Volkswagen Front Wheel Drive 1974-1989 Repair Guide

Brake System Bleeding


See Figures 1 and 2

Use only new DOT 3 or 4 brake fluid in all Volkswagen vehicles. Do not use silicone (DOT 5) fluid. Even the smallest traces can cause severe corrosion to the hydraulic system. All brake fluids are corrosive to paint.

  1. The procedure described here is for non-ABS brakes only. For ABS brakes, refer to the procedure outlined later in this section. Bleed the brakes with the engine off and booster vacuum discharged; pump the pedal with the bleeders closed about 20 times until the pedal effort gets stiff.
  3. Fill the fluid reservoir.
  5. On vehicles with a rear brake pressure regulator, press the lever towards the rear axle when bleeding the brakes.
  7. Connect a clear plastic tube to the bleeder valve at the right rear wheel. Place the other end in a clean container.
  9. Have an assistant pump the pedal to build pressure in the system, then hold pressure.
  11. Open the bleeder slowly. When the pedal is all the way to the floor, close the bleeder before releasing the pedal.
  13. Repeat this procedure until there are no air bubbles in the fluid stream. Be careful not to let the reservoir run out of brake fluid.
  15. Repeat the procedure in sequence at the left rear, right front and left front: working farthest from the master cylinder to the nearest.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Brake bleeding setup

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Proper brake bleeding sequence