I have a 91 nissan sentra without ABS, and underneath the car it is so rusted that mechanics did not want to use their lift on my car.

If it comes down to where I can't use a floor jack myself (I need to buy one) will I be able to access the bleed nipple if I lift the back of my car on my small car ramps? I have drum brakes on the rear.

edit; attempted to bleed brakes, after adding wd40, the bleeder nipple broke off. Didn't attempt to bleed the rest of them. Its crappy car, already put new tires, new alternator, and new battery.

  • Just curious why you are wanting to bleed the brakes? Old fluid? Spongy pedal? – tlhIngan Nov 5 '16 at 18:05
  • I have to pump the brake pedal to start slowing down, and also I was able to get access to the bleeder nipple, when I put my car on my ramp. Bad news, even adding immense amount of wd40, the bleeder nipple broke off. – andyADD Nov 5 '16 at 21:58
  • In many first-world countries, if the subframe is so rusted that mechanics didn't want to use their lift, it would be illegal to drive on public roads anyway. – alephzero Nov 5 '16 at 23:54
  • if the nipple came off, you need a new caliper. Could you remove your tire lug nuts, or are they rusty too? – Dan Z Nov 6 '16 at 0:54
  • This was on rear drum brakes. Friend of mine said he will help me work on it, I compiled a list of parts. I will add calipers as a "just in case" – andyADD Nov 6 '16 at 9:05

If your car ramps are high enough, you should be able to. The other option, depending where you live, is to find a mechanic who has a pit. I understand they are illegal in some places, so you may not be able to find one.

As a side-note: if your car's frame is really that rusty, you might want to work on it before the floor falls through.

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    Fixing rusty body panels is one thing. Don't fix a rusty frame. There is literally too much riding on it. :) – tlhIngan Nov 5 '16 at 18:06

There is absolutely no way your car is still driving while being too rusted to lift properly. The car is holding it's own weight when it's on the ground, right? It only needs to hold it's own weight when up in the air, right? Your mechanic just imagines that your bleeder valves are rusted shut (and they might be), so he's using the lift as an excuse. Find another mechanic, preferably one with a lift where the wheels are being supported, like the lifts they use for wheel alignments. Alignment hoist

It is way easier (for access) to bleed your brakes if you take the wheels off, and to do that you need to jack the car up. Be aware that jacking a car up to put it on ramps doesn't work the way you think. The suspension will stretch when you are taking the weight off of the wheels, you will need to lift the car much higher than your jack can likely handle. It is much easier to drive onto the ramps. I have ramps (built them myself, heh), I use them for everything except for things when I'd rather take the wheels off (like bleeding brakes). Every tool and technique has it's purpose.

That being said, I have a 94 Sentra (same body style as yours), so to jack it up (for this or other purposes) go find these:

  • Get behind the car, lay down on the floor on your stomach and look at the middle part of the rear axle, beyond the sway bar. You see that black round cylinder about 2 inches wide? That's the jack-point for the entire rear of the car. Rear center jacking point

  • Now run around to the front, get down on the floor on your stomach, see that black beam about 3 inches wide that runs from the radiator to further back than you can see? That's the jacking point for the front of the car. Front center jacking point

Do NOT get under the car with only a jack holding it, put jackstands somewhere underneath. The part that usually rusts enough to freak out mechanics are the pinch-weld seams (the bottom of the rocker panels, that thing you gently kick to remove snow from your shoes before getting into the car). My mechanic friend always says to use those, but every time I do something bad happens (they crack or bend). So, now, go look for these:

  • Go next to your driver-side side-view mirror, get down on the floor on your stomach and look under the car for a beam running front-to-rear, about 18 inches away from the side of the car. There's a spot near the front of it (lined up with your mudflap) that is a little thicker. This is a jacking point for the car, there's another one on the passenger side. Sorry for the blurry picture :) Front

  • The rear is a little problematic on most cars if you don't want to use the pinch-weld seams. That beam you used at the front ends way too early to be used at the back. Don't use the actual floor of the car, that's very thin sheet metal and your jackstand may just go through it. Pinch-weld seams are your best bet, even if you have to move a little forward, if not there's this "mouth" just a little forward of the rear control arm pivot point. Rear

If the underside of your car doesn't look like this, you don't have a 91 Sentra, you have a 91 Sentra Classic (previous generation)

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    "The suspension will stretch when you are taking the weight off of the wheels, you will need to lift the car much higher than your jack can likely handle." That seems a strange statement. If your jack is too short to let you change a wheel (which requires lifting the tire clear of the ground to remove the wheel), it's not much use for anything! – alephzero Nov 5 '16 at 23:57
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    OP was talking about jacking a car up to rest it on ramps, not jack stands. Clearing a jack stand requires 1 more inch than the height where you want the car to rest. Clearing a ramp, you need a lot more because the suspension stretches when you jack the vehicle up, and then compresses when you rest the vehicle on the ramps. – tlhIngan Nov 6 '16 at 0:41
  • Lemme rephrase that. To rest a car on jackstands (to change a tire), you jack the car up until the suspension stretches and the tires get off the ground, and then you jack about 1 inch more. To rest a car on ramps, you need to jack until the suspension stretches and the tires get off the ground, then you need to jack by the height of the ramp, plus an inch. – tlhIngan Nov 6 '16 at 0:54
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    Great effort on this answer! You actually went out, jacked up a vehicle, and documented the whole process with photos! – Zach Mierzejewski Nov 6 '16 at 11:56
  • @ZachMierzejewski The OP and I have the same generation make and model. I always think I've got the last one on the road, until I see another one and I'm like a kid who sees an ad for a triple-scoop ice cream cone with chocolate fudge dripping from it. – tlhIngan Nov 7 '16 at 3:45

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