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OldBuzzard's 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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Sep 19, 2021
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373
Location
San Denver, Colofornia
Gas Tank Fix

Speaking of gasoline, this Wrangler has had the gas burp problem when filling the tank ever since I bought it. It was irritating, but liveable, and I planned on doing the fix eventually. Then one day it suddenly switched to the extremely slow fill problem. Now that was intolerable, standing at the pump trickling gas into it, with a long line of cars waiting behind me.

So I drove it around until the gas light came on. Then I read various forum posts, and watched half a dozen YouTube videos on how to do the fix. Most of the videos are for older TJs, but mine is a 2005. The '05 and '06 have a different fuel pump and different gas line connectors. Between all of the videos I found enough info to remove the tank without breaking any connectors, and remove the fuel pump. It took about 1.5 hours to drop the tank.

Gas_Tank_01.jpg


I cleaned up the top of the tank, scraping it and using compressed air. Then I drove off the lock ring with a large ground-off screwdriver. That took another 45 minutes. After removing the fuel pump, I popped out the check valve. Sure enough, the float was sticking in the housing.

Gas_Tank_02.jpg


I filed the three sets of little dual tracks down about half way. Trying it in the housing, it was pretty free, but I filed a little more until it had some freeplay all the way up and down in the housing. I didn't want it to swell a little more and stick again.

Gas_Tank_03.jpg


After replacing the check valve in the tank, I installed a new Bosch 67756 fuel pump with sender (from Rock Auto, best price I could find). This is the identical fuel pump to the Mopar OEM one. My old pump was working fine, but at 100K miles I didn't want to have to drop the tank again soon if it died.

Gas_Tank_04.jpg


I installed the tank in the Jeep in another hour+. I turned on the key and let the pump run for a few seconds, until it sounded like it had pressured up the line, and then checked for leaks. Then it took another 10 or 20 seconds to crank it to life. No leaks, everything works right.

And I filled the tank with no slowdown, and no burp. Another Mopar screwup fixed. Wonderful.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
This Third Brake Light Mod came from the JamesAndTheSahara build.

I bought a string of waterproof LEDs for about $20 here:
https://www.superbrightleds.com/mor...leds-12v-waterproof-ip67-85-lumensft/123/548/

And a 5 Gallon Bucket Lid for about $2.25 from:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Leaktite-12-108-in-Black-Plastic-Bucket-lid/5000930663

I removed the third brake light from my spare tire mount (it had no connectors anywhere along the line, so I just clipped the wire under the spare tire mount).

I drilled holes for the lug bolts and a hole for the wire in the bucket lid. The string of LEDs needed two sections (total of 6 LEDs) trimmed from one end (you can cut it at the marks every 3 LEDs). I pressed and glued the LEDs into the rim of the bucket lid, using clear silicone sealer.

Brake_Light_01.jpg


I added a strain relief for the small gauge wires:

Brake_Light_02.jpg


Brake_Light_03.jpg


I spliced and sealed the wires from the LEDs to the cable on the tailgate:

Brake_Light_04.jpg


Brake_Light_05.jpg


Now, instead of the original third brake light above the spare, the brake lights look like this:

Brake_Light_06.jpg


I'm not entirely sure I like it, but I don't necessarily dislike it either.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
Rear U-joints

My U-joints seemed fine, quiet and tight. But the Jeep has 100K+ miles, and I pull a trailer in the summer, and I'm replacing a few things which wear just to be safe. I bought a couple of Spicer 5-1310X U-joints to get started.

Ujoints_01.jpg


It's been many decades since I changed U-joints, so I read up on it and watched some YouTube.

I marked everything for re-alignment and removed the rear driveshaft.

Ujoints_02.jpg


I slightly mangled the small clamp on the rubber boot getting it off, prying up the little pin holding it together. Probably could have just stretched the crimp a little more to loosen it, but that's harder than it looks, so I took it clear off. As it turns out, this particular clamp is terribly hard to find. Dozens of places have every other size clamp of this style known to man, but this particular one on the rear of the '05 Unlimited non-Rubicon seems to be made of pure unobtanium. The FSM says to stretch the crimp a little, and re-use the clamp. Oh.

