Bleeding brakes with out a bleed kit

mcflyss Posts: 257
edited August 2010 in MTB beginners
Hello all.
My front brake has become a little spongy, have changed the pads and there is not much improvement. i am reluctant to buy a bleed kit for a job that I will need to do once in a blue moon. My friend said he bleed his with out one, just loosened the allen nut near the nipple, pumped the brake, kept the lever pumped, tightened the nut and repeated this action 2-3 times.
has any one else used this crude method and does it work ok?


  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    WHilst adding fluid at the top, yes! It works with many brakes.
  • tri-sexual
    tri-sexual Posts: 672
    what make of brakes?

    brakes can be bled without a bleed kit, alot of youtube videos available

    but an official bleed kit makes the job much much easier

    if you bleed them without a bleed kit, make sure that the tubing used is a very tight fit, if not it will draw in air when you are trying to bleed the system
  • mcflyss
    mcflyss Posts: 257
    They are Tektro Auriga Comp brakes.
    My mate didn't say any thing about any tubes.. just bleed from the nipple.. also he had enough oil in there and didnt have to add any more... My bike is older so might well need to add some.
  • tri-sexual
    tri-sexual Posts: 672
    its not about the amount of oil, you need to force in new brake fluid to dispell existing which contain air bubbles (you wont need to replace all the fluid)
    tubes are generally fitted onto the bleed nipples- an adapter may be required on some brake models
    if you have never done this before, a word of warning, dont spill fluid onto your brake pads (remove them first) else you would need new pads as well
    if you're unsure, that it to a LBS they will charge £15 approx
  • peter413
    peter413 Posts: 5,120
    Sometimes you do need to replace your fluid even if it doesn't contain any air bubbles.

    If its black then it definatly needs replacing, if its getting to be a darker colour than the original colour then you nee to think about changing it
  • gazeddy
    gazeddy Posts: 305
    pumping the lever(pedal) is how we do it in work on cars
    I rode what you dug last summer
  • mcflyss
    mcflyss Posts: 257
    Cheers guys. Might just pop it into my lbs and get them to change the oil etc.
  • delta5
    delta5 Posts: 265
    edited February 2011
    It's easy enough to do without a kit but, to save yourself trouble, research the procedure well before you start.
    There are quite a few threads in the MTB Workshop & Tech forum about bleeding Tektros - and plenty of info on the 'net. Do a search.
    You'll need a few basic items:

    - a big syringe (25 or 30ml)
    - some tubing with internal diameter (bore) = 4mm. One piece about 10 inches (top) and one about 4 inches (bottom) will do.
    - a bleed nipple adaptor for the reservoir
      if the screw is in the middle of the reservoir you will need this: ... apter.html

    if the screw is at the end of the reservoir you will need this: ... ctite.html
    The official manual is here:
    or here

    Spongy brakes can mean the oil needs replacing, not just bleeding, as it deteriorates with age.
    Just bleeding the oil down with an open reservoir can pull air into the cylinder - not good. It's much better to force the oil through from a syringe attached to the calliper.
    Avoid getting air into the system.
    Consider de-gassing the fluid before putting it in. I did it with new mineral oil and was amazed at how much air fizzed out of it in a vacuum. Method is shown at 2:10 in this clip:
    It's often suggested you take off the wheel and remove the pads (placing a spacer between the pistons), but if you wrap the whole calliper assembly with a clean dry cloth (leaving the bleed nipple protruding) to catch any overspill, and work very carefully, you can get away with it.
    Avoid getting oil on your pads, pistons or rotors.
    My abundant supply of MTFU is reserved for use in dry, sunny conditions.
  • mcflyss
    mcflyss Posts: 257
    Delta5 thank you very much for all your help and advice there!!
    Will start googling now!