How to Make a Bleed BlockPosted by Alex Mansell
What is a bleed block?
A bleed block, or piston spacer as it is sometimes known, is a plastic object designed to fit snugly between the pistons of your brake calliper, and its job is to prevent them from moving outwards during the bleed process. Today we're going to show you how you can make your own using the Epic Bleed Solutions' preferred method.
There are certain criteria a bleed block has to meet in order for it to work. It must:
- fit snugly between the pistons of your brake calliper;
- be made of a non-compressible material (wood, thick plastic);
- be a non-marring material - not metal, as this will cause damage to the surface of your pistons.
Why would the pistons move anyway?
During the bleed process it is necessary to operate the brake lever for the purpose of dislodging trapped air, or to flush brake fluid through the system. Any lever movement following brake pad removal will cause the pistons to advance, this is bad for two reasons:
- It can stop you from refitting the brake pads, wheel and brake rotor;
- It causes accidental over-filling of the system with brake fluid.
Can't I just leave the pads in?
By bleeding your brakes with the pads in place you're running the risk of contaminating them with brake fluid, especially if it's your first time, and this will render them useless. Also if your pads are partly worn you will overfill the brake system with fluid making it difficult to replace the pads when the time comes.
Things you'll need
- 3-5 old credit/store cards (or alternatively our Bleed Block Kit)
- Elastic band
- Pad separator or flat blade screwdriver
Start by removing the front or rear wheel to access your brake calliper. For the purpose of this guide our brake is not attached to a bike but the steps in this guide will be the same.
With the brake pads in place, use a pad separator or a flat blade screwdriver between the pads and twist to separate them. This will push back the pistons to where we need them to be. Be careful not to damage the surface of your brake pads.
Remove the brake pad retaining pin and then remove the pads from the calliper. Set them aside somewhere safe.
Once the pads are out make sure that the pistons are pushed as far back as they will go. The face of the piston should be flush with the inside of the calliper.
Take your old credit/store cards, or if you've bought our Bleed Block Kit now is the time to open it. Start by cutting 3-4 cards into quarters. You should end up with something like this:
Now stack small pieces together and try them between the pistons of your brake calliper. Add or take away pieces until you find the correct amount of cards you need to make it a snug fit.
Next, add a small drop of superglue to each piece and stick the lot together. Allow time for the glue to set before proceeding.
Now you're ready to bleed your brakes. Use the rubber band to secure the bleed block in place during the bleed procedure.
Now it's your turn!
Have you tried this technique with success? Maybe you use something else as a bleed bock? Post your comment below.