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Old 10-16-2009
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Default Bleeding the brake/clutch system

Hi,

It may be just me, but I can't find the amount of brake fluid required when bleeding the brake/clutch system on a Tiger in the wsm. Can someone please let me know how much fluid I require (1 litre, etc) and is there any type to stay clear of? Do other Tiger owners use a fluid rated for higher temperature applications?

Thank you, Robin.
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Old 10-16-2009
wag123 wag123 is offline
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I use ATE Super Blue which is a DOT4 conventional glycol-based low moisture activity brake fluid that has a high boiling point and is suitable for racing. It is really overkill for our application but it is the best out there, is compatible with all other brake fluids, and is an excellent brake fluid choice for use in collector cars. It comes in 1L metal cans that can be tightly sealed so it stores well for many years. I also use this fluid in my daily drivers. I bought a can of the blue colored fluid and a can of the clear. By alternating colors at each flush you can easily see that you got all of the old fluid out of the system. You start your flush at the farthest point in the system and move around to the closest point. On LHD Tigers and Alpines you start at the left rear, then you move to the right rear, then the left front, and finally the right front. You will need 2 people to do this unless you have access to a presurized power bleeder, the vacuum pump bleeders do not work well on these cars because they suck air through the bleeder nut threads. You will use roughly 1/2L to completely flush the brake and clutch systems on a Tiger.
I have heard that DOT5 Silicone brake fluid does not play well with the internal rubber components of the old British braking systems but I do not have any personal experience with this.
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Old 10-16-2009
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Hi,

Thank you for the reply. I was going to choose a higher temperature rating due to the temperatures generated in the Tiger's engine bay. How often should the fluid be changed?

Thanks, Robin.
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Old 10-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 64beam View Post
Hi,

Thank you for the reply. I was going to choose a higher temperature rating due to the temperatures generated in the Tiger's engine bay. How often should the fluid be changed?

Thanks, Robin.
Rob, the ambient temps in the engine bay are unlikely to do anything to the fluid, they are not even close to what the fluid gets subjected to from a little spirited braking.

The fluid you buy will likely have some bumf about how long it claims to keep water out etc.. if not go to the mfg website tech section. Most Dot 4's are good for 2 years moisture resistance.

I have been using silicone fluid, and it has killed 2 switches.. i am going to a pedal switch.. you may as well do the same, its a reversable modification and your tiger is moving further away from stock
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Old 10-16-2009
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Originally Posted by alpine_64 View Post
Rob, the ambient temps in the engine bay are unlikely to do anything to the fluid, they are not even close to what the fluid gets subjected to from a little spirited braking.

The fluid you buy will likely have some bumf about how long it claims to keep water out etc.. if not go to the mfg website tech section. Most Dot 4's are good for 2 years moisture resistance.

I have been using silicone fluid, and it has killed 2 switches.. i am going to a pedal switch.. you may as well do the same, its a reversable modification and your tiger is moving further away from stock
Hi Michael,

I know we don't drive our Tiger's that often, but it will not hurt to go for something with a higher rating. Are you sure that it is the brake fluid causing the failure? Did you investigate the condition of the switch that came out? Are your barke and clutch master cylinders aftermarket? Is that why you are running silicon based fluid?

P.S. I have just got another modification to fit as well, but it keeps within the looks of the Tiger. A nice Mota Lita steering wheel . The boss kit is being sent from the UK as we speak.

Regards, Robin.
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Old 10-17-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 64beam View Post
Hi Michael,

I know we don't drive our Tiger's that often, but it will not hurt to go for something with a higher rating. Are you sure that it is the brake fluid causing the failure? Did you investigate the condition of the switch that came out? Are your barke and clutch master cylinders aftermarket? Is that why you are running silicon based fluid?

P.S. I have just got another modification to fit as well, but it keeps within the looks of the Tiger. A nice Mota Lita steering wheel . The boss kit is being sent from the UK as we speak.

Regards, Robin.
Rob,

I run stock MC's the car has silicone racing fluid in it as it used to be tracked, it runs aeroquip hoses to all brakes. I have larger calipers and brakes on the front and discs rear.

As for the switches.. yes its the fluid.. they were new.. they look fine once pulled.. and as per other peoples experience they progreesively require more and more psi to activate.. also about the same time frame others have reported.

As for the fluid, you are better off going for one with a longer moisture resistance than higher boiling temp, the engine bay temps as i mentioned wont make a difference, anyway modern fluids seem to have better temp ratings and life than the older mineral based fluids, not sure you are going to gain anything by going to another fluid.. as a side note,.. try the one in my car.. i wish its wasnt in there.. its $152 per 500ml and if i want to change it ill have to fit new lines.. and to replace them with the equivilant lines will be 400+

As for the wheel.. should have told me, i have a spare mota lita boss and wheel for a tiger here.. you didnt by chance have one made with a sunbeam badge in the middle?

