1988-1992 Toyota Corolla Brake Bleeding and Hose Replacement
The purpose of this How-To is to make sure your trusty 1991 AE92 Toyota Corolla will stop with confidence when called upon to. It should take less than two hours with practice.
1x set of rear brake hoses (2 pieces)
1x set of front brake hoses (2 pieces)
1x set of brake hydraulic copper gaskets (4 pieces) (highly recommended)
2-3 pints of DOT3 brake fluid (small jars)
1x pack of shop rags (50 pieces) (highly recommended)
1x 2ton+ (4000lb/1800kg) floor jack
4x 2ton+ (4000lb/1800kg) jackstands
1x 17mm wrench
1x 14mm wrench
1x 14mm 3/8" socket AND
1x 3/8" Ratchet
1x 10mm line wrench (highly recommended)
1x 10mm combination wrench (works in a pinch, but be EXTREMELY careful not to round any brake line fittings, lest you need to make new ones)
1x 8mm combination wrench
1x tube/jar of Silicone Brake Grease (highly recommended)
1x clear tubing, about 1' (300mm) long that fits and seals over the brake nipple
1x vacuum pump/MightyVac (highly recommended)
1x clear capped bottle (an old, clean, and DRY water bottle with a hole in the top just big enough for the hose works) AND
1x Friend (to sit inside the vehicle and listen to directions) AND
1x Turkey baster (that will never be used for anything but brake jobs)
1x hood prop or brake pedal depressor to hold the brake down (if performing this job by yourself)
1x Locking/Vice Grip Pliers
1x Drip pan
2x Can of Brake Cleaner (You can never have enough of this stuff)
1x Container for contaminated brake fluid disposal (if you have a drain pan for oil changes, this works well! Both brake fluid and engine oil are both mineral-oil based and are typically recycled together)
ALWAYS REMEMBER TO WEAR YOUR SAFETY GLASSES
BRAKE FLUID AND BRAKE CLEANER DO NOT MIX WELL WITH EYES
1 Loosen the lug nuts while the vehicle is still on the ground.
2 Safely raise and support the vehicle on jackstands; the front floor jack location is in the center of the crossmember just behind the engine and transmission (towards the rear of the vehicle), The rear floor jack location is in the center of the rear suspension (It is a raised bump in the middle of the rear crossmember).
3 Place the car securely on the jackstands on a flat, level surface. (See above photo)
4 Remove the wheels.
5 Put a hood prop or brake pedal depressor on the brake pedal. (Make sure the battery is disconnected, otherwise you WILL need a jump start later due to a dead battery)
6 Use a pair of locking pliers/Vice Grip pliers to remove the brake hose retaining clips.
7 Use either the 10mm line wrench or 10mm combination wrench to remove the old brake hoses and replace them with new ones. Be careful not to strip the 10mm hard line brake fittings as these are a pain to replace, and often rust in-place. Avoid having multiple brake hoses disconnected at once to minimize leaks and bleeding. Start with the rear hoses first.
8 Using a 14mm socket and ratchet OR 14mm wrench and a 10mm wrench from the rear brakes, remove the front brake hoses. Avoid having multiple brake hoses disconnected at once to minimize leaks and bleeding. (Replacing the copper gaskets that surround the copper Banjo bolt at this step is HIGHLY recommended; see below picture for close up of the banjo bolt with new gaskets)
9 Now that all the old rubber brake hoses have been replaced, reattach brake hose clips along with new lines to the body of the vehicle. (This step is almost exactly the reverse of step 6).
WARNING: Make sure all the brake lines are at least 'snug' at this point in time. Any loose lines will spill brake fluid everywhere during the bleeding process.
10 Check the brake fluid color and condition in the master cylinder. If there is any discoloration or particulates left in the master cylinder, use either a Mighty Vac or a turkey baster to suck up the dirty fluid and replace with clean fluid to the 'max' level on the master cylinder. Leave the cap off the master cylinder in both cases to prevent brake fluid from overflowing past the cap during the rest of the procedure.
11 Now that the master cylinder is filled with clean brake fluid and the new brake lines are snugged and sealed, remove the brake pedal depressor/hood prop and step on the brakes a few times. Be sure the level of the brake fluid in the master cylinder never goes below the 'min' line during this process. Top up the master cylinder as necessary.
12 Inspect the ground for any new wet patches as that is a dead giveaway that there is a leak in the brake hydraulic system. Tighten any loose lines by a 1/4 turn and repeat step 11 until no leaks are obviously present. Be sure to use brake cleaner to wipe and clean any brake fluid spills on components and the ground. Brake fluid can cause rubber gaskets to swell and fail.
13 Starting from the right rear of the vehicle (or furthest wheel from the master cylinder) attach the clear hose and vacuum bleeder to the nipple on the brakes. If you are using a friend, have them sit in the driver seat at this time and have them pump the brakes several times and then hold the pedal on the floor as far as it will go. Fill a container with enough brake fluid to confidently submerge the other end of the clear hose. Route the hose and brake fluid reservoir up and higher than the existing bleed screw. If using a vacuum bleeder, pull a vacuum on the bleed screw and crack the bleed screw open. You should see air start to escape up and into the container of clean brake fluid.
14 (OPTIONAL) If there are any leaks in the bleed setup, use a dab of silicone brake grease to seal the hose on the nipple, and the nipple to the caliper/wheel cylinder.
15 Repeat step 13 moving from the right rear, to the left rear, to the right front, and then finally the left front, topping up the master cylinder accordingly. If done correctly, the brake fluid should go from feeling like stepping on a sponge to stepping on a well-inflated basketball.
16 Put the wheels back on the vehicle and snug down the lug nuts.
17 Lower the vehicle safely and torque the wheels to 76ft/lb(103N/m) in a star-shaped pattern. Check the level of brake fluid in the master cylinder on level ground and top up to 'max' level. Replace the cap on the master cylinder.
18 While the vehicle is on the ground and not moving, stomp on the brake pedal several times. Does the brake pedal inspire confidence? If not, repeat bleeding procedure. If the brakes feel fine, go for a slow test drive around the block to confirm the brakes work. Stop back in the stall and look at the brake fluid level in the master cylinder. It shouldn't have gone down noticeably. If the level is obviously lower than it was before the test drive, check the hydraulic system for leaks and bleed accordingly. Sometimes it will take 2-3 rounds of bleeding to get all the air out of the system.
Congrats! You just learned how to bleed your brakes.