CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Speed Bleeders: Recommended!

A lot of people don’t know what these little things are - including people in auto parts stores - so I thought I’d post a message about them. They replace the brake bleeder screws - they look just like the original equipment, only slightly longer. The extra length is to accommodate a ball valve inside the bleeder screw.

The ball valve closes the bleeder off unless there’s line pressure from the brake pedal being pressed. So you crack open a Speed Bleeder, then pump the brakes, and it automatically opens and closes the valve to bleed the fluid, rather than having to have someone there with a wrench. When you’re done, you close the speed bleeder like you do a normal bleeder screw, and leave it on the car. Takes a few minutes per side and makes the job a whole lot easier, and most important, doable by only one person.

I have seen these before but never tried them… Seems like a simple design… Thanks for the recommend !!!

If a 6" length of rubber hose is fit snugly over the bleeder and pointing upward the bleeder can be opened and the pedal pumped to bleed the system. Just don’t let the reservoir run dry. There is no need for a check valve, a bottle half full of brake fluid, or a helper opening and closing the bleeder.

I’ve seen those, but they are kinda pricy don’t ya think. The ones I saw were $22 each.

@Rod Knox: I know, but that’s also a pretty good way to squirt brake fluid on the fender :wink:

@keith: I just put 'em on my TL and paid $25 for all 4 of them, plus an “IV bag” to contain the fluid. I ordered direct from the company’s website, though. I wouldn’t be surprised if stores jack the prices.

Ant the companies website is???

http://www.speedbleeder.com/ (I didn’t mention until someone asked, because I didn’t want it to look like I’m spamming for them).

Cool. I like the “check valve” function of them. Historically I’ve used the ol’ “half full pee bottle” method to prevent air gettting in during the piston drawback, but this looks even easier.

Thanks for the link.

Interesting,. Never used those things. It would sure beat a jar with a hose in it.
What protects the valve when you’re not using it?
Edit; Never mind. I see what it does.

Btw, to make sure my MC doesn’t run dry, I use a rabbit water bottle - one of those things with thin tube that has ball it in. I’ve cut the part with the ball off and hang it upside down into the MC’s reservoir.

Huh. They don’t list mine and seems like newest is 08. At any rate, how can you see when the air bubbles are out if you are in the car? You still have to put a tube on it into a jar or it’ll get all over the floor. So why couldn’t you just connect a short piece of tubing on the bleeder screw like normal, the other end to just one of these things, and another short piece of tube into a jar. You’d just need one and ove it from wheel to wheel. Still couldn’t see when the bubbles are gone though.

I always dread the brake bleeding because the wife gets very impatient, through the 20-30 down, up, down up, commands. Knowing I should change brake fluid pretty soon, I thought I would test the water again while changing oil. I asked if she would like to help and hand me tools and so on. I just kind of got that dreaded look. I’m still not sure if this is the answer. Maybe just taking the $20 bill and giving it to the wife would be easier.

I just replaced the MC on my son’s car and will replace the rubber hoses with braided when they come in so I ordered some of these speedbleeders to make the job a little easier. Had heard about them but hadn’t heard any recommendations until today. Thanks for the tip, Shadowfax.

Good helpful post @shadowfax. I purchased two ($12 for the pair I think), for my 1970’s Ford truck. They were there on the parts-to-help-DIY-self-ers rack at the chain auto parts store. They seemed a mite-expensive to me at the time, but I bought them anyway, and they work like a charm. They are well worth the expense in my opinion. I can definitely recommend them.

Once caution: Make sure the ones you get fit your wheel cylinder or caliper. Carefully compare them to the ones you already have, make sure the thread pitch is exactly the same, etc.

@bing

Huh. They don't list mine and seems like newest is 08.

Just find out what the measurements of your bleed screws are (including thread pitch) and then order the speed bleeder with the same measurement.

At any rate, how can you see when the air bubbles are out if you are in the car?

If you use the IV bag (it looks just like the IV bags they use in hospitals) then you can watch the line going into the bag. Since the line/bag is sealed while you’re bleeding it, any air bubbles will be trapped in the fluid in the line and you can see them. Once the line has no bubbles in it, you’re done.

The other trick I do when I’m bleeding is that, I figure there’s no point going to all the work of getting the wheels off and bleeding the thing without just replacing all the brake fluid. Might as well do the whole job as long as I’m already half way done with it and dirty.

So I use ATE brake fluid. They dye it - you can get either blue or yellow. So once blue or yellow shows up in the line, you know you’ve bled the whole line. (apparently it’s illegal in Florida because it’s blue. Stupid. All other states it’s DOT legal). Just get the opposite color from whatever you used last time and you’ll always have an easy indicator that you’ve bled the whole line, even if the old fluid isn’t very dirty.

I had a full set of bleeder fittings once. There were apparently 16 different adapers.

How often would a DIYer use such a tool?

At bit spendy at over 4 bills…

Okay, finally got the new lines in so bled the system using these newfangled speedbleeders.
Very nice.
It was a bit scary threading them in because they put this sealant on the threads so there’s a fair bit of resistance. I like my hardware to just spin in by hand except for the last couple of threads and am not used to threads offering resistance. Once I was sure stuff wasn’t cross threaded and of the right thread size, I felt better.
They did send me the wrong ones for the rear but the fronts bled in seconds. They work great!
Thanks again for the tip, @shadowfax.

Any time :slight_smile: Yeah, the thread locker makes it a little hard to tell when you get too tight (though it’s important to keep them from ever backing out, which would suck). Apparently some people have broken the speed bleeders off in the caliper by tightening them too much. Fortunately, if you ship them the caliper, the company will extract the broken one, and install a new one for you for free.

@Shadowfax, that’s a thread sealant. It’s needed to prevent air getting past the threads when the fitting is off the seat. I always wondered how they managed to overcome that issue but never bothered to look further until this came up again. Using a check valve makes it more prone to pulling in air on the pedal upstroke because of the level of vacuum as compared to the bottle method. The bottle method can draw fluid back and the fluid is at atmospheric pressure. On the installation page, they explain what it is and sell replacement bottles. After some use it may get displaced enough not to seal properly.