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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know the book says DOT 4 but are their any special requirements for brake fluid for the wing other than DOT 4. Slides on flame suit, what is the best brand to get?

Also, been looking for the mighty vac to change out the fluid. All the local stores have the one that does not create the vaccum. Where is the best place to find one? I went to the online site and they were about double what people say they pay for them.

Any tips and tricks when changing out the fluid?

Thanks 8)
 
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Scuse me. I have been a salesman for 35 years and have probably driven over a million miles, and I have NEVER changed the brake fluid in a car, nor is it recommended that I know of. Why is a bike any different? It is a closed hydraulic system. How can the fluid get dirty or wear out? Unless you somehow deliberately introduce dirt or contamination into the system, or unless you are racing and get the brake cylinders so hot they boil the fluid, I don't know why you would ever need to change it.

I know that Honda recommends changing the brake fluid every 12K miles, but I still don't understand why. Maybe condensation in the resevoir? If so, why isn't a problem in automobiles?

I have read reports on this Board from guys who have pulled the covers on their brake or clutch resevoirs and found the fluid like mud. How in the H...can that happen?

I think this a case of fixing something that ain't broke.

I don't get it. :? What am I missing here?
 

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Steve,

I think any good name brand dot 4 will do. I use Castrol. However, regarding use of miti vac, if you haven't bought one, don't bother in my opinion. I have one. Used it to change both clutch and brake fluid this winter. I discovered that it can get you into trouble especially on the brakes unless you are very careful to follow bleeding directions per the manual. With the linked brake system, it's easy to make mistakes and wind up with air in the system especially if you're working alone (don't ask how I know). I did it both ways (with the miti vac and the old fashion manual way) and will not use the miti vac again. Plus, the miti vac will not be strong enouth to draw fluid from all of the bleed valves (anti dive valve being one). You can do the entire bleed manually without assistance using a little imagination to reach the front and rear brake levers (e.g. operate rear brake pedel with foot while laying next to bike and opening/closing rear brake bleed valves).

Just my 2 cents. Keep the change. ;-)

Greyhound
 

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I used my miteyvac for the first time today to bleed the brakes on the Chrysler. Didn't care for it at all. Keeps getting air bubbles through the threads of the bleeder. I prefer a pressure system.

sjvanepps, as far as changing the fluid, most companies DO advise you to change it regularly, as it will absorb moisture through the brake hoses, among other places; even when you open the cap to check the level. Water causes corrosion and rust, which will cause braking problems. You will also get minute amounts of moisture past any seals in the cylinders. It is cheaper to replace the fluid every couple years (or some do it yearly) than to have to start replacing the cylinders. Been there, done that.
 

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John, Every manufacturer has a change period on the brake fluid. Most often it is two years. Mechanics and parts people are starting to reap the benefits of folks who never changed their brake fluid especially on ABS systems with the valves and small passages.
Brake fluid with the exception of DOT 5 is hydroscopic meaning it absorbs moisture. Brakes generate heat, heat causes liquids to boil, water boils at comparatively low temp, therefore it is best to absorb the moisture into the brake fluid.
Trouble comes when the brake fluid has reached it's water absorption limit as then the boiling temperature drops below the set limits. From there the fluid will continue to absorb moisture and the boiling point starts heading for the floor real quick. The water starts it's corrosive action and the brake fluid starts to crystallize. All this will make you at risk when riding and your wallet much lighter.
We do a boil test on brake fluids with a test unit. Most vehicles over 5 years fail and I live in a semi arid climate.
The moisture is absorbed through the gaskets and hoses and plastic. Have you ever taken potato chips out of their foil bag and put them into a plastic bag? Lost their snap pretty quick didn't they. Moisture absorption.
Problem with storing brake fluid in steel though is that if there is even the slightest moisture present it will start to rust because the fluid holds the moisture in contact. Ever tried to unscrew the lid off a 50's or 60's steel master cylinder reservoir? Not a pretty sight.
Thus we are left with plastics, aluminium and specialty rubbers( man made) for our brake systems.
Brake fluid changes are one of the least cost / biggest benefit items you can do for a vehicle.
As for the best DOT 4 brake fluid I would suggest a SYNTHETIC fluid, note this is NOT a silicone DOT 5 fluid. The synthetic fluid performs better in water absorption and corrosion prevention while having better heat handling capabilities.
Most bike shops have the DOT 4 synthetic fluid and yes it is compatible with regular DOT 4. Yes it costs more.
What ever you use protect your hands, paint and some plastics. Personally I hate handling the stuff and wear nitrile gloves.
Your results may vary. I worry more about the whoa than the go.
Dem's da brakes.
 

