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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have not seen a detailed post on the actual procedure to change the brake fluid as required after three years in service. If it exits I apologize for starting a new post on this topic. Please let me know where it exists.

I have the Helm '06 Service Manual and see that the procedure is the same as the bleeding procedure for releasing air from the brake system. There is no detail on replacing all the fluid, just referenced back to the short procedure on purging air from the system.

In addition to any suggestions in doing this procedure, does anyone know what the fluid capacity of the braking system is and how much brake fluid is necessary for a complete change?

Thanks for any help.

Craig
 

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I have no input, just in my many years of auto ownership I have never heard of changing brake fluid!:confused: In the olden days we all carried a can of brake fluid in the car to add when the brake pedal would go soft. I have not done this in the past 50 years!!:confused: This is all new to me!!
 

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There is no procedure (or reference that I can find) in the 2006-2008 Ridgeline factory service manual for brake fluid changes. There is only a brake system bleeding procedure which is the standard 4 wheel bleed, front left first, then front right, then rear right, then rear left.

The 2005 Accord factory service manual does reference a brake fluid change but points you to the brake system bleeding procedure which is pretty much identical to the above.

The rotors warped on my Accord recently and I had limited time so I took it to the stealership and asked them to also change my brake fluid per Honda's recommendation. I was told they never do that as part of a routine maintenance activity. They bleed brakes when warranted but no wholesale fluid replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies above...our owner's manual says to replace the brake fluid every three years. I understand this is because it can accumulate moisture in the system. Dealers have a special tool to pump out the brake fluid without doing the bleed procedure. The other way will be a challenge I guess, doing it by bleeding, since the possibility of getting air into the system is a concern and the time involved. I am going to go ahead with doing a change by bleeding at each caliper and will report back on any problems or success.

Craig
 

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Please do. I'm going to do mine in the spring along with a full brake job.
 

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I've always done the bleeding method until the fluid changes colour.

Here's something I found on the Internet.

From:

http://www.type2.com/library/brakes/brakef.htm

TIPS for the Do-It-Yourselfer

Brake flushing is much like bleeding air from the system. The most common method is the tried-and-true two-person procedure. It's easier done than described. First remove the lid from the master cylinder (be sure to clean around the lid first, to prevent any dirt from falling into the reservoir). Here, you start at the wheel farthest from the master cylinder, and slip a piece of clear plastic hose over the bleeder valve; it should fit snugly. Place the other end of the hose into a clear containe, such as a glass jar or plastic milk carton, submerged in brake fluid. Have an assistant pump the brake pedal a few times to build up pressure, then on a downward stroke, hold the pedal depressed slightly. While he's holding the pedal down, use a wrench to open the bleeder valve just enough to let a surge of brake fluid escape into the hose and container. Your assistant should then slowly depress the pedal to the floor and hold it there long enough for you to immediately close the bleeder valve again to prevent air from being drawn back into the lines.

The key here is to keep the fluid level in the master cylinder above the minimum mark by repeatedly adding fresh fluid. Once you begin seeing fresh, clear fluid (with no air bubbles) coming out of the bleeder valve in place of the old, dark fluid, you can tighten the valve and move on to the next wheel. Repeat this procedure on all four wheels, working your way toward the master cylinder, which should be your last bleeding point (unless another sequence is recommended in the vehicle's service manual).

In these days of modern technology, there are easier alternatives to this age-old procedure. For instance, you can buy a bleeder hose with a one-way valve, that allows fluid and air out, but doesn't let it back in. This eliminates the need to repeatedly open and close the bleeder valve during each pump of the pedal. Just make sure that the fit of the hose on the valve is tight enough that it doesn't allow any air to seep in through the connection. Russell Performance Products (Dept. MT, 225 Centress Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114; (904) 253-8980) also makes a one-way bleeder valve, called the Speed Valve, with which you can replace your stock valves. This works the same as the one-way hose and eliminates any concern about air leaks at the connections. Either method makes it possible for one person to do all the work, although you still need to check when clear fluid is flowing out of the valve.

Vacuum pumps, such as the popular Mity-Vac models made by Neward Enterprises (Dept. MT, 9251 Archibald Ave., Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730; (800) 648-9822), can also be used as a one-person flushing procedure by drawing fluid out through each bleeder valve, without the need for someone to pump the brake pedal. The company also markets the Mityfill Automatic Fluid Feeder, which can be attached to the master cylinder to provide a constant supply of fresh brake fluid as you're removing the old fluid, eliminating the need to be constantly check the fluid level.

