Here are all the parts you need to build your own DIY brake bleed kit. A bucket for storage, a water bottle to catch the fluid, a cable to hang the water bottle off of a wheel stud, some plastic hoses (different diameters), and a box cutter.

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.

 I wrap the 1/16 thick metal cable around the neck of the used water bottle and then crimp it tight by smashing the aluminum sleeve with pliers. This allows the cable to hang the bottle from a wheel stud.
I wrap the 1/16 thick metal cable around the neck of the used water bottle and then crimp it tight by smashing the aluminum sleeve with pliers. This allows the cable to hang the bottle from a wheel stud.
A simple loop in the 1/16-inch cable allows for an easy way to hang the bottle from a wheel stud. If you race a car that doesn’t have wheels studs … well there is nothing I can do for you.
A simple loop in the 1/16-inch cable allows for an easy way to hang the bottle from a wheel stud. If you race a car that doesn’t have wheels studs … well there is nothing I can do for you.
Using a 5/16-inch drill bit, simply drill a 5/16 hole into the center of the water bottle cap. This will allow for the 5/16-inch outside diameter clear plastic tube to be inserted through the cap and into the bottle.
Using a 5/16-inch drill bit, simply drill a 5/16 hole into the center of the water bottle cap. This will allow for the 5/16-inch outside diameter clear plastic tube to be inserted through the cap and into the bottle.
Once the water bottle cap is drilled, I use a box cutter to cut slices (similar to a pizza) in the plastic cap to allow for the clear plastic tube to friction-fit inside the hole.
Once the water bottle cap is drilled, I use a box cutter to cut slices (similar to a pizza) in the plastic cap to allow for the clear plastic tube to friction-fit inside the hole.
Once the hole is drilled in the water bottle cap, and the cap has been cut like a pizza, simply insert the plastic tubing through the hole and screw the cap back onto the bottle.
Once the hole is drilled in the water bottle cap, and the cap has been cut like a pizza, simply insert the plastic tubing through the hole and screw the cap back onto the bottle.

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.

This is the final product. A recycled water bottle, some 5/16-inch clear tubing, a 1/16-inch piece of cable and two aluminum clamps and you have your own brake bleed bottle for about $4 from Orchard Supply Hardware. You will have to source your own favorite racing sticker.
This is the final product. A recycled water bottle, some 5/16-inch clear tubing, a 1/16-inch piece of cable and two aluminum clamps and you have your own brake bleed bottle for about $4 from Orchard Supply Hardware. You will have to source your own favorite racing sticker.

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!

Not all brake bleeder fittings work with a 5/16-inch outside diameter tube. Find out what tube fits your car and then use a brass reducer and small piece of a different diameter tube to add it to the end of the line coming out of the bottle. With this setup this bottle can bleed any type of brakes.
Not all brake bleeder fittings work with a 5/16-inch outside diameter tube. Find out what tube fits your car and then use a brass reducer and small piece of a different diameter tube to add it to the end of the line coming out of the bottle. With this setup this bottle can bleed any type of brakes.
Here you can see the DIY brake bleed catch in action. The small cable hangs the bottle on one of the wheel studs. This keeps the bottle from tipping over and spilling brake fluid all over the place. The plastic tube is just the right length to get to the brake bleed fitting on the calipers.
Here you can see the DIY brake bleed catch in action. The small cable hangs the bottle on one of the wheel studs. This keeps the bottle from tipping over and spilling brake fluid all over the place. The plastic tube is just the right length to get to the brake bleed fitting on the calipers.
This is truly a bucket seat. Besides storing all of your brake bleeding gear in a clean, easy access spot, it also makes the perfect little seat for resting your bum on while bleeding your brakes.
This is truly a bucket seat. Besides storing all of your brake bleeding gear in a clean, easy access spot, it also makes the perfect little seat for resting your bum on while bleeding your brakes.
 The brake bleed bucket is easy to store in a racing trailer. Here we used two eye bolts and a rubber strap to hold it in place. The best part is no matter how much the trailer jostles around, all of the greasy brake bleed tools are safe in the bucket keeping the harmful brake fluid far from our race car’s shiny paint job.
The brake bleed bucket is easy to store in a racing trailer. Here we used two eye bolts and a rubber strap to hold it in place. The best part is no matter how much the trailer jostles around, all of the greasy brake bleed tools are safe in the bucket keeping the harmful brake fluid far from our race car’s shiny paint job.
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Image courtesy of Rob Krider