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Save your money the Mighty Vac - Sucks (or actually doesn't suck), but you know what I mean. I used it or tried to this past week for a brake change and it is for all practical purposes worthless and a complete waste of money.

DaleC
 

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BE VERY CAREFUL WITH BRAKE FLUID.. IT WILL DISCOLOR THE PAINT IMMEDIATELY UPON CONTACT!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, I seen another one that is a bleeder and it looks to require 2 people. Alot cheaper being about $6 or so. Or how did everybody else do it? What did you use to catch the fluid? Under a car it doesnt matter where the fluid goes.

Any other hints or tricks let me know.

Thanks, thinks I am talked out of the Mighty Vac.
 
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Dennis Firth said:
John, Every manufacturer has a change period on the brake fluid. Most often it is two years. Mechanics and parts people are starting to reap the benefits of folks who never changed their brake fluid especially on ABS systems with the valves and small passages.
Brake fluid with the exception of DOT 5 is hydroscopic meaning it absorbs moisture. Brakes generate heat, heat causes liquids to boil, water boils at comparatively low temp, therefore it is best to absorb the moisture into the brake fluid.
Trouble comes when the brake fluid has reached it's water absorption limit as then the boiling temperature drops below the set limits. From there the fluid will continue to absorb moisture and the boiling point starts heading for the floor real quick. The water starts it's corrosive action and the brake fluid starts to crystallize. All this will make you at risk when riding and your wallet much lighter.
We do a boil test on brake fluids with a test unit. Most vehicles over 5 years fail and I live in a semi arid climate.
The moisture is absorbed through the gaskets and hoses and plastic. Have you ever taken potato chips out of their foil bag and put them into a plastic bag? Lost their snap pretty quick didn't they. Moisture absorption.
Problem with storing brake fluid in steel though is that if there is even the slightest moisture present it will start to rust because the fluid holds the moisture in contact. Ever tried to unscrew the lid off a 50's or 60's steel master cylinder reservoir? Not a pretty sight.
Thus we are left with plastics, aluminium and specialty rubbers( man made) for our brake systems.
Brake fluid changes are one of the least cost / biggest benefit items you can do for a vehicle.
As for the best DOT 4 brake fluid I would suggest a SYNTHETIC fluid, note this is NOT a silicone DOT 5 fluid. The synthetic fluid performs better in water absorption and corrosion prevention while having better heat handling capabilities.
Most bike shops have the DOT 4 synthetic fluid and yes it is compatible with regular DOT 4. Yes it costs more.
What ever you use protect your hands, paint and some plastics. Personally I hate handling the stuff and wear nitrile gloves.
Your results may vary. I worry more about the whoa than the go.
Dem's da brakes.
Hello Dennis:

There is absolutely no mention of changing the brake fluid in my 2002 Buick Rendezvous (with ABS) owners manual. It is not in the scheduled maintenance nor is it even mentioned in the "brake" section. In fact, they do not even recommend "topping off" if the fluid looks low in the resevoir because there are only two reasons for the fluid being low. The first is that the brake linings are worn hence more fluid is being used to compensate for cylinder or piston travel, and when the linings or pads are replaced the fluid will be back to normal level. The second is that there is a leak in the system and topping off will not solve the problem unless you just need to top off to get somewhere to have the leak repaired.

My Buick is two years old, the fluid looks as clean and fresh as it did the day I bought the car new, and the brakes work flawlessly.

All that being said, because Honda recommends changing it, I will probably have it done by my dealer when it is due.

