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Discussion Starter #1
Ok. I'm baffled. Working on my '84 spider. Just had my Alfa mechanic replace the clutch slave, line, and master. That fixed my shifting issues but when I checked the fluid this morning, I found a lot of debris (sort of a dark cloudiness) floating towards the bottom of the reservoir...see first pic. He suggested the turkey baster and siphon out a bit, mix it with some water and see if any droplets form to make sure it's not oil...it's not. I drained it, cleaned the res, and refilled. Within a few min, the dark matter started streaming from the inner/bottom of the res or connection point...see second pic. I drained, cleaned again, and refilled again. Same result. Almost like some sort of chemical reaction. Anyone ever see this before? I really don't want to go thru another clutch mc again.
 

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That is weird. All DOT brake fluids should be compatable with each other.

Are you sure there was no oil in the system?

I'd worry that the rubber bits are deteriorating. When put on a piece of paper towel are the black bits fluid (like oil might be) or firm (like rubber bits might be)?

Whatever it is, I'd flush a generous quantity of brake fluid through the system - after removing the gunk in the reservoir fill it with fresh fluid and pump it out the slave's bleed screw until what comes out is clean. Don't let the reservoir run loo low to avoid getting air in the system.
 

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you mean the fluid just turns cloudy 'without' you actually pressing the clutch?

If it happens when you press the clutch, then that nasty stuff is coming out the new master, which is not good.....one presumes the mechanic flushed out the old fluid completely and used new!?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
After mixing with water it did not bead up and easily dissenegrates when disturbed. And Yes, after pouring in new, clean fluid, this cloudiness begins streaming or floating up from the bottom...possibly from the new mc. If that's where is coming from, what does that mean? Maybe some residual lube from the factory? My mechanic mentioned that it did take a lot of pumping to get clear fluid and get good pressure on the pedal....also it is the second mc he tried as the first would not prime...both from Centerline I believe.
 

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Typically you will see this because the system was not properly flushed. The debris was there with the old system, but you could not see it because the old fluid was dirty. The introduction of clean fluid has simply made the debris visible.

All DOT brake fluids should be compatable with each other.
Be careful with that. DOT 3 & 4 are fairly universal; never mix DOT 5 with anything other than itself. Error on the side of caution replace and flush with manufactures recommendation.
 

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Any chance the stuff you are seeing is purple? DOT 5 brake fluid (silicone base) is usually tinted purple. Although it is theoretically OK to mix the two (it shouldn't cause a catastrophic failure*) DOT 3 or 4 & DOT 5 will not mix. I believe that the DOT 5 will tend to float on top of the DOT 3 or 4. To add to the confusion there is also a brake fluid with DOT 5.1 rating - it is not silicone based...

I would get a large bottle of (fresh) DOT 4 and flush the entire system. (or get your mechanic to do it...)

* I have read some reports that say mixing the two types can cause some gelling of the fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think we found the answer. All the parts were new and the system was flushed. The only "make do" part was the washer at the base of the reservoir. Looks like the DOT4 is reacting to it (or vice versa). Not easy to find the correct washer but he did and one should be here in a couple weeks. Given this info, does it sound like it's safe to take it on a fall cruise? I don't see any solid or firm bits. Just a sort of cloud.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think he said it's an aluminum washer from a hardware store. Closest size to the original that was corded and leaking...or maybe not even the original since the mc was replaced before I got the car. I hope this is what's going on since we can't think of any other possible cause.
 

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I think he said it's an aluminum washer from a hardware store.
Have you verified that the debris is aluminum? If its not, that wouldn't make any sense at all.

I don't see any solid or firm bits. Just a sort of cloud.
The cloudy condition is contaminated brake fluid, either by mixing incompatible fluids or moisture in the system. If indeed the culprit is a bad seal, then moisture has contaminated your brake fluid. In either case, I would re-flush the system once the problem has been corrected.
 

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Interesting thread. My fluid looks similar, very dirty, lots of particulate. I am getting ready to do a flush, ordered a new soft line and a power bleeder. Can one just screw off the reservoir? Is this recommended or am I better off leaving it in place and flushing the system as is? Thanks.
 
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