Anyway.. been a while since i go to drive the tiger.. hopefully make the next run.
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Old 10-17-2009
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Originally Posted by alpine_64 View Post
Rob,

I run stock MC's the car has silicone racing fluid in it as it used to be tracked, it runs aeroquip hoses to all brakes. I have larger calipers and brakes on the front and discs rear.

As for the switches.. yes its the fluid.. they were new.. they look fine once pulled.. and as per other peoples experience they progreesively require more and more psi to activate.. also about the same time frame others have reported.

As for the fluid, you are better off going for one with a longer moisture resistance than higher boiling temp, the engine bay temps as i mentioned wont make a difference, anyway modern fluids seem to have better temp ratings and life than the older mineral based fluids, not sure you are going to gain anything by going to another fluid.. as a side note,.. try the one in my car.. i wish its wasnt in there.. its $152 per 500ml and if i want to change it ill have to fit new lines.. and to replace them with the equivilant lines will be 400+

As for the wheel.. should have told me, i have a spare mota lita boss and wheel for a tiger here.. you didnt by chance have one made with a sunbeam badge in the middle?

Anyway.. been a while since i go to drive the tiger.. hopefully make the next run.
I have actually been looking at a few of the major brands available (Castrol, penrite, etc) and they are about both about the same in regards to specs. Would all silicon based brake fluids give the same problems as you have experienced? On a side note, do you know if stainless braided flexible brake lines are legal on road cars in Australia?
The boss kit I ordered will have the black painted boss with the 3 1/2" polished horn button with the badge, so it may be the same as you described (I didn't know you even had one available).
I recently looked into fitting a balance pipe on the Tiger. The cost would be approximately $100, which I thought was quite reasonable. Don't know if I will be able to make it to the next run, but are you going to the track day tomorrow (18th October at Sandown)? I can't make the Historics , so tomorrow will have to do.

Regards, Robin.
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Old 10-17-2009
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So, I'm working on my project, it's never gone out of my garage, under it's own power. About 90% roadable, SV. I've picked up the brakes are basicly the same, as the Tiger. I've rebuilt and replaced all the hydraulics. I've been using DOT 3, so far, but as I've said I've not had to use the brakes yet. I've not noticed any problems, so far. They pump and bleed fine, no leaks. Is DOT 3 wrong, should I be using DOT 4, have I totally screwed up all the rebuilds I've already done? Should I replace w/another type fluid, like...NOW? Which brings up another question. Presumably these rebuild kits and new/rebuilt cylinders are of recent manufacture, not made 30-40 yrs ago. So wouldn't the "rubber" parts be made out of modern materials, and not subject to brake fluid deterioration?
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Ron
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Old 10-17-2009
Bill Blue Bill Blue is offline
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Originally Posted by Ron67Alpine View Post
So, I'm working on my project, it's never gone out of my garage, under it's own power. About 90% roadable, SV. I've picked up the brakes are basicly the same, as the Tiger. I've rebuilt and replaced all the hydraulics. I've been using DOT 3, so far, but as I've said I've not had to use the brakes yet. I've not noticed any problems, so far. They pump and bleed fine, no leaks. Is DOT 3 wrong, should I be using DOT 4, have I totally screwed up all the rebuilds I've already done? Should I replace w/another type fluid, like...NOW? Which brings up another question. Presumably these rebuild kits and new/rebuilt cylinders are of recent manufacture, not made 30-40 yrs ago. So wouldn't the "rubber" parts be made out of modern materials, and not subject to brake fluid deterioration?
Thanks
Ron
You would think, and sometimes, appears to be the case. Years ago, some of the TE/AE guys did a test, comparing the compatibility of different brake fluids with an Alpine brake rubber seal currently available on the market. They measured the diameter of the seal, cut it up and let it soak in different brake fluids, then periodically remeasured the pieces. The last I saw (If I remember correctly), DOT3 was slightly superior to the other types tested. That is, caused slightly less swelling. No, I don't remember the various types included in the test, but I'm pretty sure Castrol was included.

Bill
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Old 10-17-2009
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Originally Posted by Bill Blue View Post
You would think, and sometimes, appears to be the case. Years ago, some of the TE/AE guys did a test, comparing the compatibility of different brake fluids with an Alpine brake rubber seal currently available on the market. They measured the diameter of the seal, cut it up and let it soak in different brake fluids, then periodically remeasured the pieces. The last I saw (If I remember correctly), DOT3 was slightly superior to the other types tested. That is, caused slightly less swelling. No, I don't remember the various types included in the test, but I'm pretty sure Castrol was included.

Bill
It was Tiger Tom that did that test. I don't recall the issue it was in, but yes, I do recall that Castrol LMA was included.