Perhaps the most sophisticated tool for both bleeding and flushing brake systems is the Phoenix Injector, produced by Phoenix Systems. This has the capability of either injecting fluid into the system or pumping it out, to allow a variety of one-person techniques to be used. For instance, in split-system designs (most vehicles produced in the last couple of decades), you can pump fresh fluid into one bleeder valve, while the old fluid is simultaneously extracted from the opposing valve. Or the system can be pressure flushed (a professional technique normally requiring expensive hardware) by pumping fluid through the system from each master cylinder reservoir port, while again collecting the old fluid at each bleeder valve. Or it can be used to vacuum flush a system, acting as a conventional vacuum pump. For bleeding, the Injector also allows reverse fluid injection, which removes air bubbles by forcing them upward and out of the master cylinder, requiring a minimal loss of fluid. The Phoenix Injector is a professional-caliper instrument, and understandibly isn't cheap; depending on model, it runs $70 to $305.

Regardless of which flushing method you choose, when you're done, be sure to top off the level in the reservoir and install the lid securely. Assuming all mechanical components are in order, your brake pedal should have a strong, firm, confident feel, and the system should be working at maximum efficiency, ensuring you'll get the most from your brakes.

TIP of the Month: The Masters of Our Own Cylinders Even if there are no leaks in your car's brake system, the fluid level in the brake master cylinder will still gradually go down. This is important to keep track of, because it is a good indication that it's time to check the vehicle's brake pads and/or shoes for wear.

As the friction lining on pads and shoes wears down, they are pushed out farther to maintain good braking contact with the rotors or drums. This, in turn, requires that more fluid be drawn from the master cylinder. Eventually, this will be evident in the master cylinder reservoir as the fluid level drops to near the minimum mark.

Be sure to check your brakes at this point, and don't forget to top off your fluid.
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I have no input, just in my many years of auto ownership I have never heard of changing brake fluid!:confused: In the olden days we all carried a can of brake fluid in the car to add when the brake pedal would go soft. I have not done this in the past 50 years!!:confused: This is all new to me!!
25 alot of this stuff is kinda new or been around 8 or 10yrs. The word for Brake Fluid is HYGROSCOPIC= Brake Fluid attracks moisture from the atmospher & thats a natural thing for brake fluid. So they say change it or flush it ever 2 to 3years.
Also they advise against having alot of open cans of brake fluid lying around.
The brake systems in or modern type cars cost more so I guess its cheaper to put new fluid in the instead of costly repairs. I remember learning that you should activate your ABS system before getting a brake fluid flush. Take your car to an empty parking lot ect. & slam on the brakes to get ABS system to work. This should be also done once a month on a regular basis.
 

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Thanks for the replies above...our owner's manual says to replace the brake fluid every three years. I understand this is because it can accumulate moisture in the system. Dealers have a special tool to pump out the brake fluid without doing the bleed procedure. The other way will be a challenge I guess, doing it by bleeding, since the possibility of getting air into the system is a concern and the time involved. I am going to go ahead with doing a change by bleeding at each caliper and will report back on any problems or success.

Craig
Shops use a pressure bleeder to speed the job. You can buy one like Motive's power bleeder. But, for a fluid change, I'd recommend gravity bleeding. Just open the bleeders and make sure the master cylinder doen't go dry. Cheep and effective.
 

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I have no input, just in my many years of auto ownership I have never heard of changing brake fluid!:confused: In the olden days we all carried a can of brake fluid in the car to add when the brake pedal would go soft. I have not done this in the past 50 years!!:confused: This is all new to me!!
Like was said above, brake fluid picks up water from the moisture in the atmosphere, and this then causes your braking system to corrode from the inside out. Imagine having to replace your master cylinder, ABS pump, and brake calipers all at one time because they rusted internally!

The other reason I've heard (but haven't verified) to change your brake fluid regularly is that if the moisture content gets high enough, when you hit the brakes in an emergency stop, the water in the fluid can boil from the heat generated within the brake calipers. Water does not compress, but steam does - very nicely! End result is much less stopping power right at the time you need it most.

Chip H.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the input here...I've thought about how I'll do this procedure through all that has been offered...now we'll see what the end result is... actuallying doing the procedure. :D Hope to post pictures and give a report next week.

Thanks again to all who replied.

Craig
 

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Procedure:

1. Wait till brakes need to be replaced.
2. Call dealer, make appt.
3. Drop RL off.
4. Pick up RL after service.
5. Pay for service and not be stuck with old brake fluid to dispose of.

Seriously, I salute you guys that do this on your own, but I'm not one of them...
 

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Thanks for all the input here...I've thought about how I'll do this procedure through all that has been offered...now we'll see what the end result is... actuallying doing the procedure. :D Hope to post pictures and give a report next week.

Thanks again to all who replied.

