Ford Escort/Lynx 1981-1990 Repair Guide

Bleeding the Brake System


See Figures 1 and 2

It is necessary to bleed the brake system of air whenever a hydraulic component, of the system, has been rebuilt or replaced, or if the brakes feel spongy during application.

Your car has a diagonally split brake system. Each side of this system must be bled as an individual system, and there is a correct bleeding sequence to be followed. First bleed the right rear brake, second, bleed the left front brake, then follow with the left rear brake and lastly, bleed the right front brake.

When bleeding the system(s) never allow the master cylinder to run completely out of brake fluid. Always use DOT 3 heavy duty brake fluid, or the equivalent. Never reuse brake fluid that has been drained from the system or that has been allowed to stand in an opened container for an extended period of time. If your car is equipped with power brakes, remove the reserve vacuum stored in the booster by pumping the pedal several times before bleeding.

  1. Clean all dirt away from the master cylinder filler cap.
  3. Start bleeding by filling the master cylinder reservoir to the MAX or FULL line with fresh brake fluid from a sealed container and keep it at least half full throughout the bleeding procedure.
  5. Raise and support the car on jackstands. You may remove the wheel from the brake to be bled if this gives better access.
  7. It is strongly recommended that any time bleeding is to be performed all wheels be bled rather than just one or two.
  9. Starting with the right rear wheel cylinder. Remove the dust cover from the bleeder screw. Place the proper size box wrench over the bleeder fitting and attach a piece of rubber tubing (about three feet long and snug) over the end of the fitting.
  11. Submerge the free end of the rubber tube into a container half filled with clean brake fluid.
  13. Have a friend pump up the brake pedal and then push down to apply the brakes while you loosen the bleeder screw. When the pedal reaches the bottom of its travel close the bleeder fitting before your friend releases the brake pedal.
  15. Repeat Step 7 until air bubbles cease to appear in the container in which the tubing is submerged. Tighten the fitting, remove the rubber tubing and install the dust cover.
  17. Repeat the steps to the left front wheel, then to the left rear and right front until all the air is expelled from the system.

Refill the master cylinder after each wheel cylinder or caliper is bled. Be sure the master cylinder top gasket is mounted correctly and the brake fluid level is within1/4in. (6mm) of the top.

  1. After bleeding the brakes, pump the brake pedal several times, this ensures proper seating of the rear linings and the front caliper pistons.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Bleed the front caliper as shown-note the hanging plastic bottle of brake fluid

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Fig. Fig. 2: Bleed the rear caliper as shown