid in the engine compartment, only to discover that some of the brake fluid splashed on the front grill. It ate right through the paint, and there were little white dots on the front grill where the paint dissolved. :facepalm:

Fortunately I had put a rag over the cap when I secured it, and it kept the brake fluid splash to a minimum. Still some brake fluid got on the exterior body paint. I got after those spots right away. I wiped the brake fluid off with a clean rag, rinsed it off with some soap and water, and much to my surprise the brake fluid didn't etch the body paint, so I lucked out there. Gotta thank Toyota for durable exterior paint, that's for sure.

On the bright side, I ended up putting together a DIY on how to re-paint the front grill.

.
 

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2002 Camry
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Discussion Starter #16
Even though I didn't have any 3" bar stock laying around, using your design, I was able to fabricate one out of a floor flange, and some pipe, and it got the job done. I've used mine several times on friends cars and they think I'm a genius for coming up with the idea. Little do they know.
Ah yes - I remember the floor flange. Very clever and a lot easier than machining and welding bar stock. That was a really good idea! It never ceases to amaze me how many sharp and genuinely helpful people there are on the this forum. It is one of the best online forums that I subscribe to.

To add insult to injury, along with having to stop what I was doing to clean up the splatter of brake fluid in the engine compartment, only to discover that some of the brake fluid splashed on the front grill. It ate right through the paint, and there were little white dots on the front grill where the paint dissolved.
Don't worry, you are not alone. I have had many of those "moments of stupidity". I don't want to share them with you though, as I would lose all my credibility on this forum.:lol:

I have read brake fluid can damage paint, but I have not had the opportunity to experience it first hand. It is a good thing it only damaged the paint on the grill. At least a DIYer, you can repaint the grill, so it wasn't too expensive of a mistake. On the positive side, it was a good learning experience. I guarantee that you will never do that again.;)
 

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2002 Camry
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Discussion Starter #18

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I am planning to change front pads & rotors, is it ok to just bleed both sides front.

I'll have to do the rears some other time...
 
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