Firstly, thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread - your advice was invaluable, and secondly a huge thanks to Starkers for his technical know-how and refusal to give up (where I might have otherwise)
After Starkers and I met the time before last, we began on his silver TS and bled all the brakes using the good old 'pump the pedal' method. Sadly, the day drew to a close and it started to rain so we only managed to get the fronts done on the blue V6. Despite successfully turning the colour of the fluid from brown to clear yellow, we managed to get some air into my brakes, resulting in a 'two-stage' brake. Pushing down on the pedal, it would resist and then 'thunk' down to the floor. I was a bit disappointed that I'd ended up making the brakes slightly worse, so bought a Gunson Eezibleed Kit
on the Internet for £18, to have a go at a later date.
When Starkers came down next to tackle his wishbone, he kindly lent me his trolley jack and axle stands, and with a day away from work I began the job. It read 'one-man operation' on the back, always a bit sceptical when it says that
As soon as I got the front left wheel off it started to urinate it down with rain
, but I wasn't going to give up before I'd started
The Eezibleed is fantastic - I really can't recommend it enough. Three cap sizes and plastic seals for different height and diameter reservoirs. The larger cap fits right on the GTV
Three different diameter plastic tubing for various sized nipples. All you need extra is a spare tyre to power the bleed and a jar or bucket to catch the fluid, so it's a pretty comprehensive bundle, especially for under £20 to your door!
With everything tightened up, the system is then pressurised. A final check for air leaks at the reservoir (I found a pair of mole grips helped to fully tighten the cap on the reservoir - thanks Starkers
), and then it's as easy as loosening each nipple in turn and letting the fluid run out. Despite being pressurised at 20PSI, the fluid comes out at a gentle but steady pace, even with the nipple fully open. All the nipples take an 11mm spanner, as you guys recommended. The fronts don't have enough clearance to use a 'semi-closed type' brake spanner, so an open had to do. The rears have plenty of clearance.
It was a lovely sight to see all the little air bubbles coming out, and seeing the rears go from light brown to clear yellow
Tightened everything back up, wheels back on. Truly, one man operation
Took her for a spin and the brakes are smoother. They're not transformed by any means, but they're noticeably sharper and smoother and I feel much more confident under hard-braking.
I'll have a go at the clutch cylinder on Wednesday, so I'll keep you posted.
Thanks everyone, couldn't have done it without you