Ujoints_03.jpg


I drove the U-joints out with a hammer and a couple of big sockets. They were not in terrible shape. All of the pins were in place, with grease. The journals looked and felt smooth, with some dark markings.

Ujoints_04.jpg


When I tried to install the first new U-joint, I managed to knock a roller pin into the cap. I knew that was a possibility, and I knew I had to avoid that, but I didn't get the first cap in far enough before I started the second cap. That left the cross journal not far enough into both caps, knocking a pin into the bottom. When I tried to seat the caps, they wouldn't go fully into place. You have to beat on those caps to get them out, and in this case I had to poke the cap out with a screwdriver through the seal, ruining the joint. So I tossed that brand new U-joint out and ordered another one.

When I tried again, I made sure to drive the first cap, with the cross journal, almost all the way through the yoke, before tapping in the second cap. It works better when you do it right. After waiting a week for another U-joint, I finished up the driveshaft, and everything went fine.

The clips went in extremely snug, and were kind of bowed outward at the ends. No matter how much tapping I did on the caps, the clips stayed too tight, and the joint felt really stiff. The U-joints come with different thicknesses of clip, but these were already the thinnest. I removed them and slid them along a file a few strokes, taking about 1/1000" off of one side. Just that tiny amount allowed them to clip into place with a couple of taps of a screwdriver, without any bowing. And the joints feel new-snug, but not overly tight.

Ujoints_05.jpg


I heated the clamp with a torch (it doesn't take much with this small, thin metal) and got it back into shape, and stretched the crimp a little wider.

Ujoints_06.jpg


I placed the clamp on the rubber boot and reinstalled the driveshaft. I torqued the yoke bolts to spec, with a little blue Loctite 242.

(I always use a torque wrench. I worked in aerospace with boosters and satellites long enough to get that drummed into my head. We de-stacked a satellite from a booster at the Cape once, and sent the booster back to Denver because we found a torque wrench out of spec which had been used on it. On launch, you can't just coast to the side of the road and call a tow truck. When you absolutely must get it right on the first try, you torque bolts properly. Missile mechanics and QC heads rolled for that one.)

I made a crimping tool from a short piece of 1" x 1/16" square steel tubing.

Ujoints_07.jpg


A small C-clamp squeezed the crimp tight.

Ujoints_08.jpg


It runs quietly and smoothly, just like it did before. But I don't have to wonder if the U-joints are worn out. There are plenty of other things to worry about, like front U-joints, and axle U-joints, and . . .
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
I wasn't sure how a zip tie would hold up under there, from -20°F to >100°F, for years, with road splash, etc. I'm sure it would last long enough for me to forget about it and stop checking it.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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Sep 19, 2021
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373
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San Denver, Colofornia
Entry Guards

My entry guards were a thin, tough, narrow transparent tape, with really strong glue, possibly OEM. I suspect the PO had tried to remove them, and got half way and decided to leave them. The glue on the front half showed through and looked awful.

Entry_Guards_01.jpg


I read the forums, and found that the Rugged Ridge ones were quite well liked, in spite of the name. They're about $20, so I ordered some.

Entry_Guards_02.jpg


To try them out, I held them in place with painters tape. That outer ridge presses out against the door seal, so every time I closed the door I had to pull it firmly to get it to latch. And it put enough pressure against the door to require extra pressure on the door handle to open it. The guards looked okay, but I didn't like the door action, so I returned them.

In this thread, @Scoutmapper uses an armor tape from Xpel. It's similar to "tread tape" for stairways, but it has a smoother texture, not quite as sandpaper-sharp as tread tape. The kits are pricey, and Amazon is pricey. Don't buy it as a kit, just order it by the foot, for a VERY good price, direct from Xpel. I ordered 5 feet of the 2.75" wide armor for under $6 with free shipping!

It was snowing outside, so I warmed up the garage, and placed an electric heater at the side of the Jeep to heat the doorsills. When the metal was warm to the touch, I cleaned the original transparent guards and the metal with alcohol. I cut the Xpel armor tape to 24" strips, a little longer than the original guards. Not wanting the guards to show on the outside of the Jeep, I placed the outer edge along the bottom of the lowest doorsill ridge.

