Brake fluid 101 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 3Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 06:16 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
02Lightning's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 312
Brake fluid 101

Ok, I know your not suppose to use any DOT type brake fluid for the Alfa but what type can I use? Any Girling brake fluid or do I use a special type of Girling? Can I use another brand, and what do I look for on the container to be sure it’s compatible with the seals on my car. I assume the seals are a natural rubber and that’s what makes them incompatible with DOT type brake fluid?
Greg

Greg ~ 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce 750F
49000 orig. miles,no rust, very original, this car was purchase by my father in 1962

Last edited by 02Lightning; 08-19-2008 at 08:29 AM.
02Lightning is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 08:26 AM
Registered User
 
DaveB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Lake Forest Illinois
Posts: 672
I have always used Castrol GT LMA brake fluid in all British and Italian cars. This was always the recommended brake fluid for Girling Lucas etc. Giulietta brake cylinders are all British. I have used Castrol GT LMA for 20 years in all kinds British cars. Dave B in Chicago
DaveB is offline  
post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 10:07 AM
Registered User
 
Peter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Austin, TX , USA
Posts: 3,898
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by 02Lightning View Post
Ok, I know your not suppose to use any DOT type brake fluid for the Alfa but what type can I use? ........I assume the seals are a natural rubber and that’s what makes them incompatible with DOT type brake fluid?
Greg

What??? I had never heard that, and just rebuilt the brakes on my GTV and used regular DOT stuff....did I mess up???

Peter

Currently: '65 Giulia TI

Previously:
'76 Alfasud Ti/'75 GT Junior/'87 Alfa 33
'91 Alfa 75/'95 Alfa 164/'79 Alfa Spider '69 Euro 1750 GTV, '67 Duetto, '84 Spider Veloce
'91 164L
Peter is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 10:24 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 296
I've always used Castrol LMA with good success. That said, I doubt that DOT fluid compatability with the rubber bits is still an issue after 50 years.
101 Alfa Mike is offline  
post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
02Lightning's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 312
I don’t know what type of rubber is used for the seals now but DOT3 brake fluid is only compatible with some types of rubber and originally NOT compatible with these cars. When my father bought this car in the 60’s the previous owner put DOT3 in it and distorted all the seals and he rebuilt everything. Maybe they have changed rubber materials but I’d sure like to know that for sure before I use anything.

Greg ~ 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce 750F
49000 orig. miles,no rust, very original, this car was purchase by my father in 1962
02Lightning is offline  
post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 12:00 PM
Registered User
Platinum Subscriber
 
Andrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 20,580
Any fluid you use in the US is going to have some DOT rating, isn't it? Otherwise it can't be sold here. I've used DOT 3 and DOT 4 (both mineral) in Alfas, VWs, etc. for 30 years without difficulty, and have had DOT 5 (silicone) in my MGA Twin Cam for the past 20 years. No complaints other than DOT 5 feeling mushy compared to DOT 3 and 4.

Andrew
Andrew is offline  
post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
02Lightning's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 312
I really don’t know, I just know that not all rubbers are compatible with DOT3 glycol type brake fluid. Maybe just make sure it is a mineral type brake fluid? Do they have DOT mineral and DOT glycol type fluid? I think the glycol type is the kind you would find at Autozone or similar store. Only reason I would even question it is from my father’s experience. I also had to rebuild a distribution block on my 69 mustang with DOT 3 glycol type compatible o-rings (I used EPDM), I just referred to my compatibility chart at work.

Greg ~ 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce 750F
49000 orig. miles,no rust, very original, this car was purchase by my father in 1962
02Lightning is offline  
post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 04:17 PM
Registered User
 
cstlhn's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 315
I agree completely regarding Castrol LMA which I believe to be DOT4. Brake fluids have different boiling points. The higher the boiling point the more alcohol is contained in the fluid. Alcohol is hydroscopic, it attracts water. If high boiling points are desired the fluid should be flushed and changed annually IMHO.
I also like Motul but find it is difficult to purchase from time to time.

