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replacing, adjusting and bleeding brakes from a newbie

2993 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  marksbug

I worked on these awesome cars when I was in Highschool about 20 years ago and recently bought a fixer upper to work on with my son. Our first step is to replace the brake pads and cylinders which we have done and everything went together quite smoothly.

Here is my problem, I have bled and adjusted the brakes as my memory serves me and watching youtube videos has refreshed my memory but the pedal sinks all the way to the floor before engaging the brake at the tire.

I have checked all 4 tires and they all engage properly once the pedal hits the ground but this is not the way it should be.

What the heck am I missing?? I am sure it is something stupid. Before we began the pedal did engage correctly so it was definitely something I have done.

This is a totally stock (as far as the guts of the car) '72 standard bug

Thank you for your time!

Danny Bradford
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Are you sure you got all the air out of the system ? It can be hard to get the air out some times . A lot of shops use a pressure bleeding tool that makes it easier. Like this
Did you just do the wheel cylinders, or the master also? If you did the master, make sure the rod on the brake pedal that goes into the master cylinder is adjusted properly. It needs to allow the master cylinder piston to fully retract to pump fluid properly to get rid of air. I can't remember the exact Bently measurement of free play, but it sticks in my mind it's less than 1/16th of an inch. At the wheels you can check a couple things. The later cars had a slight angle on the base of the brake shoe where it sits in the adjuster. The adjuster also has this angle for the brake shoe to sit in. If you look at the adjuster where the slot for the shoe is cut, there will be an area where the slot is cut real deep in the adjuster, and on the opposite side the slot will not be cut very deep. The area with the deep cut slot goes upward. If this is incorrect, the brake shoe won't properly seat against the drum, and cause a very similar issue like you're describing. Also run the adjuster all the way in, and adjust each side equally when adjusting the shoes. Adjust them until they completely lock up the drum, then back them off till they drag slightly. If you haven't replaced the brake hoses, I would do them also. A collapsing brake hose can require more pedal pressure to get fluid through it. Also a hose delaminating can swell up like a water balloon when fluid finds its way into different layers of the hose causing the pedal to sink.
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Thanks to all for your posts. I will dive back in and try to find this mystery air pocket.

I have actually read from other forums that I should bleed the master cylinder by opening and closing the threaded stuff coming in and out of it. (sorry for the inaccurate vernacular)

It will probably be this weekend so I will report back next week.

Thanks again!
a few things, the brake switches on the master cylinder.Ive had the plastic portion blow right out....then brakes,better have the E brake conneted good!! they can also let air in. I think the best switches Iv goten came from autozone,made in inda or packastan. the ones I got from the vw venders all left me doing the flintstone hop:eek:. it could also be the master cylinder. or just more air in the system and needs more bleeding. also Ive always had a soft peddel. but pretty good brakes.I noticed a pull to the left so i pulled it appart and the wheel cylinder was froze on the bottom piston(both wheels) witch makes sents moisture will collect there at the bottom. as I was looking& putting new ones on I got to thinken there is no way to get all the air out of the system. bleeded in the center of the wheel how do you get all the traped air out??? a vacume gun might do it,but I didnt want to take any chances on a might(mites,there also found on chicken asses) so I unbolted the wheel cylinders and used a C clamp to hold the pistons in and layed them sideways so the bleeded was aiming upward in the highest position. I then bled the rest of the air out.I did this on both sides. reassembled the has the best peddell it has ever had since Ive owned it 15 years now. hard firm up top great. also what gkton said about the adjuster end being angled is very importaint and will efup the peddell&adjustment.
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