Frankly, I worry more about "backyard mechanics" using the wrong procedures and tools when changing the brake fluid than I do about whether it should be changed. :roll:

Take care.
 

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SC Steve said:
Ok, I seen another one that is a bleeder and it looks to require 2 people. Alot cheaper being about $6 or so. Or how did everybody else do it? What did you use to catch the fluid? Under a car it doesnt matter where the fluid goes.

Any other hints or tricks let me know.

Thanks, thinks I am talked out of the Mighty Vac.[/quote

I slip a piece of clear tubing over the bleeder and the other end into a plastic bottle, that way I can see the fluid comming out of the bleeder to check for color, air bubbles and catch the used fluid. works good for me but there may be better methods. I had been considering a mighty vac but after hearing to many times that they ain't all that great for brakes sort of gave up on that idea.
 

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sjvanepps said:
Scuse me. I have been a salesman for 35 years and have probably driven over a million miles, and I have NEVER changed the brake fluid in a car, nor is it recommended that I know of. Why is a bike any different? It is a closed hydraulic system. How can the fluid get dirty or wear out? Unless you somehow deliberately introduce dirt or contamination into the system, or unless you are racing and get the brake cylinders so hot they boil the fluid, I don't know why you would ever need to change it. ...What am I missing here?
Yeah, but I doubt you drove the same car for all 35 years. If you trade cars every three years or less, you may not ever experience a braking problem; you'll just pass it on to the next guy. A lot of us keep our Wings for five years or more, so neglecting the hydraulic systems is an invitaion for trouble.

Car manufacturers compete to make their products appear increasingly less maintenance intensive, not more. Many places in Europe have gone to a mandatory 24 month brake fluid change. Manufacturers in the US are resisting that, but they'll eventually be forced to cave in.

Bike systems are no different than cars. A vehicle may get by for many years on the original brake fluid, provided the driver never gets into a critical braking situation. A long downhill grade or a panic stop with badly contaminated fluid could prove disastrous.

How does it get dirty? As someone else mentioned, brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it readily absorbs and retains water. The more humid the climate you ride in, the faster contamination will occur. How does moisture get in? Through small pores in the rubber brake lines and past the brake piston rubber seals. This moisture, in sufficient quantity, will boil and create compressible vapor if the brakes get hot enough; that's when the pedal sinks to the floor.

The moisture also attacks every metal part in the brake system. The gooey reddish crud that accumulates in the fluid resevoir and in the caliper is a combination of rust and oxidized aluminum. Changing brake fluid every 24 months will prevent that from ever starting, that why it's referred to as Preventive Maintenance rather than "fixin' something that ain't broke." Okay, you're 'scused.

Stu
 
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Stu_O said:
sjvanepps said:
Scuse me. I have been a salesman for 35 years and have probably driven over a million miles, and I have NEVER changed the brake fluid in a car, nor is it recommended that I know of. Why is a bike any different? It is a closed hydraulic system. How can the fluid get dirty or wear out? Unless you somehow deliberately introduce dirt or contamination into the system, or unless you are racing and get the brake cylinders so hot they boil the fluid, I don't know why you would ever need to change it. ...What am I missing here?
Yeah, but I doubt you drove the same car for all 35 years. If you trade cars every three years or less, you may not ever experience a braking problem; you'll just pass it on to the next guy. A lot of us keep our Wings for five years or more, so neglecting the hydraulic systems is an invitaion for trouble.

Car manufacturers compete to make their products appear increasingly less maintenance intensive, not more. Many places in Europe have gone to a mandatory 24 month brake fluid change. Manufacturers in the US are resisting that, but they'll eventually be forced to cave in.

Bike systems are no different than cars. A vehicle may get by for many years on the original brake fluid, provided the driver never gets into a critical braking situation. A long downhill grade or a panic stop with badly contaminated fluid could prove disastrous.

How does it get dirty? As someone else mentioned, brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it readily absorbs and retains water. The more humid the climate you ride in, the faster contamination will occur. How does moisture get in? Through small pores in the rubber brake lines and past the brake piston rubber seals. This moisture, in sufficient quantity, will boil and create compressible vapor if the brakes get hot enough; that's when the pedal sinks to the floor.