David

GTAM clone
101 Sprint Coupe
cstlhn is offline  
post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 05:38 PM
Trained (ex)Professional

1953-2018 RIP

Platinum SubscriberAdministrator
 
papajam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New Jersey USA
Posts: 16,232
Quote:
Originally Posted by 02Lightning View Post
Maybe just make sure it is a mineral type brake fluid?
Alfa Giulietta owners manual #772 dated 10/61 states specifically DO NOT use mineral oil. This leaves either a glycol based fluid (DOT 3, 4 or 5.1) or silicone (DOT 5). Alfa recommended brake fluids (at that time) were Energol by BP and Shell Donax B 70 R1.
However, it's my understanding that 1950s Alfas may have used natural rubber brake components which would require the use of a mineral based fluid. Unfortunately, I do not have any 750 Series owners manuals to confirm what type of fluid should be used.
There's a bit about brake fluid here which would indicate that perhaps the color of your existing fluid holds the answer.

Jim

Series 2 USA 1750 GTV (in Series 1 European clothing)
papajam is offline  
post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
02Lightning's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 312
LOL! I think I'll go with Castrol GT LMA brake fluid.

Greg ~ 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce 750F
49000 orig. miles,no rust, very original, this car was purchase by my father in 1962
02Lightning is offline  
post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 09:40 AM
USTA BE AN AD-MIN
Platinum SubscriberAdministrator
 
ossodiseppia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Broomfield, Colorado U.S.A
Posts: 10,472
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by 02Lightning View Post
LOL! I think I'll go with Castrol GT LMA brake fluid.
Pardon me if I am misunderstanding your LOL. Brakes and steering are the two most important safety features of a car. So, guessing at which brake fluid to use isn't a good idea. The last thing you need is for your cars brakes to fail when you need them most (that would be while driving).

Papajam's suggestion about looking at the colour of the fluid is the best place to start. Chances are the seals have been replaced with seals made from more modern materials.

Brian __________________________________
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
ossodiseppia is offline  
post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 09:48 AM
Registered User
Platinum Subscriber
 
Andrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 20,580
Sorry, I was talking out of my hat on DOT 3, 4 being mineral. Speculating without knowing is often a bad practice. That said, DOT 3 and 4 have worked great for me in 30+ Alfa over 31 years.

Andrew
Andrew is offline  
post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 10:36 AM
Registered User
 
Alex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: London UK
Posts: 5,958
I use Automec DOT-5 silicone fluid in my car and (touch wood) I've not experienced any difficulties with 'sponginess' or seal deterioration. All of my father's old Italian cars use it with equally good results. The downside is that (over here) it's 3 times the price of regular brake fluid. The blurb taken from one of the websites selling this product makes me think that it could actually be made in the USA? Perhaps you could email them to find out if it's sold under a different brand over there.

Quote:
The most advanced brake and clutch fluid ever formulated. Automec's silicone brake fluid repels moisture, so unlike standard polyglycol brake fluids, it never needs changing. Rust and corrosion are inhibited because moisture is kept out of the system, and the high boiling point of 260 degrees Celsius (500 degrees Fahrenheit) is maintained throughout the life of the product, ensuring consistent, long-term, safe performance. Conforms to the highest acknowledged standards, the US Dept. of Transportation (DOT) 5 Standard as well as the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 116 and US Military Standard MIL B46176 and has been standard issue in US Military vehicles for over 15 years. Automec Silicone brake fluid advantages are: lasts a lifetime, will not catch fire, guarantees consistent performance, will not damage paintwork.
Anyone here got a friend who's got access to a USMC stores dept?!

Alex.

Last edited by Alex; 08-20-2008 at 10:39 AM.
Alex is offline  
post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 12:07 PM
Registered User
Platinum Subscriber
 
Andrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 20,580
What I have always heard is the DOT 5 (silicone) was developed for military use in the first place. For vehicles that sit unused for long periods, sometimes in harsh environments, then need to be fired up and driven right away, silicone fluid, which doesn't absorb water, made more sense than traditional fluid, which does.

Perhaps all DOT 5 does meet this milspec? It's not all a winning proposition though. DOT 5 in my MGA has a different, spongier feel, and even though it doesn't absord water, moisture is still getting into the system, because it's vented to the atmosphere. So instead of mixing, the water just sits there, unmixed, in the low spots, right? Not necessarily better, just different.

Andrew

Andrew
Andrew is offline  
post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 01:52 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Columbia South Carolina
Posts: 78
I have used DOT 5 in my two Alfas, one for 25 years and the other for 19 years, no problems at all. I will also be using it in the Giulia Spider once its finished.
Dennis

Dennis Skraba
73 Spider, 68 1300JR RHD, 62 Giulia Spider
dennis skraba is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome