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How do I drain brake fluid in 2006 dodge sprinter: Changing your Sprinter van’s brake fluid regularly helps maintain your van’s stopping power. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs water from the atmosphere over time. Water will corrode the brake lines and calipers from the inside, but it will also lower the boiling point of the brake fluid, which has a negative effect on braking force. The process of replacing the fluid in your brake system is commonly known as “bleeding brakes.”
Bleeding the brakes is very easy in a Sprinter Van – everything is very accessible and you don’t even need to lift the truck. But if you’re not handy with tools, it’s best to have a professional change your brake fluid for you.
If you change the brake fluid yourself, you will need to remove the old fluid first, then fill the system with the new brake fluid. I find it much easier to use a pressure bleeder; there is also another way to bleed the brakes, but it requires a second person
BLEEDING THE BRAKES ON A SPRINTER VAN
The pressure bleeder is basically the same thing you’re probably familiar with from spraying insect repellent in your yard. It is simply a bottle that has a pump to generate pressure. Instead of a spray wand, it has an adapter that threads into the brake fluid reservoir.
Connect the power bleeder to the reservoir and pump to build some pressure. Do not apply too much pressure as this will destroy your reservoir at best. At worst, it creates leaks in the brake system elsewhere. The Sprinter service manual says that 15 to 20 psi is sufficient; Personally, I don’t go above 10 psi. It may take a few more minutes, but I can be sure nothing snaps open.
Before proceeding to the next step, make sure the truck can’t roll! Put it in park if you have an automatic transmission or in first gear if you have a manual. Set the parking brake and ideally use some wooden blocks on the front and back of one wheel to stop the truck from moving.
Now, with pressure in the brake system, you’ll need to bleed the brakes to get the old fluid out. On each brake caliper you will find a bleed screw. It is covered with a rubber plug to protect it from road dust clogging the bleeder screw. Start with the brake caliper that is furthest from the brake reservoir (on a Sprinter van, the rear passenger wheel). Remove this plug and connect a small hose to the bleeder screw (it helps to lubricate the screw a bit to get the hose over).
The other end of the hose goes into a vented bottle. You can buy purge bottles, but you really only need a soda bottle with two holes in the cap. Through a hole in the lid passes the hose from the bleed screw to the bottom of the bottle. The other hole goes through another hose that acts as a vent, this one doesn’t go all the way to the bottom of the bottle, you don’t want the liquid back out of it. Only the air that is in the bottle.
Now, with the hose attached, open the bleed screw – it’s a normal thread, so the left loose opens it. Just twist it one more time, you will see the fluid coming out of the hose. You don’t want fluid coming out of the threads. Once you don’t see any more fluid coming out of this caliper, simply aerate, close the screw and move on to the next caliper, going from the caliper farthest to the one closest to the brake reservoir (driver rear, passenger front , front of the driver).
Now that the brake system is empty, you can fill it with fresh fluid. Remove the power bleeder and fill the reservoir to the brim with brake fluid. Connect the pressure bottle and apply pressure to the system.
Again start with the caliper with the greatest distance to the tank, connect the bleeder hose and open the bleeder screw. This time you wait for fluid to come out of the hose and only fluid. If you still see air bubbles in the hose, continue bleeding the caliper. Any air left in the system will have a negative impact on braking force. When you are done with a gauge, close the bleed screw carefully; you don’t want to overtighten it and strip the thread. Continue with the remaining three calipers.
Also make sure the reservoir is always full – if it stays empty you are pumping air back into the system and you will have to start over to remove all air bubbles.
Once you are done with all four calipers, make sure the brake fluid in the reservoir is between the MIN and MAX marks and close the reservoir with the original cap. Be careful when driving the van for the first time after bleeding the brakes. Press the brake pedal several times before you start driving, and make sure there is no traffic around you when you test the brakes.
And finally, the helper-requiring manual bleed procedure as outlined in the service manual, if you really don’t want to buy a pressure bleeder:
Remove the reservoir filler cap and fill the reservoir.
If the calipers or wheel cylinders have been serviced, open all the bleed screws on the calipers and wheel cylinders. Then close each bleeder screw when fluid begins to drip. Fill the master cylinder reservoir one more time before continuing.
Connect one end of the bleeder hose to the bleeder screw and insert the opposite end into a glass container partially filled with brake fluid. Make sure the end of the bleeder hose is submerged in fluid.
Open the bleeder, and then have an assistant depress the brake pedal. Once the foot pedal is depressed, close the bleeder. Repeat bleeding until the stream of fluid is clear and free of bubbles. Then move on to the next wheel.
When do I need a brake system flush?
For car maintenance, it is recommended to get a brake fluid flushevery two years or 30,000 miles, depending on your driving and braking patterns. This will prevent a more extensive and costly brake system repair, such as total brake failure.
However, you will also need to flush the brake system when certain symptoms appear, such as:
1. Brake pedal feels spongy or soft
Over time, moisture will build up in the brake fluid (hydraulic fluid), resulting in a spongy or soft feeling when you press the brake pedal.
You may also notice that you need to press the brake pedal all the way down before it will slow down and stop your car. This indicates that you need a brake fluid change.
2. Poor brake performance
Poor brake performance can mean contaminated or bad brake fluid, requiring a brake flush.
