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 > Technical Articles: / BMW E36 3-Series (1992-1999) >
Bleeding BMW Brakes
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Pelican Technical Article:

Bleeding BMW Brakes


2 hours2 hrs






Motive products power bleeder, helper to stomp on brake pedal, 7mm line wrench, clear brake bleeder hose, clear jar, floor jack, four jack stands,

Applicable Models:

BMW E30 3-Series (1984-93)
BMW E36 3-Series (1992-99)

Parts Required:

Motive products power bleeder, one gallon of DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid

Performance Gain:

A firm brake pedal and no air in your braking system

Complementary Modification:

Replace your brake pads and have the rotors turned
101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series. The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

Bleeding brakes is not one of my personal favorite jobs. There seems to be a bit of black magic involved with the bleeding process. Sometimes it will work perfectly, and then other times it seems like you end up with a lot of air in your system. The best strategy to follow when bleeding your brakes is to repeat the procedure several times in order to make sure that you have removed all the trapped air from the system.

After talking to many owners, it would seem that there are more methods for bleeding brakes on a BMW than there are cures for the common cold. Fortunately, I have polled many people and tried several different solutions, and I think that I have come up with the best compromise solution. This article is adapted from some other articles that I have written on bleeding brakes on Porsches. The concepts are similar, and I have adapted them here along with pictures for bleeding the brakes on your BMW.

There are currently three methods of bleeding the brake system:

  • Pressure Bleeding. This is where you have a reservoir of brake fluid, and place a positive air pressure force on the opposite side of the fluid, forcing it into the brake system.

  • Vacuum Bleeding. This is where you fill the reservoir, and then apply a vacuum at the bleeder nipple to pull fluid through the system.

  • Family Member Bleeding. This is where you recruit the one family member or friend who owes you a favor and have them stomp on the pedal repeatedly until the entire system is bled. Note that this has nothing to do with the time that little Jimmy fell on the concrete and had to be rushed to the hospital.

The method that I've come up with combines the first and the third methods described above. Basically, I advocate bleeding the system with the pressure bleeder, and then using a family member to stomp on the pedal to free up the proportioning valve. If the family member really owes you big time, you will be the one stomping on the pedal, and they can spill brake fluid all over themselves.

The first step in bleeding your brakes is to fill the system with brake fluid. Some people have suggested that colored brake fluid (ATE SuperBlue) be used in order to determine when fresh fluid has been flushed through the entire system. I used a pressure bleeder like the Motive Products Bleeder shown in Figure 1. This product is a step above its now-defunct precursor, the EZ-Bleed system. The system has a hand pump that you can use to pressurize the brake fluid to just about any pressure. A small gauge on the front of the brake fluid reservoir indicates the pressure of the brake fluid inside. The very large reservoir can hold about two quarts of brake fluid – more than enough for most brake flushing and bleeding jobs. Retailing for about $45, the bleeder kit is a very useful and cost-effective tool to have in your collection.

The system bleeds by pressurizing a bottle filled with brake fluid from air from an internal hand pump. The procedure is to add fluid, attach the bleeder to the top of the reservoir cap, and pump up the bleeder bottle using the hand pump. This will pressurize the system. Note: brake fluid is highly corrosive and will mar paint very easily. Bleeding your brakes is a messy job; keep yourself away from the paint and don't bleed the system in a tight garage. The probability of spilling on yourself and then leaning against your car is too great. Check to make sure that there are no leaks around the bleeder, or where it attaches to the top of the master cylinder reservoir (Figure 2).

Now start bleeding the system. Start with the right rear caliper, the one that's located furthest away from the master cylinder. You should remove the rear wheels of the car to easily get to the rear caliper (Figure 3). The whole process is a heck of a lot easier if the car is off of the ground, and the wheels have been removed. The front wheels can be turned for access to the calipers. Bleed the right rear caliper by attaching a hose to the bleed nipple, placing it in a jar, and then opening the valve with a wrench (a 7mm wrench is typically needed). A bleeder nipple is shown in Figure 4, and can be opened by turning it counter clockwise. Let the fluid out until there are no more bubbles (Figure 5). If you don't have a pressure bleeder system, you need to find someone to press on the pedal repeatedly to force fluid through the system. Another solution is to get a check valve and place it on the nipple while you stomp on the pedal. This will work for getting fluid into the system but you will sill need a second person for the final step - to make sure you have bleed the system completely. If your rear caliper has two bleed nipples (some have one, others have two), bleed the lower one first.

