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How to DYI: Brake Bleeding a C-Max Energi


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14 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   ivebeenrued

ivebeenrued

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Posted 14 April 2016 - 03:53 AM

My wife and I just got a 2013 C-Max Energi 3 months ago and I was wondering if there is anything that you guys/gals have done beyond the recommended service schedule? I got the car with under 12K miles on it and now I am up to about 17K miles. I was going to do do the cabin air filter and engine air filter at 20K and I have already done my own oil change (Valvoline Synpower 0w-20/Fram Ultra). Seeing how the vehicle is going on 3 years old I was thinking about doing a brake line flush. Does anyone know if there is anything different about doing a brake line flush on this vehicle vs most other vehicles?

 

For the curious, we paid ~$17,800 for this 2013 C-Max Energi with the 303A package, 11,979 miles, no recorded accidents, no dents, and no underbody rust. In addition, the previous owner kept the receipts in the glovebox for two oil changes at the Ford dealer, four $250+ detailing packages, as well as two Krown underbody coatings, so it appears as if they took good care of her. We were looking at others for around the $13-15K mark but a majority of them came from NYC or NJ and usually had lower option packages, recorded accidents, lots of dents, scuffs, and they all had underbody rust. Ours was first titled in January 2014, so when we bought it we still had 1 year/24K miles of bumper to bumper warranty remaining, this is actually perfect because I typically do 24K miles per year.

 

Edit/Update:

 

So I ended up using a brake fluid tester and found that the fluid in my master cylinder contained approximately 3% water. I also pulled a sample from a rear caliper and found that the fluid contained in excess of 4% water. After seeing this amount of water, I ended up flushing the entire system. After seeing how much water made it into the system over 3 years, I am going to be doing a flush every 2 years. I've had two brake lines rust out from the inside-out in other cars (both were GM cars), I'm not going to let it happen to this car.

 

I find it suspicious that Ford did not list "change brake fluid" on the maintenance schedule for this vehicle. Pretty much every other manufacturer lists it as a requirement every 2-3 years due to the hygroscopic nature of brake fluid. I suspect that Ford did not list it to keep the "cost of ownership" figures down.

 

As I originally suspected, when the vehicle is in park or neutral the hydraulic brake system does all the work so it was as simple as doing a regular brake fluid change.

 

Tools/supplies needed:

Floor jack

Breaker bar with 19MM deep socket or a tire-iron(for lug nuts)

Torque wrench (to properly torque lug nuts after the fact)

10mm box wrench

One-man brake bleeding kit

Turkey baster (to suck out the old fluid from the master cylinder reservoir)

Empty soda bottle for the old fluid

32 oz. or more of fresh DOT 4 brake fluid (do not use a previously opened bottle)

 

Process:

1. Using a turkey baster, remove the old fluid in the master cylinder reservoir and replenish it with fresh fluid.

2. Jack up car and take off wheel (the order is going to be: right-rear, left-rear, right-front, left-front).

3. Put the 10mm box wrench onto the brake bleeder.

4. Remove bleeder cap and put inlet end of your one-man brake bleeding set-up onto the brake bleeder. Put the other end into your disposal bottle.

5. Open the brake bleeder 1/4-1/2 turns.

6. Let the system gravity bleed until your check valve or until the used fluid hits the fluid level in your disposal bottle.

7. Pump the brake pedal until you see clear or lighter colored fluid coming from the bleeder. MAKE SURE YOU TOP OFF THE MASTER CYLINDER FREQUENTLY!

8. Close the bleeder. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN!

9. Reinstall bleeder cap and wheel.

10. Retorque lug nuts to 100 ft./lbs.

11. Repeat steps 2-10 for the remaining wheels.

 

Total time: .5-1.5 hours depending on skill/confidence level.

Total cost (assuming you have all the basic tools): $6 for 32 oz. of Valvoline Full Synthetic DOT 4 brake fluid at Advance Auto Parts. $16 if you need fluid and a one-man bleeding kit.


