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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 26th July 2014 Thread Starter
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Broken bleed nipples and caliper replacements.


So I decided I needed to get around to changing the broken read spring on my Grand Espace III 2001 and that went fine (only did one side, so did a bit of spring compression but still needed to release the shock from the lower point).

Anyhow, noticed how bad the read discs had got, all rusty to heck, and I had already bought the parts so decided just to get on with it that carry on procrastinating.

Renault garage previously been mentioned that one rear caliper was likely seized, but I didn't really take much heed as it was still passing the MoT. Well, couldn't budge the blasted pistons, either of them. Decided they were both shot as the dust boots were all wrinkled up and probably leaking dirt into the pistons, so bought two new calipers. 39.99 from J&R in Birmingham, next day delivery. Perfect. Thanks, guys.

Job went fine, bled the brakes through with fresh fluid, long over due, all hunky dory.

Now, when I went on a test drive, the brake pedal really moved a whole lot more than it ever did before. But not necessarily requiring more pressure, it actually seems to stop quicker with less pressure now.

I figure this is because the rear pots are no longer seized , I'm now actually filling 4 pistons with fluid instead of 2!!! A new feeling!

Would you agree this is the sort of outcome I might expect?

Reason I ask is because I did ponder whether any air bubbles had entered the front circuits during the caliper swap. I don't think that's the case - not sure it even can? Can it?

Well, went to bleed out the front brakes too seeing as the fluid needed flushing through there too and ... aaarrgghhh!! FRH caliper bleed nipple sheared straight off with barely a hand turn.

Those front calipers are in a bad place, aren't they! They are leading brakes and pick up all the crap straight off the road, rusty as heck. Maybe I could've worked harder at easing the bleeder out, but maybe it was just corrosion, pure and simple.

So now I have a conundrum. Car seems fine, no leaks. I don't think there are air bubbles in the front circuits, but still some old fluid. Will need to swap out those discs pretty soon, also a bit rusty, so could do with the bleed nipple.

1) leave and forget!
2) have a go at getting the bleed nipple out, and replace (does anyone know the thread size - is it a M6 or M7?)
3) get a reconditioned caliper (J&R don't have fronts, so best price I've found is 80 new or 35 recon)

One problem with (3) is that the flexi-hose threads directly to the caliper, no banjo bolt. So I'm figuring I could just rotate the caliper around, holding the hose still, to refit it.

Will that work?

I'm looking at the other end of that flexi and it disappears into the wing, with the ferrule hidden. I don't fancy having to replace that flexi! Anyone got any advice on that if it becomes necessary?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 26th July 2014
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Re: Broken bleed nipples and caliper replacements.

You could try opening the flexi-joint to the caliper and try bleeding at that point - it may be slow but might just be enough. It is not unusuall to have a soft brake pedal when new discs or pads have been fitted - they need time to bed in - just drive carefully and keep yopur distance.

The fornt calipers are better off thasn the rear calipers - the rears not only get road surface water but also water thrown up by the fornt wheels.

Drilling out broken bleed screws is not witthout its risks and 35 for a recon unit is cheap indeed.

No reason as to why you can't clamp the front flexi and screw the caliper off the pipe - that's how I usually do it most times.

Judging from the condition of the rear calipers it would appear the brakes have been neglected for some time.

Brakes are like your best friend - you miss them most when they ain't around. It never pays to skimp when repairing brakes - they may come back to bite you or not bite at all onthe discs.

Edit:- As a foot note the wrinkled rubber boots on the rear calipers are a sure sign someone in the past has used copper grease - a definite no-no anywhere near brakes - there is a special grease for the job if required.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 26th July 2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Broken bleed nipples and caliper replacements.

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I am inclined just to replace. If you think I'm likely to get away with screwing the caliper onto the flexi, then that is reassuring. I don't think I really want to get into changing the flexi. I can see even more problems there!

I think I'll order the recon calipers, and then have a go at getting the bleeder out. What's the worst that can happen? I give up and put the recon calipers on?

I've thought about it and think my best plan is to buy some torx bits of a diminutive size, T5 maybe, and then sacrifice them by hammering them into the hole. If I get that in, I can then put a gang'o'heat on the thing and try to work it out.

I'll have to put some heat on that flexi union anyway, that looks like it has gone that way too, so will need some encouragement. I'll get myself a set of flare spanners - never had a need before to get any!

Why they put a crappy little bleed nut on these things I can't really fathom at all. An M8 bleed nut should be minimum, IMHO.

On the subject of creased up boots, I was surprised that the replacement pads did not have a 'notch' in the back of one to locate the rear piston on to. Usually, you need that to stop the piston rotating with the handbrake. Did I do something wrong? Were they the wrong pads? I was surprised at that...

PS - I wouldn't say the pedal is 'soft', just that it has a lot more movement in it than it did before. Just been out in it and got used to the additional pedal movement almost straight away. I think it's just I got so used to the rears being seized!! Of course, it is a RHD-conversion thing with a torsion bar and the piston on the LHS, so there is yet more 'play' in the thing than a 'proper' RHD piston setup too.
Currently in donald68's garage:
Grand Espace 3 16v Auto, Scenic Dti Auto & Fluence ZE
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bleed , broken , caliper , nipples , replacements

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