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Fluid swapping


Shaman_C's Avatar
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06-24-02, 12:58 PM   #1  
Shaman_C
Fluid swapping

Hi In an 88 crysler lebaron, the break fluid reservoir was almost empty, not having any dot3 break fluid handy power steering fluid was used in it's place for the time being. The breaks then worked okay.

The question I have is.. is it ok to use the fluid in it or would it do some sever damage to the break system?

 
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06-24-02, 01:32 PM   #2  
Stubborn1
From what I understand of fluid systems in vehicles...

Brake fluid is brake fluid is brake fluid.

Power steering fluid is not brake fluid. It can, however, be used in some automatic transmissions, if you need a quick fix.

Again, from what I understand, you run the risk of damaging rubber brake hoses, and any seals that the power steering fluid comes into contact with.

My amateur advice to you, my friend, is to find out WHY your reservoir was almost empty. (There's a leak, somewhere.) Then repair the problem, and flush out your braking system.

That's my 2 cents.

 
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06-24-02, 01:47 PM   #3  
Shaman_C
Thanks for you advice

it was used as a quick fix the car was due to the shop for a boot replacement this morning. while there they were told to go ahead and bleed the line and refill the tank. with the boot needing to be replaced...would that have caused the system to leak out that bad? The car belongs to a friend and she was charged 102.00 for the boot replacement and bleeding and replacing the fluid in the system. I'm not a licensed mechanic but what little I have done on vehicles that sounds abit out of ordinary. Would I be wrong in assuming so.

 
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06-24-02, 01:52 PM   #4  
Stubborn1
What type of boot was replaced? In the caliper? Wheel cylinder? Master cylinder?

And if you figure most garages charge $50-$75 an hour, (at least they do in Arizona), I don't consider the price that bad. That was $102, including parts and labor, right?

 
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06-24-02, 06:58 PM   #5  
I have worked on cars 24 years.I would flush the system and pray I dont have to replace evert component containg rubber seals or hoses.By the way that was a good price for the work,too good actually.

 
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06-25-02, 07:23 AM   #6  
Joe_F
I hope I got this story straight .

1) If a shop (repair shop, garage, mechanic, etc) used power steering fluid in a brake system, he should not be in business. I can't recall a single instance where power steering fluid is to be used in a brake system. I'm sure if I'm wrong, the other guys in the trade will correct me.

2) That being said, you could be looking at a lot of trouble by what was done. I do agree that the seals could be compromised by using the wrong stuff.

3) It is correct to state that if your reservoir was empty, you have a leak somewhere. It must be found and corrected. If the shop can't do that, time to find another shop.

4) It is likely that the boot used was a split boot style and isn't worth a darn. There's no way that is so cheap to change a boot. Then again, if they add power steering fluid to a brake system, I wonder if they even have metric tools

 
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06-25-02, 07:30 AM   #7  
Stubborn1
Nothing personal, Joe, but I hope you got it wrong.

I'm pretty sure Shaman (or one his friends) put power steering fluid in for an emergency fix, to get the car into the shop. (They already had something an appointment set up). The garage only did a boot replacement and brake line bleed.


 
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06-25-02, 07:23 PM   #8  
otter_
shaman and davo

power steering fluid in the brake system has more than likely compromised anything that qualifies as a seal or gasket. The seals in a braking system are not meant to be subjected to a hydrocarbon based fluid or anything other than brake fluid. Get the car to a pro to have a proper bleed and inspection performed. The alternative of course is a nasty surprise somewhere down the road.

 
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06-25-02, 08:55 PM   #9  
Joe_F
Nothing personal taken....however...

Putting power steering fluid where it does not belong is in NO WAY a fix. As Otter, myself and others have stated, you may be in for a surprise. The brake system could fail without warning...and then the fix is to replace everything...not fun .

My point is that it is well worth the price of a tow truck when you're talking brakes. Losing your brakes on the way to shop to save a 40 dollar tow is hardly the cheap way out. Your or my life (If you hit me for instance) could depend on it.

My .02

 
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06-25-02, 10:48 PM   #10  
Stubborn1
Well said, Joe.

 
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06-25-02, 11:01 PM   #11  
My only thought here that hasn't already been expressed by someone else is this: There is no component of a brake system that, if leaking, requires the replacement of a boot, and only a boot. Are you talking about a CV boot? If so, that would have nothing to do with a brake leak. The "boots" on the calipers and wheel cylinders are basically to keep dirt and trash out. Not to keep fluid in. If fluid comes out of these boots, the internal seal in the component is bad, requiring rebuilding, or much prefferably...replacement.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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06-26-02, 07:31 AM   #12  
Dan Meyer
Using brake fld in place of PSF

Brake fluid is a synthetic fluid, whereas, power steering fluid is not. Synthetic fluids require special seals (viton) because they will destroy most materials used for oils (buna-n, neoprene, etc).
I would doubt that PSF would do any damage to brakes seals. Had brake fluid been used in place of PSK, I would expect there would be a big puddle under the car.

 
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06-26-02, 04:54 PM   #13  
Joe_F
Dan,

While I agree with you on your chemical analysis, the bottom line is that the system has been compromised. I would be very leery to drive a vehicle that didn't have anything but brake fluid in the braking system.

Fact is there could still be subsequent troubles due to fluid contamination. And we don't know much about this shop's repair procedures, but thus far they both seem questonable.

It could be OK, but it's a crap shoot in my belief.

 
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06-26-02, 06:34 PM   #14  
While Im not a college boy Dan,lets do a little test,remove all your brake fluid,replace it with power steering fluid,wait 3 months and let me know(if your alive)how it went.

 
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06-27-02, 03:24 AM   #15  
Joe_F
That's not the point Davo.

Dan IS right about the chemical composition! However, it is NOT the right stuff for brakes. I don't think that power steering fluid has the same boiling point as brake fluid or characteristics. It's dangerous to use it where it doesn't belong, that's the only lesson here.

 
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06-27-02, 07:16 AM   #16  
Dan Meyer
Whoa, lets put this in perspective.
First of all, Shaman C was concerned whether PSF would do any damage. As I understand , it was just used in an emergency for a short period of time.
But as Joe F pointed out, brake fluid has some very special qualities that are needed for brake systems and nothing else should be used as a replacement.

 
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06-27-02, 09:29 AM   #17  
Joe_F
Again,

Not to jump on Dan, as technically and chemically he IS correct. As a chemical engineer, there is no reason to doubt what he says .

They are not substitutes for one another...period. If they were, we wouldn't have two recommended fluids .

 
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