Brake fluid change interval car vs motorcycle

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Project84, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    I change motorcycle brake (and clutch) fluid more often because I can see it. Either via a transparent or translucent reservoir, or via the window in the reservoir.

    For 4-wheeled appliances, it's more a case of "out of sight, out of mind."
  2. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    I went out today in my car and hit a dirt road and forced my ABS unit to cycle many times. I've read the fluid does not flush from the ABS unit during a manual fluid flush so this helps mix it. Dealer techs can use a tool and force the unit to cycle but braking on a dirt road does it for the home mechanic.
    Not sure if a Mitivac would work any better.

    RTWPAUL talked about Super Tenere ABS units going bad as the fluid does not flush from those unless you force it somehow?
  3. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    I'm pointing out all the time black fluid in car fluid reservoirs to people. It's one thing I notice right away and tell them that fluid should be clear. I say your brakes are not working as well and scare them with might fail. That wakes people up and they take it to a shop.
  4. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    I'll post it again: my 1999 Porsche recommends a fluid change every two years. It's for exactly the same reason as motorcycles: corrosion.

    Before the aluminum master cylinders of the 1980s, cars could get away without changing the brake fluid. As years passed and we started getting more and more dissimilar metals in a brake system, moisture became a greater threat. It's exactly the same problem with coolant and engines. Old cars just had to have coolant to prevent rusting. As the systems got more aluminum parts (manifolds, heads, etc) the intervals for changing coolant got shorter and shorter.

    So your motorcycle has cast aluminum, steel parts with zinc plating, some with chrome and some with stainless steel. All of it is floating in this nice hot soup of fluid. If that fluid has moisture in it, it's not long before the less noble of the metals starts giving up material into the fluid. I had a 1986 Gold Wing that ate its clutch slave cylinder wall due to this and that was while I was changing it once a year. So I've experienced it.

    Add in an ABS pump and you've got some serious potential for corrosion and destruction of some very expensive parts. The Porsche has aluminum calipers and master cylinder. I'm sure the ABS pump has steel and who-knows-what metals in the wet portion of the system. It gets changed.

    Changing the fluid takes any accumulated fluid out of contact with those dissimilar metals and it replenishes the anti-corrosion chemicals that may have been invisibly used up during that time, protecting those expensive components.

    Do your fleet vehicles have mostly cast iron calipers and master cylinders or do they have aluminum parts? How long are you willing to let iron parts be exposed to that moisture inside before you change it out?
  5. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer Supporter

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    I'm kinda surprised that they haven't used some sort of anodic (or even cathodic) protection in those systems... I mean isn't unknown in the automotive world and very common in the larger transportation sector.
  6. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    Yup, as I was typing that, I wondered how effective that could be.
  7. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer Supporter

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    I suspect the trick is figuring out a place to put it where it won't create a leak as it does it's thing...for the anodic system anyways.
  8. tvpierce

    tvpierce Been here awhile

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    It's a European thing. I've had Volvos and MBs that all spec a two year interval for brake flush. Their master cylinders were vented to the atmosphere.
  9. dustin2

    dustin2 VFR800

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  10. Project84

    Project84 I can haz adventure?

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    Cast iron masters and calipers.

    My entire fleet is 1999-2002 year Isuzu and International trucks.

    Never, not once, ever in 11.5 years been a single issue with frozen calipers or failed master cylinders.

    Just saying.

    Fluid in my '01 Duke 2 is original. 17 years old. 13k miles. Light amber color. Brakes work flawlessly. If I had to guess it's steel master with aluminum calipers.
  11. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    You keep it in the house, probably dust it more often than wash it and it doesn't get a ton of miles.

    The small amount of fluid in a motorcycle master cylinder means it has to get really nasty before there's much color to it. If it's amber, it's probably done. Looking through that small of an amount, it should be nearly clear.

    It's up to you. I'm not going to lie and say I do all my vehicles every two years. I go by color. I figure there's nothing that belongs in there that should cause a color change so if I see it do that, it's time.

    For work? I'd figure out the cost delta between replacements vs PM and act accordingly. Or pitch the business case to the boss and ask what they think. You might get brownie points just for presenting both sides of the argument and showing that you're looking out for their bottom line.
  12. Project84

    Project84 I can haz adventure?

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    I'd probably get fired for asking for $300/year in brake fluid.

    No, seriously.

    I change brake fluid on all cars new to me. Bikes I slack on, admittedly.
  13. dustin2

    dustin2 VFR800

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    700 miles a year. May as well have kept the original tires, too.
    JimVonBaden likes this.
  14. MotoChris521

    MotoChris521 expert apprentice

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  15. concours

    concours WFO for 47 years

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    The guy is obviously trolling here. We should salute the Mr.: "I've replaced battery three times in 6 months" guy here, the hard working parts changer, er, uh, "Fleet MANAGER":clap
  16. concours

    concours WFO for 47 years

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    :dirtdog

    You, and the operators can be blissfully unaware, and when the dark day comes, an emergency braking need arises, the pedal is SMASHED, one (or more) calipers doesn't respond as designed, the truck will veer sharply, possibly INTO the hazard trying to be avoided, turn over, or worse. People die because motoring maintenance isn't taken seriously.

    For a couple hundred bucks, and a few hours of labor, is your conscience clear? https://www.summitracing.com/parts/mvp-0260/overview/


    The Isuzu NPR service schedule clearly states that brake fluid is to be REPLACED every 32,500 miles. It seems quite clear you have expended NO energy trying to search for FACTS about the vehicles you are charged with maintaining.
    http://www.isuzutruckservice.com/pdf/NPD06-ONM-C02.pdf

    Just sayin bro....:imaposer
  17. Project84

    Project84 I can haz adventure?

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    I'll drink to that even though I have no recollection of the battery replacement comments. Put more effort into your smartassery. It's poor form to be sarcastic when no one gets WTF you're saying.
  18. concours

    concours WFO for 47 years

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    Nope, they don't, cuz like, the Bud commercials are too old dood....
    "So, today I salute you, Mr. Proactive Motorcycle Enthusiast Who Neglects All The 4 Wheeled Machinery Guy. Squeeze those brakes and revel in all that steamy ceramic glory. Who can stop you? YOU can stop you. You can endo by mistake and brag about it, because your bike's brakes are JUST THAT GOOD, but that van full of kids with the absent minded soccer Mom cutting your commuter SUV off has not a snowball's chance in hell. So crack open an ice cold Bud Light and stand proud, Mr. Proactive Motorcycle Enthusiast Who Neglects All The 4 Wheeled Machinery Guy, cause this one's for you."
  19. Project84

    Project84 I can haz adventure?

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    You're making total sense.
  20. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    16K on a Duke 2 deserves a medal. That's like eight sets of tires, six tickets and one or two court appearances.

    I don't think my '96 Duke has 5K on it.