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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
Del
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Funky 91S brakes

Well, after many many miles of fun driving, today I noticed that the brakes on the 91S starting acting a little funny. First, when I started the car, the anti-brake warning light came on. First time I've seen that during driving. As I drove the car in hot stop and go traffic, the brakes seemed fine, but by the time I got home the brakes were starting to be applied just a little, pedal a little high and hard.

After getting home (not much further down the road) I shut off the engine and then restarted it, the anti-brake warning light not coming on this time. When I checked the temperature of all four wheels, the right front and left rear were warm and the left front and right rear were cool. So, it appears that the only brakes working were the right front and left rear circuit, or at least, they were working harder, as in somewhat or a little applied all the time, than the others. The car did stop as normal otherwise, even in hard almost panic stops. Am using the ATE 200 fluid. The fluid level is ok.

Drove it a little again tonight, the warning light not coming on anymore, and after getting home, noticed that again, the right front and left rear wheels were warm, the others cool.

Guess the master is acting up. Rats, been a very long time, many thousands of miles ago since the last master problem. And yesterday, I had told someone I wasn't having any problems with the car at all for the last many thousand miles. Should have kept my big mouth shut, lol. Not looking forward to changing it, busy on other projects and trips.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 06:38 AM
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In your investigations do make sure that the left rear brake is fully releasing its handbrake. On my car that brake seized up twice before my mechanic modified the internal return spring, it had got out of shape or was never in shape. The right rear brake has a little helper spring attached to the caliper mounted handbrake lever and cam in order to assist in pulling the brake off when the brake is released by the driver.

The rear brake seizes up because the pads drag, heating up the disc and since the pads drag because the piston cannot retract fully the added heat and disc expansion can cause the brake to apply itself in a self reinforcing cycle. The dragging doesn't stop the car but the pads can heat up enough to burn and scar the disc.

Another possibility is the deteriorating brake hose liner problem mentioned by others. Apparently, restrictions on fluid flow can simultaneously affect brake pad release on diagonally opposite wheels.

1991 Alfa Romeo 164L 5 spd
White on grey leather 230K km, owned from new
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 08:00 AM
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Well, after many many miles of fun driving, today I noticed that the brakes on the 91S starting acting a little funny. First, when I started the car, the anti-brake warning light came on. First time I've seen that during driving. As I drove the car in hot stop and go traffic, the brakes seemed fine, but by the time I got home the brakes were starting to be applied just a little, pedal a little high and hard.

After getting home (not much further down the road) I shut off the engine and then restarted it, the anti-brake warning light not coming on this time. When I checked the temperature of all four wheels, the right front and left rear were warm and the left front and right rear were cool. So, it appears that the only brakes working were the right front and left rear circuit, or at least, they were working harder, as in somewhat or a little applied all the time, than the others. The car did stop as normal otherwise, even in hard almost panic stops. Am using the ATE 200 fluid. The fluid level is ok.

Drove it a little again tonight, the warning light not coming on anymore, and after getting home, noticed that again, the right front and left rear wheels were warm, the others cool.

Guess the master is acting up. Rats, been a very long time, many thousands of miles ago since the last master problem. And yesterday, I had told someone I wasn't having any problems with the car at all for the last many thousand miles. Should have kept my big mouth shut, lol. Not looking forward to changing it, busy on other projects and trips.
Master Cylinder time IMO. This is clear sign to me it's failing. I would say try a fluid change but I think it may be worthless. I doubt it is a failing hose as I cannot imagine you letting hoses go so long they fail Del? lol The fact that it is Left rear and Front right point to MC.


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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'm thinking you are correct about the master, alas. The brake lines are not likely to be the problem, as I had replaced all the flexible brake lines to the calipers a few years ago with the Goodridge stainless covered lines. And, the anti-brake warning light has stayed off when I drive, indicating that that system is ok. Also, the fuse for that system is fine, so I figure that the warning light being on was just an anomaly, just being on for the one time, as warning lights sometimes do, just because.

So, I figure that the seal for one of the two internal brake fluid systems in the master has allowed fluid to go where it is not wanted, and the right front and left rear system calipers are not fully retracting, esp when the system gets hot in hot stop and go driving, as was yesterday. If I just drive the car just to the supermarket or Lowes, not long drives at all, the brakes don't get that hot, and not wearing the pads all that much, so I will take my time getting this fixed. The car doesn't feel like it has dragging brakes, drives as it has before. Maybe if I just bleed that side circuit a little, the unwanted fluid will drain down a little, for a little while anyway.

