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cold weather brake fluid leak
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Tbob
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:22 am    Post subject: cold weather brake fluid leak Reply with quote

I store my Vanagon for the winters, as I live in an area that can salt the roads when it snows. Anyway, every winter for the past 3 years, I find a large puddle of brake fluid on the floormat and the brake resevoir(sic) is empty. The master cylinder is still full, but of course, a couple of pumps on the brake pedal introduces air into the lines. 3 years ago, I checked it all out, concluded that it was the grommets between the resevoir(sic) and the master cylinder, ordered new ones from the Bus Depot, cleaned ,installed and bled, and good until the next spring. Same issue. I thought, possible improper rubber for grommets, so ordered new from a different source, Autohaus AZ. Same issue again, 2 winters ago. Pressure checked resevoir(sic), was fine. Replaced master cylinder and grommets with Italian brand from Autohaus AZ last spring thinking that maybe I couldn't clean it well enough, but went out last week to start de mothballing the van and the puddle was back. I cleaned up everything, decided to pour more brake fluid in the resevoir(sic) just to see what would happen, and no leaks this last week. I pretended that I was luke and did the search, saw that others had the problem but saw no definitive solution. By the way, it's an 86 tintop, and my 80 westfilia which is stored right in front if it suffers no similar maladies. It only seems to do it when it sits for a duration in the cold(it got down to 14 degrees 3 or 4 days this winter, mostly it is 20's to 30's here in the winter). Any Ideas? Thanks!
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AdrianC
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:26 am    Post subject: Re: cold weather brake fluid leak Reply with quote

Autobox or manual?

Could be a slow weep past the clutch slave seals - if t'were brake, it'd go into the servo.
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Adrian
Zookeeper of a miscellany of motoring silliness, from 0.75bhp to 9ft tall.
Living life on the road in an '88 2.1DJ Westfalia Club Joker Hightop.
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Tbob
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a manual, I converted about 10 years ago. However, the port for the clutch master cyl. is about 1/3 the way up the resevoir(sic) and the resevoir(sic) actually drains all the way to the bottom. I did replace the clutch master and slave cyls. this last year, also, as the slave cyl. failed. Thanks, Tbob
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cold temps and sitting never good for rubber seals. Could you have a pin hole in the resevoir? When you had the master off, did you look into the booster for brake fluid? Was the black paint lifting on the booster under the master? Brake regular brake fluid will eat paint. Sounds like you have a good mystery going. You may want to look up above the puddle to see if you can see where it is dripping from. Only so many places it can.
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Gruppe B
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:56 pm    Post subject: Re: cold weather brake fluid leak Reply with quote

I just found my 1991 has done the exact same thing.

First year of cold winter storage (brought up from California to the Canadian Tundra Laughing)

After opening the van from its winter sleep I found a pool of brake fluid on the Carpet and rubber floor mat. The entire reservoir is empty but the Master cylinder is fully functional (only tried once so as not to allow air in the system)

Yes Canada can be cold (-40c) but I also have an 85 Westy and an 82 Turbodiesel that never have done this. Not a fan of just refilling each spring.

Has this happened to anyone else?
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Gruppe B
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:55 am    Post subject: Re: cold weather brake fluid leak Reply with quote

Read up more on this and it appears to be failed rubber seals at the top of the Master cylinder.

Just purchased a German Master Cylinder from Van Cafe.
http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van_1459176477874/page_731_887/brake-master-cylinder-german.html
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kenoravsky
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:08 am    Post subject: Re: cold weather brake fluid leak Reply with quote

I find I have the same issue, but not from storage, from cold weather (below zero F) driving. I replaced the master cylinder a year ago and it now has 10,000 miles on it. I thoroughly inspected the master cylinder in place and the only signs of any fluid leaks are at the 2 points where the plastic reservoir connects into the master cylinder rubber grommets. I cleaned it up and it came back. I think it's the grommets getting hard in the cold. Has anyone else had this and tried some kind of sealer at this interface? Thanks.
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dlb154
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:56 am    Post subject: Re: cold weather brake fluid leak Reply with quote

Follow this fix:
http://www.vanagontravels.com/2015/04/vanagon-repair-cold-weather-vanagon.html
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kenoravsky
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:09 pm    Post subject: Re: cold weather brake fluid leak Reply with quote

Eureka! That's it. Thanks a bunch.
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pbrown
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:27 pm    Post subject: Re: cold weather brake fluid leak Reply with quote

Bringing this thread up is perfect timing for me. I found a puddle of brake fluid on the driver's floor a couple of weeks ago. This was during recent cold temps in Seattle down into the 20s. I bought a new brake master and reservoir but haven't installed yet. I think I'll still do the replacement but will add sealant to the new rubber seals.
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bluebus86
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:57 pm    Post subject: Re: cold weather brake fluid leak Reply with quote

pbrown wrote:
Bringing this thread up is perfect timing for me. I found a puddle of brake fluid on the driver's floor a couple of weeks ago. This was during recent cold temps in Seattle down into the 20s. I bought a new brake master and reservoir but haven't installed yet. I think I'll still do the replacement but will add sealant to the new rubber seals.


Sealant?? Brake grease, brake cylinder paste? The brake grease or paste if that whats you mean is always good to add to brake cylinder bores, and pistons. keeps down corrosion and friction in sweeped areas of piston travel. If the leaks are caused by corrosion then use can help prevent new leaks, use of the brake grease/paste will give a new cylinder more corrosion resistance., reduce wear of sliding seals., good stuff, VW was recommending its use on rebuilt brake cylinders over fifty years ago.

the brake grease is also good as a lube for the rubber hose to reservoir nipples, make install and removal easier and is good on threads that are wetted by brake fluid, bleeder valves, flare nuts on the pipes, etc, as it is safe to get into the brake system it is also nice to put on the rubber seals to aid installation.

only use brake system safe greases for the brake system, most to many other greases, oil, solvents etc will harm brake systems seals, causing brake failure.


good luck!

PS....
I wonder how this sensitivity to cold happens, does it happen only on damaged, used worn, and/or water contaminated systems or does failure equally occurs on brand new brake systems with fresh moisture free fluid? What gives, mine has never failed in 200K miles and it has seen plenty of near zero F nights. Brakes have been maintained well over the vans life, fluids flushed on or close to schedual etc... they were not allowed to get really bad, well maintained.
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