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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-23-2009, 08:19 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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DIY: 1-man Hydraulic Bleeding Kit for those with Air Compressor!

This is a DIY cap-hose combination, to bleed the hydraulic system using an existing Air Compressor.

In theory, you can use "Motive Power Bleeder", which is nothing more than a modified garden sprayer bottle. However, it costs around US $50 or so.

But for those who already owns an air compressor, you can do the following DIY, this way you:
- Can invest minimally using my DIY (about $15 total)
- Do not have to clean the Motive Bleeder after the job. Also keeping the Motive Bleeder Bottle clean for the next 2 years (until you beed again) can be a challenge (dirt collecting inside the bottle etc.).
- Using my DIY cap-hose combination, you simply bleed and then store the DIY cap-hose combination away after use. Just use a ziploc bag to cap both ends and tie it so dirt does not get in this device.

General Notes:
- Brake Fluid is very corrosive to paint work, so wipe off any spill on paint work ASAP.
- Use a small funnel to pour brake fluid into the reservoir to avoid spill.
- Wrap the area around the reservoir with some rag to absorb any spill.
- The Air Compressor: use minimum 10 psi, max 15 psi. Do NOT exceed 30 psi (risk of damage to reservoir although I do not know for sure what pressure it takes to rupture the reservoir).
- Do not ever allow air to enter the hydraulic ABS system, because once air is inside the ABS Modulator, it is very difficult to get rid off. If you allow air to enter the ABS Modulator, then you need to visit the dealer so they can use their computer device to bleed the air out of the ABS Modulator. Now you are talking big expense!
- If you fill Brake Fluid to within 1 inch of the cap, you can safely bleed using the standard small catch container as in the pic (sold at many auto parts store) twice before refilling the Brake Reservoir again.
- When in doubt, stop and check the reservoir to be sure it does not fall below "Min" level.
- Do this on a dry day so moisture from the air does not enter the compressor. Avoid rainy days at all cost!!!
- I have a 1998 BMW 528I and 1998 Volvo V70, with both using ATE Brake System. So buy the standard 45-mm ATE cap from FCP Groton (or local Volvo dealer). Just get the cap from a 1991 Volvo 240 or 740. Back then those caps did not have Brake Fluid Level sensor. It was a plain simple 45-mm cap.
- This 45-mm cap can be used to bleed hydraulic system in any car with ATE reservoir such as: MB, BMW, Audi, VW, Volvo, SAAB etc. Check to be sure if using it on other cars. Japanese cars use different caps.



1. To make my DIY cap-hose combination:
- ATE Brake Reservoir Cap from FCP Groton or local Volvo dealer; Volvo PN 1272107, used in many Volvo cars since 1960's through 1990's ($5.00):
http://www.fcpgroton.com/search.php?...2107&do=search
- Compressor Hose ($6-7 at my local Menards hardware store, or Harbor Freights etc.). EDIT: You may not need this hose at all (see EDIT below in follow-up post).
- 1/4-inch nut ($1.00)
- 1/2-inch washers ($1.00)


---------
- Drill a 1/2-inch hole in the ATE cap and clean any debris.
- Use the Air Hose Male end and insert into the cap, washer on both sides.
- Small bead of Silicone under each washer and the hose male end's threads.
- Tighten the 1/4-inch nut hand tight.
- Let the Silicone Caulk cure for one day before using it.



2. To bleed:
- Open the bottom drain valve of the Air Compressor and turn the Air Compressor on to expel any water inside the Air Compressor. Then close the bottom valve.
- Keep air pressure within 10-15 psi (this works best for me). Do NOT exceed 30 psi!
- Using a Turkey Baster, suck out as much old brake fluid from reservoir as possible.
- Using a Small Funnel, add Fresh Brake Fluid until it is about 1 inch from the top. Avoid spilling or overtopping!
- Attach the cap-hose combination.
- Connect to Air Compressor using the quick disconnect.
- Keep air pressure within 10-15 psi!!!



- Start bleeding, remember you can bleed about 2 small containers before you need to refill.
- To refill reservoir, disconnect air hose at "quick disconnect", refill reservoir to within 1 inch of the top. Re-connect hose.
- For each car, I use about 70-80% of the 32-Ounce (946 mL) Brake Fluid Bottle. I use Valvoline Synthetic Brake Fluid (DOT 4).