When no more air bubbles come out, then move to the next caliper. Bleed them in this order:

  • Right Rear Caliper
  • Left Rear Caliper
  • Right Front Caliper
  • Left Front Caliper

Bleeding in this order will minimize the amount of air that gets into the system.

Repeat until you can no longer see any air bubbles coming out of any of the calipers. Make sure that you don't run out of brake fluid in your reservoir, or you will have to start over again. It is wise to start out with about a 1/2 gallon of brake fluid in the pressure bleeder, and another 1/2 gallon on the shelf in reserve. Depending upon your car, and the mistakes you may make, it's wise to have an ample supply.

During the bleeding process, it’s very easy to forget to check your master cylinder reservoir. As you are removing fluid from the calipers, it will be emptying the master cylinder reservoir. If the reservoir goes empty, then you will most certainly add some air bubbles in to the system, and you will have to start all over. Keep an eye on the fluid level and don’t forget to refill it. Make sure that you always put the cap back on the reservoir. If the cap is off, then brake fluid may splash out and damage your paint when the brake pedal is released. If you are using a pressure bleeder system, make sure that you often check the level of brake fluid in the bleeder reservoir so that you don’t accidentally run dry.

If you are installing a new master cylinder, it’s probably a wise idea to perform what is called a dry-bleed on the workbench. This is simply the process of getting the master cylinder full of brake fluid and ‘wet.’ Simply add some brake fluid to both chambers of the master cylinder, and pump it a few times. This will save you a few moments when bleeding the brakes.

Now, make sure that all the bleeder valves are closed tightly. Disconnect the pressure system from the reservoir. Now, get your family member to press down repeatedly on the brake pedal at least five times, and then hold it down. Then open the bleeder valve on the right rear caliper. The system should lose pressure, and the pedal should sink to the floor. When the fluid stops coming out of the bleeder valve, close the valve, and then tell your family member to let their foot off of the pedal. Do not let them take their foot off until you have completely closed the valve. Repeat this motion for each bleeder valve on each caliper at least three times. Repeat this entire procedure for all the valves in the same order as described previously.

I recommend that you use this procedure as a final step, even if you are vacuum or pressure bleeding. The high force associated with the pressure from the brake pedal can help free air and debris in the lines. If the brake fluid doesn’t exit the nipple quickly, then you might have a clog in your lines. Brake fluid that simply oozes out of the lines slowly is a clear indication that your rubber lines might be clogged and constricted. Don’t ignore these warning signs – check out the brake lines while you are working in this area.

Then, let the car sit for about 10 minutes. Repeat the bleeding process at each corner. The pedal should now feel pretty stiff.

If the pedal still feels spongy, make sure that you have the proper adjustment on your rear calipers or drum shoes. Also, you may need a new master cylinder, have a leaky caliper, or have old spongy flexible brake lines.

Another important thing to remember is that brake fluid kills – paint jobs that is. Brake fluid spilled on paint will permanently mar the surface, so be very careful not to touch the car if you have it on your hands and clothing. This of course, is easier said then done. Just be aware of this fact. Rubber gloves help to protect yourself from getting it on your hands and your paint. If you do get a spot on your paint, make sure that you blot it with a paper towel - don’t wipe or smear it. It’s also important not to try to clean it off with any chemical or other cleaning solutions.

There are few little tricks that you can use when changing your brake fluid. The company ATE makes a brake fluid called SuperBlue that comes in two different colors (Figure 6). It’s a smart idea to fill your reservoir with a different colored fluid, and then bleed the brakes. When the new colored fluid exits out of the caliper, you will know that you have fresh fluid in your system. Make sure that you use DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid in your car. Some of the later model BMWs with anti-lock braking systems require the use of DOT 4. The use of silicone DOT 5 fluid is not recommended for street use.