However, it can also mean something else if the brake system has problems, such as brake caliper, brake pad, or brake rotor issues. Poor braking efficiency can also occur due to an underlying problem, such as damaged tread, shocks, or struts.
Therefore, it is best to have your brake system components inspected by a certified technician. Only they can tell if you need a brake job or other repair service to rectify the performance of your car’s brakes.
3. Change in brake fluid color
Inspect the brake fluid to see if it is brown, black, or muddy. If so, it’s time for a brake fluid flush service.
4. ABS dash light comes on
The ABS dash light indicates a problem with your anti-lock braking system. This system prevents the wheels from locking to prevent skidding and maintains traction during braking.
And if your car is low on brake fluid (which can translate to poor braking performance), it will automatically activate ABS to allow safe braking.
5. Strange noises or smells during braking
If you hear strange sounds when braking, it could be due to a low brake fluid level or a different problem with the brake system. Common strange sounds include scraping or grinding noises.
Burning odors after braking can also indicate that the brake fluid has been burned. In such a case, you need a brake flush because driving with burnt brake fluid can lead to other major brake problems, including total brake failure.
6. Brake fluid leak
You probably need an immediate brake fluid flush if you detect a brake fluid leak.
A brake fluid leak hampers braking efficiency as the force transmitted through the brake line is reduced.
To check the brake fluid level, take a look at the brake fluid reservoir located in the engine compartment. If you can’t find the brake fluid reservoir, consult your owner’s manual for help and other related information.
How much does it cost to replace brake fluid?
A brake fluid flush or replacement of old fluid can cost you around$90-$200.
The cost generally depends on your choice of fresh brake fluid and auto repair or brake service labor charges in your area. Other things that can influence the cost include the model, engine, and make of your car.
How urgent is a brake system flush?
The entire brake system is very important, including the brake fluid. Unlike oil changes, flushing the brake fluid is often ignored.
Now, if you don’t do a fluid flush when you need to, the fluid will decrease braking efficiency while breaking down and corroding braking system components.
Therefore, it is important to flush the brakes immediately to remove old and contaminated brake fluid and replace it with fresh fluid.
Bribe: You can set a car maintenance schedule for regular car repair and brake inspection.
5 Frequently asked questions about flushing the brake system
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the brake system and changing brake fluid:
1. What is a brake system flush?
Like most fluids in your car, brake fluid should be replaced eventually, usually as a precaution.
Brake fluid can degrade by picking up dirt, metal, rubber debris, etc., over time.
To ensure that your brake system has healthy, fresh brake fluid, a brake system flush will be performed by a certified technician. This process basically removes all of the old fluid from each brake line and replaces it with fresh, new fluid.
2. What happens during a brake fluid flush?
It is best to take your car to an auto repair shop or dealership or contact a certified mobile technician to come to your location for brake service.
During a brake fluid cleaning service, your certified mechanic or technician will:
- Find the brake fluid reservoir
- Drain old and contaminated brake fluid (also helps remove air bubbles from the brake system)
- Clean debris left in the brake system
- Check if the brake caliper, brake pad, brake rotor, brake pedal, or any other brake component needs to be replaced.
- Replace your brake fluid with new, high-quality fluid (clean fluid)
- Remove air trapped in each brake line with a bleeder
- Finally, do a proper brake inspection to check if the brake system is working properly.
3. Why is it necessary to rinse the brake fluid?
Your braking system is important to your safety. So if it is not in the best condition, you can compromise several functioning automotive or brake parts.
Many of these automotive parts are linked together by brake lines and hoses that use brake fluid to transmit and amplify forces. That is why it is necessary to keep the fluid clean so as not to hinder the operation of any brake component.
A brake fluid flush service is also necessary to prevent moisture buildup. It can lead to corrosion of metal brake parts such as brake calipers, brake rotors, master cylinder, etc., compromising the entire brake system.
A simple brake fluid change should prevent this corrosion of brake parts.
4. Why does brake fluid wear out?
Brake fluid, a hydraulic fluid, is chemically hygroscopic, meaning it readily absorbs moisture.
This is bad news for your brake system components, as the master cylinder, brake lines, metering valves, ABS, and calipers are all made of aluminum or steel, metals that corrode due to moisture.
Therefore, anytime the brake system is exposed to air (usually from the master cylinder reservoir), the brake fluid will absorb moisture. Eventually, the fresh, healthy fluid turns rusty brown or black due to corrosion within the brake system.
As fluid moisture increases, the boiling point of brake fluid decreases, further reducing the efficiency of bad brake fluid.
Use: Bad brake fluid is a common reason why the brake caliper and wheel cylinder start to seize.
5. What does brake fluid do?
As you step on the brake pedal, a plunger pushes against the master cylinder, transmitting fluid through the hoses connected to the brakes.
If you have a disc brake, the fluid goes into a brake caliper. The brake caliper then presses on a piston, squeezing the brake pad against the brake disc, forcing the wheel of your car to slow or stop.
If you have drum brakes, fluid is forced into the wheel cylinder, pushing the vehicle’s brake shoes against the drum to slow or stop the wheel.
In both cases, brake fluid is integral to establishing effective communication between the brake pedal and the car’s brakes.
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