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5 Series DIY
Knowledge Is Power! ~ The place for do-it-yourself threads on a variety of topics. Start a thread describing a particular job (oil change, cooling system overhaul, brakes, shocks and springs, etc.) or search for one you need help with!

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  #1  
Old 03-16-2004, 09:48 PM
clymberz clymberz is offline
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Last attempt before paying a mechanic

Hi there,

I posted this on roadfly and figured I'd ask this here to see if I get a better response.

Does anyone have any online (or Bentley) instructions on how to 1) replace my brake lines with stainless steel ones and 2) how to flush the old brake fluid from the system with the new stuff I just got from DaveZ. (got the rotors, pads, lines and fluid yesterday, thanks Dave!)

I fully admit that I'm a bit of a noobie on how the brake lines work, so if it's not something that is easy, then I'll go ahead and pay a local mechanic to do it for me, no worries.

I have studied DaveZ's report on brake bleeding, BMWtips.org and the Bentley manual. Hayaku even suggested I buy the $47 Pressure Bleeder from BimmerWorld.

BUT, I think I'm getting stuck because I don't understand the difference, if there is one, between bleeding the brakes and flushing them with new brake fluid. Next, I'm having a hard time understanding how I replace the brake lines themselves in the cleanliest way possible. Am I going to be dealing with brake fluid running down my arm as I'm trying to unscrew the old lines and install the new ones? Tips/tricks would be much appreciated.

Also, any special tools I need? Is it worth getting the pressure Bleeder from BimmerWorld? Do I need the Peake tool? any special plugs or plastic lines I should get to make things easier? If so, where do I get them in the Bay Area? any gotchas? If I do have fluid running down my arms and onto the floor any good clean up suggestions?

I'll tell you what, I invited my buddy over to watch and laugh at me while I do this. If you would like, I would be happy to have him take pictures of the process and we can add that to bmwtips? BUT, i'm not ready for black diamond work...

Thanks everyone!

PS: If this Pressure Bleeder form BimmerWorld is any good is there a place I can buy one locally? (SF Bay Area?)
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  #2  
Old 03-17-2004, 06:22 AM
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swindonhost swindonhost is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clymberz
Hi there,

I posted this on roadfly and figured I'd ask this here to see if I get a better response.

Does anyone have any online (or Bentley) instructions on how to 1) replace my brake lines with stainless steel ones and 2) how to flush the old brake fluid from the system with the new stuff I just got from DaveZ. (got the rotors, pads, lines and fluid yesterday, thanks Dave!)

I fully admit that I'm a bit of a noobie on how the brake lines work, so if it's not something that is easy, then I'll go ahead and pay a local mechanic to do it for me, no worries.

I have studied DaveZ's report on brake bleeding, BMWtips.org and the Bentley manual. Hayaku even suggested I buy the $47 Pressure Bleeder from BimmerWorld.

BUT, I think I'm getting stuck because I don't understand the difference, if there is one, between bleeding the brakes and flushing them with new brake fluid. Next, I'm having a hard time understanding how I replace the brake lines themselves in the cleanliest way possible. Am I going to be dealing with brake fluid running down my arm as I'm trying to unscrew the old lines and install the new ones? Tips/tricks would be much appreciated.

Also, any special tools I need? Is it worth getting the pressure Bleeder from BimmerWorld? Do I need the Peake tool? any special plugs or plastic lines I should get to make things easier? If so, where do I get them in the Bay Area? any gotchas? If I do have fluid running down my arms and onto the floor any good clean up suggestions?

I'll tell you what, I invited my buddy over to watch and laugh at me while I do this. If you would like, I would be happy to have him take pictures of the process and we can add that to bmwtips? BUT, i'm not ready for black diamond work...

Thanks everyone!

PS: If this Pressure Bleeder form BimmerWorld is any good is there a place I can buy one locally? (SF Bay Area?)

I'm sure somebody on here could write you a detailed set of instructions, but these are your brakes, and they need to be working.

Based on your described level of knowledge, get a mechanic to do the job and rest easy in the knowledge they will work.

When you bleed the brakes you remove the air from the system and stop that spongy feeling. When you flush them you replace the fluid
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  #3  
Old 03-17-2004, 06:56 AM
banglenot banglenot is offline
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Get the mechanic--

Clym,

Three items on brakes: 1. if you have a mechanic do it you'll have someone to go to if something goes wrong and the car is damaged; 2. Brake fluid once dissolved paint easily and I believe it still does -- getting it on your bodywork will quickly use up your savings; 3. There are lots of places where a small mistake can result in expensive damage.