You should also routinely flush and replace your brake fluid every two years. Deposits and debris can build up in the lines over time and decrease the efficiency of your brakes. Regular bleeding of your system can also help you spot brake problems that you wouldn’t necessarily notice simply by driving the car. Also, never reuse brake fluid - always use new fresh fluid. In addition, don't use brake fluid that has come from an empty can that has been sitting on the shelf. The brake fluid has a tendency to absorb moisture when sitting on the shelf. This moisture 'boils' out of the brake fluid when you start using the brakes, and results in a spongy pedal.

Well that's about all it takes. If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs. Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one. As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 6

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Comments and Suggestions:
vinnie Comments: HI Nick, thanks for all your help in the past.....I'm about to do my first oil change in my 740i bmw....I'm hearing that I have to not let it drain for too long as the oil will drain out of the oil pump and will cause me problems...
would this be true....
July 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No. just let it drain and refill. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vinnie Comments: HI Nick thanks for the previous info do I locate the CBS info on the computer....
Thanks Nick
June 30, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: In the instrument cluster or idrive screen. Check your owner's manual for the steps. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vinnie Comments: Thanks Nick greatly appreciated....
June 30, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vinnie Comments: HI at what kilometres do I need to service the transmission on my 740i BMW 2010...
June 29, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Fluid is lifetime, however replacing at 60k miles is a good idea. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vinnie Comments: HI what do I need to change at 70,000 kl interval for my bmw 740i...
June 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: oil and air filters would be my suggestion. However, your CBS data should tell you what to service. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Larry Comments: What does it mean if your pedal goes soft when you disconnect the pressure bleeder but is firm with it on?
May 5, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You probably have air in the system if the pedal is soft.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
vinnie Comments: Thanks greatly appreciated...keep up the good work...
April 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
vinnie Comments: Hi I have a 2010 740i BMW and I need to change brakes disc rotors and also while I have everything apart I'm considering changing brake fluid .....will I counter any problems with the computer panel lights and hand brake how can I reset them if they light your sight
April 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We didn't have a 2010 740i in the US. However, the brakes may be similar to a 750i. You can replace them as usual, nothing too fancy there. Then flush the brake fluid as needed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vinnie Comments: Hi I have a 2010740i BMW and I need to change brakes disc rotors and also while I have everything apart I'm considering changing brake fluid .....will I counter any problems with the computer panel lights and how can I reset them if they light your sight
April 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We didn't have a 2010 740i in the US. However, the brakes may be similar to a 750i. You can replace them as usual, nothing too fancy there. Then flush the brake fluid as needed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
hackmatack Comments: great 325i has a great pedal now
March 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Only Pelican for Dan Comments: 2000 740iL navigation system
Any ideas for replacement or repair. Help!!!!
March 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It depends on what is faulty. However, used parts are a good option for nav repairs. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Only Pelican for Dan Comments: Thank you so much. I love this site. Pelican has helped me keep a piece of mind. I recently bought a 2000 740il. I was thinking I must be crazy what to do if I need repairs. I think BMW, repairs, and $$$$$$$$. I love this car. But thanks to you I repaired a brake leak with parts from you.
With bleeding tips and tools I purchased altogether about $50. Customer for life. Thanks, Dan
March 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Awesome
1 Thanks for the kind words. - Nick at Pelican Parts
ALE46 Comments: Hi Nick- I have an E46 318i- read many forums about a problem I have with the car having a Hard pedal- The booster and vacuum pump have both been changed. I broke the wire on the wheel speed sensor a few months ago and the ABS has not worked for a while as the fault light is on the dash. Would the ABS light meaning the abs is non operational cause a hard pedal. Vacuum check valves have been changed, new discs and brake pads- its becoming very expensive.
February 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't h ave that engine here in the US, but let's see if I can help.