The moisture also attacks every metal part in the brake system. The gooey reddish crud that accumulates in the fluid resevoir and in the caliper is a combination of rust and oxidized aluminum. Changing brake fluid every 24 months will prevent that from ever starting, that why it's referred to as Preventive Maintenance rather than "fixin' something that ain't broke." Okay, you're 'scused.

Stu
Hi Stu:

Thanks for your comments. Much of what you say makes good sense. And I am very familiar with the "hygroscopic" nature of some materials. I raced alky burning outboards for years, and there is almost nothing more hygroscopic than alcohol. We kept our 55 gal drums of fuel tightly capped.

Brake systems on automobiles are a PRIME safety component. I don't need to tell you how safety conscious auto manufacturers are these days. It logically follows then that if Buick (GM) thought that not changing brake fluid was even a little bit dangerous. it would surely be recommended. The maintenance schedule for my car covers a "preventative maintenance" schedule through 150K miles. Apparently they aren't much concerned about it, simply because it has not resulted in accidents or brake failures, or warranty claims.

If "red gunk" or whatever is developing in our Wing brake systems in 2 years, then I submit that Honda needs to change something, because it sure doesn't happen in my cars that I usually run 70 to 100K miles under a whole lot more severe conditions than my bike will ever see, and it has 4 wheel brakes...not 2. Double the contamination exposure!!! Darn.. There I go using logic again. :)

What they do in Europe is of little interest to me. The Europeans do all kinds of things that have resulted in a disastrous economy, loss of personal freedom, and a very regimented and controlled life style. Sorry, I am not impressed.

Again, I will probably do it when due simply because Honda recommends it.

Thanks for 'scusing me. :clap2: I get 'scused a lot. Ain't life GRAND?
 

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What they do in Europe is of little interest to me. The Europeans do all kinds of things that have resulted in a disastrous economy, loss of personal freedom, and a very regimented and controlled life style. Sorry, I am not impressed.
Hmmmm...were you talking about Europe? :lol:

Well, I tried the ole mighty suck on the Wing today. Didn't seem to work any better on the bike than it did on the Chrysler yesterday. I managed to get the brakes bled using the stretch/pressure method. Next time, I'll get someone to pump them up while I bleed them. Just my $.02 worth.
 

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Hi John, will have to practice my spelling< hygro instead of hydro> hey the keys are close on the key pad, yeah that's it.... silly computer.
Anyway, have to agree with you on the shade tree boys screwing things up.
Procedure when putting new pads into an ABS system is to use a special clamp to restrict flow in the flexible brake line. Crack the bleeder screw and move the caliper piston in. Brake fluid is expelled into a container, like the shop floor, VBG. The brake fluid should not be forced back through the ABS system. Crud tends to settle at the lowest points, ie calipers and it really screws up ABS systems. Also forcing fluid back to the master stirs up any crud in the master, had an 89 Honda Prelude that taught me that lesson.
Your experience may vary. Your's in HYGROSCOPIC living.
 
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Dennis Firth said:
Hi John, will have to practice my spelling< hygro instead of hydro> hey the keys are close on the key pad, yeah that's it.... silly computer.
Anyway, have to agree with you on the shade tree boys screwing things up.
Procedure when putting new pads into an ABS system is to use a special clamp to restrict flow in the flexible brake line. Crack the bleeder screw and move the caliper piston in. Brake fluid is expelled into a container, like the shop floor, VBG. The brake fluid should not be forced back through the ABS system. Crud tends to settle at the lowest points, ie calipers and it really screws up ABS systems. Also forcing fluid back to the master stirs up any crud in the master, had an 89 Honda Prelude that taught me that lesson.
Your experience may vary. Your's in HYGROSCOPIC living.
Hi Dennis:

I am guilty of the same typo. It is Hydro (aka water). Shame on my proof reading.

