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How to Bench Bleed a Master Cylinder on a 1982 Nissan Maxima

The Nissan Maxima is a stylish yet practical car that has been around since 1982, when Datsun began its conversion into Nissan. When you replace the brake master cylinder in a Nissan Maxima, it's wise to bench bleed the new one before installing it to ensure there isn't any air in the system. The process only takes about 10 minutes. These steps are applicable to a Nissan Maxima from any year.

Tools Used: Replacement master cylinder (varies by model year and engine type), Bench bleed kit (may come with the cylinder), Bench vise or clamp-on vise, Bottle of DOT 3 brake fluid, Phillips head screwdriver

Bench Bleed a Master Cylinder

Remove your old master cylinder before you bench bleed and install the new one. The brake master cylinder of a Nissan Maxima is generally located up against the driver's side firewall, next to the strut tower. This differs slightly between models, so just look for the brake fluid reservoir to find the master cylinder. You may have to remove the air tube to access the cylinder on later models.

Set your new Nissan Maxima master cylinder in a bench vise; if you don't have a bench vise, you can use a clamp-on vise and an old table. Clamp the cylinder firmly into place, making sure that it's level. Open up the bench bleed kit and have it close by.

Put the old reservoir into the new master cylinder, if you're reusing it. Be sure you dry off the reservoir completely, since brake fluid absorbs water and can damage your brake system, and then install it into the top of the new master cylinder. If a reservoir came with your new Nissan Maxima master cylinder, you can skip this step.

Find the two fittings that came with your bleeder kit. Thread them onto the outlets located on the cylinder; if you're not sure where they are, look on the top and sides of the cylinder for threaded outlet holes.

Take the two lengths of hose that came with your kit and insert them into the fittings. Bend the hoses up, so they're aimed into the fluid reservoir.

Cut the hoses if necessary. They should stick point-down into the reservoir and extend about halfway into it. Use a clip to secure the tubes to the side of the reservoir and keep them in place. You don't want them to come loose and allow air into the system or spray brake fluid around.

Fill the Nissan Maxima's reservoir with fresh brake fluid. Pour enough of it into the reservoir to fill it just shy of the maximum fill line. The plastic hoses will extend down into the fluid, creating a closed hydraulic system.

Pump the piston on the brake master cylinder to move the fluid through the unit and into the hoses. Use a Phillips screwdriver to do this; put the screwdriver into the cylinder and push it firmly against the piston to start pumping.

Watch for air bubbles coming out of the hoses and into the fluid in the reservoir. Keep pumping until all the air is out of the cylinder and you don't see any more bubbles. Consider buying clear hoses, if the ones that come with your kit are black, so you can see the air bubbles better.

Leave the two hoses in the reservoir and slowly remove the cylinder from the vise. You can now install the primed master cylinder into your Nissan Maxima.

Tips & Warnings

Brake fluid can damage the paint on your Nissan Maxima, so try not to get any on it. If you do, clean it up right away with a towel, soap and water.

Don't let the reservoir run dry, since pumping the master cylinder without brake fluid will put air into the system and you'll have to start over. It's unlikely that the fluid will get low, if you put the proper amount of brake fluid in to begin with.

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