(partial) bleeding brakes, major fluid loss?

A rear brake line on our '04 Cavalier broke. It lost 'a lot' of fluid.
If air got in the ABS, I understand that bleeding will require a
pressure bleeder with a scan tool. This seems likely, but I'm going to try a manual bleed first. In doing so, if there isn't already air in the ABS, I don't want to introduce any.
- The master cylinder should be bled first?
- For the master, the AllData service manual only talks about bench bleeding, which they say necessitates a full ABS bleed. Back in the day (IIRC), we would bleed the master on the car, by cracking its outlet lines one at a time. Is there some reason this can't be done?
- More broadly, can a master bleed be done so as not to introduce air into the ABS?
- If there is air in the ABS, even mushy brakes would make it easier to drive to a shop. I'm thinking/hoping a manual bleed will still give me some braking. Yes? No?
Thanks
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On Saturday, October 25, 2014 11:16:16 AM UTC-4, George wrote:

back several years ago while bleeding an abs system we ran into a problem w ith the abs light coming on while bleeding and it would stay on.
After some trial & error we finally got the light to go out. while bleeding the brakes don't let the brake pedal go all of the way to the floor. From what I remember their was a point where the light would go out and that is where we would stop the brake pedal. It took a little longer to bleed but t he light stayed out and the pedal felt fine.
Hope this helps.
or you can always try to gravity bleed. It takes longer though.
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George wrote:

IF the master cylinder didn't go completely dry you shouldn't need to bleed it. Just fill the reservoir and crack a rear bleeder. Let it gravity bleed. That way you just keep topping the fluid.
If it did go dry then you can still do a gravity bleed and SLOWLY drive it to a shop.
--
Steve W.

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