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      10-18-2013, 10:43 PM   #1
Judge Dredd
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E90 Brake Fluid Service Question

Forgive me if this is in the wrong section as I'm new to Bimmerpost.

According to my '06 E90's iDrive, I'm due for "Brake Fluid" service. As I plan to do this myself, does that mean I should flush the brakes and then fill or simply fill up the brake fluid reservoir?

Also, when I purchased this car used, I was told that the brake pads had about 50% life remaining. However, iDrive tells me that the brake pads are "OK." Does 50% constitute "OK" or is iDrive or my dealer incorrect?

Thanks!
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      10-19-2013, 06:44 AM   #2
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Bleed The Brakes

To do this job yourself -- I use a Motive Power bleeder. It is important to change brake fluid every 2 yrs due to water absorption -- which does compress and you loose stopping power. 10ft can save your life
.
.
Do a search on youtube for a video of the bleeding process. I bet this is a very neglected service. I think I saw a good video at bavauto.com -- OTTO does a good job and you can buy everything you need from them or ECSTUNING.com
.
I use ATE TYP 200 -- but I am sure there are many options.
.
.
Simple job -- but it must be done correctly to avoid getting air in the system.
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      10-19-2013, 08:08 AM   #3
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Okay, so take no offense here, but are you confident that you have the knowledge, experience and skills to flush brake fluid? By your questions asking if flushing means just changing the fluid in the reservoir and does 50% pad life left constitute a safe condition for the brakes, indicates to me that you may not understand the braking system well enough to work on it.

Looking at a video on line to help you perform the maintenance task is really not getting educated and can possibly lead you to not safely completing the task.

You need to learn how the brake system works and why it needs maintenance. You need to learn about all the parts in the system and how they interact with each other. Also, just bleeding the brakes requires a substantial investment in tools. At a minimum, you need a floor jack to properly lift the car, 4 jack stands to safely support the car once it is raised. You need a large ratchet wrench and 17MM socket to remove the wheels. You need line wrenches to properly open and close the bleed valves without stripping them or breaking them off (and penetrating oil to help break corrosion the valves may have). You need a fluid extractor to remove the old fluid from the reservoir. You need a bake fluid catch jar and tubing set up of some sort to catch the old fluid. You need a torque wrench to correctly re-torque the wheel bolts.

Its commendable you want to perform some of the basic maintenance services yourself. I strongly suggest you buy the E90 Maintenance/Service manual offered by the Bentley company (you can order it from Amazon) and learn about the car before you start working on it. It would be really good to get a mentor to walk you though some of the basic service procedures. Also, the DIY section on E90 Post is an excellent resource for performing most all of the basic maintenance procedures. There is several procedures on how to correctly lift the car and how to bleed the brakes. Good luck.
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      10-19-2013, 09:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 123Britt
To do this job yourself -- I use a Motive Power bleeder. It is important to change brake fluid every 2 yrs due to water absorption -- which does compress and you loose stopping power. 10ft can save your life
.
.
Do a search on youtube for a video of the bleeding process. I bet this is a very neglected service. I think I saw a good video at bavauto.com -- OTTO does a good job and you can buy everything you need from them or ECSTUNING.com
.
I use ATE TYP 200 -- but I am sure there are many options.
.
.
Simple job -- but it must be done correctly to avoid getting air in the system.
Thanks!
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      10-19-2013, 09:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh
Okay, so take no offense here, but are you confident that you have the knowledge, experience and skills to flush brake fluid? By your questions asking if flushing means just changing the fluid in the reservoir and does 50% pad life left constitute a safe condition for the brakes, indicates to me that you may not understand the braking system well enough to work on it.

Looking at a video on line to help you perform the maintenance task is really not getting educated and can possibly lead you to not safely completing the task.

You need to learn how the brake system works and why it needs maintenance. You need to learn about all the parts in the system and how they interact with each other. Also, just bleeding the brakes requires a substantial investment in tools. At a minimum, you need a floor jack to properly lift the car, 4 jack stands to safely support the car once it is raised. You need a large ratchet wrench and 17MM socket to remove the wheels. You need line wrenches to properly open and close the bleed valves without stripping them or breaking them off (and penetrating oil to help break corrosion the valves may have). You need a fluid extractor to remove the old fluid from the reservoir. You need a bake fluid catch jar and tubing set up of some sort to catch the old fluid. You need a torque wrench to correctly re-torque the wheel bolts.

Its commendable you want to perform some of the basic maintenance services yourself. I strongly suggest you buy the E90 Maintenance/Service manual offered by the Bentley company (you can order it from Amazon) and learn about the car before you start working on it. It would be really good to get a mentor to walk you though some of the basic service procedures. Also, the DIY section on E90 Post is an excellent resource for performing most all of the basic maintenance procedures. There is several procedures on how to correctly lift the car and how to bleed the brakes. Good luck.
I appreciate your looking out for both the car and me, but I do have access to a lot of the tools needed, as well as a mentor. I'm also confident that I will not skip any step and make sure it's done correctly regardless of my lack of experience. I do plan to purchase the service manual.

As for the questions I posted, would you mind giving your input?

