Changing brake fluid - Page 2 - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 12:42 AM
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Sealed container is because the fluid will pull moisture from the air and the manufacturers emphasis is because lawsuits from failed braking systems can be rather expensive.

Doesn't have to be new every time just make sure it's closed tightly after each use.

As for service intervals, Honda says 2 years. But, manufacturers recommendations always trump second party. Meaning the manufacturer of the oil, that is.

As for the greening. There are a few things that cause this; moisture, when the oil becomes near saturated it will change color because the corrosion inhibitors have been affected. Another reason is copper contamination. I don't expect there is any copper in your system so, I'd lean toward it being too "wet".

By design, the fluid absorbs moisture to keep it from beading in the system and potentially causing a life threatening situation.

For the record, I've gone 8 years between changes myself.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by bikenut View Post
I stand corrected, my apologies for the misleading post. Of course we should all follow gat803's instructions to replace fluid only when it looks dark in the window. We should ignore the Honda service manual that states on page 3-17:
"FRONT BRAKE ...If the level (float edge) is near the lower level mark, remove the cover, set plate and diaphragm and fill the reservoir with DOT 4 brake fluid from a sealed container to the casting edge."

It is evident that the Honda (and all US and foreign motorcycle and automotive companies) are just lying in an obvious attempt to make everyone throw out perfectly good open containers of old fluid. Thanks to gat803 for exposing this sustained international conspiracy and setting the record straight.
Get defensive much?
I offered my opinion and I gave the reason why. If that gives you heartburn, it's your problem, not mine.
There is a major difference between a "sealed" container and a "fresh" one. Sealed makes perfect sense. Fresh (new) does not.

And again I wonder, how does any significant amount of moisture get into a sealed system? I'm also curious, how often some of you gung ho brake fluid changers change the brake fluid in your car/truck?


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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 01:26 PM
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I change my fluids every time I buy another bike, I don't buy new fluid every time I use what I have..I believe that when a manufacturer states that you should use new fluid from a sealed container they are really saying "we told you to use good stuff so you can't sue us if you don't" I don't have any fluid that is ten years old sitting on a shelf, I don't buy it in bulk and if the lid had rusted I would spend a few dollars on a new can..

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 02:10 PM
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The Copper in your brake system is the crush washers for the Banjo Bolt.

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 02:15 PM
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Aren't you glad you asked about new vs. old brake fluid?

I tried to find better instructions than those in the link since they are for bikes where the front and rear brakes are linked.

But basically what you want to do is create a constant vacuum on the bleeder valve located down on the brake so as you pour new fluid (sealed or not) into the resorvoir it gets sucked through the brakes lines and eventually out the bleeder valve.

I use a tool called a "MityVac" to create a vacuum on the bleeder valve, then I added new fluid into reservoir until I see the nice clean and clear new brake fluid come out the bleeder valve. Then I know the whole brake line has fresh fluid.

In rare cases, you'll get done and the brakes won't feel right and you need to bleed the banjo bolt. Again this is rare.

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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2013, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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I need some additional help here please. I changed the fluid and bled the brakes. NOW my brake pads are scraping against the rotor, they didnt do that before. What has gone wrong here?
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2013, 06:48 AM
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Raise the front end off the ground and see if the front wheel spins freely. There is very little clearance between the brake pads and brake rotor - enough that sometimes it sounds like they are scraping. If there is drag on the wheel when spinning, then you may have something else going on . . . possibly the piston in the caliper is sticking/binding. Just some thoughts that come to mind.
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2013, 10:42 AM
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That. There's supposed to be minor scraping. The pads are designed to rest gently against the rotors so there's no travel from brake application to brakes starting to apply. There should not be excessive contact though, that's what is known as drag and can be dangerous at worst, and brake chewing/mpg reducing at best.

See if the wheel spins freely if you can elevate the tire as suggested, otherwise go for a short ride without using the brake that's dragging, and then stop and feel the rotor. If it's hot there's too much friction/excessive contact. Rotors should only heat up after rush hour style usage.

Last edited by ZackDaniels; 01-26-2013 at 02:35 PM.
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2013, 10:59 AM
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Moisture seeps in through microscopic pores in rubber seals and hoses. It also enters every time someone opens the master cylinder reservoir to check the fluid level. Most fluid reservoirs are transparent so level can be checked without having to open the lid.
DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluid are glycol based and absorb moisture over time. Moisture contamination causes fluid boiling point to drop (which could lead to fluid boil and brake fade during hard use).
Moisture contamination also contributes to internal corrosion in the calipers, wheel cylinders, and steel brake lines. The reason for replacing fluid periodically is to get rid of contaminated fluid and restore fluid heat and corrosion resistance.

Brake fluid is "hygroscopic" (attracts water).

How often should the fluid be replaced? By the time a new vehicle is only 12 months old, its brake fluid contains about 2% water. After 18 months, the water content is approaching 3%, which is enough to lower the boiling temperature by 25%. After several years of service, it is not unusual to find brake fluid containing seven to eight percent water.
For this reason, many experts recommend replacing the fluid as a preventative maintenance service every two years or 24,000 miles. At the very least, it should be replaced when brakes are relined.


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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2013, 11:55 AM
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Here's the lazy DIY mechanic's way to "change" the brake fluid. Periodically, say every other oil change, maybe at tire change time, or every year at Halloween, simply draw out the old fluid from the reservoir, leaving a small amount behind, and replace it with fresh. Repeat in a couple weeks, perhaps once more in a couple more weeks. Whatever moisture left in the old fluid that is in the brake lines and caliper will dilute with the new. Do this routinely and the brake fluid never gets very dark. And if done properly, bleeding the brakes is unnecessary.

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