Racers bleed brakes. A lot. It is just part of racing. Anyone who has been racing a while has spilled brake fluid all over the place or quickly over filled the ridiculously small brake fluid catch bottle you get at Autozone. Some pro racing teams have developed slick brake bleeder catch bottles, but they want $30 plus shipping and handling. Racers hate to pay for shipping and handling, and they hate to wait for stuff. I found an easy solution to the brake-bleed catch-bottle blues. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it is actually the best system I’ve ever used.
You hippies out there will like this part: We are going to recycle. Next time you drink a bottle of water, don’t throw it away. Keep the cap, too. Then head down to your local hardware store for a few bucks worth of supplies. We are going to build this thing for less than it costs to go to dinner at Taco Bell.
While cruising the aisles at your local hardware store, grab two feet of 1/16-inch steel cable, a couple of 1/16-inch aluminum crimp fittings, some 5/16-inch outside diameter clear tubing, a box cutter and a small painter’s bucket.
Make a small loop on one end of the metal cable, big enough for a wheel stud to thread through. Then with the other end of the cable, strangle the neck of the water bottle. Drill a 5/16-inch hole in the water bottle cap. Use the box cutter to cut the remaining part of the cap like a pizza to help hold the clear plastic tubing in place. Slip the plastic tubing through the hole on the cap and you are in business.
The bottle hangs from a wheel stud and the plastic tube goes up nicely to the brake bleed fitting. As the brakes are bled, the fluid goes into the water bottle, keeping things nice and tidy. Some brake fluid catch bottles have magnets one the end but I have found the magnets always too weak to hold the amount of fluid we pump out, and also I don’t like sticking anything to my brake rotors. Some people use a bent wire hanger to hold their fluid catch bottle but eventually someone is going to get stuck in the eye and these bottles are hard to store with a stiff wire attached to it. The hanging cable trick is a simple solution to this problem.
To really trick out your brake bleed kit throw your new brake fluid catch bottle inside the painter’s bucket along with some bottles of brake fluid. Include in the bucket the wrenches you will need for your brake bleed valves, a small rag, the box cutter (to cut the foil top off of new brake fluid bottles). You also can include brass fittings with different size tubes for different brake bleeder valve sizes and a Sharpie to mark the date on your brake fluid when you open a fresh bottle. Recall from the November 2012 Speed News article on brake fluid (LINK http://www.snmagcurrent.com/publication/?i=132201&p=56), this stuff expires after being exposed to the air too long. The brake bucket is a great place to store all of your brake bleeding tools because any harmful brake fluid that gets on the tools will remain in this bucket keeping the fluid far away from your car’s paint. Another great thing about the brake bleed bucket is you can sit on it while bleeding your car’s brakes.
The only thing left to get the job done is a friend to push down and release the brake pedal three hundred or four hundred times. You can ask your wife or girlfriend, but if she has done it once, I’ve found it is tough to talk her into the garage again for extreme leg exercise. Enjoy your new recycled brake fluid catch bottle. Way to go green!