Edited by fotomoto, 20 July 2016 - 09:28 AM.








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#2 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 14 April 2016 - 06:53 AM

Sounds like you got a nice lightly used car and a good price IMO. Welcome to the group. 

 

I changed my cabin filter at 20k miles and decided that I would change it at 10k miles from now on as it was very dirty. The engine air filter is another story. I changed it at 20k miles and it looked almost new. This is likely due to my using the ICE for only about 2500 miles of first 20k miles. As a side note I like to mark the installation date on the filter when I put them in. This a good way to keep track of how long the filter has been installed.

 

Tom



#3 OFFLINE   fotomoto

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Posted 14 April 2016 - 08:14 AM

I have an identical year and options with18k miles and have yet to change the oil  (reminder should be kicking in soon).   Although early oil changes certainly can't hurt, it really goes against one of the main reasons for having a PHEV; that of using less fossil fuels.  

 

Yes doing a brake fluid flush is very different on a hybrid vehicle because the system is also designed to work when the ICE (gas engine) is off so it must have "electric" brakes.  You can hear the brake system prime (whirring mechanical sound) when you first power up the car.  At the very least, you will need access to the factory manual and most likely special tools to bleed/fill it; at least this has been my experience with past hybrids. 

 

I guess you've discovered what PITA the cabin filter is to replace!   :drop:

 

 

Welcome and good luck.  The Energi is a great car.



#4 OFFLINE   ivebeenrued

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 03:24 AM

Before I purchased the car I found a Ford engineer's presentation on the hyrid braking system (was not C-Max Energi specific) and they mentioned that below 3 MPH the hydraulic system did all the braking. I'm wondering if by having that lower threshold in place the system would operate normally for a brake fluid flush at the bleeders. I just purchased the shop manuals and they should be coming in the mail soon. I will let y'all know if I have any luck with my brake fluid flush.



#5 OFFLINE   cwstnsko

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 04:40 AM

Even without the complexities of the regen side of the equation, it is still a modern ABS / Traction Control / Stability Control type of system.  I question both the need to change the brake fluid and the wisdom of attempting it as a DIY project.  When looking at the factors that contribute to the degradation of brake fluid, it would seem that the regenerative braking system all but eliminates the main contributing factors.



#6 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 07:55 AM

I wouldn't bother with the brake fluid flush, its just a waste of time and money and a good way for a shop to make money.  You hardly ever use the brakes, and I hate to say it even on my 98 ranger I've never flushed the brake fluid.  The only time I do something like that is if I change a caliper to bleed out the air, otherwise its not going to make a hill of beans pushing the oil fluid out and replacing with new fluid unless you're just looking for something to do, and if you do, don't mess it up.

 

-=>Raja.



#7 OFFLINE   ivebeenrued

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 04:14 AM

So I ended up using a brake fluid tester and found that the fluid in my master cylinder contained approximately 3% water. I also pulled a sample from a rear caliper and found that the fluid contained in excess of 4% water. After seeing this amount of water, I ended up flushing the entire system. After seeing how much water made it into the system over 3 years, I am going to be doing a flush every 2 years. I've had two brake lines rust out from the inside-out in other cars (both were GM cars), I'm not going to let it happen to this car.

 

I find it suspicious that Ford did not list "change brake fluid" on the maintenance schedule for this vehicle. Pretty much every other manufacturer lists it as a requirement every 2-3 years due to the hygroscopic nature of brake fluid. I suspect that Ford did not list it to keep the "cost of ownership" figures down.

 

As I originally suspected, when the vehicle is in park or neutral the hydraulic brake system does all the work so it was as simple as doing a regular brake fluid change.

