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E36 General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.

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Old 07-10-2006, 01:48 AM   #1
drz

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Exclamation Must I bleed the brakes?

While trying to adjust my parking brake shoes, I losened the shoe retainer pin (the one that goes through a spring, through the brake shoe, and grabs on to the outside of the brake dust shield) by mistake. I did this on both sides.

Once I figured out what I had done, I removed the brake rotors and put the retainer pin/spring back into place. I did not losen or remove the brake fluid hose, nor did I push in the caliper piston. I simply pulled the caliper out, and then pushed it back into place when I was done.

I have not dirven the car yet, since I am not sure that doing so will be safe. I trust the work I did, and conventional thinking tells me that everything should be fine. I have read in many places that bleeding the brakes is not necessary unless I have losened or removed the barke fluid hose. Pelican Parts' DIY for adjusting the parking brake shoes even suggests pushing in the piston a little (whihc I didn't even do), yet says nothing about bleeding the brakes.

Am I safe? Discuss. Thanks all.
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Old 07-10-2006, 05:10 AM   #2
c1apton
 
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Your safe. Unless you open a caliper or a brake line - you don't need to bleed the brakes. (It's a good idea to flush them every 2 years)
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Old 07-10-2006, 05:31 AM   #3
Dudesky

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Yes, I second that. Do whatever you want to the mechanics of the brakes, even push the piston in and out. But once you open the brake line, then you have to bleed. As long as you don't open the brake fluid fitting, you're fine.
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Old 07-10-2006, 05:46 AM   #4
drz

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Cool. Yeah -- I will be bleeding my system pretty soon when I replace my barkes all around (including new parking brake shoes), but at the moment my car is parked in somebody else's driveway, and I just want to drive it back home.

I thought this was beneath me, but I seriously think I am having withdrawal symptoms -- I need my car back :
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Old 07-10-2006, 12:03 PM   #5
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yea like dudesky and c1apton said, you are safe, and remember, the parking brake doesnt even use brake fluid
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Old 07-10-2006, 06:51 PM   #6
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You do realize that your e-brake adjustment is below your e-brake boot inside your vehicle. It is a 10mm that is easyest to get to if you have a deep 10mm socket and a long 1/4 inch extension, 12 inch or more.

Also whenever your playing with your brakes, as long as no fluid comes out of anywhere, then you do not need to bleed the brakes.
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antiburn
You do realize that your e-brake adjustment is below your e-brake boot inside your vehicle. It is a 10mm that is easyest to get to if you have a deep 10mm socket and a long 1/4 inch extension, 12 inch or more.

Also whenever your playing with your brakes, as long as no fluid comes out of anywhere, then you do not need to bleed the brakes.
Ehh... semi-true and a mixed-untrue.

There are two ways to adjust the e-brake. One of them is at the drum, by turning the screw that adjusts the nominal tension of the springs to get the pads close to, but not applying pressure to, the drum portion of the rear rotors. The 2nd part to adjusting them, is to adjust the cable tension to the brake shoe mechanism. You adjust this in the cabin as you stated. It's best to have the spring take care of the e-brake shoe preload because the rear wheels bounce up and down and the cable tension could change during the wheel's motion of travel - binding up the wheels. Ewwww. Plus, if the shoes start scraping because you hit a pothole too hard, just back the car up and stop the car using the e-brake to re-seat the shoes and stop that annoying and embarrassing scraping noise. If your brake cables were too tight anyways, you can't do this fix and must wait for the pads to wear down for them to stop squeaking.

Brakes.
If any hose, junction or valve is compromised and is exposed to air, that's bad for two reasons.
1. You can't notice air being vacuumed into the brake system, and it does happen - Now you'll have air in the lines. That's REALLY bad, air compresses like crazy. I mean, look at how much the piston in an engine goes up and down to compress the fuel\air mix! Pressure bleeding or suction bleeding is your best bet. You can't just rely on the pressures of inside the brake lines being exactly the same as the ambient air pressure outside - opening a bleed valve and hope nothing happens. Something will happen. You don’t want anything in the brake lines that will compress. Anything in there like that will ABSORB braking force that you apply with the pedal and won’t be transmitted to the brake pads- and thusly wont slow you down. The less absorption, the better. So, the best way to do this is make sure there is ONLY brake fluid, and fresh brake fluid at that. Why fresh brake fluid?

2. Brake fluid absorbs moisture. Water compresses, (Not very well compared to air, but much more than hydraulic fluid [AKA brake fluid][which is designed NOT to compresses.]) That isn't that big of a deal compared to air, but water also boils. What happens to it when it boils? It turns to steam - a gas - that compresses quite well. The calipers get damn hot when you drive the car, especially when driven hard, and thusly, the fluid get quite tepid too. If you boil the absorbed moisture near\in the calipers, then you will wind up with an extremely spongy pedal and could wind up crashing. Although this absorption is not 'instant contamination' it still happens whenever it's exposed to air, and it's like having a ticking time-bomb that can be prevented with a proper bleed.

If you meant to say that if you do not loosen or open any valves on the braking system (save the filling reservoir), then yes, you are correct and you shouldn't have to mess with the hydraulics. If you see fluid after taking rotors off, stop what you’re doing and do a THUROUGH brake line inspection and replace any suspect parts of a leak.

Sorry for the long post and I dont mean to bash, but I feel the braking system is something that should NEVER be skimped on when dealing wtih car maintainence. I mean, imagine watching 5 year old child running out into the road infront of you, and you don't apply the brakes. Yah, thats what happens with brake failure - it don't work and you run into shit.

but yah, drz, since you didn't open up any valves, nor relaly pushed in the pistons to disrupt the system at all, you will be fine.
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:50 AM   #8
drz

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitcore
...but yah, drz, since you didn't open up any valves, nor relaly pushed in the pistons to disrupt the system at all, you will be fine.
I actually appreciate the long post. I think being thorough helps other people that may come in and read the thread in the future. What you wrote is consistent with what I know. I was just being safe. Thanks for the help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antiburn
You do realize that your e-brake adjustment is below your e-brake boot inside your vehicle. It is a 10mm that is easyest to get to if you have a deep 10mm socket and a long 1/4 inch extension, 12 inch or more.
Bitcore's post explains my reasons.

Also, the nut is a 12mm, which also has a 9mm in front of it (which, I believe, helps it stay in place). No 10mm -- at least not in my car.
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