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Old 10-17-2007, 05:29 PM   #1
Raster
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Default Brake fluid all dark and green?

The diagnosis on my brakes is worse than I could imagen. I sucked out the brake fluid out of the brake cylinder reservoir and it was all dark green, and had a lot of crap in it, like some rubber seals are decaying in there or something. What should I do about this? cause I know if I were to flush out the brakes with new fluid it wont change the fact that there is something contaminating the lines.

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Old 10-18-2007, 08:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: Brake fluid all dark and green?

There are rubber things that stop leaks but, not really seals. There are cups in the wheel cylinders and master cylinder. There are rings around the pistons in the calipers and some rubber hoses but, really none of those decompose in brake fluid. Other than water from air there's little chance that you'd get any outside contamination without losing fluid. If you don't have any leaks, I'd replace the fluid and see what happens.

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Old 10-18-2007, 10:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Brake fluid all dark and green?

As B-O says replacing the fluids may clean out what was left in the system. Its great that you sucked out the old stuff right from the master instead of allowing any debris into the lines when attempting a flush or bleeding of the system. You've minimized the crap going into the lines. This stuff may be from the old rubber sealing gasket under the cap. Looked at it? The brake fluid isn't supposed to be allowed any contact with air and the full gasket cover prevents air infiltration for the fluid to readily absorb moisture. This will lead to rusting in the borehole of the cast iron master cylinder that ruins it. Periodic flushing of the entire brake system is the only way to replace the entire brake system of fluids. Maybe once every 50k miles? Its an open area that's been debated from time to time. The concern is how far the debris went into the lines and performing a full flush and bleed may open a can of worms being that you're damned if you don't and may be damned if you do - the full flush of hydraulic brake fluid. If tackling the entire job beginning with the master cylinder, it may help to loosen the two lines at the master, one at a time, to flush fresh fluid out and not take the chance of pushing contaminants into the rest of the lines. This would bleed the master with very little fluid used before tightening the lines to bleed the rest of the brake system. Now only fresh fluid and some air can travel through the lines for the remaining flushing and bleeding. Hopefully you'll use the minimum amount of fresh fluid and have a completely flushed and bled system as good as new. But be prepared for any outcome less than this.

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Old 10-18-2007, 11:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Brake fluid all dark and green?

Well now I'm concerned, and I don't have a car with brakes anymore. Keep in mind I don't know when the brakes were even last checked it has 153k miles, and its probably been more that 50k miles the brake fluid has been checked since my brother had the car last, and neglected to take care of it. Well I flushed out the lines, and now the brakes barely even work, I don't think I bleed it wrong, cause I did exactly what every repair manual says about flushing/bleeding the brake lines. Pump the pedal a few times, press down on the pedal hard and hold it down, open the bleeder valve, let it bleed, then close and repeat a few times. Start with the furthest wheel from the master cylinder.

There were absolutely no air bubbles in the brake fluid, the lines have fresh fluid in them, and there are no leaks on the lines, on the drum cylinders, or the calipers. Could the seals on the master cylinder be decaying?

Edit: I dont have ABS if you are wondering.

Last edited by Raster; 10-18-2007 at 11:09 PM.. Reason: Addeed information

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Old 10-18-2007, 11:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Brake fluid all dark and green?

When you press the brake pedal, several times to bleed off the vacuum reservoir, with the engine off does the pedal hold at midway (approximately) or does it sink to the floor? It it sinks then you probably have a worn master cylinder from moisture eroding the bore, the piston seals can't keep pressurized oil from leaking back into the reservoir. This pedal application can be tricky; slowly pressing down on the brake pedal will reveal a badly worn master while quickly pressing down will allow a firm pedal to stop about midway. Good master cylinders will work either way. Try it on any car but be sure to leave the engine off to allow bleeding the vacuum from the power boost unit interfering with the feel of plain hydraulics. Nothing like comparing one brake system with another, it doesn't matter what car you compare this to as every brake system in the world depends on the basic hydraulic system, sans ABS and traction control.

There may be rebuild kits containing a new piston and o-rings but unless you know how to check for pitted boreholes you may be throwing away money when a new master cylinder would be the better choice. You already seem to know how to bleed a brake system so you're learning all the time and for good reasons. Masters aren't mysteries, just something to understand when it comes to hydraulic systems.

Last edited by fdryer; 10-18-2007 at 11:56 PM..

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Old 10-19-2007, 01:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: Brake fluid all dark and green?

Ya, thats what made me originally check the brakes cause the brake pedal would drop down very far, and the pedal did go down to the floor while bleeding. There are plenty of master cylinder overhaul kits, which are basically a rebuild kit with new seals, springs and pistons. I'm glad I checked all this out before my brakes completely failed out on the road. If this is the case, I might just write up an article on how to rebuild the master cylinder. Thanks a lot for all the help.

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