Monday, March 3, 2014

Bleeding the rear brakes and MOT

With the weather picking up, it was time to get the Mini out from hiding and back on the road. But before that could happen, there were a few things that needed attending to.

The main thing was the MOT. I knew that after all the work that had been completed recently there couldn't be that much to worry about. But there were 2 small jobs that needed taking care of to ensure a pass. The first was simply to attach the metal battery strap back over the battery. That was easy enough, even in the dark and cold!

The other main thing was the rear brakes really needed bleeding again as they were next to useless. For this, I would bring out my trusty Eezibleed kit. This kit makes life so much easier.

The whole kit uses the pressure from the spare wheel to push the new brake fluid through the system. It does state that the maximum operating pressure was 20 psi. But who has their spare wheel at 20psi!! I guess I could have let some air out and got down to 20psi, but as I didn't have a pressure gauge, I figured I would just use the spare wheel as is as 30psi.

Turns out that the system does work at 30psi, Quite well in fact. The basic operation is to remove the cap from the brake fluid reservoir and replace it with the one from the kit. Then fill the bottle with new fluid, DOT 4 in my case. Then to the back of the car and attach the supplied pipe onto the bleed valve and into some suitable container to catch the bled fluid. A small bottle would be the ideal choice, but I didn't have one so used a tray.

With all that setup, I attached the wheel valve thing to the spare wheel and the system was pressurised. Then it was just a job of opening the bleed valve with a spanner and watching for bubbles. I also helped proceedings along by pumping the brake peddle a few times. Sure enough the bubbles came and then eventually petered away.

The same for the other side and it was job done. Now to clear up. I made sure the valves were nipped shut and poured the bled fluid into a 'dead fluid' bottle for disposal. I poured the unused fluid onto the 'dead fluid' bottle also.

As brill as the kit is, it does have one very minor drawback in that after use, the reservoir is full to the brim. As the cap has a large bulbous underside, when you put it back on, fluid will overflow and gush out all over the bulkhead. I know this from bitter experience! To fix this minor irritation I bought myself a syringe to remove the excess fluid with ease and the minimum of mess. This syringe now lives with the kit.

Once this was done, the brakes were back up to their mediocre 'no brake servo assisted' self once more.

The other jobs were purely cosmetic and did not need doing for the MOT, but I did them anyway. I couldn't let the MOT man see the Mini without it's rear arches and the 'Monza' style flip top fuel cap. That just wouldn't do.

With all that done, I had an early morning slot for the MOT so I tootled down and left it with them.
Of course it was a pass!, there were a few advisories though, but they were mostly very minor things and will form the basis of a niggle list that I will sort out later this year.

So the Mini is back from hibernation and out and about again and I couldn't be happier. Nothing puts a big cheesy smile on your face like chucking a Mini into a corner!!!

Now, those front subframe mounts . . .

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