I performed my very first brake job today, most of it went well. Changed front brakes and rear brakes for the hell of it. I then went to bleed the system to finish the job right, I know air wasn't probably in the brake system and at 50k miles I probably didn't even need to bleed the system but I want to do things right, so I bled the Rear right first, then Rear left, I went to do the Front left bleeder valve and stripped the bolt. The metal is very soft and all I had was a 10mm open-end wrench, and I stripped the hell out of it. I then thought, well, what the hell, i'll bleed the other front bleeder AND guess what, I stripped the that one too, so here I am with two stripped front bleeder valve bolts.
I have located an auto store that carries the bleeder bolts but what would it take to swap out the stripped ones with new ones? Also, does Ford make a special tool like and offset 6-point wrench for these bleeder valve bolts? What's the trick to bleeding your lines without stripping the bolts? The rear bleeder bolts seem to be made out of some type of brass and those worked fine but the front bleeder bolts were some silver bolts that were pathetically soft metal.
When you say "stripped", do you mean the actual threads or that you rounded off the heads? It sounds like you rounded off the heads... if so, I think a vise-grip might work to get them out. Use some kind of penetrating oil first as it seems they are stuck pretty good. As far as replacements go, there may be different types of metals for them (ask the guys at Advance). Just make sure the threads are the same as the stock ones if you get other than OEM.
You need a flare nut wrench to keep that from happening again. Try a set of vice grips to remove the rounded out bolts. See if you can get speed bleeder bolts to replace them. If not then get replacements and check out this link.
Hey guys, yeah, I meant that I rounded off the bleeder bolt heads and not the threads themselves. I have some penetrating oil and vice grips but how do I remove the bolt and install the new one without brake fluid going everywhere?
Also, I bought an offset 6-point box-end stubby 10mm wrench online today to deal with these crappy bolts in the future. I didn't help any that the front bolts seemed to loosen in the opposite direction of the rear bleeder bolts.
Another thin was the front bleeder valve bolts are harder to get at with the tires on than the rear ones, so in the future I will bleed before I put the tires back on.
Thanks Flathead Red, I've never heard of a flare nut wrench before your mention of it. I googled it and I can see where that would be the perfect wrench for these kinds of soft metal bolts, it essentially fits all sides of the bolt so no slippage can occur. Thanks, I'm going to get a flare nut wrench and also ordered a 6-point box-end wrench for future brake bleed jobs.
Would you happen to know what size my brake bleeder bolts are exactly? I seem to think I used a 10mm for the job but I did strip to bolt heads so wonder whether I used the right sized wrench, can't find any info about brake bleeder bolt size online, in my haynes manual or alldata.com, anyone know for certain?
Gearwrench makes a reasonably priced set. It would be my advise to just get the whole set versus just buying one wrench. Also, if you get a Chilton's on your truck it will tell you what size you need. Or they might have it here:
Red, thanks for the links. One of those links has all the repair info. for my truck which is exactly what Alldata.com has but for free. Unfortunately I cannot afford a whole set of wrenches right now. I've had to tighten my belt for the time being. Thanks for the great sites and flare nut wrench tip.