Good Luck and enjoy this one-man kit if you already own an air compressor. It is a breeze to bleed the brake this way!
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Last edited by cn90; 08-27-2009 at 08:26 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2009, 09:55 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Cool!
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Old 08-23-2009, 10:22 PM
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  #4  
Old 08-23-2009, 11:40 PM
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  #5  
Old 08-24-2009, 03:11 AM
JasonSC540ia JasonSC540ia is offline
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Iv got a self bleeding kit, but this is just too cool. Gonna make me one.
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2009, 05:00 AM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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BTW, I never put brake fluid into the Motiv bleeeder. I use it exactly as this DIY does, as air pressure only. Guess I spent an extra $40 for the confidence that I will not over pressure the reservoir.
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2009, 05:32 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lovell View Post
BTW, I never put brake fluid into the Motiv bleeeder. I use it exactly as this DIY does, as air pressure only. Guess I spent an extra $40 for the confidence that I will not over pressure the reservoir.
CL
For those who want to build a "pressurizer" using garden spray bottle, here is the DIY:
http://www.bmw-m.net/TechProc/bleeder.htm

I already have an air compressor and am very happy with my DIY.
I bled my 1998 Volvo V70 and 1998 BMW 528i yesterday.
It took about 30 minutes/each car.
Now I don't have to bother my 10-year-old son to pump the brake pedal any longer!

PS: I forgot to mention that my E39 can be bled with car on the ground, no need to lift it up. For FRONT wheels: turn wheel to opposite direction (For Right Front, turn wheel to LEFT to expose the bleeding nipple). The REAR Wheels are straightforward.

Last edited by cn90; 08-24-2009 at 06:12 AM.
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  #8  
Old 08-26-2009, 07:03 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Update,

If you already have a hose and quick disconnect (you should) from your air compressor, then no need for the another yellow air hose as in my pics above.
You can simply buy a 1/4" NPT fitting for $0.50 (or buy a kit for $3.99 at Harbor Freight) and attach it directly to the brake cap:

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  #9  
Old 08-26-2009, 05:26 PM
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Cool. I need to do my fluid; no idea when it was last done. For all I know it's the original stuff o.O!
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2009, 09:20 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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For those who want to buy Motive Bleeder for $50:
http://www.fcpgroton.com/product-exe...+Brake+Bleeder
Here is a simple math:

- Motive Bleeder $50-55.

My DIY:
- ATE Cap $5, 1/4" NPT Fitting $0.50, 1/2" Washers $0.50.....$7.00
- Now you have extra cash for a pancake air compressor...if you look hard enough (sales at hardware store or Sears etc.) you can buy a pancake air compressor for $45-50 range.

Now you have the extra pancake air compressor for many other uses: tire inflation, air tools in home remodelling projects (if you care for it!), brake bleeding (of course).

See? win-win situation with my DIY. If you already budget $50 to buy Motive bleeder, stop!!! Do my DIY: this way, now you have a pancake air compressor for free!
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:36 AM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Nice ideas... I like being able to replace the brake fluid while pressurizing the system. It is a pain in the a$$ to pop the top off the mc and refill. You don't EVER want to push air into the system:
Here is my DIY pressure bleeder:










Bottom line: You should change your brake fluid every 2 years. It doesn't matter how you do it, just do it.
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  #12  
Old 08-27-2009, 10:58 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Max_VQ,

Nice setup, similar to Motive Bleeder.

With my DIY, there is nothing to clean after bleeding.
The slight downside of my setup: refills 3-4 x during the bleeding process. Each refill is quick:
- remove cap: 3 seconds
- fill more brake fluid: 10 seconds
- recap: 3 seconds

The time I "lose" to do the brake fluid refills (16 seconds x 4 = approx 1 minute) is gained by the fact that I do not have to clean the fresh fluid bottle (The "Rona" bottle in your pic)......hehe.

