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How to Bleed Brakes on a 2004 Toyota Tacoma

by Eli Laurens; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Drain pan

  • DOT-3 braking fluid

  • Floor jack

The 2004 Toyota Tacoma was manufactured with a hydraulic braking system, which requires purging of the master cylinder, lines, calipers and wheel cylinders after repairs. This "bleeding" must be done to each brake individually, in an alternating pattern, to prevent air from remaining in the system. The average backyard mechanic can bleed a braking system in about an hour.

Raise the truck with the floor jack at the desired brake by placing the head of the jack onto a frame rail. Pump the lever until the wheel is in the air.

Remove the wheel by turning the lug nuts counterclockwise. Pull the wheel from the hub. Set the wheel aside.

Locate the bleeder nipple on the rear of the brake assembly and turn it in a counterclockwise direction. Collect drained fluid with the drain pan, as brake fluid weeps from the nipple. The front brake bleeder nipples are located on the back of the caliper.

Uncap the master cylinder, located in the engine compartment against the driver side firewall, by pulling the plastic tabs on the black top seal cap. The brake fluid in the two bowls should be a golden yellow color and full to the proper level.

Have someone press the brake pedal while pouring fluid into the master cylinder. Do not let the master cylinder get low on fluid, as this could introduce large amounts of air into the system and cause damage to the power booster. Only one press on the pedal is necessary; it will probably go to the floor without much resistance. The fluid coming out is the proper color with no latent air bubbles.

Turn the bleeder nipple in a clockwise direction to close it.

Release the brake pedal. Fill the master cylinder to the proper level. Cap the master cylinder by pressing the four tabs firmly onto the white plastic. Take care not to bind the internal rubber gasket.

Replace the wheel by turning the lug nuts in a clockwise direction, in an alternating pattern.

Lower the truck from the floor jack by turning the jack's pressure screw counterclockwise. Remove the jack.

Repeat the entire procedure on the remaining brakes.

Tips

Use DOT-4 brake fluid for higher temperature operation protection.

Warnings

Use extreme caution when working underneath a lifted vehicle.

About the Author

Eli Laurens is a ninth-grade physics teacher as well as a computer programmer and writer. He studied electrical engineering and architecture at Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta, Ga., and now lives in Colorado.

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