 

Tools/supplies needed:

Floor jack

Breaker bar with 19MM deep socket or a tire-iron(for lug nuts)

Torque wrench (to properly torque lug nuts after the fact)

10mm box wrench

One-man brake bleeding kit

Turkey baster (to suck out the old fluid from the master cylinder reservoir)

Empty soda bottle for the old fluid

32 oz. or more of fresh DOT 4 brake fluid (do not use a previously opened bottle)

 

Process:

1. Using a turkey baster, remove the old fluid in the master cylinder reservoir and replenish it with fresh fluid.

2. Jack up car and take off wheel (the order is going to be: right-rear, left-rear, right-front, left-front).

3. Put the 10mm box wrench onto the brake bleeder.

4. Remove bleeder cap and put inlet end of your one-man brake bleeding set-up onto the brake bleeder. Put the other end into your disposal bottle.

5. Open the brake bleeder 1/4-1/2 turns.

6. Let the system gravity bleed until your check valve or until the used fluid hits the fluid level in your disposal bottle.

7. Pump the brake pedal until you see clear or lighter colored fluid coming from the bleeder. MAKE SURE YOU TOP OFF THE MASTER CYLINDER FREQUENTLY!

8. Close the bleeder. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN!

9. Reinstall bleeder cap and wheel.

10. Retorque lug nuts to 100 ft./lbs.

11. Repeat steps 2-10 for the remaining wheels.

 

Total time: .5-1.5 hours depending on skill/confidence level.

Total cost (assuming you have all the basic tools): $6 for 32 oz. of Valvoline Full Synthetic DOT 4 brake fluid at Advance Auto Parts. $16 if you need fluid and a one-man bleeding kit.


  • fotomoto and tr7driver like this

#8 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 09:24 AM

Nice job! I will raise my arms up...guilty! My ford ranger is a 1998 model and I never bled the brakes. My 190e Mercedes was a 1983 and I never did that either though I did add some fluid from time to time from evaporation.

-=>Raja.

#9 OFFLINE   fotomoto

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 09:30 AM

So I ended up using a brake fluid tester 

 

Excellent news and well done.  I updated the thread title and OP to make this easier to find and use by other members.



#10 OFFLINE   tr7driver

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 10:35 AM

Excellent news and well done.  I updated the thread title and OP to make this easier to find and use by other members.

Has anyone considered starting a DIY thread with posts like this set as stickys?



#11 OFFLINE   ivebeenrued

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 10:21 AM

Excellent news and well done.  I updated the thread title and OP to make this easier to find and use by other members.

 

Thanks fotomoto!



#12 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 11:12 AM

The only time I've actually bled my brakes is when I had to change a brake caliper, that's about it.  Its to get the air out of the system after breaking it open.  Yes the fluid can get old, and in my Mercedes after 30 years it looked almost rusty colored, but to be honest the brakes always worked the same way no issues in 30 years and that car never needed a brake caliper changed.  The BMW on the other hand even though its a 2002 model has had issues with brake calipers sticking already.  Apparently not the same quality stuff as the Mercedes was.

 

Anyway, the brakes on our Cmax are hardly used if you plan your stops, they only kick in from 3 mph to zero on average.  You can hear them kick in clearly on a rainy day when the rotors got wet and perhaps a little rusty.  On the first couple of full stop braking you will hear a scrape with the radio off below 3mph.

 

D stops regen sooner than L, if in L you can suck a little bit more juice out of the momentum back into the battery.

 

-=>Raja.


Edited by rbort, 21 July 2016 - 11:13 AM.


#13 OFFLINE   NedB

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 04:06 PM

In my case that would be a 7 step process... ;

1)Buy brake fluid.
2)Buy case of beer
3) text/call my son (the auto mechanic)
4) coordinate when he could do the job
5) drop off car
6) pick up car, hand over 'payment'
7) share a payment with son

Edited by NedB, 21 July 2016 - 04:06 PM.