Anyway, whatever trick (Motive Bleeder or my DIY) works. As I mentioned above, by doing my trick, you have budget for a pancake air compressor for free!
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  #13  
Old 08-27-2009, 12:05 PM
kingbled kingbled is offline
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hey guys just curious...I was online and saw a diy of a guy using a oil pump can filled with BF. he was pumping it in from the bleeder valve side saying that air "likes to travel up." What do you think about that Idea. He said it game the BEST BLEED for cars taking ALL air out of the system.
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  #14  
Old 08-27-2009, 12:08 PM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingbled View Post
hey guys just curious...I was online and saw a diy of a guy using a oil pump can filled with BF. he was pumping it in from the bleeder valve side saying that air "likes to travel up." What do you think about that Idea. He said it game the BEST BLEED for cars taking ALL air out of the system.
My 2 cents:
Sounds messy to me. Once the bleeder nipple is open, you don't have a perfect seal between the caliper and the nipple. A lot of Brake fluid will drip out...
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:14 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingbled View Post
hey guys just curious...I was online and saw a diy of a guy using a oil pump can filled with BF. he was pumping it in from the bleeder valve side saying that air "likes to travel up." What do you think about that Idea. He said it game the BEST BLEED for cars taking ALL air out of the system.
It is basically non-sense! The idea is to bleed from the caliper UPWARD. Pumping fluid into the brake caliper nipple pushing it up. The problem: it brings water/moisture (which tends to collect inside the caliper because of the road condition) upward into your ABS Modulator etc.
Eventually it will be expelled out but it makes bleeding unnecessarily complicated. It is otherwise known as "Reverse Bleeding".

With the conventional bleeding from the Reservoir toward the brake caliper, any air trapped in the line is pushed down into the caliper and out of the nipple.
The conventional technique works well for thousands of cars, so stick with this technique.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:17 PM
kingbled kingbled is offline
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I don't know....now the way you guys are talkin is the best and cleanest way? I am trying to fully understand it. you use the compressor to pressurize the system through the cap after topping it off? can you describe the science of what is going on?


******update....*****either way i am going to go home tonight and make one....I am changing to steel lines******88

Last edited by kingbled; 08-27-2009 at 12:20 PM.
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  #17  
Old 08-27-2009, 12:24 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingbled View Post
I don't know....now the way you guys are talkin is the best and cleanest way? I am trying to fully understand it. you use the compressor to pressurize the system through the cap after topping it off? can you describe the science of what is going on?
1. The classic way: 2-man technique:
One person depresses the brake pedal (with a small piece of wood under the brake pedal to prevent over-travel of the pedal) while the other person bleeds from the caliper.
The problem is: you need an assistant, which is not always available.

2. The one-man technique using a pressurizer as mentioned in this thread. No need for 2nd person. Options:
a- Garden Sprayer (Motive Bleeder)
b- Air Compressor

3. Reverse bleeding like you just mentioned. Stay away from this urban legend.

Anyway, you might want to visit this library by Larry Carley to catch up on some car repair readings. There is a wealth of info here written by the American guru Larry Carley:
www.aa1car.com/library.htm
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:03 AM
kingbled kingbled is offline
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Hey thanks for the information. I did it before of course being a car owner but never really understood the complete science behind it...I thought about it last night and understood that the way i asked the question was VERY elementry at best. I got most of the stuff to make it yesterday just waiting for the cap that I might have to order online. Thanks for the information on the GRRREAT DIY. You guys love to know what is going on with your car...and that is why I like it here...king


******oh and this is a good guide....thank you for the extra information*****

Last edited by kingbled; 08-28-2009 at 07:06 AM.
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:09 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingbled View Post
Hey thanks for the information. I did it before of course being a car owner but never really understood the complete science behind it...I thought about it last night and understood that the way i asked the question was VERY elementry at best. I got most of the stuff to make it yesterday just waiting for the cap that I might have to order online. Thanks for the information on the GRRREAT DIY. You guys love to know what is going on with your car...and that is why I like it here...king


******oh and this is a good guide....thank you for the extra information*****
For small part like this, go to local Volvo dealer and order Volvo PN 1272107 (ATE Cap) for $5.00.
This ATE cap goes way back to 1960's when ATE made brake reservoir etc. for many European cars (Vovlvo, VW, Audi, MB, Mercedes etc.).
They may not have ithe brake capin stock, but they can order it for you.
You can even order on the phone and come and pick it up when it is in.

Whatever it is, read my DIY carefully. I took alot of care writing it in detail.
Do not exceed 20 psi.
Best is 10-15 psi.

Last edited by cn90; 08-28-2009 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:31 AM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
For small part like this, go to local Volvo dealer and order Volvo PN 1272107 (ATE Cap) for $5.00.
Nice Tip!!! I paid $5 for a used BMW cap.
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  #21  
Old 10-19-2009, 05:59 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Update,

If you already have a hose and quick disconnect (you should) from your air compressor, then no need for the another yellow air hose as in my pics above.
You can simply buy a 1/4" NPT fitting for $0.50 (or buy a kit for $3.99 at Harbor Freight) and attach it directly to the brake cap:

UPDATE,

The simplified ATE Bleeder Cap, it is a Simple Beauty! No need to have the Hose attached to it permanently as in the beginning of this thread. This is what you should have:

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Old 10-19-2009, 06:12 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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For those of you who have another car other than the E39, if you cannot find the factory Cap to fit, there is another way to make the Universal Brake Bleeder Cap for $8.00 total.


