Mixed Brake Fluids

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  #1  
Old 03-16-02, 09:29 AM
Bob Manthei
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Question Mixed Brake Fluids

Two weeks ago for the first time I let a third party service our 97' Ford Expedition with 100k miles. Two days ago the master cylinder started leaking by. When I checked the brake fluid I noticed some one had filled it up. I now have two visible levels of brake fluid that will not stay mixed. About ten years ago we had a service station put DOT 3 fluid in a DOT 5 system. The ABS system failed shortly afterwards and caused the brakes to lock up. The dealer claimed that the damage was caused from the mixing of the fluids. The DOT 3 fluid caused the seals and o-rings to swell causing the lockups. They had to replace the ABS module to finally solve the problem. I suspect that this may be my problem since my system is a DOT 3 and I hve two visible types of fluid in the reservior. I am in the process of changing the master cylinder, brake fluid and will compress the calipers to remove as much of the old fluid as possible. I am hoping that I do not have to rebuild the calipers and that there is not any damage to the ABS module. Any Ideas or suggestions? This is the first time ever that I have had a master cylinder fail. We drove our last vehicle 180k.
Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 03-16-02, 09:57 AM
chadtoolio
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???

Could it be rather that the brake fluid that was put in was much cleaner than the fluid that was in there?

Brake fluid should be flushed every 3 yrs. due to the fact that it absorbs moisture and gets contaminated.

Especially on a ABS equipped car. Kinda like changing your oil.

Can also contribute to brake fade in extreme conditions. When you drive very hard and heat up the brakes and braking system you can actually cause the moisture in the fluid to boil!!!!
 
  #3  
Old 03-16-02, 11:33 AM
Bob Manthei
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It is very possible that it could be the difference. I have not changed the fluid since new. Historically we live in a very arid climate and have not seen a trend of brake failures due to the moisture content, but the old fluid is darker and has an emulision type appearence complete with the "frog eggs" at the interface. This can indicate a water & oil type of emulision. If shaken the fluids will mix, but I have not let the fluids settle to determine if they separate back out. I do plan to try mixng some of my new fluid with the old the see if I get the samen results.

Excellent Idea! Thanks Chad

Bob
 
  #4  
Old 03-16-02, 09:15 PM
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Dot 3,4,5

I just read your post do you know the difference in dot 3,4 & 5? Dot is not used much today because Dot 4 has a much higher boiling point for disc brakes. Dot 5 is Silicone and should never be put into a Hydralic brake system that has ever touched Dot 3 or 4.

I use only dot 5. Although I have to remove every piece of rubber, and flush out all metal lines. Before I can go With Dot 5. If you have somehow gotten both types in your hydralic system. You need to have your entire system changed and that includes your rubber brake hoses & proportioning valve.

Find out first but when you add new Dot 3 or 4 to your master cylinder it should be mixed inside of the first 20 miles.

Your first post said that Dot 3 had been added to a Dot 5 system. Dot is heavier than Dot 5 and went down into your system. Now it sounds if the lighter Dot 5 is floating on top of the Dot 4.

Because all the time that I work on any machine that carries people I think of their lives and not the machine. What is your life worth? My first 2 most important parts are brakes and tires. Because if you can roll and stop you will more than likely survive a malfuntion. Dot 4 & 5 do not mix in fact they form a deadly witches brew. Good luck and I mean every word I say.

Marturo
 
  #5  
Old 03-17-02, 11:00 AM
Bob Manthei
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Mystry Fluid

Thanks Marturo

The mystry fluid is floating on top of the older fluid. It does not mix and will settle out in <30 min. My clean BF mixed and dispersed with not problem in the old dirty fluid. When I talked to the owner he was "clueless" there was more than flavor, "We just order brake fluid". I will follow up and see if they have checked their stock and if it was if fact DOT 5. I did get simular results with power steering fluid, but the emulision was much more stable. It mixed better with the DOT 3 and not at all in the Mystery Fluid. I don't know what other kind of fluid it might be.

I appreciate your concerns, my family is the most precious experience I have. The Expedition has been jack stands since day one, the kids have to bum rides and my wife is driving the Kid's car.

Thanks
Bob
 
  #6  
Old 03-17-02, 11:34 AM
Joe_F
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Thumbs down

Assume his repair is clueless if he doesn't know that there are different grades (DOT) of fluid out there? Geez .

If you do a master cylinder job, all the fluid in there should be spotless when you are done. You should bleed the whole system as part of the repair .

Did he realize that the bolts might not be SAE either? lol .

I'd have it checked out and serviced at the dealer and bill the first guy for any poor repairs. Sue him in court if you have to, citing the dealer's report of mixed brake fluid. Be honest with the dealer and tell them what you think happened. Then, take the report back to the first guy and show him.

In fact, call the first guy and say, "It seems to me you didn't put the right fluid in perhaps, as you are unaware of the different types there are, or what might be required for my vehicle. In fact, the master cylinder cap and owner's manual say what is needed, and I suspect you being in the trade would know or could find out. That being said, I am going to have the dealer take a look at it. If they advise that the wrong fluid was used and there is damage done, I will have them repair the truck properly, and I will have to bill you for their redo of the services. I believe this is fair of how to proceed".
 
  #7  
Old 03-18-02, 05:57 AM
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mixed fluids

Hi Bob
I am truly sorry this hapened to you. I hope you can get it sorted out, and fixed real soon.
Best of luck to you, and your Family.
Marturo
 
  #8  
Old 03-19-02, 12:33 PM
Bob Manthei
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I was able to flush every thing bottoms up. Changed out the master cylinder and flushed again from top down. I have good clean DOT 3 top to bottom. I did keep a sample of the Mystery Fluid just in case anything else happens and we will talk about who pays for what. I have not had a chance to check with "Clueless" yet, but will. Thanks Joe! I had not thought about the rest of his work being clueless. I might need to check the drain plug as well. I did check to make sure that the oil filter was new and that the oil level was correct.

This was the first time I let anyone change my oil, and the last. Actually no one else has even touched any of my cars except for warrenty work or recalls. It is hard to confess, but........
Forgive me DIY's for I have sinned.
But rest assured that I will "Go and Sin no More!"
 
  #9  
Old 03-19-02, 02:56 PM
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He let someone touch it!

Oh no Bob you didn't, tell me it's not true.

I think some sort of disciplanary action must be in order.

We will have to kick this up stairs to the MODs, and plead for leniency. Maybe a through differiental clean out will pay for your sins LOL & PU it stinks back there.

BOL Bob
Marturo
 
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