Brake Bleeding
By: Bob_98SR5
Written: 7/28/07



Tools & Supplies
Motive Products Universal Power Bleeder (PBU1101)
3 to 4 12oz. bottles of Toyota DOT 3 or Synthetic DOT 4 Brake fluid
10mm wrench
Turkey baster
Empty plastic bottle to catch old brake fluid
Clean cloth or paper towels


Property of I am providing this write up for illustrative purposes only. Perform at your own risk. Any mods (including this one) you perform on your vehicle is your responsibility. Commercial use of this write up will result in legal action as well as the undying scorn from members of the online Toyota 4Runner community. You've been warned.

There's really no excuse to not change your brake fluid given all the one man brake fluid tools on the market. Changing your brake fluid is a very necessary evil because brake fluid itself can become contaminated by a variety of things like dust, particles, and worst of all, water. A typical symptom of old brake fluid is loss of braking power, mushy brake pedal response, and the brake pedal falling to the floor. Some of these symptoms may also be related to other mechanical issues, but if you haven't changed your brake fluid in quite a while, change it and see if the symptoms are the same.

Note: If you've changed your brake fluid once, you know how easy it is. While it can be a little time consuming to set up and perform, it is no more difficult than changing your oil. Technique, above all else, is very important.

While the sole purpose of the one-man brake bleeder is to allow it to do all the work, I've found that this was not effective for me. I used a combination of the bleeder and the old fashioned pump-the-brake-pedal method the most effective.

Step 1: Brake Fluid Reservoir Evacuation

Begin by cleaning and then removing the brake fluid reservoir cap. Using your turkey baster, suck out as much of the old fluid as possible. After doing so, refill the reservoir to the top mark.

Step 2: Motive Power Bleeder Setup
Place your empty, modified Motive Bleeder's bleeder cap onto the reservoir. Depending on your brake reservoir design, fasten the hook and chain system and guide/secure them into the wood supports. Make sure you are not pinching any harnesses or wires. Next, test the seal by pressuring to 15lbs. If the pressure needle rapidly decreases, release the pressure via the top cap, readjust, and repeat the pressurization test until the pressure needle holds the pressure.

Next, unscrew the Motive cap at the top of the bleeder tool and fill with about 2 bottles of DOT4 brake fluid. Screw the top cap back on and retighten everything again. Pressurize the bleeder to 15lbs and get ready to bleed.

One more thing: cut a piece of 2x4 with a notch about 1" wide and place it right behind your brake pedal. This will prevent you from pushing the brake pedal to the floor and possibly ruining the O-ring seal.

This is the original Hillbilly Motive Bleeder mod

Step 3: Bleeding Order
Your first bleed should be the farthest line from your reservoir. So for a V6 3rd gen 4Runner, the order should be passenger rear, driver rear, passenger front, driver front, and if you have it, the LSPV. Since I do not have a LSPV, I will not cover it in this writeup.

Step 4: Bleeding
This procedure applies to all of the bleeder valves. Begin by removing the bleeder cap and cleaning off the end of the bleeder valve. Next, attach your clear hose onto the valve end. Run the hose down into your plastic catch bottle. Next, have your friend step on the brake pedal (not too hard). This step is very important: turn the 10mm valve nut VERY slowly until you see the fluid just dribbling out---about a half turn is enough. Bottom line is that you keep turning the valve nut very gently until it is a very, very slow, steady stream flows out.

Over the course of about 5 or 6 years now, I've read many first hand accounts of people letting the fluid gush out like a running faucet. What I surmise is that air is actually entering into the hose and that is not good. So let it slowly stream out.

You will notice that the pressure from the Motive Bleeder will force the old fluid out with the air bubbles. Watch carefully for those air bubbles! Making sure you get your 2x4 wood block behind the brake pedal, have your friend pump the brake pedal about 10 - 20 times. This will most definitely get out any of the hidden bubbles out. On the last downward pump of the brake pedal, have your friend hold the brake pedal to the floor and then tighten down the bleeder valve nut. This is done to make sure that there is no possiblity of ingesting air into the bleeder line when your friend releases the brake pedal (upstroke). Once tightened down, your can have your friend release the brake pedal. After each one, go back to your bleeder and make sure that there is enough fluid in it, that the brake reservoir is full, and also check to see if there are any leaks on the Motive Seal to the brake fluid reservoir (The first time I did it, the fluid was leaking like crazy and I actually introduced air into the brake system).

Repeat this procedure for the other three brake lines. As you get closer to the reservoir with each bleeding, your asisstant does not need to pump the brake pedal as much.

Place your clear tube on bleeder valve (B) and slowly unfasten the bleeder nut until fluid slowly comes out. This is a view of the front driver's side bleeder valve   Run your clear hose into your catch bottle

Checking for Air
Start your vehicle, step on the brake pedal, and then turn off your engine. Keep holding the pedal down. If the pedal does not sink, then you can be assured that you've done a good job. If the pedal sinks, then you need to start the bleeding process over again. The first time I did it, I was not successful and had to do it again. The second time around, it was much easier and the job was done right.

Take a drive around the block and check the brake effectiveness. You may find that you didn't do such a hot job the first time, so don't take a chance and do it over immediately.

If your brake fluid light is on, but the brake effectiveness is good, just fill the reservoir. What this means is that you've purged the air out of your system, but the fluid level is a little low.

Questions or feedback? Email me and I'll try to get back to you. If this article helped you save time, money or just made things more convenient for you, please consider donating to keep this site alive.