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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I get this series truck in the shop with horrible clutch action. Before I got a chance to speak with the individual who imported the truck and gave me the real deal, I spoke with a few folks about what might have caused this repeated failure. Many, if not most folks blamed the failure on using "NAPA brake fluid".

As anyone who has spoken with me for even a millisecond knows, I don't take nothin' at face value. Using that fancy scientific education my mother bought me, I proceeded to gather some empirical evidence, along with some documentary evidence (you likin' this yet Ron?).

As I was rebuilding both the slave and master cylinders, I had a plethora of internal parts left over. I took one of the pieces from the master, placed it into a 40 ml headspace vial and added enough of the dreaded NAPA brake fluid to cover the piece and have now waited nearly a month to see no visible deterioration, no dissolution and no visible dimensional changes.

Enough of experimental evidence, let's move onto the documentary evidence... The MSDS' obtained from both Castrol and NAPA could have been written by the same person based on the near identical nature of their chemical composition.

Lastly, when I bought my SIII in England, the brake fluid that was used to top up the masters was nothing special, looked like Vatozone.

So, is there really any truth to the stories about brake fluid? I admit these same seals, when exposed to parts washer solvent, swell up like a college freshman in her first semester :flipoff2:

Any thoughts/insight? I question whether the Castrol really has the magic voodoo juice.

Peace,
PT

Too skeptical for my own good.
 

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I know I am just an unworthy hack, but when I got my fawked up POS 109 from a USAF retiree who brought it over, he told me that a shop had used the wrong brake fluid in it when he had had the brakes done a few months before selling it.

So I flushed out the brake lines and what came out was blackish brake fluid.

There was no noticeable damage fduring the couple of years I drove the rig after that, and before having the rears redone and the fronts replaced by discs from BCB.

He could have been bullshitting me for some reason (he did on other stuff), but that experience made me a believer.

Simon
 

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Dot three is the problem. If the seal gets soft and then is used that is when it damages itself. Castrol is always dot 4 I believe. I have also heard it a different way. They say the flexible lines have indian rubber in their makeup. And the Dot three fluid atacks them. The Castrol is susposed to be made for the older style flexible lines. So the lines break down and contaiminate the system.

JP
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
pendy said:
Dot three is the problem. If the seal gets soft and then is used that is when it damages itself. Castrol is always dot 4 I believe. I have also heard it a different way. They say the flexible lines have indian rubber in their makeup. And the Dot three fluid atacks them. The Castrol is susposed to be made for the older style flexible lines. So the lines break down and contaiminate the system.

JP
Hhmm... Thanx Pendy, I see another science project comin' on.

I'll throw some DOT 3 in a vial and let 'er rip.

I agree with the possibility the flex line was involved as it showed some significant external abrasion and there was no flow through it.

As for Castrol being made for old style flex lines, if this is so, apparently NAPA is too as the chemical composition is identical to the extent it is discussed on the MSDS (you do have MSDS' for all the chemicals in your shop don't you? I just got an MSDS for carbide cutting tools :rolleyes: )

Peace,
PT
 

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I believe its not an issue of DOT 3 vs DOT 4 but the chemical make up of LMA fluid vs all the rest.
I have always been told that the older, original Lucas Girling seals used natural rubber in them and if you didn't use LMA fluid the rubber would break down. I first heard this when I was into Triumphs and MGs back in the 80s, after I had brakes on a car go out. I made the switch to LMA and never had the problem again. I do not know if 20 years later that this is still a problem or not but it sure does seem that every Series person I have ever talked to uses LMA.
So how do you test the age of your seals that have been sitting on some parts room shelf since???
Is this just some continued rumor to ensure future sales of LMA?
 

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>> I have always been told that the older, original Lucas Girling seals used natural
>> rubber in them and if you didn't use LMA fluid the rubber would break down.

this is what I was told, too. first time I bled my brakes I had nice black fluid with lots of water. since then, I've used the LMA and it always pisses out clean fluid when bleeding the brakes.
 

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">> I have always been told that the older, original Lucas Girling seals used natural
>> rubber in them and if you didn't use LMA fluid the rubber would break down.

this is what I was told, too. first time I bled my brakes I had nice black fluid with lots of water. since then, I've used the LMA and it always pisses out clean fluid when bleeding the brakes."

This is my understanding as well. GTLMA is also hydroscopic (sic, I think) basically it absorbs water. Well why is this important you say? If you use the crap stuff the water pools down by the calipers and rusts the pistons, especially if you do the hack thing of only changing the fuild in the MC (me never :evil: ). This is why I use it on the newer trucks too. Change once a year though I am sure once every two would be fine as well.

Anyhoosal . . . I have never used anything else so no first hand horror stories, given the issues with series brakes you never know what causes all the failures.

Certainly the Napa Fluid and GTLMA, look/smell/taste/feel/burn your skin differently LOL

I always wanted to use Girling Crimson for the authentic look bit never have (one truck actually still had the red stuff in it!)

Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
evilfij Certainly the Napa Fluid and GTLMA said:
Not the stuff I have now (at least as far as the smell/look, MSDS are concerned).

I'll experiment with the DOT3 and report my findings :flipoff2:
 

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I was talking with an engineer from a brake manufacturer about different brake fluids yesterday and he informed me that there are only three major fluid producers that supply everyone else. Does anyone know who makes Castrol's or if they make there own?

