Bring on the Giulia
AO Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Re: inefficient Brakes
BLEEDING THE BRAKES (courtesy of another alfa 156 website)
If you release fluid from the calipers through the bleed nipple when you pushed the pistons back, you might have inadvertently got air in the system. This will lead to “spongy” brakes. But there is also the possibility that you have got old brake fluid in the system and this may be starting to get contaminated with dirt and water. Brake fluid is hygroscopic which means it will, over time, draw in moisture. This will reduce the fluids boiling point under heavy braking and may lead to you losing braking power at the worst possible moment.
The recommended interval between complete changes is 2 years.
To bleed the brakes you will need either a one-man kit that connects to a tyre valve and forces fluid into the master cylinder and through the system when you open the bleed nipples. Alternatively you can get a simpler kit with a one-way valve on the tube. With this method you need to take care to ensure that the nipple is not too loose or air gets back in as the pressure stops. I use one of these but get someone to sit in the car and pump the brakes. That way I can watch the fluid for colour and bubbles and also make sure the reservoir on the master cylinder doesn’t get too low.
If you use the simpler system, pump the brakes slowly, especially when bleeding the rears. The master cylinder may incorporate a brake balance valve which can trigger and prevent the proper flow of fluid to the rears. Alfa brakes are balanced to put most of the braking to the fronts.
There are a number of different ways in which you sequence the brakes:
• Front first, rear last
• Diagonally (n/s/f, o/s/r, o/s/f, n/s/r) or in reverse.
• Working around the brakes, closest to master cylinder first (ie n/s/f, o/s/f, n/s/r, o/s/r)
• The same, but starting furthest from the master cylinder (ie o/s/r, n/s/r, o/s/f, n/s/f)
What is probably going to work here is to bleed the brakes as you finish each wheel or end as I did. Otherwise you will spend most of the time jacking the car up and down and removing wheels more often than you need to.