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Old 12-09-2019, 08:41 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Brake fluid explosion/ what number

Hi folks,
This is dumb newbie stuff Iím sure, but can use some help. I took the bus for a 1 mile drive just to keep things loose, (and itís fun driving a stripped bus with no drivers seat). On my long dirt drive coming home the pedal went to the floor and the alarm sounded. Ok. Got it parked. Crawled up under there and cannot see where itís leaking from. Lines look good. I put some leftover #3 fluid in just to check it out and donít see a leak. And itís holding now. Any ideas? Intermittent brake fluid leak is a great band name, but not what I want. Iíll tear all the old lines out if I have to, and test test test before I drive it again.
The question Iím afraid to ask is, what brake fluid do I need for an 86 bus? Can I get the cheap DOT 3?
Love the forum. I feel a lot better about this project knowing I have some help. Iím pretty good mechanically but this is a new level!
Thanks.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:16 AM   #2
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http://www.dspartscompany.com/Docume...ake%20edit.pdf
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:27 AM   #3
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DOT3 is fine. There is a reason the pedal went to the floor. I would inspect the brakes. If it has disc brakes a brake pad could have came unbonded and came out causing the pedal to hit the floor.
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:28 AM   #4
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If the brake pedal hits the floor it's usually because of a bad wheel cylinder, bad master cylinder, or a broken brake line...or for some reason there was air left in the line.
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:31 AM   #5
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You have an s1800 chassis with a dt466 and hydraulic brakes?!? That's pretty rad
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:35 AM   #6
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If a line, or disc piston/wheel cylinder is leaking -- you will have an external wet spot.

If the master cylinder (m/c) is leaking externally you'll have wet spot, BUT if it's leaking internally (pressure fluid is bypassing back into the reservoir) you'll have a soft pedal BUT no wet spots.

How old is the brake fluid in your system? It should be flushed every two years.
Brake fluid attracts moisture -- water boils at a much lower temp than brake fluid causing brake fade. Moisture also causes the parts to corrode internally leading to failure.
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:21 PM   #7
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Thanks everybody. I appreciate all the advice. I’ll get a couple gallons of DOT 3 and drain and refill. I’ve got to be able to see where it’s leaking from if I use enough fluid. I got this bus and all the parts I need from a demoed camper, and I couldn’t be happier. I post pics of the progress once I get going. This site’s fantastic. I’ve never joined one of thieve things before, but am glad I did.
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:22 PM   #8
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Hey. Yeah, it’s a 1987, and it runs like a champ. Is this a rare combo?
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:23 PM   #9
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You shouldn't need 2 gallons. Likely closer to a couple quarts (if someone knows better, please correct me).
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:07 PM   #10
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I went through a gallon of Dot 3 before my mystery leak turned in to a swamp cooler. Then it became obvious as mist rose up along the right side of the engine.
I'm guessing that most folks just buy bulk line & flare the ends themselves but is there a good source for pre-made lines? Has anyone ever replaced steel with braided lines?
I'm waiting until spring & then replacing all my brake lines. As luck would have it I had 2 complete brake failures this year (91 Blue Bird & 03 Suburban) So I'm not taking any more chances with old steel lines that will rust & will fail eventually. I was extremely lucky that both failures were in my driveway but I think about how many times I drove both vehicles through the mountains and how things would have been different.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
You shouldn't need 2 gallons. Likely closer to a couple quarts (if someone knows better, please correct me).

