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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've probably done hundreds of brake jobs and bled just as many, so not a noobie here. But I did have 2 things in the manual that didn't quite make sense to me;

1.) It says to specifically ONLY use Honda DOT3 fluid:
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I've used plenty of high-quality DOT3 and DOT4 fluid in many Hondas that I've owned or serviced for the longest time and never had any issues with corrosion or brake parts breaking down internally.

Is this actually something important on these Ody's (like using the right P/S fluid), or just another example of Honda trying to increase fluid sales?


2.) It says to bleed the brakes basically in the OPPOSITE sequence of what I've always done, and what logically makes the most sense:
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I always start at the furthest from the master cyl. (pass rear) and work my way sequentially to the closest (driver front).

Not much info on here I could find, but I did dig up this almost 15 year old topic where it's mentioned, without actually clarifying which method is best:

So, which is it? The industry standard that applies to almost all vehicles? Or the Honda semi-reverse sequence specified in the manual?

Guess I'll find out for sure when I do the brakes here soon....but it's just plain strange if you ask me.
 

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I use whatever brake fluid I have on the shelf. DOT3 or DOT4.
And I bleed the brakes in whatever order I feel like. I just make sure there is no air in the system and the brake pedal normal for the car.
 

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Honda tends to specify Honda fluids. What a shock. I use fluids that meet required specs, not including label name, by manufacturers/distributors I trust.

As for the bleeding sequence, I have rarely needed to bleed the system. I've changed a few M/Cs over 50 years, but that's it. I do fluid exchange/replacement regularly. My Honda is not one that I've needed to bleed, though I do fluid exchange any time I service brakes.
 
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Have used Valvoline DOT3/4 ever since I first started servicing our 2002 Ody myself. Zero issues. The ABS has saved me a couple times over the course of the last 19 years with Valvoline in the reservoir.

I have no idea if the Honda brake fluid has anything "extra for Honda" ...

OF
 
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Yeah that sequence is odd. Perhaps they feel once a line is bled there’s little chance of bubbles propagating down that closed line. Eliminate bubbles closest to the distribution t so you get more out? I’d have to run tests to prove it but could be.

I’ve found a power bleeder to be the best investment with regard to bleeding brakes. Gets out more air and faster.


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
FYI, the brakes are functioning fine, but I'm doing all new pads/rotors all around and e-brake shoes. Since I have no history on the newly purchased Ody, I'm just assuming the fluid has never been flushed/exchanged so I'm just going ahead and doing it for my peace of mind, and so that I have an established history of fresh fluid on it starting NOW.

I'll probably just do my usual routine since no one seems to think the odd sequence listed in the manual is critical.

Thanks for the info everyone!
 

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Waaaaay back when, cars had a single brake circuit, single master cylinder reservoir.
In the 60's, they got split front/rear.
In the late 60's/early 70's, they went to diagonal split.
In the 90's, ABS became common.

The logic that made sense for bleeding in the 50's didn't necessarily hold for subsequent designs.

Even if the guiding principle of furthest to nearest were still good, the question of "furthest from what" must be answered. If the answer is "from the last common point in the circuit", that point has moved from the M/C to the ABS control unit. Which on some vehicles (not my Ody) is in the front on the passenger side.

But the diagonal split means that (for example) changing the passenger rear brake hose only involves the circuit shared with the driver front. Not the driver rear or passenger front. And then there's that ABS unit.

I can try to image the route of a theoretical bubble, including which way it goes if it's a "hanging" bubble right at the split point between the two wheels in a given circuit. I might go through the exercise if Honda engineers were silent on the topic. But since they have clearly spoken, I'm inclined to listen. What others do? Up to them.
 

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Well, I'd like to say I've always followed the manual ... but I haven't.

I think the last time I used my home-made power bleeder, I just ran around the van, corner by corner and "got it done" speedy-quick.

Brakes still work great. The anti-skid has proven its mettle a couple times, too.

I agree with you. When I look at all the spaghetti that makes up the fluid lines in modern braking systems, I just can't imagine the routing of that "theoretical bubble." Also, when I perform bleeding, I can't see how any trapped bubble of air won't be expelled from the system. You run the brake fluid through via pressure (my rig) or vacuum, that air is not staying in the system.