#14 OFFLINE   ivebeenrued

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 03:56 AM

The only time I've actually bled my brakes is when I had to change a brake caliper, that's about it.  Its to get the air out of the system after breaking it open.  Yes the fluid can get old, and in my Mercedes after 30 years it looked almost rusty colored, but to be honest the brakes always worked the same way no issues in 30 years and that car never needed a brake caliper changed.  The BMW on the other hand even though its a 2002 model has had issues with brake calipers sticking already.  Apparently not the same quality stuff as the Mercedes was.

 

Anyway, the brakes on our Cmax are hardly used if you plan your stops, they only kick in from 3 mph to zero on average.  You can hear them kick in clearly on a rainy day when the rotors got wet and perhaps a little rusty.  On the first couple of full stop braking you will hear a scrape with the radio off below 3mph.

 

D stops regen sooner than L, if in L you can suck a little bit more juice out of the momentum back into the battery.

 

-=>Raja.

 

I always look at preventative maintenance as a money/time saver. By investing $6 and a half hour of my time, I know that my car has fresh fluid in it and that the car is less likely to have internal corrosion in the braking system. I fully understand that these cars don't use their brakes much but disuse does not prevent moisture from infiltrating the system nor does it mean less corrosion within your components.

 

If anything, disuse likely contributes to accelerated degradation of our overall braking system performance. After seeing how this car brakes with new rotors and pads, I'd recommend that everyone take a good look at their brakes. Surface rust on the rotors greatly reduces your braking ability. You may not notice it under normal conditions, but, you will surely notice it in an emergency braking situation. If your rotors are rusty it may be a good time to resurface or replace the rotors.

 

I appreciate that people bought these cars with the expectation of lower maintenance costs but please don't cheap out on the brakes. A well maintained braking system is not only important for you and your passengers but also for other drivers on the road and for pedestrians. Do yourself and others the favor of properly maintaining your brakes. These cars are 3859 lbs, not including passengers or cargo, and we are asking a lot of these relatively small rotors in an emergency situation.  A $100 investment for four new rotors every couple of years is nothing in comparison to a $500 collision deductible and a potential lawsuit.


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#15 OFFLINE   jzchen

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 12:43 PM

Nice job! I will raise my arms up...guilty! My ford ranger is a 1998 model and I never bled the brakes. My 190e Mercedes was a 1983 and I never did that either though I did add some fluid from time to time from evaporation.

-=>Raja.

 

We have an '85 and '91 Mercedes in the household.  I believe the maintenance manual says once a year for those.  The '92 shows every two years.  I'm afraid I'm guilty and go longer than that as well.  Three years or so and the fluid is definitely dark from becoming old, along with a somewhat spongy brake pedal....

 

I always look at preventative maintenance as a money/time saver. By investing $6 and a half hour of my time, I know that my car has fresh fluid in it and that the car is less likely to have internal corrosion in the braking system. I fully understand that these cars don't use their brakes much but disuse does not prevent moisture from infiltrating the system nor does it mean less corrosion within your components.

 

If anything, disuse likely contributes to accelerated degradation of our overall braking system performance. After seeing how this car brakes with new rotors and pads, I'd recommend that everyone take a good look at their brakes. Surface rust on the rotors greatly reduces your braking ability. You may not notice it under normal conditions, but, you will surely notice it in an emergency braking situation. If your rotors are rusty it may be a good time to resurface or replace the rotors.

 

I appreciate that people bought these cars with the expectation of lower maintenance costs but please don't cheap out on the brakes. A well maintained braking system is not only important for you and your passengers but also for other drivers on the road and for pedestrians. Do yourself and others the favor of properly maintaining your brakes. These cars are 3859 lbs, not including passengers or cargo, and we are asking a lot of these relatively small rotors in an emergency situation.  A $100 investment for four new rotors every couple of years is nothing in comparison to a $500 collision deductible and a potential lawsuit.

 

Wow!  Care to share where one gets $25 rotors?  That seems a mighty bargain!!!










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