How to stop brake fluid leaking out when doing brake jobs?

I replaced my truck’s front shoes & wheel cylinders last month. In order to prevent the brake fluid from leaking out of the master cylinder, before disconnecting the hose from the wheel cylinder I used a forceps tool to clamp it off. Got to wondering if there’s a better method, thinking the clamp might damage the hose. Would pressing on the brake pedal slightly (a stick between seat and pedal) do that trick? Brake fluid freely flows from the holding tank to the MC then out to the brake lines when pedal is not pressed. But when the pedal is pressed, the fluid path from the tank to the MC must get closed off. Otherwise pressing on the brake pedal would force fluid into the tank. So that’s my question, if I use a stick to hold the brake pedal down slightly, will that mostly prevent the brake fluid from leaking out during a brake job, thereby not needing to clamp the hose?

you can just use vacuum plugs/caps or a short piece of hose with a screw in the end to stop the fluid from coming out.

If you’re replacing wheel cylinders/calipers, a wise person would then bleed the brake system because those parts failed because the brake fluid wasn’t serviced.


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Yeah I’m considering replacing hoses with my next brake job and figure that would be a good time to have a shop bleed and replace the fluid. My wife wasn’t too thrilled the last time. Push down, let up, push down, rinse and repeat.

lol … My wife didn’t like that job either. It doesn’t seem much of a burden, sit in the seat and push on the pedal when told, so always wondered why she very much didn’t like having that task. If you think you can get an explanation without creating tension, maybe ask your wife what exactly it is about that job that she finds so annoying? Wondering, maybe it’s the “push when told” part, feels like she’s being commanded?

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I had recently replaced the brake fluid, so wanted to leave it in place. The shoe job came about unexpectedly, the actual job was to repack the front wheel bearings, and lube the hub locking mechanism. But when the drum was removed for that, pretty clear the shoes were near the end of their life.

I did bleed the brakes afterward of course. Funny story about what I had to do to buy some brake fluid on the quick, but I’ll leave that to another day.

Forceps or locking needlenose pliers with hoses over the jaws can be used to clamp the hoses. It doesn’t take a lot of force. Metal lines, when unscrewed, can be capped with rubber caps used to protect bleed screws. That covers most situations.

Most older cars and trucks gravity bleed pretty well. You just need patience.

I have made pressure caps for a couple of my cars. An air fitting quick connect into the plastic cap. 5-10 psi works well to pressure bleed and it is quick.

I’ve used saran wrap over the open master cylinder, held tight with some rubber bands around the MC.

I’ve never tried that idea, but going to try in the next week or two. After shoes replaced, stops nicely, but noticing a little bit of sponginess in the brake pedal. I have this theory that air in brake lines will eventually work itself out through the top of the MC, but unfortunately my theory conflicts with my experience … lol …

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remember to always bleed all four wheels and start bleeding from the furthest wheel from the master cylinder and work your way to the closest to the master cylinder.


Always refer the service manual for the proper brake bleeding sequence.

Different vehicles have different brake bleeding sequences.

This sequence is for a Hyundai Tuscon.

Hyundai Tucson - Repair procedures - Brake System


Yeah, without the diagram I’d have guessed you’d bleed the front-left last. Thinking the front left is closest to the brake MC, b/c that’s where the brake pedal is, left side. This is the problem with doing my own thinking! Maybe ABS related.

Well, I guess I stand corrected once again and learned something new.
thanks for posting that Tester. I guess I am still old school in a lot of ways and need to learn a lot more when it comes to newer vehicles.

Having unsucessfully tried most of the hand operated bleeding tools …

Mrs. Beancounter has a limited tolerance for “Push, Hold, Release” so first lay in a sufficient supply of chocolate.

Next, fluid always leaks from the bleed fittings, the blead tube or the receptical falls over so lay in a large amount of disposable rags and kitty litter for spills.

It’s a messy job, which is why God created Beer. :slightly_smiling_face:

I have an old orange juice jar that I put brake fluid in the a tube from the fitting to the bottle. I suppose I could just do it myself but have never tried. Naw, chocolate is a better idea.

Update: Upon further investigation, discovered sponginess was caused by broken brake spring.

Anybody know what the little horse-shoe shaped gadget is for?

I used the gravity method, first time I tried it. Worked well. Good advice. Does take some time, but used that time to re-assemble the 4WD locking hubs, in parallel with the gravity bleeding. One further advantage of gravity bleed method, no worries about damaging master cylinder piston.

I had the bright idea to glue a square piece of thick steel plate to the bottom of a clear plastic bottle. To add weight to bottom to prevent the bottle from falling over. Needed to do this glue job quickly, so used hot melt glue. As you might expect with a bright idea, could never get the hot melt glue to stick to both the plastic bottle and the metal plate at the same time … lol … gravity bleed saved the day however, since didn’t have to twist on the bleeder and hose.

Biggest problem so far unsolved, end of bleeder hose not making a robust connection to bleeder nipple. Hose would occasionally fall off when I wasn’t looking and make a mess.

Couldn’t argue w/either point. No beer of course during brake work, but definitely enjoyed a cool-one later.

The two horseshoe shaped parts hold the emergency brake levers to the brake shoes.

Ok, thanks, yeah, I’ve seen that part used on the rear drums on the Corolla. I was working on front brakes this time, so no emergency cable to deal with. I’m guessing the parts kit is designed for either front or rear.