Daunting brake job I might not be qualified for

sisyphus

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2008
Location
Appleton, Maine
TDI
99.5, '01 A4 Jetta sedans, 5 sp box, Hamman mod, Joey mod, Bilsteins, 2.00" lift
I'm the third owner of a '00 Jetta sedan.
I had to replace the brake MC, which went off without a hitch.
I went to bleed the brakes manually, did the RR, moved to LR, and... The remaining three bleed nipples are probably original to the car and don't look like they've been touched, certainly not by me in the last five years, and probably not by the PO. I know they will just break off if I try.
Am I looking at removing the remaining three calipers, drilling out the broken nipples and replacing them before I can successfully complete this job? Or is it possible to use VCDS to bleed the system by cheating and just cracking open the brake supply lines at the calipers? Sounds messy, but might be easier and less fraught with potential disaster. But I don't know.
I'm tempted to just take it to someone but I'm taking a lot of heat for keeping a 20+ y.o. car in the first place, she's kind of tired of these cars always needing something.
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
COLORADO (SE of Denver)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress) I moved so now i got nothing but an AHU in a garage on a pallet.
Nope. It must be bleed at the nipple.
If there snapped off.... the caliper must be removed and or replaced. Its tricky to get them out but it can be done. If you replace... go with our vendors.
Calipers can be rebuilt fairly easily and cheaply.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
Yes, that^
Don't let those little srews get over on you. If necsessary you can destroy them, They have a hole in them, a good extractor and/ore drill out most of the material, just don't damage the threads or the seat in the caliper. If you drill, insert a bit of grease to catch the shavings.
 

Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
Nope. It must be bleed at the nipple.
If there snapped off.... the caliper must be removed and or replaced. Its tricky to get them out but it can be done. If you replace... go with our vendors.
Calipers can be rebuilt fairly easily and cheaply.
This is not correct. In a pinch, you can absolutely bleed calipers at the lines.

Best way is to remove the caliper and with the help of an assistant have them work the pedal while you simulataneously orient the banjo fitting to be the highest point and crack\tighten as you would with the bleeder screw. Helps if you can brace the piston with a black of wood or similar to keep it from extending while you bleed.

Lightly tapping the caliper with a wrench or small hammer helps to work the air bubbles up to and out of the fitting.

Have done this successfully a number of times over the years.

As above, calipers are cheap, so why not replace...
 

KLXD

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Location
Lompoc, CA
TDI
'98, '2 Jettas
Use a tee handle wrench if you have it. If not be careful to support the the wrench so you're only putting torque on the fitting, no side load like you get by just pushing on the end of the wrench. And use a socket, not an open end wrench. Preferable a six point.
 

DivineChaos

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Location
Minnesota
TDI
mk6 jetta sportwagen tdi
This is not correct. In a pinch, you can absolutely bleed calipers at the lines.

Best way is to remove the caliper and with the help of an assistant have them work the pedal while you simulataneously orient the banjo fitting to be the highest point and crack\tighten as you would with the bleeder screw. Helps if you can brace the piston with a black of wood or similar to keep it from extending while you bleed.

Lightly tapping the caliper with a wrench or small hammer helps to work the air bubbles up to and out of the fitting.

Have done this successfully a number of times over the years.

As above, calipers are cheap, so why not replace...
I've done this also. It works. But breaks are sometimes spongy
 

PakProtector

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Location
AnnArbor, MI
TDI
Mk.4 and the Cummins-es
Heat with the penetrating oil is critical; the AL expands more and makes the bleed screw looser and more likely to allow removal.

Dougals
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
COLORADO (SE of Denver)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress) I moved so now i got nothing but an AHU in a garage on a pallet.
I've done this also. It works. But breaks are sometimes spongy
No. And no
In a pinch... get it towed.
You are risking others lives with bad breaking. If there is any spongyness or very old fluid you are risking a boil out and no brakes.
Stop giving poor advice on brake bleeds.
Wither do it right or don't drive it.
Anyone who advises trying this is risking your life and others.
Will it work... kida. I've done it a few times but it was to get it put of a field so it could be towd.
 

Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
No. And no
In a pinch... get it towed.
You are risking others lives with bad breaking. If there is any spongyness or very old fluid you are risking a boil out and no brakes.
Stop giving poor advice on brake bleeds.
Wither do it right or don't drive it.
Anyone who advises trying this is risking your life and others.
Will it work... kida. I've done it a few times but it was to get it put of a field so it could be towd.
Says the guy who endorsed a half assed water pump replacement in another thread.

Have you ever done this? (bleed a caliper at the line)

Have you ever worked professionally as a mechanic?

In my case the answer to both is a yes - both flare style and banjo style - multiple times with success and no spongy feeling... And yes - licensed in the province of ontario for over 25 years. Stay in your lane on things you've never done and don't know about.

A caliper can be bled just fine at the line without spongy feeling, as long as (as with regular bleeding) you get the air out. make the line the highest point and get someone to work the pedal while you bleed it properly.

For someone with so many redneck suggestions, I'm genuinely surprised at your uninformed answer on this.
 

DivineChaos

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Location
Minnesota
TDI
mk6 jetta sportwagen tdi
No. And no
In a pinch... get it towed.
You are risking others lives with bad breaking. If there is any spongyness or very old fluid you are risking a boil out and no brakes.
Stop giving poor advice on brake bleeds.
Wither do it right or don't drive it.
Anyone who advises trying this is risking your life and others.
Will it work... kida. I've done it a few times but it was to get it put of a field so it could be towd.
I did it on a old truck when I was broke and had a robber line blow. The bleeder was already broken off and I could not afford it. So I put the caliper below where the rubber line was tapped on the caliper to try to get any air in it that was out.it worked. Is it the correct way to do something? No is it all that safe? It's better than driving without a break. I'd rather have a slightly spongy brake pedal then no brake pedal at all.
 