If the booster is working and receiving adequate vacuum, there could be a restriction. Try cracking bleeder screws to see if one of them has no flow. If you find one with no flow, work your way up the line to the restriction. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Jesse Comments: i have a 1997 bmw 328i with a full m3 swap. I have a situation that i dont know if its common or if this is just a weird thing but. i noticed that my brake fluid light came on so i saw it was low on fluid checked all the lines to see if i had a leak from them all ok. so i filled the resivour with fluid. couple days later i went out to start my car and the cluster didnt work anymore and my parking brake/brake fluid light were on. so i checked for leaks again nothing on the outside of the car but what i did find was that there was fluid coming from the master cylinder dripping down the shaft and into the car by the brake pedal. is it possible that cause the master cylinder is leaking causing the fluid to come back into the car and got into 1 of the connectors? causing the cluster to not work? please help me cause im at a lose for this car
January 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The master cylinder can leak into the interior as you stated. Remove the level sensor, is there fluid in the connector? All vehicle fluids can wick through wiring harnesses if a component fails. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Viper Comments: I have a 2004 e46 330i. Replaced front and rear brake discs and pads when i wanted to go for a test drive afterwards i noticed a pool of brake fluid as i reversed out of the garage. First thought was that a hose was damaged but it seems like the brake fluid pushed out at the reservoir. Can this happen due to pushing back all 4 caliper pistons to fit the new pads? Anything I should be cautioned about? The braking is good and the pedal is firm.
November 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The brake fluid in the reservoir probably overflowed. This is common because it is filled as the level drops from the brake swearing. When you push the pistons in, that fluid has no where to go and leaks out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Lisa Comments: I recently took my bmw 330xi to have the brake booster repaired. After the repair, now the car jerks prior to stopping. What could be the cause of this since this wasn't happening before the booster was repaired
October 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a vacuum leak. If the idle is too high.

Inspect the brake booster vacuum hose for leaks. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Alex Comments: I have a 2000 Z3, 2.5. I used a pressure bleeder to change the brake fluid. I could not get any fluid out of the rear calipers using the pressure bleeder, but I had the back of the car jacked way up under the body. The rear bled fine using the family method. I think that your explanation about the nose down attitude of the car is the reason. Does this apply to a 2000 Z3? Also, for the last year, very ocassionally, the brake pedal will go down further than normal just once, but not to the floor. If I push the pedal again it firms up. Any ideas of what causes this? Thanks.
October 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have not had that experience when bleeding Z3s seems to bleed fine for me.

The pedal dropping is a loss in pressure. Your master cylinder may be failing. - Nick at Pelican Parts
theo Comments: I have a 1990 525i E34 when i bleed the brakes no fluid comes thru the rear brakes, i then inspected the abs removed the pipes from the abs that feed fluid to the rear brakes still nothing. Seems like the master cylinder only pumps fluid to the front wheels. Could it be faulty seals
September 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could have a faulty master cylinder. have you tried removing the lines from the master cylinder and slowly pressing the brake pedal to see if fluid flows? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dawn Comments: I have taken my bmw 318ci 2002 series to a surrey garage. .. I'm having trouble with my brakes if I apply the brake pedal . i pump the pedal nothing happens its only when i push hard down suddenly i brake then the problem is the car still wants to pull forward i feel like the car is fighting me. At the same time the break pedal seems to sometime move by itself.
The garage checked and replaced the brake servo and the air something and the still the brakes are not working properly its been 4 months now. The break pads are good and discs checked. Is there anything that can have an affect on the brakes , oh the car also has high emissions.


The ECU comes on and off intermittently. They say no fault. However i left the car radio on only whilst cleaning it for 30 minutes and the car would not start i had to recharge battery.

