Chevrolet Full-size Cars 1968-1978 Repair Guide

Bleeding the Brake System


Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1 When bleeding the brakes, make sure the end of the hose is submerged in brake fluid

The hydraulic brake system must be bled any time one of the lines is disconnected or any time air enters the system. If the brake pedal feels spongy upon application, and goes almost to the floor but regains height when pumped, air has entered the system. It must be bled out. Check for leads that would have allowed the entry of air and repair them before bleeding the system. The correct bleeding sequence is: right rear wheel cylinder, left rear, right front and left front. If the master cylinder is equipped with bleeder valves, bleed them first then go to the wheel cylinder nearest the master cylinder (left front) followed by the right front, left rear, and right rear.

This method of bleeding requires two people, one to depress the brake pedal and the other to open the bleeder screws.

  1. Clean the top of the master cylinder, remove the cover and fill the reservoirs with clean fluid. To prevent squirting fluid, replace the cover.

On vehicles with front disc brakes, it will be necessary to hold in the metering valve pin during the bleeding procedure. The metering valve is located beneath the master cylinder and the pin is situated under the rubber boot on the end of the valve housing. This may be taped in or held by an assistant.

Never reuse brake fluid which has been bled from the system.

  1. Fill the master cylinder with brake fluid.
  3. Install a box-end wrench (or special tool brake bleeder wrench) on the bleeder screw on the right rear wheel.
  5. Attach a length of small diameter, clear vinyl tubing to the bleeder screw. submerge the other end of the rubber tubing in a glass jar partially filled with clean brake fluid. Make sure the rubber tube fits on the bleeder screw snugly or you may be squirted with brake fluid when the bleeder screw is opened.
  7. Have your friend slowly depress the brake pedal. As this is done, open the bleeder screw half a turn and allow the fluid to run through the tube. Close the bleeder screw, then return the brake pedal to its fully released position.
  9. Repeat the procedure until no bubbles appear in the jar. Refill the master cylinder.
  11. Repeat this procedure on the left rear right front, and left front wheels, in that order. Periodically refill the master cylinder so it does not run dry.
  13. If the brake warning light is on, depress the brake pedal firmly. If there is no air in the system, the light will go out.