The original brake cylinders used natural rubber in the seals. When Series Rovers were new, owners were strongly cautioned to use only Castrol/Girling LMA, a vegetable-based fluid. Any other fluid would deteriorate the seals, resulting in loss of braking. Girling eventually changed to a neoprene seal which is compatible with modern, glycol-based brake fluid. As long as the entire system has the modern neoprene seals, a DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid can be used. Unless you have some old parts fitted or in the kit box, you don't have to use vegetable-based fluids (Castrol/Girling LMA) anymore. I use DOT 4 brake fluid.

I just found this info, if someone gets upset about my copying, Sorry.

The original brake cylinders used natural rubber in the seals. When Series Rovers were new, owners were strongly cautioned to use only Castrol/Girling LMA, a vegetable-based fluid. Any other fluid would deteriorate the seals, resulting in loss of braking. Girling eventually changed to a neoprene seal which is compatible with modern, glycol-based brake fluid. As long as the entire system has the modern neoprene seals, a DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid can be used. Unless you have some old parts fitted or in the kit box, you don't have to use vegetable-based fluids (Castrol/Girling LMA) anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
whistler110 said:
I was talking with an engineer from a brake manufacturer about different brake fluids yesterday and he informed me that there are only three major fluid producers that supply everyone else. Does anyone know who makes Castrol's or if they make there own?

Unless you have some old parts fitted or in the kit box, you don't have to use vegetable-based fluids (Castrol/Girling LMA) anymore. I use DOT 4 brake fluid.

I just found this info, if someone gets upset about my copying, Sorry.

QUOTE]

W/R/T manufacturers of various chemicals, it all comes out of the ground from oil somewhere along the line and there are only a few refiners. Castrol is a component of British Petroleum...

As for the vegetable oil nature of Castrol (GT/LMA), I question this as the MSDS states it is a glycol ether material-based upon its ability to remove paint, this seems fairly obvious.

I should have an opportunity to begin the experiment later today and after a week or so of immersion, I'll report back :flipoff2:

Peace,
PT
 

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Based on the MSDS I have seen the composition is different from the generics, I bet one of the additional things eats natural rubber.

http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.go...Auto+products&purpose=Brakes&type=brake+fluid

Ingredients from MSDS/Label (GTLMA)
Chemical CAS No / Unique ID Percent
Glycol ether borate esters 000000-01-5
Alkylamines (unspecified) 000000-01-6
Glycol ethers (unspecified) 000000-37-1
Glycol derivatives 999999-50-0


Ingredients from MSDS/Label (Prestone)
Chemical CAS No / Unique ID Percent
Diethylene glycol 000111-46-6 0-8
2-(2-Methoxyethoxy)ethanol 000111-77-3
Diethylene glycol monobutyl ether 000112-34-5
Methoxytriglycol 000112-35-6
Ethoxytriglycol 000112-50-5
Tetraethylene glycol 000112-60-7
Butoxytriglycol 000143-22-6
Polyalkylene glycol 009038-95-3
Glycols, polyethylene 025322-68-3
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
evilfij said:
Based on the MSDS I have seen the composition is different from the generics, I bet one of the additional things eats natural rubber.

http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.go...Auto+products&purpose=Brakes&type=brake+fluid

Ingredients from MSDS/Label (GTLMA)
Chemical CAS No / Unique ID Percent
Glycol ether borate esters 000000-01-5
Alkylamines (unspecified) 000000-01-6
Glycol ethers (unspecified) 000000-37-1
Glycol derivatives 999999-50-0


Ingredients from MSDS/Label (Prestone)
Chemical CAS No / Unique ID Percent
Diethylene glycol 000111-46-6 0-8
2-(2-Methoxyethoxy)ethanol 000111-77-3
Diethylene glycol monobutyl ether 000112-34-5
Methoxytriglycol 000112-35-6
Ethoxytriglycol 000112-50-5
Tetraethylene glycol 000112-60-7
Butoxytriglycol 000143-22-6
Polyalkylene glycol 009038-95-3
Glycols, polyethylene 025322-68-3
Counselor:
That is not consistent with the documentary evidence provided by Ashland, NAPA and Castrol :flipoff2:

Of all, I would have expected YOU to have obtained the specific MSDS' :flipoff2:

Now, to intorduce some chemistry-all of those compounds are related as their functional groups are near to identical. The dual alcoholic nature of the glycols will dominate the chemical nature of most compounds up to the point at which the subsidiary chains become sufficiently long to introduce electronic influence, at which point, the acid/base nature is overcome by the alcoholic nature.

If there had been something indicating an aliphatic compound, things would change.

Where's OS when you need him?

Peace,
PT
 

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Not very scientific Paul but some more empirical evidence...

Since I first built my IIA I have never been particular about the brake fluid I used, as long as it was new and clean. So against the advice on the bottle I have often mixed different types. However more often than not I have used Castrol fluid of one type or another.

When I built my IIA 109 in 1994 I had one set of wheel cylinder seals swell to almost double their size after fitment (one front seal), Which I considered strange - the seals in all 5 other wheel cylinders were fine, even though I bought them from the same parts supplier.

Since then I have never had any significant rubber-related brake problems, except for the usual weeping seal every 2-3 years of one component or another. Apart from the first wheel cylinder every seal I have removed, all the other rubber components were the correct size, and still supple, just worn.
 
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