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I made a pressure brake bleeder out of a half-gallon bug sprayer from ACE hardware.  For the cap on the reservoir I just bought a new cap from a VW parts place (happens to be the same as a Volvo if you wish to upgrade).

I can send you the plans, if you wish (the "user Manual") is attached.

I've modified mine with a 1/8" ID "Quik-Connect" fitting that allows the cap to rotate freely AND I can quickly change from the Speedstah cap to a different one on our other cars.  "Constant Product Improvement" - just like when I was still working!



Last edited by Gordon Nichols
Gordon Nichols posted:

I made a pressure brake bleeder out of a half-gallon bug sprayer from ACE hardware.  For the cap on the reservoir I just bought a new cap from a VW parts place (happens to be the same as a Volvo if you wish to upgrade).

I can send you the plans, if you wish (the "user Manual") is attached.

I've modified mine with a 1/8" ID "Quik-Connect" fitting that allows the cap to rotate freely AND I can quickly change from the Speedstah cap to a different one on our other cars.  "Constant Product Improvement" - just like when I was still working!


I dig this. I need to bleed my brakes soon. I've always had the wifey help me in the past. I'll start looking for the parts. Thank you for the DIY write up Gordon! 

The original plans I used (from a BMW site) are kaput, so look at this one, with some caveats:

Here's the sprayer I used.  2-quart should be fine for a Speedster/Spyder system:



Caveats:  You do not need a pressure gauge.  What are you, NASA?  Give it 3 or 5  pumps (tops) and you're good to go.  

Get a real VW brake fluid reservoir cap (or a cap for whatever reservoir you are using) and modify THAT.  Nothing beats the real thing.  Remember to add an o-ring or rubber washer inside of the cap to seal it if it doesn't come with one.  From the top (inside) of the cap, figure out the depth that the fluid is when at the "full" line.  Add a length of copper tubing from the cap to that depth and when you're done bleeding and drain the system, THAT will be the depth remaining in the tank (see the user manual).


You do not need a tank bleed valve, but if it comes with one, that's a bonus.  Instead, just unscrew the pump handle enough to let it release pressure.  Again, we're not talking a lot of pressure here - maybe 4 - 5 pounds max - to do whatever bleeding you need to do and you will not have brake fluid just spewing out when purging the tank - not gonna happen.

The water-cooled division of Five Cent Racing stole my version with the quick disconnects  so my remaining one just uses the the original sprayer wand valve (which has a locking on feature) and the hoses that connect to that.  Unscrew the cap end, screw the cap onto the reservoir then screw the hose onto the wand valve and let 'er rip!


Here is another good video showing how to make one:

Remember to gently pump a little fluid through the system first to get it to the cap, then screw on the cap and pressurize the system.  It will hold 2 quarts of fluid, enough to easily bleed the entire system whether Speedster or Spyder (hydraulic clutch, too).

I never save the remaining brake fluid - it absorbs water too quickly so I just discard it. You can try bleeding with just a quart of fluid - I have and for one or two wheels (maybe even 3 or 4 if you're efficient) had no trouble.  You cannot introduce air into the brake system with this bleeder due to the design of the cap tube.

I had all the stuff beyond the sprayer kicking around the shop, but even if you buy new parts to do this, you should come in somewhere under @$25 bucks, or about $100 less than commercial versions.

Happy DIY-ing!


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Last edited by Gordon Nichols

"Gordon could you not simply top up the fluid at the end to the fill line if your off with the height of your fill tube cap combo?"

Sure, but 99% of the time that is unnecessary - when you let it drain back into the sprayer after you're done bleeding everything, the fluid remaining in the reservoir should be right at the fill line if you've set the length of the tube under the cap correctly.  If not.......Top it off.

I've tried commercial vacuum bleeders and pressure bleeders. I even have a spare MC cap with a Schrader valve threaded in the top. I use that for initial bleeding.

But I have never gotten as solid a pedal as I do when you do a good hard and heavy 3 pump-and-hold. Repeat about 6 times. It seems to drive the tiniest air bubbles out and give you a repeatable, high, and solid pedal. No hot fluid(air) fade.