1. Universal Brake Bleeder Cap Parts List (See Picture):
- Plumbing PVC Drain Cap 3": $1.50
- Standard Air Adaptor: $0.90
- 1/4" FIP x 1/8" FIP Reducer: $1.00
- 1/8" Lock Nut: $1.00
- 1/8" MIP Pipe: $1.00
- 3/8" Washer: cheap
- Teflon Tape, Rubber Gasket and Silicone Caulk

- Go to any local Ace Hardware store, they have everything you need there.





2. To make Universal Brake Bleeder Cap (See Picture):
- Drill a 3/8" hole on the side of the cap (Do not drill on the top, you need to leave the top alone for the U-bolt to clamp on). Enlarge the hole a bit so the Pipe goes through snugly.
- Using Teflon Tape, Assemble the Standard Air Adaptor ---> 1/4" FIP x 1/8" FIP Reducer ---> 1/8" MIP Pipe
- Now slide the Pipe into the PVC Cap just a bit, then apply some silicone caulk on the thread, then push the whole Pipe into the cap. Then install rubber O-ring and washer and Lock Nut. Tighten it snug.





3. The Set up with U-bolt (See Picture):
- For comparison, on the Right Side is the 45-mm "ATE" Brake Cap I use on my Volvo, BMW but this can also be used in any European cars with ATE Brake Cap (Volvo, SAAB, BMW, MB, VW, Porsche, Audi etc.)




4. The Set up in my 2007 Honda Odyssey Van (See Picture):
- Air Compressor "Pressure Regulator" set at 15 psi max.




5. 2007 Honda Odyssey Van Bleed Screw (See Picture):
- Bleed Screw is 10-mm for both Front and Rear Brakes.




- I use Lisle Brake Container "Item 19200" ($6.00 at local auto parts store). It probably holds about 2 ounces of fluid:
http://www.lislecorp.com/tool_detail.cfm?detail=185

- When filling the 2007 Honda Odyssey Brake Reservoir to the Top, if you bleed the brake using the Lisle container up to 80% of the container, then one Reservoir Fill is good for 2 containers.
- Whatever you do, do not let the Brake Fluid level get below 1 cm under the "Min" mark. Do not ever allow air in any car with ABS because once air gets into the ABS Modulator, it is a headache to purge the air out of the Hydraulic Actuator (go to dealer etc.).
- Air Compressor Main Pressure may be at 20-30 psi but the Regulator must be set at 15 psi max.
- Tighten the U-bolt nut by hand only, you may use a wrench but be gentle, do NOT over-tighten the U-bolt. All you need is snug. A little leak is OK because this Universal Cap is not as tight as factory cap. But you will find out that a little leak is no big deal because with the air compressor, all you have to do is to crank it up a bit here and there.

- After the entire brake bleeding job is complete, if your Brake and VSA light is on in the instrument cluster, don't panic! This is because during brake bleeding process, when the brake level is below Min level, the Brake Fluid Level Sensor sends a signal to the computer. Even after you fill the brake reservoir later, the signal is still there. After driving 1-2 cycles, the light will be out.


- Enjoy the Universal Brake Bleeder Cap.
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Last edited by cn90; 10-19-2009 at 06:34 AM.
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  #23  
Old 10-19-2009, 03:53 PM
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Any one used this device?

http://shop.oreillyauto.com/ProductD...egoryCode=3378
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  #24  
Old 10-19-2009, 04:47 PM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musa View Post
I have it and I don't like it.
When you loosen the bleeder nipple and apply vacuum air leaks in around the threads of the nipple resulting in air bubbles always being present in the bleeder tube.
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  #25  
Old 10-19-2009, 07:37 PM
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reverse bleeding is nonsense.. don't do it. use either a) a friend b) a motive or c) this diy i bleed brakes about once a month on the track car (before each event basically) using the motive as i frequently do it at home with no assistant around. works well. oh and i always put fluid in it. you DO NOT want air entering your ABS pump.
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