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· First Honda in 10 years
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am working on my wife's 2012 V6 Accord Coupe Automatic. I am a long-time wrench turner but for almost a decade I have been a European-only guy, so I am not exactly super familiar with the idiosyncrasies of Honda/Acura or even Asian makes.

The car is sitting right at 59K miles and I was tasked with taking it into the dealer last to get the oil changed and the multi-point inspection.

They called me back and told me the following were badly needed:
  • Transmission fluid drained and filled
  • Power steering flushed
  • Brake fluid flushed
  • Both the engine air and the cabin HEPA filter changed

I had them do the power steering fluid, just because I didn't want to mess with it, but the rest of those sounded too easy to pay for.

I did both filters, and was able to do the transmission fluid exchange with Genuine Honda DW-1 in about an hour, including time getting the car on ramps, finding the ATF filler bolt, and just feeling comfortable around the car. The magnet was pretty well covered with tons of gunk and metal shavings, but from other pictures and videos, it looked very similar, if not better, than others I have seen.

So, I felt pretty confident with the car and started in on the brake fluid exchange. I pulled out my Mity-Vac and sucked the reservoir completely dry. I was able to get it so empty I got almost a full 12oz. bottle of Genuine Honda Brake Fluid in the reservoir. Although this was easy and went well, I knew I had to bleed each wheel until I saw clean fluid coming out of each of the bleeders.

Here's where my frustration hit a maximum and I am just writing to figure out where I went wrong or if there is any other quicker, more efficient way to accomplish this.

Since I was doing this alone, I opted for a vacuum bleed. I read somewhere else on here that the sequence is LF, RF, RR, LR.

I started on my LF. I pulled off the rubber dust cover, cracked the bleeder open, connected some clear vinyl tubing and hooked up the Mity-Vac setup. Right from the get-go, I knew something was a-miss.

It seemed like no matter what I did, I had airbubbles entering the line from around the bleeder screw. I couldn't tell if it was entering the system from the bleeder to hose, or the bleeder screw to caliper.

I fiddled with it for almost an hour and never got clean fluid out of the caliper. I ended up hitting sunset and losing my light and pushing my tools just inside the garage door and coming in to watch the Super Bowl and write up this post.

I have a couple of questions:

Anyone else have a nightmare of a time trying to vacuum bleed their 8th gen brakes?
Second, where can I jack this thing up from the front and again from the rear so I can do two wheels at once instead of going wheel to wheel?

Any other method I should try? I really don't want to do the pedal bleed - I don't trust anyone not to let up on the pedal and suck air into the system when I have the bleeder open. I have ready the comments on the Motive Bleeder system that the cap adapter SUCKS and doesn't fit right.

What does the dealer use to do a full system fluid exchange? I want to buy that!

Thanks in advance everyone! I am looking forward to maintaining this car well over 100K miles.

Thanks again,

Brandon
 

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You got your sequence backwards. It's Right Rear, Left, Rear, Right Front, Left Front.

I just used a bottle, hose, and the old school manual method.

It took me an hour. I opened the bleeder, pushed the pedal 4 times, added fluid in the reservoir, pushed the pedal 4 times, added fluid....did this for all 4 wheels. Once I opened a bleeder, I didn't close it until fresh fluid came out. I was watching to make sure that air wouldn't go back in.

It is possible that you took out too much fluid and when adding new fluid, air got trapped in.
 

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That sequence is correct according to the service manual.

You need to put some grease around the screw's thread where it interfaces with the caliper if you want to use a vacuum pump. Air does seep through. The other method is to just gravity bleed, slow, but effective.

This is not an idiosyncrasy of Honda/Acura. If anything, European cars have the most idiosyncrasies, by using special torx/hex screws and bolts and put electronics on everything which breaks more often than anything using basic mechanical mechanisms. Not to mention special formula engine oil, and engines that burn oil, noted as being normal. Owned BMW, won't ever get another one.
 

· First Honda in 10 years
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That sequence is correct according to the service manual.

You need to put some grease around the screw's thread where it interfaces with the caliper if you want to use a vacuum pump. Air does seep through. The other method is to just gravity bleed, slow, but effective.