The airflow heater in car blows slightly and cold strange . I don't know if any of these faults have an affect or connected in any way to faulty brakes. Thanks
September 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would test the hydraulic system. Check the pressure output of the master cylinder, then to each caliper. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Zack Comments: I really appreciate the articles and will have the manual you put out in hand in about a month or so. Unfortunately, my comment isn't just about praising your efforts and thanking you. I also wanted to know how one would go about adjusting the rear calipers? I am not sure that I have to do this just yet, but want to have my bases covered. Also, I do already have the Bentley FSM.
August 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should not have to adjust anything in the rear brake calipers. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Neal Comments: What is the nominal and maximum pressure that should be applied in the bleeder tank?
July 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The maximum you want to put in the system is 10psi. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
debsteph Comments: hi i have a 2003 bmw 525 mtec i have no back brakes and no hand brake and have juddering when braking got so bad now front brakes are failing im annoyed at the min cause i put in garage on monday and 5 days later no car infact they have just left my car sitting there will be picking up tomorrow and taking else were putting in another garage do you have any idea what it could be
July 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: COuld be as simple as worn out rear brakes. I would inspect all four brakes and see how the friction material is. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jgv Comments: I installed a Brembo GT front bbk on my '02 Z3Coupe in addition to swapping all brakes lines for stainless steel. I have a Vacula dx 2.5 vacuum bleeder and started bleeding in same order as above. when I thought I had bled all, checked, pedal right to floor. pumped pedal til firm and held. as soon as i let go of pedal back to floor. bled again, same deal. and traction control light and "brake" light come on. whats the deal? no visible leaks
March 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Try letting it gravity bleed for a while. The manually bleed it with an assistant. You may have better luck. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
elio Comments: hello;
i have changed my engine newly for my e46 325ci model 2002,but today i have notice that my asc fonction normaly and the yellow light appear when i spin in the snow,but when i press in the asc buttom to turn off partialy my ASC there is no light appearing in my cluster instrument,consequence i cannot turn of partiely my asc.
how we can resolve subject issue?
best regards
January 9, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would start by checking fault codes, there may be one set. This would direct you to the failure causing the issue. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
felitioaz Comments: I have a 1999 540i and the rear brakes do not work. I removed the LR caliper and pushed the brake pedal in and the caliper did not move. I bled the system and found no air in the system. Please advise.
Thank you.
December 31, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is fluid coming out at the master cylinder? Crack the line, if so, check the line at the ABS unit, crank it, press the pedal. continue to do this until you find the bad spot. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
gromit Comments: I have a 1995 E36 M3 without traction control. After replacing the ABS pump, do I need to see a BMW mechanic for proper bleeding using their special tool or can I bleed the system using the normal method bleed, drive car and stomp on brakes to cycle abs, bleed again?
December 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should be able to bleed it. I have in the past without a tool. If air seems trapped, create and abs activation, then bleed again. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Alan W. Comments: The potential problem with using the "stomp" method to bleed the brakes is it causes the piston inside the master cylinder to travel back and forth over a wider area than it does during normal braking use. The problem with doing that is that on these older cars like my 90 E30 the seals on the ends of the piston have over time worn a slightly larger diameter path in the middle of the master cylinder and have accumulated some debris at either end of their travel. Using the stomp method forces the inner seals to travel outside their normal range and back and forth over the debris, putting tiny little cuts in the seals and now you'll need to replace the piston seals in the master cylinder too. If you were already planning on replacing the master cylinder and/or replacing the inner piston seals then no big deal. Otherwise what started out as a simple brake bleeding has now turned into an much more expensive and time consuming repair job.
October 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
JaseBMW Comments: I have a 1988 e30 325i with ABS... I'm having trouble with my brakes if I apply a soft pedal pulling up to a stop sign I have no pedal at all till I hit the floor and I have very min. Brake just a reference not an actual speed but if I hit the pedal hard or fast/ quickly I have full brakes. wondering if I need to replace the master cylinder or a pressure regulater if there is such a thing thanks
