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Last Updated 6/26/08

Fascinating facts
(No.72 )

British Army Forward Control fire tenders had a 110 wheelbase

Bleeding the Brakes on a Series Land Rover

The braking system on any Series Land Rover is decades old technology, even if the individual component parts are new. For this reason alone it is necessary to keep the system in good condition in order to get the most effective braking possible; the modern day driving habits of your fellow road users demand nothing less.

Achieving a hard brake pedal at the top of its travel is no mean achievement for a Series Land Rover owner. If, after servicing the braking system the brake pedal is spongy then air is in the brake fluid somewhere. One method of locating the air is to put clamps on all 3 of the flexible bare hoses that are common to all series Land Rovers With the 3 hoses clamped, the brake pedal will probably feel solid when pressed, but if it does not, then there is air trapped in the piping between the clamps or, most probably, in the brake master cylinder. If the pedal is solid, then each clamp should be released in turn until the wheel is found where the air is trapped.

Once the wheel has been located where the air is trapped then the air should be bled from this wheel with the other 2 hoses still clamped. It is usually helpful to turn the brake shoe adjusters until the shoes contact the drums before bleeding the air. This gives more opportunity for a greater volume of fluid to be expelled.

On many Series Land Rovers the rear axle brake pipe has a high spot where an air bubble can collect. It is particularly beneficial to adjust out the brake shoes before bleeding; this gives a greater chance of enough fluid passing through to flush out the bubble. In rare cases it may be necessary to temporarily bend the brake pipe to remove the highspot.

If the brake pedal is soft with all 3 hoses clamped then try bleeding from the wheel with the shortage brake pipe first. Always check that the movement of the master cylinder pushrod is sufficient and that the rubber seals in the master cylinder are not leaking. For the CB type master cylinder, it has been known for air to be trapped in the barrel of the cylinder. In this event has been necessary to raise the front of the Land Rover enough to bring the angle of the master cylinder horizontal before bleeding from the nearest wheel.

The hose clamps should really be professional round edged brake clamps so as not to damage the inside or outside of the hoses. If these are not available then two halves of the smooth shaft of a bolt cut lengthwise can be clamped in mole grips over the brake hose. Be careful when clamping that the halves do not shoot out.

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