This is not an idiosyncrasy of Honda/Acura. If anything, European cars have the most idiosyncrasies, by using special torx/hex screws and bolts and put electronics on everything which breaks more often than anything using basic mechanical mechanisms. Not to mention special formula engine oil, and engines that burn oil, noted as being normal. Owned BMW, won't ever get another one.
So, which sequence is correct? LF-LR-RR-LR or the other? Even without the service manual I have always gone shortest distance to longest distance to the brake balancer.

I was more mentioning my Euro experience as to let folks know I am familiar under the hood, just not a Honda. I had an '02 Accord for a few years but got bored and went Volvo and been there ever since, except my old diesel Mercs.

I actually feel more comfortable with my old Germans and Swedes, just because I have all those specialty tools and know the diagnostics. I am assuming anything on a Honda is going to be easier, BUT, I have always bled brakes this way on my old MB 240D and never had that experience with crap tons of air getting in the tubing. That's why I was really taken aback.

I have watched videos with guys using teflon tape, grease, etc. and I have just never had that experience on a diesel Mercedes or a Volvo, so really confused. For that level of effort, it takes the efficiency factor out of vacuum bleeding. My goal was to do this on the ground, with the wheels on, in under an hour, and this isn't going to get it done.

I am a #neverBMW guy so feel ya there.

How would you go about doing this? The pressure bleeder looks like a mess of prep/setup too.

You got your sequence backwards. It's Right Rear, Left, Rear, Right Front, Left Front.

I just used a bottle, hose, and the old school manual method.

It took me an hour. I opened the bleeder, pushed the pedal 4 times, added fluid in the reservoir, pushed the pedal 4 times, added fluid....did this for all 4 wheels. Once I opened a bleeder, I didn't close it until fresh fluid came out. I was watching to make sure that air wouldn't go back in.

It is possible that you took out too much fluid and when adding new fluid, air got trapped in.
Almost impossible with the air getting trapped, but I will keep that in mind. I saw fluid in the openings of the master cylinder after draining the reservoir.

So, you are telling me you opened the bleeder and pumped the pedal? When you let off shouldn't that backflow air into the lines at the caliper? I am just not getting it I guess. Did you have a helper? I learned early not to ask my wife to help me do car repairs.
 

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Pre-ABS Hondas followed the traditional path, but ABS Hondas are always some wacky order. OP's order FL-FR-RR-RL is correct.

What scares me is that OP "sucked the reservoir completely dry." Rule #1 is that you never want the reservoir to go dry as this gets air into the system (try not to let the fluid level get much below the min line). This air can get trapped in the master cylinder which can be tough to bleed out while it is on the car. This air can also get trapped in the ABS and usually requires some elaborate procedure to get it out. Hopefully the reservoir wasn't completely dry and pushing air through the lines.

Sometimes when the bleeder is cracked it sucks air through the threads and into the bleeder. These air bubbles aren't a big deal. If you patch everything up and the pedal is firm - great. If not, you had bigger deal bubbles.

Personally the two-man bleed is the best. Gravity bleed takes a long time and can make a mess if you have older bleed screws. I've never used a machine.

You can jack from the front subframe. There should be a hole in the plastic undertray in the nose of the car. It is roundish from what I recall. The rear jack point is the tow hook.
 

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So, you are telling me you opened the bleeder and pumped the pedal? When you let off shouldn't that backflow air into the lines at the caliper? I am just not getting it I guess. Did you have a helper? I learned early not to ask my wife to help me do car repairs.
No helper. I opened the bleeder and pumped my pedal. After pumping 4 times and getting out to refill the reservoir, the system would pull some fluid back in but it would stop sucking and about 1" of line outside the bleeder would still be full with fluid. That way, it wasn't pulling any air in. After filling the reservoir, I'd pump again, but as I said, I was watching the tube for air not to be pulled in.

Most models are bled by starting with the vehicle furthest from the master cylinder. Some vehicles require you start at the front. @t-rd is right, for some reason Honda recommends starting from the front. I did mine the most common way though.