As I stated in my reply to Stu, I don't understand where this crud comes from in the Wing brake system. It doesn't happen in automobiles, at least not in mine. I find that very curious. My car is ABS but my Wing is not. I have sold lots of tooling to ABS system manufacturers, ie Bosch, and I am well aware of how complex and contamination sensitive they are. Apparently Bosch (and others) do not require the auto mfgr to include brake fluid change in their maintenance schedule, and I have never heard any of the engineers that I deal with at Bosch ever suggest they should.

Thanks for your comments. I will follow Hondas recommendation for my Wing and change the fluid when due, which for me is going to be a while. In the mean time, I will concern myself more with good tires, and hoping that some half blind and brain dead automobile driver doesn't run over me.

Take care.

Mine is not to reason why...Mine is to do or Die. Especially if MH recommends it.
 

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Hmmmm,

You know that's what I like about this board...lots of things that make you go hmmmmm. Try it, it's a lot of fun - an 'h' and then you roll over the 'm' key for awhile. :)

I remember that when I dreamed of becoming some highfalutin' auto mechanic/designer/engineer back in the eighties, my instructors were very adamant about changing all of the fluids on the vehicle. Many people will accept very readily the need to change the oil in their vehicles. These same people would be shocked to find out that they also need to change the oil in their differential. I think I remember that brake fluid was discussed as needing to be changed every 15000 miles. But like sjvanepps, I too cannot find any mention of this in either of my wife's trucks owners mauals nor in the Haynes manuals that I have.

I have seen several motorcycle owners manuals from Kaw and Suz and both maufacturers also recommend the changing of brake fluid periodically. Maybe it's a 'motorcycle' thing.
 

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As I stated in my reply to Stu, I don't understand where this crud comes from in the Wing brake system. It doesn't happen in automobiles, at least not in mine. I find that very curious.
Someone hasn't done many brake jobs! LOL... This "crud" thing happens to all vehicles, even your Buick. Why do you think they have to replace so many auto wheel cylinders and calipers when doing brake jobs, especially on older vehicles? It's because of "crud" which is caused by neglect!


FYI....The Mity-Vac works fine for me when bleeding the brakes and clutch on the 1800. The only two it won't bleed is the top rear and the slave(?) on the fork!
 

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WOW! Ya might know!! I just ordered a Mighty-Vac a week or so ago and was gonna use it on my 00 Rebel 250 first. The fluid is tea colored and the bike only has 1900 miles on it. Met a guy at Wings Over The Smokies and he said they were great.
He also informed me to change the fork, and brake fluids regularly and it would save a lot of money down the line.
SHOULD I SEND THE MIGHTY-VAC BACK???????
 
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Red said:
As I stated in my reply to Stu, I don't understand where this crud comes from in the Wing brake system. It doesn't happen in automobiles, at least not in mine. I find that very curious.
Someone hasn't done many brake jobs! LOL... This "crud" thing happens to all vehicles, even your Buick. Why do you think they have to replace so many auto wheel cylinders and calipers when doing brake jobs, especially on older vehicles? It's because of "crud" which is caused by neglect!


FYI....The Mity-Vac works fine for me when bleeding the brakes and clutch on the 1800. The only two it won't bleed is the top rear and the slave(?) on the fork!
Hi Red:

You are absolutely correct. I haven't done many brake jobs. Haven't needed to.

35 years on the road as a salesman. Over a million miles. Cars run 70-100K miles per issue in severe winter and summer conditions. Never have replaced more than pads or shoes and an occasional drum or rotor. Never have replaced a wheel or master cylinder or a caliper or even even had one rebuilt. Never have had anything even resembling a brake failure. Never have had anyone..... engineer, mechanic, layman, or any owners manual ever suggest I change the brake fluid, and I don't know a soul who has ever done it as routine PM . And at 66 years young, I have known lots of souls who have driven lots of cars.

You will call that lucky. I call it normal.

Like somebody said, it must be a "motorcycle thing". And that's fine. If it feels good, do it.

Nuff said. I rest my case.
 

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I have the Mityvac and use it with success on many applications. It is a no brainer to use, as long as you read the directions and use the correct connector.

I have a friend that had trouble using his mityvac, till I had him sit down and read some of the instructions.

If they are crap, then there are thousands upon thousands of customers with crap in their garages.

Bulldog
 
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