How to Bench Bleed a Master Cylinder on a 1986 Ford Taurus

The Ford Taurus premiered in 1986 and has been popular for families ever since. If it becomes necessary to replace the brake master cylinder, be sure to bench bleed it before installation. A new master cylinder is full of air, which, if allowed in your brake lines, can cause further braking problems. You don't need any specialized equipment to bench bleed and it only takes about 10 minutes for any model year.

Tools Used: Replacement brake master cylinder (varies between model years), Bench bleed kit (may come with the cylinder), Bench vise or clamp-on vise, Bottle of DOT 3 brake fluid, Phillips screwdriver

Bench Bleed a Master Cylinder

Remove the old brake master cylinder from your Ford Taurus. Look for it up toward the firewall, behind the air box tube and next to the strut tower.

Put your new brake master cylinder in a bench vise or clamp it to an old table to keep it in place. Make sure it's level when you tighten the vise.

Look for the two fittings that came with your bleed kit and screw them into the outlet holes on the side of the Ford Taurus's master cylinder; they may both be on one side or there could be one on each side, depending on which model year you own. Locate the two pieces of tubing in the kit and insert them snugly into the fittings.

Bend the tubes up and insert them into the reservoir. Cut them, if you need to, so they sit with the ends about halfway into the reservoir. Clip them to the lip of the reservoir, so they stay put and don't slip; you could end up with air in the system and have to start over, if you skip this.

Pour fresh DOT 3 brake fluid into the reservoir. The hoses will extend down into the fluid, creating a hydraulic system. This means you won't have to clamp the tubes to avoid letting fluid flow back into the master cylinder while you work.

Insert your screwdriver into the Ford Taurus's brake master cylinder and push. This moves the piston, forcing brake fluid into the cylinder to clear the air out of it. You'll see brake fluid recycling back into the reservoir, which doesn't pose a risk since you used fresh fluid.

Watch for air bubbles coming out of the tubes. If you have clear hoses, you'll see the air bubbles moving through the tubes; if your tubes aren't transparent, watch for bubbles coming out into the fluid in the reservoir. Sometimes bleed kits come with black tubes, so consider buying clear ones, if this is the case.

Keep pumping the piston steadily until you no longer see air bubbles. Leave the hoses in the master cylinder, carefully remove it from the vise and install the primed cylinder in your Ford Taurus.

Tips & Warnings

You might be able to save money by reusing your old brake fluid reservoir. Many master cylinders come with a new reservoir already installed, but if not, wash out your old one, making sure to dry it off completely, and install it into the new master cylinder.

If you get any brake fluid on your Ford Taurus, immediately wipe it off. Use a towel with soap and water to avoid letting the brake fluid eat through your paint.

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