 

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What scares me is that OP "sucked the reservoir completely dry." Rule #1 is that you never want the reservoir to go dry as this gets air into the system (try not to let the fluid level get much below the min line). This air can get trapped in the master cylinder which can be tough to bleed out while it is on the car. This air can also get trapped in the ABS and usually requires some elaborate procedure to get it out. Hopefully the reservoir wasn't completely dry and pushing air through the lines.

You can jack from the front subframe. There should be a hole in the plastic undertray in the nose of the car. It is roundish from what I recall. The rear jack point is the tow hook.
Awesome. Yeah, I am a little concerned as well, but it did get the system full was able to road test with a nice firm brake afterwards...so, fingers crossed. I didn't touch the pedal until the reservoir was full again after I emptied it, so hopefully no air got sucked in.

My only issue was the massive amounts of air in the vinyl tubing because I have always had that textbook clear, solid stream of fluid coming out of a bleeder hose within 30 secs of opening a bleeder with 15 psi of vacuum on it. This, not so much.

I will try again later this week, prob give in and take each wheel off so I can see more, maybe grease and teflon the bleeder threads, or recruit a buddy to help me.

No helper. I opened the bleeder and pumped my pedal. After pumping 4 times and getting out to refill the reservoir, the system would pull some fluid back in but it would stop sucking and about 1" of line outside the bleeder would still be full with fluid. That way, it wasn't pulling any air in. After filling the reservoir, I'd pump again, but as I said, I was watching the tube for air not to be pulled in.

Most models are bled by starting with the vehicle furthest from the master cylinder. Some vehicles require you start at the front. @t-rd is right, for some reason Honda recommends starting from the front. I did mine the most common way though.

Great pic. Thank you. Do you happen to recall what ID tubing you used? I have 1/4" and 3/16" (and even smaller) but that prob won't fit on there.
 

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I've bled / flushed my '11 6-6 Coupe with no issues - using a Mity Vac. But maybe I read your post wrong? Reason I ask...

I hook up the hose / Mity Vac to the bleeder. I pull a vacuum on the pump, and then I crack the bleeder screw loose. It immediately starts bleeding / pulling fluid through the caliper so I just keep pumping the Mity-Vac while keeping an eye on the master cylinder fluid level. When I need to add fluid, I close the bleeder, then fill the master cylinder, and again put a vacuum on the bleeder before cracking it loose.

I've never had an issue doing it this way.

I don't pay attention to the bubbles (which is normal unless you want to seal the bleeder screw threads). I pull it until I get new, clear fluid out of the bleeder, then close it off and move to the next wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've bled / flushed my '11 6-6 Coupe with no issues - using a Mity Vac. But maybe I read your post wrong? Reason I ask...

I hook up the hose / Mity Vac to the bleeder. I pull a vacuum on the pump, and then I crack the bleeder screw loose. It immediately starts bleeding / pulling fluid through the caliper so I just keep pumping the Mity-Vac while keeping an eye on the master cylinder fluid level. When I need to add fluid, I close the bleeder, then fill the master cylinder, and again put a vacuum on the bleeder before cracking it loose.

I've never had an issue doing it this way.

I don't pay attention to the bubbles (which is normal unless you want to seal the bleeder screw threads). I pull it until I get new, clear fluid out of the bleeder, then close it off and move to the next wheel.


Thanks for the reply. You read the post correctly. I did exactly what you are describing here, but I stopped at just the FL wheel as I was getting way more bubbles than brake fluid, presumably from around the bleeder screw.

I wrote this up because I have never experienced anything quite like this in the last 4 years since I switched to only bleeding brakes using the vacuum method.

I think I am going to try the vacuum method once more when wife gets home and I will report back if I get substantially better results. I figure if I take the wheels off I can see what I am doing better and make sure I didn't cause all of this somehow.

I also have a gatorade bottle setup I put together just in case I am not liking the result of the Mity-Vac.

The only good news is that I was able to test drive it last night enough to feel comfortable with her taking it to work today and she has not reported anything out of the ordinary, and she's pretty good about listening or noticing changes in driving and stopping characteristics.
 
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