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Master Cylinder

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How to Install a New Master Cylinder

The master cylinder is the heart of a vehicle's brake system. It is responsible for holding and sending out the brake fluid to apply the necessary pressure needed to activate the brakes. Installing the part can be a tedious process, especially when bleeding the brake lines. Be sure to have a friend help you out when installing a new one.

Required skill level: Intermediate

Needed tools and materials

  • Master cylinder
  • Brake fluid
  • Hydraulic jack
  • Jack stands
  • Wrench
  • Socket set
  • Hose or tubing
  • A suction tool like a turkey baster
  • Container
  • Preparing the vehicle

    Be sure to park your car in a cool, shady area like the inside your garage. Working for extended periods under the sun could lead to heat exhaustion and possibly heat stroke.

    Draining the master cylinder

    Open the hood of your vehicle and locate the master cylinder; most can easily be identified because of the plastic fluid reservoirs attached on top of them. Try consulting a repair manual if you're having difficulty doing so.

    Removing the old master cylinder

    Disconnect the brake fluid level sensor. Remove all the hoses or fluid lines connected to the master cylinder. Remove all the bolts securing the master cylinder and set them aside before removing the master cylinder itself.

    Installing the new master cylinder

    Mount the new master cylinder in its proper place before securing it with the appropriate bolts. Reattach all the hoses and fluid line before reconnecting the fluid level sensor.

    Bleeding the brake system

    Decide what side of the vehicle you want to work on first: the front or the back. Jack up the side you will be working on and support it with jack stands. Remove the wheels and locate the bleeder valves of the brake system. Attach a fluid hose to the valve and submerged the end in a container with brake fluid. Have an assistant depress the brake before opening the bleeder valve. Wait for all the air bubbles and brake fluid flow from the hose before closing the valve. Repeat the process a few more time until all the air has been taken out of the brake line. Repeat the whole thing for the three other bleeder valves.

    Tip

    • Bleed the bake lines properly after installing the master cylinder. Failure to do so may lead to malfunctioning brakes.

    Master Cylinder Articles

    • Centric vs. Beck Arnley: Which Brake Master Cylinder is the One? 11 January 2013

      The brake master cylinder is the central part of any brake system. You would want one that is durable so that they'll last and give you a sense of security. OEM parts are usually expensive; fortunately, other companies make similar components. Two such companies are Beck Arnley and Centric. To test out their products, brake master cylinders for a 2005 Honda Civic were compared. Here's the verdict.

      Product range

      Both companies have a large catalog of items to choose from, providing buyers with lots of choices. While Beck Arnley manufactures a wider range of automobile parts, Centric focuses primarily on parts for the brake system. This focus on brake products has allowed Centric to push out master cylinders of different builds and varieties to cater to the different needs of buyers. This gives Centric a slight edge for this criteria.

      WINNER: Centric


      Fit

      Both companies brag about their OEM comparable, direct-fit components and we're happy to say that their boasts aren't an empty one. Both brake master cylinders perfectly fit the Honda Civic; there is no need to trim or modify the cylinders. You just have to mount the parts wherever they need to be mounted in the engine compartment, then it's all a matter of affixing the appropriate bolts, brackets and fluid lines to install them. It's as simple as that. For the best fit and smoothest installation, you can't go wrong with both companies.

      WINNER: Centric and Beck Arnley


      Durability

      The metal alloys that make up the master cylinders of both companies are sturdy enough to handle the hydraulic pressure of the brake system. Their construction is sturdy as well, ensuring a long life for both. Based on their construction, both products seem equally matched.

      WINNER: Centric and Beck Arnley


      Price

      The price range of Beck Arnley master cylinders for the Honda Civic fall somewhere between $50 to $90. The same component by Centric have a much wider price range, from an affordable $30 mark all the way up to $120. Prices of both companies seem to average about $70, targeting mostly mid-range buyers. Despite that, this round goes to Centric, whose bigger price range accommodates both budget conscious buyers and people willing to splurge on their vehicles.

      WINNER: Centric


      The verdict

      Centric manages to edge out Beck Arnley, thanks to their expertise with brake systems and their wide price range. In terms of durability and fit, you can't go wrong with either company.