I'm not crazy about diving in and replacing the master at this time (I know Steve could do it in 15 minutes, but not I. Of course, will use his written instructions in a different posting from 2006), but first I do have new front discs, pads, and one way bleed fittings to install, to get that over with. Not difficult or messy compared to the master, (too much other stuff to remove, etc). Will wait until warmer weather, Yes, I'm a procrastinator, lol.
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Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Yesterday installed new front end discs and pads on the 91S. Took it out for a nice drive later, and then measured the temperatures of the front and rear wheels to see if any pads were dragging. Front temperatures were ~95F, and the rears were ~82F, all pretty even both sides. So, the dragging brake problem has disappeared, until the next time I get stuck in hot stop and go driving, lol. Ok for the usual DD then. No hurry to tackle a new master.

Did discover that I still had ATE Blu brake fluid in that car Thought I had changed it out to the ATE 200, but I guess that was the LS last time. Will have to change that Blu stuff out when I put the summer tires back on in sometime in April.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 11:56 AM
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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They were changed on the 91S a few years ago to the steel protected versions from Goodridge. They work very well. The fact that the RF and LR brake separate circuit was hanging up the brakes indicates that it very likely is the master, not a rubber line.

Thanks for the suggestion, though, as I do have to do the same on the LS, although I've had zero problems with that car.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
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Yesterday installed new front end discs and pads on the 91S. Took it out for a nice drive later, and then measured the temperatures of the front and rear wheels to see if any pads were dragging. Front temperatures were ~95F, and the rears were ~82F, all pretty even both sides. So, the dragging brake problem has disappeared, until the next time I get stuck in hot stop and go driving, lol. Ok for the usual DD then. No hurry to tackle a new master.

Did discover that I still had ATE Blu brake fluid in that car Thought I had changed it out to the ATE 200, but I guess that was the LS last time. Will have to change that Blu stuff out when I put the summer tires back on in sometime in April.
ATE Blue is illegal now. Most likely the issue and has caused MC to go bad. It is not the brake lines for sure. MC. What was ambient temps yesterday? It will do it more in higher ambient temps or heavier braking situations. It's fairly intermittent too. It will return.


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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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My understanding was that the Blue was not liked by the Feds because they didn't want a funny colored fluid. The ATE 200 is supposed to be the same as the Blue but different colored to match other brake fluids. I don't think it causes problems in the master. I can't imagine ATE putting out a brake fluid which would damage cylinder seals. Too good a company, IMO.

The first time I had to change the master in the 91S was years ago when I had been using the Alfa recommended fluid, and then changed to the higher temp Blue, which IMO has forestalled the master problem apparently common to all 164s, ie, the higher temperature engine compartment of that tight/packed design, esp in stop and go traffic with no fan running for the most part. The higher temps slowly kill the seals in the master, and cause problems with the standard temp fluid. With the Blue, it's been years since I had this problem. Took much longer time this time. BTW, I think the 164 fan should be running all the time at slow speed to move air around the bay when in slow or stopped traffic. Coolant temperature rise is not as critical it seems.

Just my thoughts on this subject.

Yes, of course, if I don't change the master, it may return, but only in the worst conditions. Did a drive today in warm weather, stop and go, hauling six bags of manure, four concrete blocks, a bag of weed and feed, two 2x4s, two rolls of 1/2 inch screening, couple qts of paint, and my wife of course, in the 91S. Checked the wheel temperatures after the mostly downhill braking run, and they were ~92F in front, both sides, and ~80F rear, ie, normal. (I think I will install one of my recording temperature gauges in that area of the master to see just what the max temp will be during a drive, and at long idle before the coolant fan comes on). Good to go for now.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-31-2019, 08:23 AM
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My understanding was that the Blue was not liked by the Feds because they didn't want a funny colored fluid. The ATE 200 is supposed to be the same as the Blue but different colored to match other brake fluids. I don't think it causes problems in the master. I can't imagine ATE putting out a brake fluid which would damage cylinder seals. Too good a company, IMO.
You are correct, the feds said each automotive fluid has to be a specific color, hence the end of ATE SuperBlue. 200 is the same thing.