What you're describing is a big job, where things need to be properly torqued, adjusted, aligned etc. It's not just throwing a couple of new pads in the front wheels.

Sincerely, as a backyard mechanic I strongly recommend you let a BMW mechanic do the job you're describing if it's not something you've done before. Two places where it's a bad idea to "learn by doing" on a car's systems are brakes and steering.

Good luck--

Last edited by banglenot; 03-17-2004 at 07:00 AM.
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  #4  
Old 03-17-2004, 07:15 AM
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rumratt rumratt is offline
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I agree that brakes are important, and futzing around down there without knowing what you're doing is probably a bad idea. (and I don't know what I'm doing, so take my advice with a grain of salt. )

But are you interested in doing this yourself to save money, or to learn and get involved in your car? If it's just to save a few pennies, I say skip it. But if it's because you enjoy this stuff and you want to learn, then it might be worth while. Maybe you can find someone with experience to help you the first time, (or even a mechnic to pay who will show you as he does it. )

In terms of safety, there's something to be said about doing it yourself, even though you have less experience than the mechanic.. Assuming you have at least a certain level of knowledge about what you're doing I would be more confident in my own work than that of a mechanic who is in a hurry and doesn't give a crap about me or my car.
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  #5  
Old 03-17-2004, 07:42 AM
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LmtdSlip LmtdSlip is offline
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C'mon guys this isn't rocket surgery.....

But I do agree with RumRatt....Don't get involved with this unless you are interested in doing it right, want to be mechanically involved with your car and want (need) to save $$.

You will need:

Flare nut wrenches in the appropriate size for the old lines and new.
Floor jack and jack stands
Impact wrench (to remove reticent bolts holding on rotor)

The pressure bleader is a nice to have but isn't required. If you don't have a pressure bleader you will need a friend (or a homeless guy off the street) to press the brake pedal when you tell him to. A can of beer should be payment enough for either person.

Bleeding the brakes is removing trapped air from the system.
Flushing the brakes is flushing out old fluid and replacing it with nice new clear fluid.
You will need to bleed your brakes after you flush them.

This is more of a PITA job than a mechanically challenging one. If you have never done this before plan on spending the entire day to do all four corners.
Make double certain you have the right parts and tools before you start this job as you don't want to be half way into it and realize that you have a wrong part that prevents you from putting the car back togeteher (ask me how I know this).

I am sure there are many online DIYs or manuals that detail the process step by step...Have fun.
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  #6  
Old 03-17-2004, 08:29 AM
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I can only add that Dave Z has posted detailed bleeding instructions, probably on his website.

I've done brakes on my motorcycle many times, i've also installed new lines. The biggest pain on that job (without a pressure bleeder) was getting the fluid to flow through the new lines.

Other than paint damage from fluid, blowing out your master cylinder is a potential issue if you're not careful with the pressure bleeder. Any air in the lines will make the brakes squishy and non-responsive, which has obvious drawbacks.

And my word of advice on wrenching: you won't know if you can do something unless you try. Worst case, you fail and have to flatbed your car to a shop to have it done right. I evaluate my skill level and experience before taking on a big job. It usually costs more in the end because of specialty tools, and it takes 10x as long to do, but I can always step back and admire my work! And the next time, lots easier since you made your mistakes, learned your lessons, and busted your knuckles on the maiden voyage!

That said, I'll be interested in your thoughts on the upgrade to stainless lines. I know on my motorcycle they made a noticable difference.
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Last edited by jvr530i; 03-17-2004 at 08:35 AM.
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  #7  
Old 03-17-2004, 08:55 AM
clymberz clymberz is offline
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thanks for all the good thoughts

i certainly can afford to pay the labor, but I know that over time there's going to be a lot of things I'll need to do like water pump, etc. Funny enough, I was even thinking of doing steering system fluid. lol

I think Jeff is right that I won't know how hard it is until I try it. Others are also right, there are certain things I just don't want to screw up.

To be honest, I think that if there were decent instructions online I would be ok. ...but I really haven't seen any.

For example, DaveZ and others explain how to bleed the brakes, but not how to flush them. There are also no diagrams as to what the major components of the brakes are.