Craig
Good luck on the job Iam sitting here about to cry. I don't do any mechanical work beside check air pressure change air filter little stuff like that. In the mourning I have an appt at the Acura Dealership to get Brake Work done on my 3.2 TL. I need front brake pads & rotors they need to be resurface. I know this because of previous times I have had it done on the car. I ask the service advisor how much she said about $298. I will not get the Brake System flushed at this time but it will be done before next spring. When I had complete brake work done on the car 3yrs ago everything was done. I had new OEM rotors put on front along with aftermarket pads front & rear. I ordered the pads & rotors from Tire Rack I also had the BG Brake System Flush done at that time. This was 30,000 miles ago & 3years. A independent shop did the work I see the Acura dealer now offers the BG Brake System Flush along with most other BG services.
 

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standard 4 wheel bleed, front left first, then front right, then rear right, then rear left
Incorrect way to bleed brakes stated above.
As mugen1 said. Farthest from the master cylinder first. That means start at the passenger rear tire first then drivers rear tire then passenger front tire then drivers front tire.
I have used a mityvac before on my motorcycle and found I bled all of the fluid out too quickly. It was actually easier to introduce air into the line using the Mityvac. The old tried and true method of pumping the brakes, cracking bleeder, then tighten bleeder, then pump brakes, etc... seems to work best for me.
I don't think anyone used to think about ever changing their brake fluids. After years of corroded parts and killing calipers you are much less likely to have to replace a caliper if you replace your fluid regularly. On a motorcycle they recommend every two years replace the fluid and every four replace the rubber lines. Don't know why a car or truck is different unless it has something to do with how much more heat is produced in your brake system on a motorcycle.
I wanted to have my fluid exchanged on my blazer at the correct trime but they wanted several hundred $$ just to change out the fluid (It could be that it required two (or more) people for 1/2 to 1 hour in labor). I laughed at them and replaced the fluid in the master cylinder for a whole lot less just to hold me for awhile until I found someone cheaper. I will find a shop for my Honda that will do it for the time it actually takes at a more resonable price.
 

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Shops use a pressure bleeder to speed the job. You can buy one like Motive's power bleeder. But, for a fluid change, I'd recommend gravity bleeding. Just open the bleeders and make sure the master cylinder doen't go dry. Cheep and effective.
I've also used the gravity bleed method on both my Vette and my Celica GTS, this method works very well as long as you remember to put the hoe in a container and watch the master cylinder so that it does not go dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
OK...I changed the brake fluid and can report back that it is a very simple procedure to do as long as you have the help of an assistant to depress the brake pedal. It is the same procedure as bleeding the air from the system, only you will take this procedure a step further and bleed more fluid at each caliper ( See explanations on bleeding brakes above). Brake pedal is pumped a few times then your assistant begins slowly depressing the bake pedal as you loosen the bleed screw. When your assistant gets at or near the bottom of the brake pedal travel he signals OK and you tighten the bleed screw to prevent air from entering the system on the return travel of the brake pedal. I started by removing the old brake fluid from the master cylinder with a cheapo turkey baster bought at Wal-Mart for $1.97. You have to be careful as brake fluid easily wanted to drained back out of the baster and it was a chore keeping it from getting on the engine compartment. Brake fluid is very corrosive and needs to be washed off any painted surface with water immediately. I then filled or topped off the reservoir with new fluid to the MAX mark. This has to be done before beginning the bleeding procedure at each caliper.

The fluid was definetly dark in color and looked like it needed changing, compared to the new brake fluid from Honda. Bought my Ridge June '05, so 3yrs and 5 mos. Honda recommends changing out after 3 years.

It was difficult to determine how much fluid to bleed from each line back to the master cylinder. I basically watched the fluid being pushed out get a bit clearer and then repeated the procedure 3 or 4 more times. I checked the master cylinder often to make sure there was enough brake fluid there to continue bleeding out the old. All in all I used 22 oz. Each bottle is 12oz...so almost two bottles.The Service manual says to start with the driver's side front first and then front right, back right and finish at the driver's side back.

Although the fluid in the Master Cylinder now looks new and the fluid coming out at each caliper is clear...I have no idea if I indeed changed out all the fluid.

But it certainly has to be better then not doing the procedure at all. Maybe a Honda Tech can comment on this as to the amount that is needed to do a complete flush.
UPDATE: I spoke to A Honda Tech today after having my snow tires installed and asked him how much fluid they use to do a complete flush and he said one bottle (12oz). So it would seem I got it all.

When I started the job I realized I did not have my camera along or I would have included pictures as well.

Hope this helps someone in the future.

Craig
 

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What was stated is directly out of the Honda service manual.
That's why the tidbit I posted has the part where it says refer to the service manual. Not all brake systems are configured the same. I think Honda's use the crisscross brake setup.

"Repeat this procedure on all four wheels, working your way toward the master cylinder, which should be your last bleeding point (unless another sequence is recommended in the vehicle's service manual)."
 

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My '06 Ridgeline is coming up on 3 years in May. Not sure if I'll do the brake fluid change myself or take it to the dealer or an independent shop. What does a brake fluid change cost?

I've seen $90 or so googling it. Is that about ballpark?
 
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