EDIT:
OK, on edit I found an article Tiger Tom wrote regarding this issue. Give his knowledge and experience in rebuilding boosters - probably the best at it there ever is/was - I defer to his authority.

http://www.svvscc.org/newimages/greasy_rag/Vol2No17.pdf (see page 2)

Quoted here for posterity:

Quote:
Tech Tip:
I am invariably asked by my customers to tell them what brake fluid they should use, Girling or Silicone. I have also learned over the years to NEVER make a decision for the customer. But I will provide information so they can make their own decision and feel good about the outcome. After 40 plus years of restoring nearly two thousand British hydraulic clutch and brake cylinders, assessing their failure mechanisms and applications I have established the following response to “What should I use?”


Brake Fluid Selection
by Tiger TomŽ
What to use, Silicone or Castrol/Girling/Lucas GT LMA


My simple answer is: Use the fluid with the lesser of two evils for your application since both will cause hydraulic system failure over time. Use silicone brake fluid for occasional use and show quality cars where fluid is not changed on an annual basis. Use Girling brake fluid for high performance applications and when it will be changed on an annual basis. Both fluids have their virtues and liabilities. The choice, in my opinion, is the one that has the best virtues and causes the least severe failures for your application.

Silicone Fluid
A silicone fluid virtue is that it does not destroy paint, making it easy and safe to work with. Oddly, one of silicone fluids other virtues is that it causes less severe brake system degradation than Girling fluid making it easier and less expensive to repair hydraulic systems. Repairs with systems using silicone fluid simply require disassembly, a thorough clean up, then reassemble with new parts. There are several silicone fluid liabilities. On British cars, The rubber seal in the brake light sender unit deteriorates, rendering it inoperative in about one or two years. Also, Silicone fluid causes the seals to swell, then become spongy. If used
a lot, as in daily driving, the seals will fail at a more rapid rate than other fluids. Use of silicone fluid increases friction between seals and cylinder bores and when combined with a worn and weak master cylinder spring, the master cylinder piston may “stick” causing symptoms similar to air trapped in the lines and if installed, a sticking brake servo unit. Conversion to silicone fluid requires complete disassembly of the hydraulic system to completely remove other fluids and their residual films. The compressive characteristics of silicone (soft, spongy pedal, especially when hot) are not usually an issue under even aggressive street driving.

Girling Fluid
The primary virtue with the Girling fluid is its superior performance under high heat and stress situations involved in racing. Girling fluid is the only way to go when relentless braking occurs. Girling fluid has two significant liabilities. First, its propensity to destroy paint is legendary. Second, Its hygroscopic properties allow the fluid to ingest moisture from the atmosphere which in turn creates an acidic solution. The moisture causes corrosion in the bores and tends to collect at low points in cylinders and along the hydraulic lines in cars not frequently used. Moisture absorption is exacerbated by high humidity and temperature inversions. Dryer climates will not experience the magnitude of bore corrosion as more humid climates. Ingestion of moisture into the fluid can be reduced by placing a cover like Saran Wrap, a rubber diaphragm, or equiv, under the master cylinder filler cap. The cover must be free to flex as needed while separating the fluid from the atmosphere to prevent moisture absorption. Repairs with systems using Girling type fluid usually consist of replacing the seal, PLUS addressing likely cylinder bore corrosion damage, especially aluminum cylinders setting idle for months. In many cases a full repair may require reboring and sleeving the cylinder. Then there is the ruined paint from leaks or spills, even rust on panels. It is not uncommon for fluid to migrate from a leaky master cylinder to the floor pan on some cars. Again, Girling fluid with moisture = acid. Acid = rust. Those in racing are well aware of the requirement that Girling brake fluid must be flushed on a regular basis, as well as the care required in handling the fluid. This applies any time this fluid is used. Flushing old fluid out once a year is requirement to prevent corrosion damage to hydraulics. However, most owners do not do this with their street driven or show cars.

Hydraulic System Life Cycle
The hydraulic system End-Of-Life is a result of mechanical wear, fluid effects and use. We’ll ignore techanical factors. We now know what the fluid effects are. What about use? My general observations are as follows. Frequent use as in daily driving, Girling fluid causes few hydraulic problems. Silicone fluid causes a faster rate of seal deterioration than Girling fluid. Infrequent use, winter storage and occasional street driving, Silicone fluid effects typically allow for multi-year use before failure. Failure is limited to seal failure. Repair requires a simple cleaning and seal replacement. Girling fluid effects typically allow for multi-year use before failure. Failure modes include both seal failure and moderate to severe cylinder corrosion. The Girling hydraulic fluid referenced herein is sold under the brand name Castrol GT, Lucas, or Girling and is rated as DOT 4 LMA brake fluid. Silicone hydraulic fluid is sold under several brand names and is rated as DOT 5.

Article written by:
Tom Ehrhart
(Tiger Tom of Tigers East/Alpines East)
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