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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2005 Frontier XE and today I started bleeding the brakes myself for the first time. I did not keep the master cylinder topped up the whole time which I know is a mistake so I stopped the brake bleeding job half way through. Only got the 2 rear tires bled.

The pedal gets nice and firm when the truck is off but when it is turned on it has no pressure to it. I checked the brake booster which seems good.

I'm at a loss on what I need to do. Should I just restart the brake bleeding or do I need to find a way to bleed the master cylinder now that I made this mistake before bleeding at the 4 corners? Brakes were working properly before starting this project.

Note: I turned the vehicle on after bleeding the two rear brakes because I was going to drive it up on ramps to do the front which is when I noticed the problem... didn't even think of just turning the wheels instead.
 

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If you’re sure you got air in the master cylinder then I think you need to bleed it. But the first thing I would try would be to safely lift the back of the truck up as high as you can to basically give the air bubbles as easy a path as possible to escape while you flush. Then properly flush the brakes without allowing the master cylinder reservoir to run out. See if that fixes it, its easy and would take about 30 minutes and maybe a bottle or two of brake fluid. It might not fix it.

One brief note, our trucks have a specific pattern for where to start and end for brake bleeding. It isn’t just a simple start-at-farthest. You go passenger rear, driver front, driver rear, passenger front. I mean, probably not going to hurt anything to start at farthest and work in, but the above pattern is what the manual specifies.

If the above doesnt work to get the air out then you will need to either power bleed the system (would require more tools and adapters), or you could bleed the master cylinder by using the bleeder valve on the cylinder while still in the car, or you could remove the master cylinder and bench bleed it.

Once thats done you would bleed the reminder of the lines as usual. I think thats all correct information. Ive never bled the master cylinder on our trucks so I don’t know how easy it is to bleed the cylinder in the vehicle.
 
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I would add to remember that the neg batt term needs to be disconn (easiest way)during bleed, because of ABS. And, if bleeding with Motiv, do not go over 15lb. I got trash pushed into and stuck in brake hose pushing to 20lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Today I got out there and re bled the brakes using a helper to push the pedal instead of trying the one man bottle method. I think the air in my system came from messing up that previous method because after bleeding all 4 calipers it seems to brake fine now. I've only gone around the block a few times so I haven't tested at Highway speeds yet.

Yesterday I may have drained just the reservoir and not the whole MC. In my frustration I was thinking they were the same thing and panicking.
 

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Give the ABS a good test on a dirt road, panic stop from 25mph and see if your getting the abs pump noise and pedal pulse to make sure its working fine. If so you should be good as new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Give the ABS a good test on a dirt road, panic stop from 25mph and see if your getting the abs pump noise and pedal pulse to make sure its working fine. If so you should be good as new.
I feel dumb asking this, but what exactly do you mean? Get up to 25 and slam on the brakes seeing if it stops it from locking up?
 

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I feel dumb asking this, but what exactly do you mean? Get up to 25 and slam on the brakes seeing if it stops it from locking up?
Its really easy to activate your ABS on dirt. You probably dont even need to go 25mph. Just get on a dirt road going 15-25 and give the brakes a decent push and you should feel the ABS shudder.
 

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You want to lock your wheels up so their sliding, this will activate ABS via wheel speed sensors, when ABS activates it makes a loud grinding screeching noise the brake pedal will pulse as the ABS pump applies and releases brake line pressures, if all this happens your wheels stop sliding in the dirt and you know your brake system is functioning normal and is free of air in the system.
 

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Make sure you bleed them in the correct order: right rear, left front, left rear and right front.
 
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