What kind of brake fluid to use? - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-30-2007, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of brake fluid to use?

So I recently discovered what looks like algae in my brake reservoir, and the fluid was very black and murky, so I decided to bleed the brakes. I used Gunk fluid.

My question is, do the more expensive brake fluids have better detergent properties? I would like to get everything in there all nice and clean again...

'98 Forester S MT
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 10:09 AM
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Not the kind that has algae in it! Brake fluids (except DOT 5) are hygroscopic meaning that they absorb water over time.

Spending more on brake fluids will not clean your system. Cleaning and flushing will.

I would siphon off any remaining fluid and clean out as much dirt as possible followed by a thorough flush until the fluid runs clean from the bleeders.

I recommend you change the fluid a bit more often than you have been. Not sure what kind of damage to the seals occurs when it is neglected like this let alone the decrease in braking performance...

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 11:13 AM
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I would get a cheap brake fluid to completely flush out the system, then put some ATE blue in there until you see blue come out.

Whatever you do, do it right.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 01:19 PM
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Since I'm going to change the fluid alog with the BREMBO slotted rotors and Hawk pads, front and rear, I'll go get some of the ATE blue fluid and ask the dealer to put it in. I don't expect that to be a problem.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 01:22 PM
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Is DOT 5 the recommended or DOT 3? Several mechanics have mentioned both numbers. I haven;'t researched this yet so that's why I ask. Also, does either number require different hoses? Hope that si not a DUMB question.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 01:57 PM
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DOT 3 or 4 is recommended. Castrol GT works fine for most. The high zoot fluids only really make a difference at the track where boiling is an issue.

No need to change hoses.

'09 STI
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnniebgood View Post
Is DOT 5 the recommended or DOT 3? Several mechanics have mentioned both numbers. I haven;'t researched this yet so that's why I ask. Also, does either number require different hoses? Hope that si not a DUMB question.
Don't use DOT 5 because it doesn't mix with DOT 3 or 4. DOT 4 has a higher boiling point, but DOT 3 is acceptable.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 02:13 PM
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DOT 5 gives you a spongy pedal too.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 02:16 PM
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If doing it yourself, ATE blue is great because it is...well...blue. Otherwise I would just use the valvoline stuff, seems to be one of the best you can find without having to order it. The brake fluid really shouldn't have any detergent properties. Do not use DOT 5, the system is designed for dot 3 or 4, unless otherwise stated in the car.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 02:43 PM
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I like ATE superblue for the blue color: easy to change if you have something else in there.

Others said it absorbs a lot of water. I don't know, but my experience may bear that out: the other day I had what I think was boiling-fluid fade. Reduced braking, soft pedal. It was dark so I couldn't see if my pads were smoking or not, but I'd driven down the same long steep hill on the same pads & fluid several times before with no real problem. I've only had the Superblue for 8 months, and as far as I can tell I need to change it already. Maybe it absorbed too much water, maybe I've overheated it too many times in the 8 months of street driving.

Not sure what to install this time. Read mixed things about Motul 600 here. Maybe I'll just buy the cheapest DOT 4 fluid.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnniebgood View Post
Is DOT 5 the recommended or DOT 3? Several mechanics have mentioned both numbers.
Are you sure they didn't recommend DOT 5.1? DOT 5 is completely different, and pretty much only used in applications designed for it. DOT 3 & 4 are most common.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by gman View Post
I like ATE superblue for the blue color: easy to change if you have something else in there.

Others said it absorbs a lot of water. I don't know, but my experience may bear that out: the other day I had what I think was boiling-fluid fade. Reduced braking, soft pedal. It was dark so I couldn't see if my pads were smoking or not, but I'd driven down the same long steep hill on the same pads & fluid several times before with no real problem. I've only had the Superblue for 8 months, and as far as I can tell I need to change it already. Maybe it absorbed too much water, maybe I've overheated it too many times in the 8 months of street driving.

Not sure what to install this time. Read mixed things about Motul 600 here. Maybe I'll just buy the cheapest DOT 4 fluid.
Might have gotten some moisture in the system while bleeding. ATE is pretty good stuff, and should last longer than that in a sealed system.
ATE also makes the Blue in Red, so when you flush your blue, you can see the red.

Whatever you do, do it right.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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I thought ATE only made Blue and Gold? They make red now too? Awesome!

I use Motul. It's about the same as ATE, but it's more readily available in smaller containers. Since you can't store brake fluid, why buy a 1 liter can for $20 if you are just doing a quick bleed?

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 04:55 PM
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Might have gotten some moisture in the system while bleeding.
The fluid worked fine for several months, including more stressful use than last week. I think it's some combination of getting cooked too many times and moisture. Slightly thinner pads probably conduct more heat to the calipers too, but I imagine the difference is small--pads still seem pretty thick, but I only eyeballed 'em, didn't measure. I've read about putting a thermal coating on the back of the pads to keep the calipers cooler (and pads hotter I guess), but that sounds dicey.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 05:25 PM
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Cool

I just bought a bottle (1 litre) of ATE Super Blue brake fluid......from what I have heard, it's one of the best available & long lasting too. Got it from E-bay for a great deal. I was not able to find this stuff in any auto parts store in Ontario. Gonna do the brake fluid flush in the next couple of weeks.

Bren

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