Yes, brake fluid absorbs water like a sponge so I made my pressure bleeder in a 2-quart size so it’ll work with a single quart of juice so I’m not wasting a lot when I use it.  Been a good approach thus far.  

All of the “VW” style caps are about the same and the same as many Volvo tank caps, too.  Probably the best thing to do for an IM, though, is either get another one from IM or find out what it is, from them, and get one locally to insure that it’ll fit your tank cap threads.

Hey, while we're on a thread of DIY projects, my neighbor recently threw out a worn-out document shredder for the trash truck (it had chewed up too many old credit cards, I guess).  I grabbed it and removed the drive motor from it and then put the shredder remains back for the trash.  

The drive motor is about the size of a hand ball and runs on 110 volts AC so I pulled it  apart, removed the armature and bearings and turned it into a magnetizer/demagnetizer.

You may have seen my first one, made from a removed oil burner blower motor, but that one admittedly has a YUGE! coil and is vast overkill for a shop magnetizer that gets used mostly for screw-drivers (but Tim Allen on "Tool Time" would absolutely LOVE IT!)  

THIS one is much smaller, and while it can't turn a regular spark plug socket into a magnetized spark plug socket, it is just perfect for zapping screw-drivers and other iron-based tools and doesn't heat up while in use like it's big brother.

So, I give you the original "Ultra-Magnetron 10,000" and it's new, soon-to-be-a-Christmas-gift little brother, the "Magnetron 1,500 Lite".


Do not be fooled by the "Lunch-Time Salad Container" look - This is a serious piece of shop equipment designed and built to last for generations of use, assuming we're still allowed to have small hand tools in a few more generations.  Fully fused and thermally-protected (as the original motor was) for operator safety, "The Magnetron 1,500 Lite" is the perfect tool for instantly  magnetizing and demagnetizing any of your shop screw-drivers or small pliers - in fact, ANY small ferrous tool in your shop, with a simple pulse of the power button!  

(Note:  This model might not have enough poop to magnetize sockets larger than 1/8" and it shouldn't screw up your mechanical Rolex Oyster, but we haven't yet finished environmental testing so, in the meantime, don't wear a mechanical watch within three feet of these devices when in use - Caveat Emptor).

Never again will you have to hold a screw on the end of a non-magnetized screw-driver with one hand while trying to turn the tool with the other as the tool itself will hold the screw fast all by itself.  When you're done with your job you have the option of leaving the tool magnetized or returning it to a non-magnetized state with the push of the "Mag/DeMag" button.  The perfect multi-purpose tool!

Another quality shop product from the Christmas Elf at: 
Five Cent Racing ≡ Air-Cooled Division!

Remember, these Magnetron tools are NOT sold in stores.  

(In fact, they're not sold anywhere.)

But one just might show up at the Carlisle Raffle (if I find another motor to cannibalize).


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Last edited by Gordon Nichols


Well, with the Magnetron you can just stand there like you're using a teapot.  Insert the tool in the black tube, hit the button for a second (short pulse) or so and remove the newly magnetized tool to use it.

To de-magnetize the same tool, simply insert it into the Magnetron tube, push and hold the button while removing the tool, then release the button and the tool is de-magnetized.

Thank you, William Gilbert.

Hey Gordo, @Gordon Nichols, Oh wise one ... 

I got this off the site and wondered if I should just buy this it would be easier.


Motive Products

Works on most Air Cooled VWs, including Bugs, Buses, and Square Backs and Fast Backs. This kit includes adapter 1104. All bleeders come with a full 1 year warranty. 
Appplication notes:
VW Bus 1950-1967 will use 0100 - 45mm threaded cap
VW Beetle after 1963, bus after 1967 will use 0104 - 27mm inner diameter threaded cap (or check outer diameter of the reservoir neck at 27mm)

If the reservoir neck outer diameter is closer to 25mm you will need the 1110 cap.

Anything with push on caps will use 0101. 

