Product Review: Motive Products Power Bleeder
By: Mark Griese - 1/03
The Motive Products Power Bleeder is an effective tool for one person to easily bleed brake or hydraulic clutch systems. This unit will allow the home mechanic to perform the same pressurized bleeding as found in brake shops, without the high cost of buying a professional unit. With it's built in hand pump and pressure gauge, there is no need for an external air source, and you can prevent damaging over pressurization of the system while bleeding. Which means this self-contained unit could be used almost anywhere, such as after an unexpected trail repair. The large tank on the standard model allows you to completely bleed the brake system without the need to refill the tank. Since the tank may be filled away from the vehicle, you can avoid messy and corrosive spills, which are typical when using a large bottle to refill through a small fluid reservoir opening.
The real advantage of pressurized bleeding versus manual bleeding is eliminating the possible damage to your master cylinder. During manual bleeding, your helper must pump the brake pedal to create the pressure to force the fluid through the system. Under normal operation, the piston in the master cylinder will travel only a small distance in its bore. This leaves the rest of the bore unused and subject to possible corrosion. When your helper pushes the pedal into this unused area, it can damage the piston seal or dislodge contaminates that will then be flushed through your system. A damaged piston seal will mean replacement of the whole master cylinder, and contaminates could cause a malfunction of the ABS modulator pump. Pressurized bleeding eliminates these worries since the brake pedal is not even used.
I needed to bleed the brakes after
replacement of the rear brake hose following a suspension lift. Bleeding is
always recommended whenever the system is opened, or the fluid has become
discolored for some reason. At a minimum you should bleed your brake system
as part of a periodic maintenance program to ensure optimum braking
performance. Over time the brake fluid will naturally accumulate corrosion-causing moisture, which can only be removed by bleeding out the old fluid.
So for the cost of this unit, two quarts of fluid, and a line wrench, you
will know your ABS equipped vehicle is protected. The cost of an ABS
component or any component from the traction control systems found on many
new vehicles would greatly outweigh the cost and time it takes to do this
|Power Bleeder Kit
I received the Universal Power
Bleeder Kit (#0101) for this review. This has the model 1101 adapter for use
on most import and late model American vehicles, which includes many GM,
Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru vehicles. So
basically, it will work with any vehicle that has a round fluid reservoir less than 3.5 inches. It comes complete with the tank, pre-attached reservoir cap, cap gasket, j-bolt
retainers, chain, instructions, and a handy length of hose for the bleeder
valves. The only things you will need to get are two large bottles of brake
fluid (as recommended by the manufacturer), a clear container to hold the
fluid being flushed out, and a suitable line wrench for the bleeder valve
(10mm for Toyota vehicles). The instructions specify that brake or hydraulic
fluids never be left in the tank, so follow Motive's recommendation and use
denatured alcohol to wipe off the pump mechanism and the inside of the
tank after use.
|Using the Motive Power Bleeder
|Installed on reservoir
Here's a simple overview of the steps involved in using the Power Bleeder:
- Remove reservoir cap and siphon off any discolored fluid; refill with fresh fluid.
- Install gasket and the two j-bolts into the cap; wrap chain underneath master cylinder and secure cap to the reservoir.
- With tank empty, pump to 10psi and listen for leaks. Re-adjust as necessary to stop any leaks.
- Fill tank with up to two quarts of fluid recommended for your vehicle; pump to 15psi.
- Bleed the system according to you vehicle's service manual. As bleeding slows down, re-pump to 15psi.
- If fluid remains when you are nearly finished, tilt the tank away from the pickup tube, and open a bleeder valve closest to the reservoir. Continue bleeding until the reservoir is at the full mark.
- Release pressure in the tank by loosening the pump cap; remove the cap from the reservoir.
- Check to be sure the reservoir is full and replace the reservoir cap.
- Before driving, check for leaks and proper operation of the system.
More complete and detailed
instructions are included in the kit and on the Motive Products website. To
avoid a big mess it is important to remember that pressure is always
released from the tank first, not the reservoir. Unlike two person bleeding,
you will not have to worry about finding someone to pump the pedal or
keeping the reservoir full. The pressure in the tank was good for finishing
one to two wheels before having to pump it back up to 15psi.
product lived up to the claims on the Motive Products website, but I was
quite surprised to finish without spilling any fluid, and cleanup only
involved wiping out the tank. Be aware that the fluid will damage your
paint if a spill is not washed off right away. Always dispose of used fluid
properly by taking it to a collection facility.
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