October 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Clamp off all of the brake hoses with line clamps, check the brake pedal, if it fades replace the master cylinder and bleed the brakes.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Travisbarrett Comments: I have a 1986 BMW 733i and occasionally my brakes will start to apply themselves and I have to apply more pedal to go, to pull over out of traffic. It gets to a point where flooring wont move itthis was a test I have cleaned the front right front left and rebuilt them and it happened again cleaned the right rear and tapped it with a hammer and the pads released. Any insight on this problem?
October 6, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check the brake fluid and make sure it is not contaminated, remove some of the brake fluid to a clean paper cup and add some water, if you see oil floating on top you are going to have to replace all of the parts in the brake system that have rubber in them. Master cylinder, calipers, hoses and so on, You will also have to flush the steel brake lines. Also check to make sure all of the contact points are free and lubed correctly.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
RonnieJ Comments: I have a 1992 BMW 525I. I have bled the brakes several times, but I can never get any fluid to come from the left rear wheel cylinder. The car has 4-wheel disc brakes and the ABS system.
September 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would remove the bleeder screw and make sure it is not rusted closed. Look for a damaged brake hose or a pinched steel brake line under the car. The ABS valve block could be plugged. Try using a pressure bleeder to bleed the brakes.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Steve Comments: So far I've checked for leaks around the old master cylinder and couldn't find any. I also replaced the o ring on the master just to be sure. I've bled all the brakes in order and the pedal still goes to the floor. It feels as though air is leaking from somewhere everytime I push the pedal...the pedal will go to the floor with very little resistance
September 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Clamp all of the brake hoses off, check the pedal if it is dropping to the floor you probably have a bad master cylinder. If not then start removing the clamps one at a time and check the pedal after you remove each one. When the pedal drops that is the corner where there is a problem.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Steve Comments: Hey I have an 86 it possible to use the non-abs master cylinder on my abs equipped car if I plug the third brake outlet since the ABS model only has two brake outlets?
September 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would use the correct part, it was designed that way fora reason. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Tony Comments: I have a BMW M3 E36 3.2L 1999 Australian model. I was out cruising in traffic and rear brakes locked up. I sensed the car lost power and becuase I was in traffic drove about 5k's to get off the main road and investigate. I noticed both rear brakes smoking, and could not get brakes to release. I waited until brakes cooled down and the brakes released. I had the car towed home as I did not want to risk driving it.
Have you ever heard of this problem?,the hand brake was not on, and there was no warnig lights on the dash. It is weird how both wheels should lock at the same time, I sense some electrical component failure.
Please advise.
August 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Contaminated brake fluis could cause this problem, also could be faulty brake hoses, master cylinder, or a parking brake issue, you are going to have to remove the wheels and inspect the brakes, and take a close look at the hydraulic brake system.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
GJ Comments: my 2004 x5 sport cativity 4.4 has a new brake booster and new master cylinder installed and the mechanic has not been able to bleed the brakes, sice installation. does it have to be in ableed mode, by a bmw technician?
August 16, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes there is a bleed mode with the factor scan tool, if you don't use it you will never get the air out of the ABS unit.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
ludders1 Comments: hi i have a bmw 318ci automatic its failed the mot on low efficiency rear brakes boyh pads and disk are ok any advise on what the problem could be would be very helpfull
July 23, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Maybe a faulty caliper. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
george Comments: hi I have a 1995 316i e36 it is at this stage very heavy on fuel I was told that it could be the air flow vehicle is running very smooth, the vehicle has just come out of a major service done by a reputable mac.but they cant seem to understand why it is heavy on fuel. thank you
June 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The fuel trim numbers will be skewed if there is an issue with fuel control. There should be a fault code stored if it is out of range. You will need a BMW scan tool to check the fuel trim info.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sailing Fool1 Comments: I have an '99 528iT with ASC. I believe ASC-T which I don't think it has is stability control, correct? Do I need to do the "bleed mode" process to bleed my brakes?
January 23, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you are bleeding the brakes and have not replaced the ASC unit, then no. You can bleed the brakes like you would normally. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bill Comments: I have a 1999 BMW m3 e36 convertible, both rear brakes stopped working or seem to work intermittently, when they don't work I have long peddle travel and reduced braking power, also the brake light on the dash does not come on indicating a malfunction. No external leaks, fluid always topped up, sometimes it will pump up a little but mostly not. I suspect the master cylinder, but wonder if it could be any of the control valves, abs or asc+t. A new master cylinder is +$500, rebuilt about $175. The car has 40k and has never been driven in the winter. If I do the job myself using rebuilt I still have to work out bleeding the system as the car has asc+t. Any suggestions about troubleshooting, using rebuilt parts and bleeding an asc+t system? Thanks, Bill