I do know that my res holds 84oz (2qts) by itself, 4 duel piston calipers and almost 200' of plumbing...
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post
I went through a gallon of Dot 3 before my mystery leak turned in to a swamp cooler. Then it became obvious as mist rose up along the right side of the engine.
I'm guessing that most folks just buy bulk line & flare the ends themselves but is there a good source for pre-made lines? Has anyone ever replaced steel with braided lines?
I'm waiting until spring & then replacing all my brake lines. As luck would have it I had 2 complete brake failures this year (91 Blue Bird & 03 Suburban) So I'm not taking any more chances with old steel lines that will rust & will fail eventually. I was extremely lucky that both failures were in my driveway but I think about how many times I drove both vehicles through the mountains and how things would have been different.
Look for NiCo brake line (it will have a dot rating number screen printed along it) *do not use copper refrigeration line -- it is not strong enough!
NiCo is stronger, but much easier to work with (double flare) than steel line and it won't rust. I've replaced almost all the lines on my bus for less than $100 in line & fittings.
Braided steel is very expensive, and simply not necessary except at the calipers themselves where you have movement. Those you could have locally made at a hydraulics repair shop.
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:42 PM   #13
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Make your own lines! It's easy with a standard flare tool. See the video below at the 7:00 minute mark.....

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Old 01-01-2020, 09:29 PM   #14
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Buy a good name brand flaring tool
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
Buy a good name brand flaring tool
Agreed.
If you don't wanna spend on a good one -- you can borrow a good one from O'reilly's, Autozone, etc...

But don't waste money on a cheap one -- especially if it's only a sigle flange one...
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
Buy a good name brand flaring tool
You can buy brake lines in premade lengths. Pull the old line and measure it. They can be bent to shape by hand. Flaring tools are pretty generic and I haven't found a difference in performance between a high dollar one and a $17 one like the one pictured.

If you are going to flare your own tube, REMEMBER TO PUT THE FITTING ON THE LINE FIRST.


The good flare tool from the part stores rental program is the same tool. Tell me the difference, besides $13 dollar diff.

https://www.autozone.com/loan-a-tool...tool/69341_0_0
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:13 AM   #17
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I used to forget the nut until the meme came out and now I never forget....
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Old 01-02-2020, 10:28 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
You can buy brake lines in premade lengths. Pull the old line and measure it. They can be bent to shape by hand. Flaring tools are pretty generic and I haven't found a difference in performance between a high dollar one and a $17 one like the one pictured.

If you are going to flare your own tube, REMEMBER TO PUT THE FITTING ON THE LINE FIRST.


The good flare tool from the part stores rental program is the same tool. Tell me the difference, besides $13 dollar diff.

https://www.autozone.com/loan-a-tool...tool/69341_0_0
If you examine them carefully side by side you'll see the difference in fit and finish with a high quality tool. In practice the clamp will be stronger and the precise diameter will properly hold the tubing without damage to the tubing's surface.
Flaring copper line you may never notice the difference -- with SS tubing the cheaper tool will fail you -- either the clamp will be unable to hold the tube, or the press will bend; threads strip.

I would rather be loaned a quality tool than own a POS tool...
(But I also used to do a lot of flaring)
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Old 01-02-2020, 11:23 AM   #19
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The cheap brake-line flaring tools I bought are two bars of steel the clamp together around the line to hold it, then the press that hooks under the bottom of the clamp-bar. The problems I saw was:
(1) as mentioned, they don't hold as well and can strip out


(2) the clamp bars never seem to be the same thickness. That causes the press to drive the cone at an angle to the tubing, and the flares come out crooked and improper. You can overcome this by inserting the correct feeler-gauge blade under the thinner clamp-bar.
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Old 01-02-2020, 07:11 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
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Well I found the leak. Boy, was it obvious once there was some fluid in there. Yikes. It was the front part of the system by the fuel tank of the passenger side. The rear brakes have all new lines, but they’re just zip tied on, so maybe not county work.
Are there different diameter brake lines? I guess I can throw the caliper on the brake lines and get the OD. I’m going to replace that whole front part, and really look at the rest of it with a strong light. Can’t wait to get working on this. I have a tiny, and crappy perhaps, bending tool. To bend do y’all just use what’s on hand for the radius of the bend?

Btw, how do I add a signature line? Like, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Teddy ‘The Good One’ Rosevelt.
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