This page was last updated on $Date: 2000/03/06 00:01:08 $
DOT 5 Brake Fluid
Mike Burdick (on the SOL list) says:
A while back when this topic came up, I posted excerpts from a Skinned
Knuckles article on silicone brake fluid. They made the best attempt I've
seen so far to actually address this issue with hard data instead of
anecdotes. The data they used came from military tests in jungle
conditions and tests from the original producer of DOT5 fluid (DuPont? I
can't remember...). Even so, they were not able to come up with many
conclusions about DOT5 fluid. In a nutshell, the conclusions were:
They also made some general recommendations based on this data and
personal experiences. These, along with recommendataions of list members
- DOT5 does not absorb water and may be useful where water absorption
is a problem.
- DOT5 does NOT mix with DOT3 or DOT4. They also maintain that all
reported problems with DOT5 are probably due to some degree of mixing
with other fluid types. They said the proper way to convert to
DOT5 is to totally rebuild the hydraulic system.
- Reports of DOT5 causing premature failure of rubber brake parts
were more common with early DOT5 formulations. This is thought to
be due to improper addition of swelling agents and has been fixed
in recent formulations.
- DOT5 is compatible with all rubber formulations.
- DOT5 doesn't eat paint.
- If it works for you, use it. You won't hurt anything if you do the
conversion correctly. (See, #2 above)
- Careful bleeding is required to get all of the air out of the
system. Small bubbles can form in the fluid that will form large
bubbles over time. It may be necessary to do a series of bleeds.
- DOT5 is probably not the thing to use in your race car although it
is rated to stand up to the heat generated during racing
conditions. The reason for this recommendation is the difficult
bleeding mentioned above.
- DOT5 is a good choice for the weekend driver/show car. It doesn't
absorb water and it doesn't eat paint. One caveat is that because
it doesn't absorb water, water that gets in the system will tend to
collect at low points. In this scenario, it would actually be
promoting corrosion! Annual flushing might be a good idea.