I bet this is all really obvious. As my wife likes to poke fun at me when I can't figure out the answering machine, I do have a masters in engineering from stanford. Part of that is my problem, because I'm always looking for the "perfect" solution and sometime you just gotta do "what works" instead. Oh well.

Like I said, I think I'll give it until the end of the day or so and if I don't have a good idea of what I'm doing I just won't do it. Furthermore, once I get the tires off and look at everything up close maybe I'll better understand what's involved. I don't have to change the lines and the pads/rotors at the same time, though it would be nice. I've done rotors/pads before on my 4Runner, just not on a bmw. I should be ok for that part.

Jeff, from everything I've read and everyone I've talked to, the SS line upgrade is more of a nice to have, not a have to have. It should firm up response a bit, but any dramatic firming up is most likely going to come from simply changing out the old fluid and bleeding out any air bubbles. Having said that, my philosophy with this car is that when things need to be changed, I want to upgrade at the same time.

I'll let you know what I find out.
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2004, 09:47 AM
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Terry Kennedy Terry Kennedy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clymberz
Like I said, I think I'll give it until the end of the day or so and if I don't have a good idea of what I'm doing I just won't do it. Furthermore, once I get the tires off and look at everything up close maybe I'll better understand what's involved. I don't have to change the lines and the pads/rotors at the same time, though it would be nice. I've done rotors/pads before on my 4Runner, just not on a bmw. I should be ok for that part.

I'll let you know what I find out.
Are there any other folks in your area who have done this sort of thing and could help out if you run into anything you're not sure about? I've done a bunch of helping out for folks in the NY/tri-state area, though mostly on interior / electronics stuff. I'd expect you could find someone locally - maybe trade some time helping the other person with some of their projects, buy them some beer / whatever, etc.?
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  #9  
Old 03-17-2004, 09:52 AM
clymberz clymberz is offline
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Great idea. I would offer free bbq baby back ribs, beer and trade time when they need it... With as much work as needs to be done on these things, I would hope some folks would be into this?

Any SF Bay Area folks out there who want to work on their cars together? let me know..
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  #10  
Old 03-17-2004, 12:40 PM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clymberz
Great idea. I would offer free bbq baby back ribs, beer and trade time when they need it... With as much work as needs to be done on these things, I would hope some folks would be into this?

Any SF Bay Area folks out there who want to work on their cars together? let me know..
Well, we are in the same area as Agent99, Chris P. He can often be bribed with a couple dozen Krispy-Kreme donuts, depending on his schedule. PM him and see if he's interested. He also holds clinics occasionally for things like CDV delete, arm rest, CAI installs, and I believe he does brakes as well. Last time I was over he and VietSB were doing brakes on Viet's 540.

Maybe I'll see you there one day. Chris and I are talking about having a work session to diagnose the clicking in our driver seats since BMW can't seem to fix it for us.
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2004, 12:49 PM
clymberz clymberz is offline
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clicking

Oh yea, let's do that!!! My fricken seat clicks like a paper chicken. whatever.

I'd be happy to set something like that up. ...how's your water pump? lol that's also on my list.

as far as clinics, i'm also thinking we should do an ipod clinic.

http://densionusa.com/icelink/faq-icelink.htm#ice1

Also, I just ordered all my zaino gear and would be happy to coordinate a spring detailing clinic...?

i'll ping the locals, but don't want to sound like a cheap ass who is just trying to get out of paying a mechanic $90/hr. that is *not* my intent. :-)
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Old 03-17-2004, 06:31 PM
clymberz clymberz is offline
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I have seen the light!!

So, my issue was that I was reading DaveZ's thread about bleeding...

http://www.zeckhausen.com/bleeding_brakes.htm

...and when I got to item #6, which says to bleed after the lines are replaced and I'm saying to myself, "I missed something, where's the description for replacing the lines?" But then I got to thinking. That led me to a slew of posts on roadfly and here and my ultimatum to figure it out online by today or not attempt it at all...Then a lightbulb went off..., you have to change the lines to do a big brake kit, so maybe I can figure it out from there. This was all I needed:

http://www.zeckhausen.com/E39_BMW_Front_Install.htm

Plus, since I haven't worked with brake lines before I didn't know how to flush them. And once I came across this post, I realized that flushing them is just bleeding them but for longer!

http://www.unofficialbmw.com/all/bra...ake_fluid.html

duh!!
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