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This is my first DIY Post, so be kind with the comments...
The whole operation took me 1.5 hours, including cleaning 2 clogged bleeder valves.
Total cost: $14

Tools
  • 10mm box wrench (6-point, NOT 12-point)
  • Jack
  • Wire brush
  • Awl
Material
  • 32 oz / 1 liter DIY bleeder bottle
  • 32 oz (946ml) DOT3 brake fluid
  • Turkey baster
  • Bucket
  • WD40
  • Block of scrap wood
Cleanup
  • Shop rags
  • Latex gloves
Notes
  • Honda specifies the following bleed sequence for the Element:
    1)Left front, 2) Right front, 3) Right rear, 4) Left rear
  • Don’t let the master cylinder run dry or air may get into the brake lines, causing failure.
  • Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately. It is caustic and can corrode engine parts.
  • Arcing the plastic tube above the level of the bleeder valve will prevent air from backing up into the bleeder valve.
  • Pressing the brake pedal all the way to the floor during the bleed may damage the master cylinder seal. Use a block of scrap wood to prevent this.
Instructions
  1. Remove the left front wheel. Jack up the car to do this, then locate the bleeder valve at the top right of the caliper.
    Clean with wire brush and spray with WD40 and let penetrate.

  2. Drain and fill the master cylinder. While you’re letting the WD40 penetrate, open the hood and remove the cap from the brake fluid master cylinder. Remove the small plastic filter in the master cylinder and clean with a clean rag.
    Open the bleeder bottle and use the turkey baster to transfer most of the brake fluid from the master cylinder to the bleeder bottle. Replace the filter and fill the master cylinder with new brake fluid. You can fill over the MAX line, as the fluid will be drained. Wipe off the master cylinder cap and replace.

  3. Attach the bleeder bottle. Fit the wrench over the bleeder valve and turn it just enough to move the valve. Attach the end of the plastic hose to the bleeder valve and slide the zip tie up to make it snug.
    Set the bleeder bottle securely on your overturned bucket. Make sure the hose in the bleeder bottle is below the level of the fluid and that the hose arcs upward above the level of the bleeder valve.
    Loosen the bleeder valve just enough to let some fluid come out into the beginning of the tube.

  4. Pump the brakes. Get in the car and put the block of scrap wood under the brake pedal. Slowly press and release the pedal several times. Check the bleeder bottle and continue pressing and releasing the brakes until the fluid that comes out of the bleeder valve is the color of the new fluid. The brake pedal should be firm. Check the master cylinder periodically (about every 10 brake presses) to ensure that it does not run dry. Top off after each wheel is bled or if the fluid is near the MIN level.

  5. Clean any blocked bleeder valves.
    If no fluid comes out of the hose when you open the valve, place the bucket under the bleeder valve and remove the valve completely. Clean off rust and gunk with the wire brush and use the awl to open the clogged hole near the base of the valve.


  6. Finish up. Close the bleeder valve tight with the box wrench and remove the bleeder tube, letting the liquid drain into the bottle. Replace wheel and tighten lug nuts.

  7. Repeat steps 1 - 5 with the right front wheel.

  8. Repeat steps 1 - 5 with the right rear wheel.

  9. Repeat steps 1 - 5 with the left rear wheel.

  10. Clean up. Dispose of the used brake fluid at an authorized location (garage or municipal waste retrieval).

Sources:
 

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This is a great post/DIY!

What size tubing did you use/where did you get it?

Did you have any issues with the bottle tipping when the fluid was being pumped in?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
DIY Bleeder Bottle

This is a great post/DIY!

What size tubing did you use/where did you get it?

Did you have any issues with the bottle tipping when the fluid was being pumped in?
Thanks, S_U. I'll post a new thread on making the bottle soon. The tubing is 1/4" plastic tubing bought at a hardware store for around $1 (3 feet). I chose a bottle with a good base and made sure it was solidly set on the bucket, so it didn't tip. The old fluid in the bottle helps to stabilize it, too. In any case, there is only a small vent hole, so if it does tip, nothing should come out.
 