This armor is very easy to work with. If you just touch it in place lightly, it will stay, but can be pulled up easily. After you get it positioned, pressing it down firmly makes it stick hard. It's stiff enough that it doesn't flop over and stick to itself, but it's very easy to bend over the corners and edges. I peeled a few inches of backing at a time and positioned the tape. When it was just right, I pressed it tight. I did the outer edge first, pressing the tape into the deep corner.

Entry_Guards_03.jpg


Then I rolled the tape over the top, right over the original transparent guard, and down under the inside lip. It conformed nicely to the shape of the doorsill.

Entry_Guards_04.jpg


Time will tell how well it sticks, and how well it will hold up. The Xpel webpage shows it being applied as off-road paint protection on rocker panels, so hopefully it's as tough as that implies. I might find more uses for this stuff.
 

bobthetj03

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That stuff looks super clean! I used the Rugged Ridge ones and had no issues with door fitment, but I'm betting that is because my 19 year old door weatherstrip is worn and forgiving.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
Yes, I was expecting my weatherstrip to be pretty tired too. But when the entry guards caused the problem, I stuck my head under there and was pleasantly surprised.

Even so, I still get a leak here and there, mainly at the car wash, where things don't quite seal like they should. The liftgate is the worst. From what I can see, it probably didn't seal all that great brand new. But I bought my first TJ (this one) 15 years too late to know about that.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
Drain holes

When I bought my Wrangler, the first thing I looked at, after a cursory glance at the body, was the frame. It was solid, with a little surface rust. I felt inside the holes, and found no flaky rust, no moisture, no crud buildup at the bottom. The metal was thick, and banging it with a hammer sounded solid. Once that was checked, I looked the rest of the vehicle over, and bought it.

At home, more poking and prodding of the frame showed no problems. It had front drain holes (the nutsert holes for an auto trans skid, but mine is manual) but no rear holes. So I drilled half-inch holes in the bottom of the frame just ahead of the rear control arm bracket. There was no moisture, and no rust, just a little dry sand. The steel is thick and solid in this rust-prone spot. After deburring the hole with a file, I painted it with Rust-Oleum.

Drain_Holes_01.jpg


In this thread @Zorba says to add drain holes to the lowest points in the rearmost frame crossmember, here:

Drain_Holes_02.jpg


So I removed my rear bumper and scouted out the area. On the other side of that rear crossmember, where it is welded to the frame, there are gaps at the bottom on both sides, so it should already drain pretty well. With a wire I dug out a tiny bit of dry sand, but nothing else.

Drain_Holes_03.jpg


The nutsert at the bottom looks rusty, so there must have been a bit of trapped water in there at some time. Since I had it apart, I drilled a 1/4" hole at the lowest spot, angled upward at 45° and painted it.

Drain_Holes_04.jpg


On the Unlimited, there is an extra crossmember just behind the gas tank. It has a small gap on each side where it is welded to the frame. I dug a bunch of small gravel and sand out of those holes. Everything was dry, and there was no rust. But this is a low spot, and the holes seem to trap small gravel and plug up.

Drain_Holes_05.jpg


So I drilled those holes out to 9/32" which only took off a tiny amount of metal but made the holes rounder and better able to shed gravel. I painted these holes too.

Drain_Holes_06.jpg


Drain_Holes_07.jpg


While I had it apart, I wanted to clean up and paint the rear frame and bumper. But it's winter in Colorado, and even with a heated garage, painting indoors stinks. I can warm the air in a half hour, but the Jeep takes several hours to warm up, and overspray gets everywhere unless you cover everything really well. And I've breathed more paint fumes in my life than anyone should. So I buttoned it up, and painting will have to wait for warmer weather.
 
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Zorba

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I drilled a 1/4" hole at the lowest spot, angled upward at 45° and painted it.
That's a better way to do it, gets that little low spot take care of. I had just drilled in straight (and higher), but once I saw how the wrap around cross member created a low slot inside, I slotted my hole downward - rather messily for reasons I won't go into here! :D If I had known what I was dealing with from the get-go, I would have done the 45 degree and lower - mo' bettah! If its OK with you, I'll steal your picture to put on my website to illustrate for "the next guy".

