Ford Tempo/Topaz 1984-1994 Repair Guide

Bleeding the Brake System


See Figure 1

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. Because of this type of system, as well as the brake line going to each individual wheel is different in length, there is a set order for bleeding a brake system.

Bleed the right rear brake, left front brake, left rear brake and right front brake. Always start with the longest line from the master cylinder first.

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 brake pedal several times before bleeding the brakes.

  1. Clean any dirt away from the master cylinder filler cap.
  3. Raise and support the car on jackstands. Make sure your car is safely supported and it is raised evenly front and rear.
  5. 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 an inch long and snug fitting) over the end of the fitting.
  7. Submerge the free end of the rubber tube into a container half filled with clean brake fluid.
  9. 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 release the brake pedal.
  11. Repeat Step 5 until air bubbles cease to appear in the container in which the tubing is submerged. Tighten the fitting, remove the rubber tubing and replace the dust cover.
  13. Repeat Steps 3 through 6 to the left front wheel, then to the left rear and right front.

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, to ensure proper seating of the rear linings and the front caliper pistons.
  3. Road test the vehicle.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Bleeding a front brake caliper