I have a bottle of Motul RBF 600 I'll be using on my 164S once I do the brake rebuild. Its just easier for me as I always have bottles of it stocked up for the race car.

-RL; 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S, 2014 Mercedes Benz E350 4Matic, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 1995 Volkswagen Golf (Race Car)
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-31-2019, 11:06 AM
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My understanding was that the Blue was not liked by the Feds because they didn't want a funny colored fluid. The ATE 200 is supposed to be the same as the Blue but different colored to match other brake fluids. I don't think it causes problems in the master. I can't imagine ATE putting out a brake fluid which would damage cylinder seals. Too good a company, IMO.

The first time I had to change the master in the 91S was years ago when I had been using the Alfa recommended fluid, and then changed to the higher temp Blue, which IMO has forestalled the master problem apparently common to all 164s, ie, the higher temperature engine compartment of that tight/packed design, esp in stop and go traffic with no fan running for the most part. The higher temps slowly kill the seals in the master, and cause problems with the standard temp fluid. With the Blue, it's been years since I had this problem. Took much longer time this time. BTW, I think the 164 fan should be running all the time at slow speed to move air around the bay when in slow or stopped traffic. Coolant temperature rise is not as critical it seems.

Just my thoughts on this subject.

Yes, of course, if I don't change the master, it may return, but only in the worst conditions. Did a drive today in warm weather, stop and go, hauling six bags of manure, four concrete blocks, a bag of weed and feed, two 2x4s, two rolls of 1/2 inch screening, couple qts of paint, and my wife of course, in the 91S. Checked the wheel temperatures after the mostly downhill braking run, and they were ~92F in front, both sides, and ~80F rear, ie, normal. (I think I will install one of my recording temperature gauges in that area of the master to see just what the max temp will be during a drive, and at long idle before the coolant fan comes on). Good to go for now.
Yes it is the same but that said, the blue dye sure does stain everything so IMO it is NOT exactly the same. I have seen it eat at seals in Master Cylinders. I used ATE blue for years and had exact same problem you are experiencing, several times. Replaced master cylinder and flushed with ATE blue, then after a few years it happened again. I concluded the fluid was the issue. I flushed system with new Pentosin Brake fluid, new master and it's been about 13+ years with no issue. I think the dye is the issue.
Take my word for it, it is not the same as ATE 200 although maybe 90%+ the same. I pulled both MC's apart and the seals were mush. Inside of MC was stained blue.


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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-31-2019, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I can try the Petosin. But don't forget that the first time the master in my 91S went bad, I was using the Alfa recommended fluid. And, I still think the temperatures are part of the problem.

My old containers of the Blue and 200 should be tossed anyway. Yes, the Blue does stain things, lol.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-31-2019, 12:56 PM
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Well, I can try the Petosin. The old containers of the Blue and 200 should be tossed anyway. However, yes, the Blue does stain things, lol.
Use the ATE 200, that is fine. Really what works the best in these cars is the Castrol GTlma (just their full synthetic now, Girling GT-LMA was the former name) Fluid. That's what I would use. I went back to this later after trying Blue and pentosin. No need to order anything special. The castrol does well and handles heat well. I doubt you are getting even close to temps that ATE 200 can take and I think Castrol is 506+/- dry boil and 330 wet boil. ATE 200: Dry boiling point 536F Wet boiling point 388F. Not much to grip about here.



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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-31-2019, 04:58 PM
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Use the ATE 200, that is fine. Really what works the best in these cars is the Castrol GTlma (just their full synthetic now, Girling GT-LMA was the former name) Fluid. That's what I would use. I went back to this later after trying Blue and pentosin. No need to order anything special. The castrol does well and handles heat well. I doubt you are getting even close to temps that ATE 200 can take and I think Castrol is 506+/- dry boil and 330 wet boil. ATE 200: Dry boiling point 536F Wet boiling point 388F. Not much to grip about here.
Another vote for GTLMA too. In my series some lighter cars will run that fluid over the more expensive Motul etc that some of us run, with no problem.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Funny, that when I check on the prices for the various fluids, such as the ATE 200 and the Castrol GTLMA, the web sites say "not compatible with the Alfa 164". I wonder why, not that it is going to stop me from buying one of them.

Then again, maybe it is just eBay, lol.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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