OF
 

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I do believe that either the power or vacuum approach seems better at keeping those bubbles moving to the open port. The on/off persuasion of the pedal would (at least theoretically) allow for some bubble backtracking if the slope of the line were such as to allow for it. Gravity prevails, in the absence of an opposing force.
 

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For years I was taught that the "bad" brake fluid was in the calipers because of heat. I never knew the real problem was in the master cylinder reservoir due to moisture absorption.
 

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Calipers still do cook fluid but your correct the real damaging fluid is typically up in the master cylinder reservoir waiting to damage downstream components.

Power bleeders are one of the best tools now available if you do your own brake work. In fact I’d say they are a required piece of equipment on anything with ABS. I have a Chevy truck where you can not really bleed the brakes effectively without one.

I also have a 1955 Jeep where the master cylinder is attached to the frame with a single reservoir and get this, a vented cap. When I did a frame up restoration a couple years ago I added an external reservoir with a bellows type cap that does not allow air to interact directly with the fluid. One of the best upgrades I could have done (besides a dual reservoir conversion)!


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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@Ted - thanks for the detailed reply. Great info all around.

I did look at the modulator and lines from it. Front driver's side still seems to the closest/shortest lines and what I would usually do last for that reason....but the FSM says do it first.

Like many have said, as long as you get the air out, or enough of it out, brakes should be working fine. I'm inclined to think that using a vacuum/pressurized exchanger is the best method period and makes sequence less critical.

Manually bleeding them with pedal pressure seems to be where sequence matters for getting the most air out, in the quickest time frame.

Thanks for the good input so far everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Never used that specific type/brand, but having a check-valve inline of the hose is a common thing with the hand pump and manual brake bleeding tools. Same concept, just internal to the bleeder screw. I'm torn between saying it's "really smart", and "really unnecessary". Guess it depends on what (if any) other tools you're using to bleed the brakes.
 

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Never used that specific type/brand, but having a check-valve inline of the hose is a common thing with the hand pump and manual brake bleeding tools. Same concept, just internal to the bleeder screw. I'm torn between saying it's "really smart", and "really unnecessary". Guess it depends on what (if any) other tools you're using to bleed the brakes.
No other tools except a plastic tube going from the speed bleeder to a clear container to hold the old fluid and a bulb sucker like a turkey baster to suck out the old brake fluid in the reservoir before bleeding (filling it with fresh fluid before starting to bleed the brakes until fresh fluid comes out of the speed bleeders)

NOTE: I should have used the term 'flushing' the brakes and not 'bleeding' the brakes, :eek:

Buffalo4
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, thoroughly bleeding is essentially flushing. It's fluid replacement period, not just getting air bubbles out. It's just differences in fluid exchange method, positive pressure at the reservoir or negative pressure at the bleeder screws. Since you're talking about specifically the bleeder screw, it'll be vacuum evacuation, and the "Speed Bleeders" you posted have the check valve built-in to prevent air from getting in during the process. It's better than using a wrench to manually close the bleeder screw every time the pressure/vacuum drops. That's where the "that's pretty smart" though comes in. Convenient.

But even the cheapest of cheapie fluid pumps usually have that check valve built in to them as well. I have a few of these bottom-dollar hand pumps, which will work for bleeding brakes with a small hose adapter I made from vacuum lines, and even these cheap things have the one-way check valve:

I also have a nicer hand pump vacuum bleeder, but I've used those cheapies plenty times before with good success.

That's where the "completely unnecessary" thoughts come into play. Redundancy can be nice sometimes, so maybe it's not completely unnecessary, but the only time I can see those "Speed Bleeders" being really beneficial is when trying to bleed the brakes the old-fashioned way with manual brake pedal cranks, and with only straight tube (no check valve) dumping the fluid, and issues being able to manually close the bleeder screw towards the end of each pedal pump, possibly because you're doing it all by yourself without a second person doing the pedal motions. Outside of that kind of situation, it does seem to be "unnecessary", and for the price, I'd personally put it towards a decent brake bleeding kit instead.
 
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