June 3, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Attempt to bleed the system first starting at the Master Cylinder. If you do not get pressurized fluid from the master then you have q bad master. If you do get pressurized brake fluid bleed the system from eqch fitting gradually moving away from the master cylinder towards the calipers. Do the back brakes first, then the front. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Mike Comments: I have a 2001 M5. When I bleed the brakes, fluid only comes out of the calipers with the ignition on, and when i pump the pedal. 50psi pressure does not move fluid. Is that normal? I have a spongy pedal, and I can push it to the floor. And I have a new master cyl. And I find rebuilding motors takes a lot of time but is easier than bleedign brakes.
April 11, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: ABS on that vehicle (and other BMW models) requires the use of a factory scan tool. Otherwise it is difficult if not impossible to remove all air from the system. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
john ashby Comments: hi i have a bmw 635csi 1981 series1 im trying to bleed my brakes after replacing all the brake calipers and master cylinder but i can only get flue out of two bleed valves on the front calipers and one of the rear bleed valves on each of the wheel but nothing out of the rest of the front or rear bleed valve. can anybody help is there a special proceedure to bleed them?
April 6, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On car that old you need to make sure the bleed valves themselves are not clogged. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
tim Comments: On my 2002 BMW 325i, I changed a front locked up caliper and front brakes,changed the master cylinder and bleed all the air out off all lines. The pedals pump up good. Drive the car for a couple miles and the brake pressure increases until the car will barley move when gassing. This problem occurred after installing a rebuilt master cylinder. Could that be the issue or could something else cause the increased pressure?
February 4, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If your brakes are getting stuck on, I would check for a hung up caliper or a bad brake hose. Loosen the bleeder screws when the wheels are locked to isolate the problem. Once you find the problem wheel or axle, check the individual components. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
daniel L. boudreau Comments: i have a 98 m3 and cannot seem to properly bleed the clutch slave cylinder, any more advice? the master and slave are new and i know i am doing something wrong but cannot seem to bleed the air out. my wife and i fight whenever we are bleeding something and this one is no exception. please someone save my marriage and give me some advice.... thanks
January 25, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Resevoir is full, when she steps on the clutch does fluid come out of the slave? If not see if fluid comes out at the clutch master cylinder. If no fluid comes out replace the master. There are tools out there by a company call Phoenix that has you pressure bleed from the slave up to the master. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
dan Comments: how to bleed clutch master and slave cylinders on a 1998 m3
January 25, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Can you see the bleed screw on the transmission bell-housing? You can also try bleeding it from the line. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
BigChase Comments: I bled the brakes on my 08 335xi without any "bleed mode" using the old fashioned buddy system, no air in lines or anything, but am concerned that there is something extra for traction control. The techs at BMW told me that it's just a normal bleed, nothing special. How would I end up with air in the system if I didn't add bubbles by using a pressure or vacuum bleeder?
January 1, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Typically if you don't replace components from the system (like a master cylinder), you can usually get away with simply doing a manual bleed. The key is making sure that no air gets into the sy system. If you are just changing out brake fluid, then it should be okay. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Dave Comments: is it possible to effectively bleed the brakes using only the family-member pedal method? They don't need to be perfect, i'll probably take it to a mechanic soon anyway, but i'm looking to get a little better performance out of them in the meantime. Thanks
August 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Depends on the year and model. Models with ABS are quite hard to bleed without special equipment (scan tool). I cannot recommend that you drive the vehicle on public roads with inadequate brakes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
rob Comments: on a 1998 740i, when i try to bleed the brakes, no fluid comes out of the right rear bleeder, and very little on the left rear. i get fluid on both fronts. why not the rear.
July 18, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you're jacking up the vehicle and the rear axle drops, then the brake system senses very strong nose-drop due to hard braking and reduces brake pressure to the rear calipers in order to avoid wheel-lock. It's just a mechanical valve that senses rear axle deflection. Try jacking up under the rear wheels when bleeding those brakes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rafael Comments: Please, what is "bleed mode" for cars with traction control? I have a 2007 bmw 335i with ABS and DTC traction control. I have the Motive PowerBleeder and have worked on brakes and bled them many times, but not in cars with traction control. BTW, what brake fluid should I put in the car. I have always used ATE Super Blue/Gold in other cars, but this car may require low viscocity brake fluid. ATE SL6, ESL? Thank you for your help.