Mine was full of all sorts of rusty crud...

Good job!
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
@Zorba, thanks for being the guinea pig on that spot. I knew where to drill because you figured it out first. Sure, steal the picture, that's why we're all here, to learn from each other.

Drilling up at that angle, you might touch the nutsert. It shouldn't hurt it, but it's good to remember it's there. It might be better to drill the hole off-center a wee bit to clear the nutsert.
 
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Zorba

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@Zorba, thanks for being the guinea pig on that spot. I knew where to drill because you figured it out first. Sure, steal the picture, that's why we're all here, to learn from each other.

Drilling up at that angle, you might touch the nutsert. It shouldn't hurt it, but it's good to remember it's there. It might be better to drill the hole off-center a wee bit to clear the nutsert.
Thank you Sir - pix swiped and added to the relevant location on my Jeep page. Good idea about moving outboard a bit, I noted that as well.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
When I first bought the Jeep, I thought I needed a farm jack. All Jeepers have one, so I must need one too, right? So I bought a heavy used 4-foot Hi-Lift jack, and cleaned it up, and hauled it around in the back.

What I didn't know was that, while all Jeepers have (or had) one, many experienced Jeepers leave them in the shed at home, and just carry the small telescoping screw jack. One of these discussions is here. Farm jacks are heavy, and dangerous, and good on the farm but not so great for changing Jeep tires.

The problem is that my Jeep screw jack got stuck half way down the first time I used it, and no amount of whacking on it will get it to go down farther. I've seen several posts where other people on various forums have the same problem, like this one belonging to @JEEPCJTJ. Someday I'll disassemble mine like he did, just for fun.

@HornedToad mentioned that the Toyota Land Cruiser screw jacks are extremely well made. I previously had one in a Tacoma, and remember that it was better built than the Jeep one. So I bought a Toyota jack on Ebay. Mine is a little shorter than the Tacoma/Land Cruiser model, but otherwise looks identical. It looks like it's seen very little use. It came without a crank handle, but I paid a lot less than what most of them cost ($60 to $120).

Toyota_Jack_Down_01.jpg


The collapsed height of the Toyota jack is about 1/8" shorter than the Mopar jack. And the Toyota jack extends to 1" less than the Mopar jack. It's still tall enough to lift my 31" tires a couple of inches off the ground, and I always carry a couple of 2x6x8 wooden blocks for a boost.

Both_Jacks_01.jpg


I made a handle from 3/8" steel rod, heating it with a propane torch to make the bends. It's a single piece, non-folding. I carry it in the back instead of beside the door, so the single piece is more convenient. After cleaning and lightly sanding it, I painted it with Rust-Oleum Paint+Primer.

Toyota_Jack_and_Handle.jpg


So I parked the farm jack in the garage, and travel with the little Toyota jack these days. And the Jeep is about 27 pounds lighter.
 
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HornedToad

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Sacramento
When I first bought the Jeep, I thought I needed a farm jack. All Jeepers have one, so I must need one too, right? So I bought a heavy used 4-foot Hi-Lift jack, and cleaned it up, and hauled it around in the back.

What I didn't know was that, while all Jeepers have (or had) one, many experienced Jeepers leave them in the shed at home, and just carry the small telescoping screw jack. One of these discussions is here. Farm jacks are heavy, and dangerous, and good on the farm but not so great for changing Jeep tires.

The problem is that my Jeep screw jack got stuck half way down the first time I used it, and no amount of whacking on it will get it to go down farther. I've seen several posts where other people on various forums have the same problem, like this one belonging to @JEEPCJTJ. Someday I'll disassemble mine like he did, just for fun.

@HornedToad mentioned that the Toyota Land Cruiser screw jacks are extremely well made. I previously had one in a Tacoma, and remember that it was better built than the Jeep one. So I bought a Toyota jack on Ebay. Mine is a little shorter than the Tacoma/Land Cruiser model, but otherwise looks identical. It looks like it's seen very little use. It came without a crank handle, but I paid a lot less than what most of them cost ($60 to $120).