Thanks again!
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      10-19-2013, 10:13 AM   #6
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Be careful not to introduce air in the brake lines. Do it correctly or have it done. It cost me $120 for a brake flush at the dealer last time, so you are not looking at a lot of money for peace of mind.

Now if you insist on doing it yourself, be sure to completely and entirely follow the procedure:
* Use a bleeder machine so that air cannot be sucked in back from the bottom screw (without suction/vacuum, some air will make it back up).
* never let the main tank go dry
* watch videos of how it's made, or even better have something that knows show you

Now for your questions, brake flush is every 2 years (moisture diminish fluid performance, even leading to catastrophic failure, so its important), brake pads are to be changed at 10%. Computer will tell you at 20% (pop a yellow error) which will turn red at 10%. When changing the pads you'll have to change the wear sensor as well.
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      10-19-2013, 10:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meeni
Be careful not to introduce air in the brake lines. Do it correctly or have it done. It cost me $120 for a brake flush at the dealer last time, so you are not looking at a lot of money for peace of mind.

Now if you insist on doing it yourself, be sure to completely and entirely follow the procedure:
* Use a bleeder machine so that air cannot be sucked in back from the bottom screw (without suction/vacuum, some air will make it back up).
* never let the main tank go dry
* watch videos of how it's made, or even better have something that knows show you

Now for your questions, brake flush is every 2 years (moisture diminish fluid performance, even leading to catastrophic failure, so its important), brake pads are to be changed at 10%. Computer will tell you at 20% (pop a yellow error) which will turn red at 10%. When changing the pads you'll have to change the wear sensor as well.
Many thanks, Meeni! I could have it done at a mechanic like the dealership, but I insist on doing it myself for the learning experience.

I'll be sure to follow the procedure thoroughly and carefully, without skimping out on any necessary tools. I appreciate your advice!
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      10-19-2013, 11:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge Dredd View Post
I appreciate your looking out for both the car and me, but I do have access to a lot of the tools needed, as well as a mentor. I'm also confident that I will not skip any step and make sure it's done correctly regardless of my lack of experience. I do plan to purchase the service manual.

As for the questions I posted, would you mind giving your input?

Thanks again!
I'll be happy to, thanks. So my experience to bleed brakes after 30+ years doing it as a home mechanic are:

  • Put the car up all 4 identical jackstands so it is level and secure. A BMW on 4 stands placed under the lifting points (the ones on the rocker panels) will not fall on you.
  • Remove all 4 wheels at once and keep them off until you are done (in case you need to go back and start over).
  • Spray penetrating oil on each of the bleeder screws.
  • Suck out the old fluid from the master reservoir first.
  • Have a helper carefully get in the car and gently pump the brake pedal. Do not bottom the pedal out (it can damage the master cylinder). A motive bleeder works good too, but I seen guys run the reservoir dry with them. I've trained my wife as my bleeder helper, she's excellent (but more expensive than a Moto Bleeder ). If you use a helper, keep the reservoir open (so it doesn't vacuum on you) and just keep a clean rag over the opening.
  • Bleed the brakes in this order 1) Right rear, 2) left rear, 3) right front, 4) left front. Keep the fluid topped off.

Left = Driver's side; Right = Passenger side. If the bleeder screw/valves are hard to loosen (even after the oil) use a 1/4-drive ratchet with a deep socket of the correct size and gently try to open and close the bleeder screw until it comes loose. Then attach the hose and start bleeding. Make sure you have correct-fitting clear tubing and always watch for air getting back in.

Last edited by Efthreeoh; 10-19-2013 at 11:37 AM.
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      10-19-2013, 12:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge Dredd View Post
I appreciate your looking out for both the car and me, but I do have access to a lot of the tools needed, as well as a mentor. I'm also confident that I will not skip any step and make sure it's done correctly regardless of my lack of experience. I do plan to purchase the service manual.

As for the questions I posted, would you mind giving your input?

Thanks again!
I'll be happy to, thanks. So my experience to bleed brakes after 30+ years doing it as a home mechanic are:

  • Put the car up all 4 identical jackstands so it is level and secure. A BMW on 4 stands placed under the lifting points (the ones on the rocker panels) will not fall on you.
  • Remove all 4 wheels at once and keep them off until you are done (in case you need to go back and start over).
  • Spray penetrating oil on each of the bleeder screws.
  • Suck out the old fluid from the master reservoir first.
  • Have a helper carefully get in the car and gently pump the brake pedal. Do not bottom the pedal out (it can damage the master cylinder). A motive bleeder works good too, but I seen guys run the reservoir dry with them. I've trained my wife as my bleeder helper, she's excellent (but more expensive than a Moto Bleeder ). If you use a helper, keep the reservoir open (so it doesn't vacuum on you) and just keep a clean rag over the opening.
  • Bleed the brakes in this order 1) Right rear, 2) left rear, 3) right front, 4) left front. Keep the fluid topped off.

Left = Driver's side; Right = Passenger side. If the bleeder screw/valves are hard to loosen (even after the oil) use a 1/4-drive ratchet with a deep socket of the correct size and gently try to open and close the bleeder screw until it comes loose. Then attach the hose and start bleeding. Make sure you have correct-fitting clear tubing and always watch for air getting back in.
Thanks so much for your assistance!
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