Brakes (FL) Won't Bleed after Repair

While helping a friend with his 2000 Nissan Maxima GLE 3.0L with 146K. We installed both CV axles with new and also replaced both front brake calipers. The axles went in fine with no issues. Installed the right caliper and bled it with no problems. The headache came up when we changed the left caliper. After installing, we could get no fluid whatsoever out of the bleeder. Thinking we got ahold of a crappy re-man, we swapped the caliper out and had the exact same issue.

I loosened the flex hose where it comes into the wheel well and nothing but a trickle came out while depressing the pedal. This thing has me stumped… could this be an issue with the ABS? Can I by-pass the ABS at least for testing purposes?

I’d be inclined to remove the caliper from the car and figure out a way to inject brake fluid into it, maybe use a turkey baster or shop syringe, and see if any brake fluid ever comes out the bleed hole. You’ll have to clamp the piston first.

Is there any chance you got it installed upside down? Or using one that is supposed to go on the right, on the left instead? The bleeder screw is supposed to be at the top of the caliper, and pointing up. Is it?


Here’s what I’d try next, and I’ll use your words, if you don’t mind

“I loosened the flex hose where it comes into the wheel well and nothing but a trickle came out while depressing the pedal.”

Try that exact same procedure on the right front caliper

If you’ve got good flow on that side, I’d say the problem may be the left front hose

I loosened the flex hose where it comes into the wheel well and nothing but a trickle came out while depressing the pedal.

(You mean where the metal brake line attaches to the flex hose, right?) When doing this, did the brake pedal go rapidly to the floor? If not, sounds like the metal line to that brake might be plugged. Try loosening that line at the ABS actuator.

To bypass the ABS, you just unplug the electrical connector to it.

@db4690 The right front had no problems with the bleeding. The right side is done and operational. I disconnected the flex line from the hard line on the left side which is where the flow problem is. Could it be the master cylinder or is the problem more likely to be in the ABS module? There was a “whooshing” sound which sounded like it was coming from the master cylinder while attempting to bleed.

@ insightful I will try loosening that line at the actuator first thing in the AM

I would suggest that you remove the bleeder from the caliper and while holding light pressure with your finger against the bleeder port have an assistant repeatedly press and release the brake pedal until brake fluid is flowing out. And with the engine off the brake booster will ‘whoosh’ when the pedal is pressed and released.

With some brake systems the proportioning valve can lock out one side when there is a pressure loss and the pedal is push to the limit. Now that the right side is restored pump the brake pedal until it has some resistance and you may fell a click in the pedal as the combination valve re-centers, you can then continue bleeding the system.

Is there a bleed valve at the master cylinder? If so, bleed that, then bleed the right rear, left rear, right front then the left front


I know you don’t have a problem with the right front . . .

My point is this . . .

You can compare flow rates out of the loosened hoses . . . left front versus right front

If one of them has very little or no flow, the problem is the brake line and/or hose on that side

Do you follow my reasoning?

By the way, in my opinion, your master cylinder and the abs module are not your problem

Were the calipers hung by a wire from the strut or were they allowed to dangle on the hoses; either purposefully or inadvertently?

The calipers were removed from vehicle then went straight to the parts house for the core. The new calipers went straight on to the vehicle from box. The brake hoses were clamped off during the process and only after the hoses were installed onto the new calipers were the clamps removed. There was no loss of brake fluid.

To properly bleed the brakes on a 2000 Maxima you have to disable the ABS.

This can be done by either removing the ABS fuse or disconnecting the negative battery cable.

Then the brakes are bled in these steps.

Right rear, left front, left rear, and right front.


@Tester Thank you for the proper bleed procedure on this Maxima. The problem ended being the master cylinder. Replaced the bad master cylinder and all is working as it should. I pulled the ABS fuse out and bled out the entire system

Somebody please explain why the master cylinder would be the problem . . . ?

It only has 2 outlets . . . front and rear

I don’t see how a bad master would affect the front left, but not the front rear

Of course I don’t know everything, and I’m still learning after all this time

But I’d like a good explanation

Not “That’s just the way things are”


What procedure were you using to bleed the brakes?


pressure, using a diaphragm brake bleeder and adapters

2 man method


This particular master cylinder controls the front right & rear left with one of the outlets. The second outlet controls the front left & rear right.


Thank you for that additional information

I wish you had mentioned it earlier

Did you have problems bleeding the right rear?

No problems at all with the bleeding/flush once the new master cylinder was installed