DivineChaos

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Location
Minnesota
TDI
mk6 jetta sportwagen tdi
Says the guy who endorsed a half assed water pump replacement in another thread.

Have you ever done this? (bleed a caliper at the line)

Have you ever worked professionally as a mechanic?

In my case the answer to both is a yes - both flare style and banjo style - multiple times with success and no spongy feeling... And yes - licensed in the province of ontario for over 25 years. Stay in your lane on things you've never done and don't know about.

A caliper can be bled just fine at the line without spongy feeling, as long as (as with regular bleeding) you get the air out. make the line the highest point and get someone to work the pedal while you bleed it properly.

For someone with so many redneck suggestions, I'm genuinely surprised at your uninformed answer on this.
I did this as a younger man because I had absolutely no choice. Brake pedal wasn't rock hard it was a little bit soft wasn't totally spongy. I bled it this way two or three times and ended up getting the rest of the air out. It was the rubber line that connect directly to the caliper that burst. Sometimes you got to do what you got to do. No car equals no paycheck. We don't all have thousands of dollars in our bank account. A lot of us are still living paycheck to paycheck
 

PakProtector

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Location
AnnArbor, MI
TDI
Mk.4 and the Cummins-es
The 'bleed it at the line' is quite possible; just remove the caliper, and block it open with something solid. Make the fitting the highest bit on it.
cheers,
Douglas
 

snakeye

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2009
Location
Montreal, Canada
TDI
2003 Jetta and Wagon, GLS 5sp
The bleeder valve will only break off if you break it off. The trick is not to use brute force but taps both ways (loosen/tighten) on the wrench until your feel movement. A ton of heat works great, hammering the crap out of the valve works as well to loosen the rust. I think penetrating oil only works with time, and you need to make sure to scrape all the rust around the thread away or else it won't do anything.

If you break the tip off you can still use a quality vis grip. Drilling it out would be tricky as you need to know the exact depth at which to stop, and if there's a lot of oxidation on the bottom of the valve that part might just remain stuck in there.
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
COLORADO (SE of Denver)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress) I moved so now i got nothing but an AHU in a garage on a pallet.
A tip
The grease you are using to lube up the slide pins (you do this every brake job) you need to use it on the bleed screws.
Every time I do a bleed, take the screw completly out. Clean it up and add some grease to its threads. Install the screw. Do not wipe off excess it is the seal that keeps the threads happy. Now bleed them!
If a bleed screw is a bit rusty.... replace it. It's what like $5 for a set of bleed screws and caps. Also always replace the cap. Put a dab of that grease in the cap too.
Doing this is a huge help next time you go to bleed and is actually part of many procedures from service bulletins.
 

mjydrafter

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Location
dsm, ia
TDI
2004 Jetta Wagon
One of the suggestions, if using a Mityvac, is to wrap the bleed screws with a little teflon tape.

I have never had a problem with any of them I have done this too. It is a PITA however, but when installing a new caliper it's easy.

They salt the roads here like nobodies business.
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
COLORADO (SE of Denver)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress) I moved so now i got nothing but an AHU in a garage on a pallet.
One of the suggestions, if using a Mityvac, is to wrap the bleed screws with a little teflon tape.

I have never had a problem with any of them I have done this too. It is a PITA however, but when installing a new caliper it's easy.

They salt the roads here like nobodies business.
The grease does that job better and stops issues.
Teflon tape is actually a bad idea it could act as a false feeling on tightening the bleeder screw. Also ots not heat resistant so it basically does nothing for you vs grease that works very well for a very long time.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
Yep. Brake pin grease is an EXCELLENT anti-seize that actually works. On a bolt where torque is not a factor it is wildly superior to most other options. I use it in a number of places.
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
COLORADO (SE of Denver)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress) I moved so now i got nothing but an AHU in a garage on a pallet.
I upgraded to silicone based high temp grease. Very happy with the results over the grease that comes in the pack. But there isnt anything wrong with that pack of grease.
 

benshaw

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2004
Location
51
TDI
a4 130pd bew
i find the fronts on mine have been ok as there steel on steel but rears aluminium with steel screw corrode at the top and are well well tight the older it gets, i tighten it slightly to break the corrosion, then back and forth to open.
as above i second to replace with new.
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
COLORADO (SE of Denver)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress) I moved so now i got nothing but an AHU in a garage on a pallet.
The idea is that when you barely get it off.... change it now or you wont next time. It's usually either corroded from within and snaps or is stuck and rounds off.
 

Nuje

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2002 (swap from 2L gas); 2016 A3 e-tron
After having snapped a few bleed screws over the years, I've had good success recently with the aforementioned penetrating oil (acetone / ATF), heat, and then quick little blips (one or two impact hits) with my ¼" M18 impact (on "wuss" setting) in both directions.
 

sisyphus

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2008
Location
Appleton, Maine
TDI
99.5, '01 A4 Jetta sedans, 5 sp box, Hamman mod, Joey mod, Bilsteins, 2.00" lift
I decided to just replace the calipers. At $100 apiece, I need three of them, the mechanic would probably charge about $500 in labor because it'd take him most of a day to do the routine with the torch, penetrating oil, etc. Which I could do myself, but being self employed I don't have a lot of time in my life for this car.
Will remove and grease the bleeders as mentioned. I like that idea.
 
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