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great write-up. A Lot of us have o bleed brakes alone.

I've now built a vacuum bleeder from tubing and a spaghetti sauce jar.

Consider adding a 6 point 10mm socket for breaking the bleeder loose. I've had a box end slip round of the surface on a really suck bleeder.
 

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In step 4, I'd add put a block of wood (piece of 2x4 or so) on the floor behind the pedal. You don't want to push the master cylinder plunger clear to the end, might damage the seal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the feedback

The box-end wrench should be a 6-point, not a 12-point.
Thanks, ramblerdan. I added that info to the post.

In step 4, I'd add put a block of wood (piece of 2x4 or so) on the floor behind the pedal. You don't want to push the master cylinder plunger clear to the end, might damage the seal.
Marv, I had seen that, but neglected to put it in my original post. I updated it (notes and step 4) to reflect your input. Thanks!
 

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I used a 60cc vet syringe and bled until I got new fluid at each corner. I typically spray all the bleeders a few days ahead with whatever penetrant I have around. Definitely 6-point, I tap lightly.

I don't use the pedal method myself after a torn seal many years ago, but if anyone else likes it I don't argue. Better with new fluid in there however it gets in, saves a lot of money for the few dollars for the fluid and syringe.

200k + with original brake and clutch system with regular changes. Clutch was poorly bled from new, my war with it ended after the first change.
 

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Why do the Elements calipers rust like that? My 05 is the same way. I have never had a cars calipers rust like this before.
 

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Ideally when bleeding brakes you want to close the bleeder before the end of each push on the brake pedal. Additionally, you should try to not "bottom" the brake pedal in its travel as it can cause master cylinder issues. When you bottom the travel you are allowing the piston to travel into a part of the MC bore that has not been used and could contain corrosion, etc which may damage the seals on the MC piston.

Better way to do this is to buy a Harbor Freight vacuum bleeder, use a large syringe or have someone help you with the bleeding if you have to use the brake pedal.
 

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How do you use a syringe for bleeding? Connect it to the bleeder hose and suck?

I have a very large clean one left over from printer ink stuff.
 

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Actually it does 2 oz or 60cc a pop.
Guess I'll pick up the Harbor Freight pump nearby, 24.95 on sale and I have a 20% off coupon too.

Thanks
 

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Thanks Jef, HF has tat one too, but more than the Sears. I want to start tomorrow on the last warmish day until next June, so will get the HF unit if I can't easily see how to adapt a hose to the syring.
With the syringe, I would think it would be easier to empty it at each squirt rather than fuss with the pump gun tank.
Thanks guys!
 

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Purchased this over the weekend and plan on using it in the next couple of weeks. Will let everyone know how it goes.

Looking at the Duralast Max Brake Pads.
 

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Purchased this over the weekend and plan on using it in the next couple of weeks. Will let everyone know how it goes.

Looking at the Duralast Max Brake Pads.
Manual vacuum bleeders are a PITA, IMO. I stopped using mine years ago. The HF compressed air powered vacuum bleeder works well.
 

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Gravity bleeding
Its free and easy
All you have to do is collect the fluid and top up the master so it doest go dry
 

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Purchased this over the weekend and plan on using it in the next couple of weeks. Will let everyone know how it goes.

Looking at the Duralast Max Brake Pads.
On the brass pump from H.F... I bought two of those. First one failed on about the tenth pump so I went back and got a replacement. THAT one failed before I could hook it up. They have a really thin rubber check valve inside that warps and won't seal. And on both of them, the plastic reservoir tank didn't seal well enough to get a vacuum. The third one was a Mighty Vac and it's still going strong.

I think I used the Duralast Max pads on mine this Summer, front & rear. I did get Duralast and asked for their top version. It hasn't been long enough to say much except that they seem to be working just fine with no noticeable dust issues.
 
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