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Questions and Answers

Ford Windstar ABS Brake Bleeding

Q. Hi Vince, I know that you have probably covered this topic but I could not find it anywhere. There was also a link on the page Brakes that did not seem to work. I want to bleed my brakes. I intend to do it alone. My Haynes manual gives me what I tend to believe is the proper procedure for standard brakes.

Ford Windstar ABS Brake Bleeding
  1. Empty the master cylinder
  2. Refill with new fluid
  3. Go to the farthest wheel cylinder (Right Rear)
  4. Have helper push brake pedal and hold
  5. Open valve
  6. Close valve
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until clear
  8. Refill master and do left front, left rear and then left front

It then goes on to talk about ABS equipped vehicles and it says to:

  1. Start at Front Left
  2. Open valve
  3. Have helper pump 25 times until no air comes out
  4. Close valve

I am confused. Would releasing the pedal not cause old fluid or air to be sucked back into through the bleeder valve?

How would you recommend for one to bleed the ABS brakes on this vehicle? I am going to attempt to do this by myself. I do not have a bleeder pump but I will buy one if I need it.

  • 1999 Ford Windstar
  • 3.8 liter V-6
  • Automatic transmission
  • Fuel Injected
  • ABS Brakes
  • P/S, A/C and Cruise control

Thanks...

A. For brake bleeding in general on vehicles without ABS, the order is:

  • Master cylinder
  • Left Front
  • Right Front
  • Left Rear
  • Right Rear

The theory is that you are pushing any air bubbles rearward and by following the natural path the air wants to go, you will get all the air out.

On ABS equipped vehicles, since there are some that are required to be vacuum bled, I bleed all ABS vehicles with a vacuum bleeder. This also has the advantage of being a one man job, no helper is needed to pump the brake pedal.

In the ABS brake bleeding procedure the Haynes Manual gives you, they left out two important pieces of information. Well, here is the procedure from the Ford Manual.

Note: This procedure only needs to be performed if the 4-Wheel anti-lock brake (4WABS) Hydraulic Control Unit (HCU) has been installed new. (First piece of missing information.)

Ford Windstar ABS Brake Bleeding
  1. Clean all dirt from and remove the brake master cylinder filler cap, and fill the brake master cylinder reservoir with the specified brake fluid.
Ford Windstar ABS Brake Bleeding
  1. Connect a clear drain tube to the RH rear bleeder screw and the other end in a container partially filled with recommended brake fluid. (Second piece of missing information.)
  2. Have an assistant pump the brake pedal and then hold firm pressure on the brake pedal.
  3. Loosen the RH rear bleeder screw until a stream of brake fluid comes out. While the assistant maintains pressure on the brake pedal, tighten the bleeder screw.

    • Repeat until clear, bubble-free fluid comes out.
    • Refill the brake master cylinder reservoir as necessary.

Ford Windstar ABS Brake Bleeding
  1. Tighten the bleeder screw.
  2. Repeat Steps 2 - 5 for the LH rear bleeder screw, the RH front bleeder screw and the LH front bleeder screw, in that order.
  3. Repeat the conventional bleed procedure as outlined in Steps 2 through 6.

If you want to vacuum bleed the brakes, you can get a Mighty-Vac kit that has the brake bleeding attachments included.

The bottle they give you is kind of small so I made a larger one from a one gallon pickle bottle. I drilled two holes in the cap and soldered a three inch piece of metal tubing, leaving an inch above the cap, in one hole and an eight inch piece of tubing, or whatever length you need to get within one inch of the bottom, in the other. Again leaving one inch above the cap.

If you want to get fancy, you can use two long pieces and bleed both frons or both rears at the same time.

Hook your hand vacuum pump to the short tube and the hose from the bleeder to the long tube. Then just pump away until you get clear brake fluid coming out.

As for that broken link, it happens. Addresses get changed and it's almost impossible to go and check every link on this site, there are so many. I rely on people, such as you, to let me know when there is a link that no longer works so I can repair or replace it.

Most times it's just the page address that's changed. Sometimes the whole site goes out of business. In that case I try to find another quality link to replace it with.

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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