July 13, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Bleed mode open the ABS- Kerry at Pelican Parts - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
spannermad Comments: i have a 318 2006 in year i want to bleed the brakes but some has told me i have to get it plugged in to a computer, to do with abs scensors is this true ???
July 8, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You cqn purge most air without this tool. Factory capable scan tools can open the solenoids to allow air to escape if trapped there. You cqn simply apply the ABS and ASC system during a road test and rebleed. Repeat this process until you no longer see air during the bleed - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Chris Comments: So bottom line is that if the car has traction control 98 328iwe can't do a proper bleed? I have the front calipers removed new re-manned on order and now I'm stuck without the special "bleeder mode" turned on?
June 21, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can purge most air without this tool. Factory capable scan tools can open the solenoids to allow air to escape if trapped there. You cqn simply apply the ABS and ASC system during a road test and rebleed. Repeat this process until you no longer see air during the bleed - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
cris Comments: Also, when you mentioned we must bleed in this order: R rear, L rear, R front, L front. Is this order for doing all front and rear brakes? What if I just doing the front brakes, what order should I take? Thanks
April 22, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The general rule of thumb is start with the brake caliper that is furthest away from the master and then do the next closest one - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
cris Comments: I have a '02 BMW 530I. I just change my front brake pads and rotor. I did a old school way, that is having a friend stomp on the pedal when i bleed. I still gets a spongy feeling pedal and the squeeze sound when braking. Any suggestion? thanks
April 22, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Start by bleeding the Right rear followed by the left rear followed by the right front followed by the left front.Try some ABS stops and ASC starts and then rebleed. Do this a few times and see if the pedql gets better. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Pete Comments: What's Pelican's opinion on the use of speed bleeders?
March 30, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I like them and I recommend them in all my books. They allow you to bleed brakes by yourself. I still like the "stomp on the pedal" method as a final check to get rid of all air bubbles. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Jake the brake Comments: I own an E36 M3 EVO 3201 cc I cant get a brake on the 2 rear brakes it was the same on the front 2 so I renewed the master cylender and got some presure on the front ones,but not that good,but still nothing on the rear and cant think WHATS wrong other than another master cylender.....ANY HELP
January 17, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It sounds like you have some air in your brake lines. I would use a pressure bleeder to bleed the system, and then use the "stomping" method on the pedal to get the last remaining air out. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
boostm3 Comments: I read somewhere that professional equipment is required to bleed ABS systems. Are any special measures needed when dealing with these, not already included with the above procedure?
July 27, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Nope, the instructions above should cover it. You need to put the car into a special "bleed mode" when it is equipped with traction control however. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
avus323i Comments: I have a 1998 323i convertible, and in my Bentley manual it says not to pressure bleed it because it has ASC-T, and it says to have it serviced at a dealer because it needs special equipment. Should this be of any concern or can I just pressure bleed it like any other car. Thanks
June 4, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: ASC-T is traction control, and you need to put the system into a "bleed mode" otherwise you will get air into your system, and the traction control will not function properly. I would take it to a dealer or mechanic with the proper tool to turn on the bleed mode. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Pat Comments: What is the next thing to consider after having bleed the brakes and still ending up with a pedal that goes to the floor on first push? While bleeding I got air out of all calipers but the left front and the pedal pumped up good until released with bleeding. 1988 535is
April 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Well, if the system is fully bled of air, then it's most likely a defective master cylinder. But, I would bleed again. It usually takes me at least three times to get it to the point where I think it's good. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Mat Bearchell Comments: what would be a sign of having a failing master cylinder, short of trying every other method and just finding this through process of elimination?
January 10, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Start the bleed process at the master cylinder and verify you get fluid out of both lines. You cqn also out a small ball-bearing in between the master and the line, tighten the line back up and verifying the pedal should not depress - Kerry at Pelican Parts  

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