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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 1:38 pm   #1 (permalink)
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Brake fluid - synthetic vs. Mineral based?

I know, dot specs already covered...

I'm curious if it matter whether brake fluid is mineral or synthetic based? The local parts store has synthetic, but the fluid I got from the dealer doesn't say.

Any reason not to use prestone dot 4 synthetic fluid in my 2001 748?

Any insights much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 6:35 pm   #2 (permalink)
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DOT 3, 4 and 5.1 are Glycol, not mineral based. DOT 5.1 is a low-viscosity fluid for ABS systems; not to be confused with DOT 5, which is silicone based and not compatible with the others. Some brake systems do specify Mineral oil for fluid. Again, not compatible with the others.

I don't have a good answer as to what is "synthetic" about the glycol-based family of fluids. Best bet is to compare wet and dry boiling points to other brands in the same classification. Generally speaking, the higher the dry boiling point of the fuid, the more hygroscopic, or prone to absorbing moistiure, it is.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 6:59 pm   #3 (permalink)
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I'm using Penrite full synthetic DOT 4 in the 748 for the past 6 months, no worries.
Check the Prestone fluid data sheet & see how it compares for compatability.

This is the Penrite one.
http://www.penriteoil.com.au/pis_pdf...JAN%202010.pdf


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Old Nov 1st, 2010, 8:30 am   #4 (permalink)
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thanks guys - i hadn't heard of this mineral-based vs. synthetic conversation for dot 3,4,5.1 fluids. The prestone's boiling point is acceptable as a dot 4 (by definition). It was just that the sales guy was all convinced that it was a bad idea to mix mineral-based brake fluid vs. synthetic fluid. I think he was confused - but just wanted to check to see if the forum wisdom had anything about that.

thanks
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Old Nov 1st, 2010, 8:59 am   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crozzer View Post
It was just that the sales guy was all convinced that it was a bad idea to mix mineral-based brake fluid vs. synthetic fluid. I think he was confused.....
I don't know if you are old enough to remember when "parts" guys actually knew about the stuff they sold. It was a long time ago. I have referred to them as cash register jockies for the better part of two decades now and I'm only in my early 40's. The people at the counter of a WalMart are just as qualified as the people a AutoZone.
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Old Nov 1st, 2010, 9:12 am   #6 (permalink)
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Just be careful of your reliance on "forum wisdom", as you put it, especially when it comes to brakes. That lever has more potential influence on your future than probably any other part of the bike. It's one thing if your bike does not accelerate well, it's a completely different and more lethal set of risks when she does not stop. Don't mess with brakes. Check your owner's manual for a recommendation and stick with it.
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Old Nov 1st, 2010, 10:16 am   #7 (permalink)
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What kind of riding are you doing? And do not use synthetic DOT 5 unless you have a way of flushing your system completely out...it's not compatible with 4 or 5.1
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Old Nov 1st, 2010, 4:15 pm   #8 (permalink)
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There is no mention of synthetic vs. mineral-based brake fluid in the Haynes manual. I was just fishing to see if anybody knows about that distinction in particular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ST3S View Post
Just be careful of your reliance on "forum wisdom", as you put it, especially when it comes to brakes. That lever has more potential influence on your future than probably any other part of the bike. It's one thing if your bike does not accelerate well, it's a completely different and more lethal set of risks when she does not stop. Don't mess with brakes. Check your owner's manual for a recommendation and stick with it.
Duly noted. Yes, I intend to consult with my friendly neighborhood dealer as well (closed Sunday and Monday...). The recommended fluid is DOT 4 (no mention of mineral vs. synthetic).

I do believe the topic of DOT 3,4,5.1 has been covered numerous times.
(Yes, they are compatible, the difference is boiling points (and how hydroscopic they are, and possibly viscosity). No, you don't want to mix DOT 5 (silicon-based) with any other kind - and probably not at all on a duc where you can't get new caliper o-rings, etc.)
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Old Nov 1st, 2010, 5:07 pm   #9 (permalink)
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There are a number of uses for hydraulic fluids. The fluid used for (say) power steering units and shock absorbers doesn't need to operate at high temperatures like brake fluid does, so mineral-based fluids are often used since they don't absorb moisture (that causes internal corrosion) like synthetic fluids do.
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Old Nov 1st, 2010, 6:01 pm   #10 (permalink)
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Whenever I change fluids, either for the same product or a different one I always completely flush clean the brake or clutch system first to remove all traces of the original fluid and any contamination.
That way I always have a completely clean system and there is no mixing of different fluids to lower the spec of either type.
Then I use the best available quality/spec DOT4 I can find & change it regularly.
I use synthetic DOT4 as it has a higher boiling point than mineral types and has a potentially longer effective working life span.(which I don't exploit)


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