BMW E46 Fanatics Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
512 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
After I installed my bbk, I had a buddy come over on Friday to give me a hand in the brake bleeding procedure. I started at the rear passenger side, went to the rear driver side, front passenger side, and finished up at the front driver side.

When I was bleeding the first caliper, we kept hearing a squishing sound. Upon inspection, I realized that I didn't have the hard line and coupling on the front driver side tightened all the way. As a result, the reservoir went totally empty on us. I fixed the issue, and we proceeded to re-do the bleeding procedure.

Everything went smoothly on the second try, but now I'm worried that I got air in the ABS system or something and the car won't be safe to drive. I read somewhere that if the reservoir goes dry that the only option is to have it towed to a dealer so they can bleed the ABS system.

I haven't tried to drive the car yet as I still have a couple of loose ends to tie up before I put my new wheels on and take it on the maiden voyage.

Did I royally screw up by having the reservoir go empty? How much is this screw up going to end up costing me?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,688 Posts
You need to solve for pedal pressure first then sweat ABS. If you cannot get pedal pressure back by manual bleeding you may suspect ABS concerns with trapped air. My kid works at a shop where they get the situation under control by gravity bleeding all four bleeders, one at a time. They crack each bleeder and while keeping an eye on the master level, they just let it drip out for 15 minutes or so looking for clean fluid. They close the bleeders and try again sometimes slowly manual bleeding each corner careful to NOT shove the pedal all the way to the floor on down strokes. You should get enough pedal to safely test drive the car using these methods. This part is a little spooky but they lock up the brakes hard while driving at slow speeds to invoke ABS and move fluid through when air is trapped. Sometimes a quick manual or gravity bleed is then performed again to restore full pedal. They have success with this preventing dealer intervention. Be smart and make sure you have reasonable pedal before attempting any road tests.

Edit: the only time you have to tow it in is when there is no pedal. That is rare. What you read was typically soft pedal after bleeding multiple times usually when guys swap to stainless lines and allow all fluid to drain out. By the way, my kid works for an accredited shop not a bunch of hacks and this happens with many cars even when they try to prevent it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,018 Posts
You need to solve for pedal pressure first then sweat ABS. If you cannot get pedal pressure back by manual bleeding you may suspect ABS concerns with trapped air. My kid woks at a shop where they get the situation under control by gravity bleeding where all four bleeders are cracked and while keeping an eye on the master level, they just let it drip out for 15 minutes or so. They close the bleeders and try again sometimes slowly manual bleeding each corner careful to NOT shove the pedal all the way to the floor on down strokes. You should get enough pedal to safely test drive the car using these methods. This part is a little spooky but they lock up the brakes hard while driving at slow speeds to invoke ABS and move fluid through when air is trapped. Sometimes a quick manual or gravity bleed is then performed again to restore full pedal. They have success with this preventing dealer intervention. Be smart and make sure you have reasonable pedal before attempting any road tests.

Edit: the only time you have to tow it in is when there is no pedal. That is rare. What you read was typically soft pedal after bleeding multiple times usually when guys swap to stainless lines and allow all fluid to drain out. By the way, my kid works for an accredited shop not a bunch of hacks and this happens with many cars even when they try to prevent it.
This may work however i gennerlly use the factory toll to do the proper brake bleeding procedure. Not to mention failure to use proper tools on a safty system is a nono from a legal standpoint
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,200 Posts
you need to bleed your master cylinder and bleed your ABS. this is the hardest part (ABS).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,688 Posts
I agree JB. I have a specialty tool to compress/retract MINI Cooper rear calipers as they must rotate while retracting. Many owners/shops overcome the ABS tickler tool that electronically activates ABS. My point is we've all driven cars that have had air in the system. It's knowing when not to drive them. The Bentley manual does not mention any "factory" tools required for bleeding. Power bleeding however, seems to be hit and miss. What tool would you be referring to? I'd just like to know not questioning your knowledge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,018 Posts
I agree JB. I have a specialty tool to compress/retract MINI Cooper rear calipers as they must rotate while retracting. Many owners/shops overcome the ABS tickler tool that electronically activates ABS. My point is we've all driven cars that have had air in the system. It's knowing when not to drive them. The Bentley manual does not mention any "factory" tools required for bleeding. Power bleeding however, seems to be hit and miss. What tool would you be referring to? I'd just like to know not questioning your knowledge.
Ista d is what we use there is a service funtion for bleeding brakes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,018 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,776 Posts
if air has entered the ABS/ASC/DSC system, it has to be bled using the diagnostic system, period. BMW didn't program a bleed procedure into DIS/ISTA out of boredom. It is a special function that vibrates the solenoids to remove air bubbles that you can't perform manually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,940 Posts
I've used the brake bleeding function in DIS to successfully bleed my ABS system when I introduced a little bit of air. Pedal became extremely firm afterwrds. Saved me a hundred bucks since I didn't have to go to the dealer!

Ista-D is basically a newer program that replaced DIS. Ista-D is more difficult to setup (pretty much impossible to use it with the Omitec interfaces afaik... for now). For older cars like the E46, DIS is perfectly fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
512 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Wow guys, I really appreciate the replies. I haven't had a chance to start the car to check for pedal feel yet due to my work schedule, but hopefully within the next couple of days I'll get around to it.

So if the pedal feels normal, I should lock the brakes up at a slow speed a few timer or should I just say screw it and get it hooked in? Will I know for certain if I got air in the ABS system by the light coming on or is there another telltale way?

Believe me, I don't want to compromise on safety but at the same time I hope I didn't make a $9823748768743 mistake. The whole point of installing the bbk was to get better brakes.

How much should I be looking at to get this service performed at the dealer?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,688 Posts
ABS doesn't always become air bound due to the master's loss of fluid. Secondly, performing a manual bleed starting at the rear corners and then going up front, you will tell by NOT EVER gaining a full pedal. You will feel the air as the pedal feels spongy and may not come up to normal position. Hopefully you are using a clear hose section pushed onto the bleeder and the hose is poked into a fluid bottle with fluid. You can buy bleeder kits including the bottle and adapters for $10.00. Without this it's easy to miss the bleeder close timing when the pedal is coming up. This can suck air back in. I watch the fluid in the hose for color and bubbles. You shouldn't see gaps in the fluid in the hose. If it is flowing clean and has no gaps - move to the next. The trick is to go slow and not slam the pedal to the floor on push strokes. Stop about an inch from the floor. Make sure your helper gets it, keep the window down and set the timing with verbal up - down commands. The gravity bleed is if you're solo. Review that technique in my first post. It also works but takes longer. Report back if your bleed works!

Checkout this BMW procedure it shows the bleeder bottle you get at any auto store.

http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/s/view.pl?1/04/54/62

Minimum dealer charge would be around $125 I'd guess.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top