Wilwood Caliper kit - Leak Fix Recommendation - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Wilwood Caliper kit - Leak Fix Recommendation

I ordered the Wilwood brake caliper kit from Centerline [Part #BK807] and have about 250+ miles of winding road experience, using stock rotors in good condition. It's a fantastic upgrade and adds a great amount of improved stopping power.

However....

I didn't drive the car for 2 weeks and when I came back and was pulling it out - brake pedal went to the floor (rolling down my driveway) and I used the hand brake to stop the car. The master cylinder was empty! The calipers were wet and figured that the bleeders may have leaked. Filled everything back up, bled the inner and outer bleeder valves on both wheels and was back in action.

However....

I noticed brake fluid marks/streaks coming out from the wheels after a drive. Front wheels off and upon re-inspection, I noticed that the bottom of both calipers were wet. After speaking to Wilwood (twice), it was clear that these 4 piston calipers have 2 upper and 2 lower bleed valve opening and they ship them out with 4 bleeders installed. Because Centerline puts these kits together, they remove the lower bleeders and insert 5mm allen plugs into the 2 bleeder holes in each caliper. These are plumbing fittings and when I removed the plugs, it was clear that they didn't use any thread-seal (ie. teflon tape or equivalent sealer)....hence, the weep/leak.

Recommendation for any one who has or will order these kits. Before installing the calipers, take the bottom plugs out, wrap them with teflon tape and re-install...they will be leak free.

1986 Modded Quadrifoglio
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 12:25 PM
The kit I got from Centerline had all the bleeders installed.

I could be wrong but it was my understanding that Teflon tape was not to be used with DOT 3 etc brake fluid...

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
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I could be wrong but it was my understanding that Teflon tape was not to be used with DOT 3 etc brake fluid...
Teflon is the most chemical resistant stuff out there: brake fluid won't hurt it. I think the issue is that brake flare connections are supposed to install with no sealant at all, as are brake hose connections with straight thread that seal via crush washer.

In that vein, the bleeder holes aren't supposed to seal by the threads, they seal by the base of the bleeder. Plugging those with Allen screws (even with some sort of thread sealant on there) definitely ain't the right way to do it.

Can't you just put proper bleeder screws in those holes? I would think that would seal fine, no thread sealant required.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 01:00 PM
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I'll add that it seems really odd you lost brakes completely. With a dual-circuit system you should've still had fluid in the rear part of the reservoir, and the rear brakes still should've worked. You also should've gotten a brake warning light on the dash.

I think after you fix the caliper problem you should go through and make sure you don't have something else going on as well.
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1963 Giulia Spider (1750 engine)
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 01:53 PM
A quick google supports what Gubi has said - Teflon (PTFE) is chemically resistant to Glycol-ether based brake fluids (ie, DOT3,4). Teflon tape is not intended to be a sealing product but rather a friction reducer that allows fittings to be threaded in further. And to second Gubi's second point, the bleeder screw seals by bottoming out on the shoulder not from the threads. Not to say that the tape won't act as a gap sealer but you could just as easily use chewing gum - so long as it's resistant to brake fluid...

And to agree with Gubi for a third time (a new record I'm sure ) there is likely another problem with your system if you had complete brake failure when only the fronts failed. Might check your bias valve to be sure your rear brakes are even working...
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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The leak was definitely from the 5mm plugs on both calipers. I checked all other areas of the brake system for leaks and nothing was wet. As mentioned, the master cylinder was empty and when I pressed the brake pedal rolling backwards down my driveway, the pedal went to the floor and there wasn't anything.

@gprocket - interesting that both your calipers had all 4 bleeders installed, which how Wilwood ships them out. Not sure why Centerline used plugs on the bottom fittings on mine...

Regarding the teflon tape, Wilwood recommended that I use this for the 14mm fittings that go into the caliper, but not the 1/4" bleeder nipple. The said that they are tension-fit plumbing fittings and need a sealer, ie. teflon tape, to seal off the threads on the fitting is snug. The 14mm fitting once tight is not what is loosened/tightened to bleed the brakes, only 1/4" nipple is turned.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 04:25 PM
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Got it, I thought you were putting teflon on the plugs that replaced the bleeders that should've been there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooklyn67 View Post
The leak was definitely from the 5mm plugs on both calipers. I checked all other areas of the brake system for leaks and nothing was wet. As mentioned, the master cylinder was empty and when I pressed the brake pedal rolling backwards down my driveway, the pedal went to the floor and there wasn't anything.
This is the '86 listed in your sig? The MC reservoir should have a divider about halfway up such that even if you lose all the fluid out the front, the rear reservoir will still be half full and your rear brakes will function.

Or are we talking about some older car with single-circuit brakes?

Tom

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 07:05 PM
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I installed the Wilwood calipers a couple of months ago and mine had upper and lower bleeders. No leaks.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 12:00 AM
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Brake system's always seal on tapers, never threads, or even faces/washers. If the plugs don't utilise a taper then nothing you will do will stop them leaking.

Solution is to install bleeder nipples ... don't have to use them to bleed, but they will seal as the caliper was designed.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 12:31 AM
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have you just called Willwood and ask for four more bleeders?

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Yes...this is the '86 that has the 2 compartment brake reservoir.
Unless my eyesight has totally gone to the shitter, both sides of the reservoir were empty or just about empty.

Unfortunately, I don't have another Alfa as a point of reference, but [perhaps] there's some weeping of fluid between the reservoir and the master cylinder. I think from photos I've seen that there are 2 rubber bushings that sit in between the two and they seem somewhat soft - I can move the reservoir container side to side, but I didn't see that the master was wet with fluid, but will keep and eye on it.

And I did order more bleeders that I'll install on the lower portion of the Wilwood calipers.

Thanks.

1986 Modded Quadrifoglio
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 01:01 PM
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It doesn't seem right that you lost all brakes on an '86. The front and rear should be separate circuits. You also should've gotten a brake warning light from the float in the reservoir.

Regardless of what you do with the Wilwoods I'd suggest investigating further.

Tom

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 07:19 PM
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Just give us a call, we can send you replacement bleeder fittings to replace the plugs. Sorry for the issue.

Originally, we replaced the lower bleeder fittings because we were trying to eliminate a possible source of error in the bleeding process. We are always aware that we have customers of varying automotive knowledge and skill level and try to take care of everyone.

We sold quite a few sets with the lower plugs without incident, but apparently a few have leaked, and as such we have discontinued this practice on these kits.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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@JoeCab - Thank you for the offer, but unfortunately when I did call, the sales/tech person told me to order the from Jegs...which I did 2 days ago (2 sets of 4...just in case), but you could always credit my account
@Gubi It felt like I lost both front and rear. As you can imagine, since I was on a decline when the car was rolling back and then the brake pedal went to the flow without resistance...my natural, emergency inclination was to pull up on the e-brake...which worked and then I used it when I pulled back into my shop to investigate the issue. I'll investigate the master cylinder further, but I do know that there were puddles of brake fluid on the inner side of both front wheels (fluid leaking down onto the rims and running off over the inside part of the tire). I'm away for a few days, but did put a large piece of cardboard under the car to see if fluid might be leaking/dripping from another part of the car.

Thanks again.

1986 Modded Quadrifoglio
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