View attachment 310405

The collapsed height of the Toyota jack is about 1/8" shorter than the Mopar jack. And the Toyota jack extends to 1" less than the Mopar jack. It's still tall enough to lift my 31" tires a couple of inches off the ground, and I always carry a couple of 2x6x8 wooden blocks for a boost.

View attachment 310406

I made a handle from 3/8" steel rod, heating it with a propane torch to make the bends. It's a single piece, non-folding. I carry it in the back instead of beside the door, so the single piece is more convenient. After cleaning and lightly sanding it, I painted it with Rust-Oleum Paint+Primer.

View attachment 310407

So I parked the farm jack in the garage, and travel with the little Toyota jack these days. And the Jeep is about 27 pounds lighter.
That does look exactly like mine but like you mentioned a little shorter. One of these days I am going to fabricate an attachment that will let me use some long 3/8 extensions and my little impact wrench.
I might need to buy a short one like that to keep in the tool box. I’ve used my jack a few times to help locate the axle while installing or adjusting the track bar and control arms.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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Sep 19, 2021
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San Denver, Colofornia
Backup Lights

I bought a set of LED backup lights from @Claytone (see this thread). It takes a while to get them, because he has to source the parts and then make the assemblies. They are definitely worth the wait. These are really nice, very bright, high quality LED backup lights. And very easy to install.

I removed the taillight lenses, and removed the backup lamp. With a Claytone LED plugged into the lamp socket, I held the LED assembly in place, flush against the front of the divider plate, centered under the top metal bracket, and drew centering lines along each side on the metal divider plate.

Backups_01.jpg


Backups_02.jpg


The metal divider plate just slides out. I aligned the LED assembly between the centering lines, and flush with the front of the divider plate. A piece of wood helps to align the front edges. Holding it tightly, I tapped the nail in each screw hole to mark the drill locations. Then I used a center punch to deepen the divots a little.

Backups_03.jpg


Backups_04.jpg


After drilling small pilot holes, I drilled 9/64" holes (just big enough for the screws, but you can go a little bigger).

Backups_05.jpg


I attached the LED assembly with the supplied screws.

Backups_06.jpg


Some people mount the LED assembly out over the edge of the divider plate, so the LED face is touching the taillight lens. I mounted mine flush with the edge of the plate, which places the back of the LED assembly farther up on the stiffening hump. It sits pretty level because the LED faceplate sticks down below the bottom of the LED heatsink a little.

Backups_09.jpg


The rear of the LED assembly just touches the plug which goes into the lamp socket. I was prepared to grind a little from the heatsink to clear it, or bend the tab with the lamp socket, but I didn't need to.

After plugging the LED into the lamp socket, I slid the divider plate back into place.

Backups_07.jpg


Backups_08.jpg


They look like this after replacing the taillight lens.

Backups_10.jpg


These backup lights are BRIGHT. Even though I wrote a "note to self" to take before and after photos, I forgot. To misquote the old commercial, "A mind is a terrible thing." But you can see the difference in post #1 of the thread linked above.

Clay makes a great product, and he's a really nice guy. If you're in the Denver area, you can meet him to pick them up to save shipping cost.
 
Last edited:
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
Brake Fluid Flush

I'm going to replace the brake pads and rotors (below). Black Magic Brakes (BMB) says:
"For best performance and limitation of possible sticky or dragging calipers, it is recommended that a full brake fluid flush be done before retracting the caliper pistons."
So I did (was going to anyway, but now I know to do it first).

When I bought the brake parts, I also bought the BMB Brake Bleeding Lock-out Tool. I followed the BMB directions to install the tool. On the proportioning (aka shuttle) valve, disconnect the cable. The plastic/nylon plunger switch unscrews. Note the position of the switch connector for re-installation later (mine was vertical). Use a 9/16" wrench, and gently unscrew it. Then screw the tool in its place, just finger tight.

Brake_Flush_01.jpg


Brake_Flush_02.jpg


Brake_Flush_03.jpg


Brake_Flush_04.jpg


Long ago I made a bleeder recovery bottle from a one quart soda pop bottle. A hole in the cap a hair smaller than the tubing keeps the tubing from slipping out. A small air hole lets the bottle breathe. The tubing should be clear so you can see the color of the fluid. I used 1/4" ID tubing.

Brake_Flush_05.jpg


I used a large syringe with a small hose to suck brake fluid from the reservoir.

Brake_Flush_06.jpg


Brake_Flush_07.jpg


Some people have trouble with air in the lines after using a one-man brake bleeding system. Mr. Blaine says to use the two-man brake bleeding method, so I did (actually, half of the team was female). To initially break the bleeder valves free, I used a 6-point 3/8" socket (another Blaine suggestion) to avoid damaging the bleeder.

There are lots of discussion and videos on bleeding brakes, so I won't go into detail here. Read this thread: How to bleed your brakes, especially the @mrblaine comments.

I bought a quart of OhReally DOT3 brake fluid. (Read the real brand name, and pronounce it phonetically. OhReally?) It's probably made by a big brand company, so it's probably just as good (or identical) as a more expensive brand.

I flushed most of the quart through the system, having the wife pump the brake well beyond when the fluid changed to a lighter color. Might as well flush it thoroughly, brake fluid is cheap. I don't need it often, and you're supposed to use a sealed new bottle, since it's hygroscopic. Once it's opened, it sucks a little more moisture from the air whenever you open it (although our dry Colorado winter air probably isn't much of a problem).

Brake_Flush_08.jpg


After bleeding the brakes, I replaced the proportioning valve plunger switch, screwing it in finger tight, and then using the wrench to tighten it a little, just to where it initially was.

A test drive said the brakes are fine, no sponginess, no air in the lines.
 
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mrblaine

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Brake Fluid Flush

I'm going to replace the brake pads and rotors (below). Black Magic Brakes (BMB) says:
"For best performance and limitation of possible sticky or dragging calipers, it is recommended that a full brake fluid flush be done before retracting the caliper pistons."
So I did (was going to anyway, but now I know to do it first).

When I bought the brake parts, I also bought the BMB Brake Bleeding Lock-out Tool. I followed the BMB directions to install the tool. On the proportioning (aka shuttle) valve, disconnect the cable. The plastic/nylon plunger switch unscrews. Note the position of the switch connector for re-installation later (mine was vertical). Use a 9/16" wrench, and gently unscrew it. Then screw the tool in its place, just finger tight.

View attachment 311670

View attachment 311671

View attachment 311672

View attachment 311673

Long ago I made a bleeder recovery bottle from a one quart soda pop bottle. A hole in the cap a hair smaller than the tubing keeps the tubing from slipping out. A small air hole lets the bottle breathe. The tubing should be clear so you can see the color of the fluid. I used 1/4" ID tubing.

View attachment 311674

I used a large syringe with a small hose to suck brake fluid from the reservoir.

View attachment 311675

View attachment 311676

Some people have trouble with air in the lines after using a one-man brake bleeding system. Mr. Blaine says to use the two-man brake bleeding method, so I did (actually, half of the team was female). To initially break the bleeder valves free, I used a 6-point 3/8" socket (another Blaine suggestion) to avoid damaging the bleeder.

There are lots of discussion and videos on bleeding brakes, so I won't go into detail here. Read this thread: How to bleed your brakes, especially the @mrblaine comments.

I bought a quart of OhReally DOT3 brake fluid. (Read the real brand name, and pronounce it phonetically. OhReally?) It's probably made by a big brand company, so it's probably just as good (or identical) as a more expensive brand.

I flushed most of the quart through the system, having the wife pump the brake well beyond when the fluid changed to a lighter color. Might as well flush it thoroughly, brake fluid is cheap. I don't need it often, and you're supposed to use a sealed new bottle, since it's hygroscopic. Once it's opened, it sucks a little more moisture from the air whenever you open it (although our dry Colorado winter air probably isn't much of a problem).

View attachment 311677

After bleeding the brakes, I replaced the proportioning valve plunger switch, screwing it in finger tight, and then using the wrench to tighten it a little, just to where it initially was.

A test drive said the brakes are fine, no sponginess, no air in the lines.
There is always a bit of confusion on what a sealed bottle means. You added the word new to it which isn't typical. Sealed means if you turn the container upside down, fluid doesn't run out. They just want you to store it with the lid screwed on tight so it doesn't absorb moisture sitting there on the shelf.
 
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