Forums General Counties Cars Discussion A40 Somerset front brakes bleed nipple position

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  • #7893

    Hello all

    I’m refurbishing the brakes on my Somerset including replacing all the brake cylinders . Rears both done all fine, but when I came to the front brakes I noticed that the whoever did them last installed both bleeder screws in the lower  of the two unions on the back of the wheel cylinders. In other words the bleeder screws are positioned horizontally. I’ve always been told that bleeders should point upwards because air  is lighter than brake fluid.

    BUT, as this is my first time working on Somerset brakes I wanted to know – Is this positioning normal? or has the previous person got the configuration wrong? The wheel cyclinder fittings currently go like this (I tried to take a pic of the back plate but couldn’t get a good one, so I’ll try and explain in words):

    Forward brake cylinder (i.e. the one nearest the front of the car)

    Top union: brake hose connected

    Bottom union: cylinder connecting pipe connected

    (seems right to me?) BUT

    Other wheel cylinder

    Top union: other end of the cylinder connecting pipe

    Bottom union: bleed screw

    The connecting pipe goes over the top of the wheel hub. I wonder if the connecting pipe should go under the hub and connect to the bottom union. Or maybe everything’s all the wrong way round…!

    The front view of the current set up (driver’s side) is at the bottom of the post.

    The expertise of forum members would be most welcome! If any kind member could share the set up on your car that would be great.



    Richard Hughes

    Yes that is all correct. This is one of the reasons these cars are a sod to bleed as it’s difficult to get all the air out of the front brakes.

    I use a Sealey VS820 pressure bleeder. The supplied cap fits our Girling reservoirs but I recommend a bit of PTFE tape on the reservoir thread and also nice new DOT 4 fluid. Done two Somersets and a Hampshire with this system now and it’s a lot quicker and easier to purge the air than pedal pumping.


    Excellent thanks. I went ahead and refitted everything up as it was, just with new components so it’s a relief I don’t have to do it all again. Great tip about the kit, and timely as this weekend is for bleeding. I was just going to use traditional pedal pumping to a jam jar but from what you say that would be pretty frustrating.

    Thanks for the advice I think you’ve just saved me from a miserable weekend!


    so am hi right in saying that the bleed nipples should be facing up wards on the somerset, has my front ones are facing down wards,

    1. As I understand it, rear nipples face upwards and front downwards. No idea why but Richard Hughes confirmed this  as correct above. Hence the need to pressurise the brake system in the way Richard describes when bleeding. I followed his advice and it worked – thanks Richard!
    Richard Hughes

    No problem Johnny. Glad it all went well for you. So many people have problems bleeding these by pedal pumping (myself included) the pressure bleeder makes very light work of them.

    It worked so well on the Austins I’m going to make an adaptor so we can use it on my mates Phase 1 Vanguard, which has a Lockheed master cylinder but similar problems with air getting trapped in the front brakes. Very very difficult to get a good pedal on it.


    Hi Richard yes I found it fairly straightforward. I started by bleeding the back brakes conventionally then used the pump to do the front 2 then all round all 4 a few times with the pressure on. I found I needed plenty of fluid in the pump but once done easy enough to just pour the excess back into the original container for topping up if needed. Big advantage of putting the system under constant pressure was it  exposed a loose union leaking at the master cylinder that I might not have noticed otherwise.

    So yes great tip!

    Good luck with the Standard.


    Hydraulics were a new thing to Austin at this time, has any one tried plumbing up the brakes more conventionally?

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