The pump is not a whole lot more expensive that doing it yourself when you have to buy all the stuff from new but the adapters are not cheap...

 I guess I should measure the cap on my car to find out what top fits.  

Last edited by IaM-Ray

I have one of these and it works great. I set it at about 10 lbs. of pressure and it does the trick on my Speedster with front discs and rear drums.

Ditto what Gordon said about getting the right cap. Look at the manufacturers website first after measuring for cap size to get the right model number. 

There a re a number of sources for these, not a great deal of price difference but a couple of places offer free shipping. I just don't remember which ones.

Last edited by Panhandle Bob

Well, what CAN you get up there?  Lucas, Motul, Castrol, Prestone (my favorite) - They're all good and should be readily available.  Stay away from "Finish Line" as it is based on mineral oil 

The Haynes VW manual says either DOT 3 or DOT 4 (which can be mixed in-circuit, successfully).  Stay away from DOT 5 fluids ("Run, Forest!") as it is for racing and absorbs water more than the lower numbers.

DOT 4 can tolerate higher fluid temps, so if you're tracking your buzz-bomb, that's the stuff for you.  If not, DOT 3 is fine.

Haynes also doesn't care who made it (or what color the fluid is).  We used to be able to get either lite amber or blue fluid, but the DOT didn't like the blue, for some reason, so it is NLA.  Was nice to alternate the colors when bleeding year-to-year - made it easy to know when the new stuff made it to the wheel as it changed color of the flow.

More info:


Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Ray, it looks like a quart will replace the entire system, but by the time you mess around letting it flow out of the wheel valves you might use more than that.  I always buy 2 quarts and if I don't use the second one I return it unopened.  Getting rid of the old stuff is getting harder.  WalMart will still take it down here.  NAPA, too, but many other places no longer want it to recycle (probably because it's hard to recycle for them, too).

@Gordon Nichols  "1/8" ID "Quik-Connect" fitting" ??

I tried to get a screw cap to fit my Motive bleeder that I bought and well they had no stock so I am trying to make one. I got a cap from the good old wrecking yard and it fits on my car.  It was pretty dried and I found a crack in it so I JB Welded it and plan to use it to make a hose. 

The hose end on the Motive pump is a screw in 1/4 NPT. like an air hose in your garage. 

I have to drill the cap now and put in a fitting and hose.  Which fittin did you use on the cap?

I was thinking that way but if I could have somethings that was threaded and fit on either side it could pull it over a rubber gasket or at least I could silicone it to be a sealed unit. Just trying to not mess things us seeing this is my first fluid change. Going to see if this piece could fit the cap and a bolt could hold the small end in the cap  

Thanks for the help I'll get there.



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Last edited by IaM-Ray

Well I went looking in my garage and I stumbled on a bottle cap and a 1/4 npt fitting. The cap looked the right size so I tried it and it seemed to fit well. 

So I drilled it out with one of the step drills and then decided to use two rubber washers.  

I could not find a bolt to fit but tomorrow Ace/Princess Auto has one.  Now I think it should hold simply by compression and I should not need any silicone or other sealant since according to Motive the kit is pressurized to only 10psi if it does I could always seal it. 

What say you heir Gordo.  

cap 1cap 2


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Yup.  No sealant necessary.

If you measure from the top of the lip where the cap screws on down to the "fill" line, cut a length of plastic or copper tubing that length plus 1/4"  or so, that can cram into the fitting in the cap (pressure fit).  That will set the final depth of the fluid in the reservoir after you're done.

Attach the cap and tube from the tank, pump it up 4 or 5 pumps or so (10 lbs. is fine if you have a pressure gauge) and do the bleeding process.  When you're done, release the pressure from the tank, allowing excess fluid to drain back to the tank by gravity, then release your quik connect and remove the cap.  


The first time you use it, pressurize it to 2 - 5 lbs. and check for leaks.  Have a few rags handy, just in case.  See no leaks?  Then run it up to 10 lbs. and re-check.  Still no leaks?  Go have a Molson and congratulate yourself.

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