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Clutch & Brake Fluid

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Clutch & Brake Fluid
#1
  This topic is about my 1998 Morgan Plus 8 (+8)
PDMS Peter Stoveld
Newtown Square, PA, USA   USA
1998 Morgan Plus 8 with Land Rover 4.0 Ltr V8 motor with approx 9k miles. I need to top up the brake and clutch fluid. Can anyone tell me what was used when the car was built. Cap on clutch servo says "Castrol Girling", brake servo says simply "DOT 4" does this imply synthetic? Thanks in a advance, Peter.

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mogdriver Avatar
mogdriver David Crandall
PORTLAND, OR, USA   USA
Peter - you can use any DOT 4 brake fluid from NAPA or whomever. DOT 4 is NOT synthetic. If you, for some reason, want to switch to a synthetic, you have to drain and purge the entire brake system, a huge undertaking for little benefit IMHO. Carry on. David



David P. Crandall [MSCC #4128, MOGNW, Morgan Plus 4 Club,
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23 NE Morgan Street
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1971 Plus 8 [Green Meanie] 1966 Morgan 4/4 [Mango Miracle]

GoMoG Avatar
GoMoG Lorne G
Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador   ECU
In reply to # 13692 by PDMS 1998 Morgan Plus 8 with Land Rover 4.0 Ltr V8 motor with approx 9k miles. I need to top up the brake and clutch fluid. Can anyone tell me what was used when the car was built. Cap on clutch servo says "Castrol Girling", brake servo says simply "DOT 4" does this imply synthetic? Thanks in a advance, Peter.

Hi Peter,

David is, of course, correct (though there is NO advantage in you switching to DOT 5). http://www.gomog.com/allmorgan/brakefluids.html

But, just in case, please be aware that low mileage vehicles have their own special set of problems. If the car is new to you, begin your tenure with it by completely changing all the fluids..saving the gearbox and the rear axle which, in your year's case, both should have longlife fluids from the factory.).

The two areas most important to your safety and therefore the ones to start with, are your tires and your brake system. How old are the tires? https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=11 If there is no age code or the tires are more than 7 years old, they have lost their necessary oils flexibility, making your ride unhappy (tires are most of the Morgan suspension system), and they are susceptible to sudden, extreme blowouts.

Brake fluid has a time life. That of DOT 4 is two years. If the previous owner did not change the tires in 20 years, I imagine he did nothing for the brake/clutch fluid either. Over time, all brake fluids attract water from the air. Usage is unnecessary for this. As this happens, the risks of using the fluid leaps. Topping it up will not help. The other question, is that as these fluids attract water, how can topping up be necessary? Brake fluid does not evaporate. A leak is very possible.

gmg

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SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
'Couple of things about brake fluid, bleeding and old fluid and old master/caliper/slave/wheel cylinders.

If in doubt, simply purge the system with fresh DOT 4 of your preference, as listed on your Master Cylinder cap.

You can do this with a buddy pumping the brakes as bleed each brake, which takes time (but you wanted to bleed the brakes anyway, right?), but will leave you with clean fluid, and bled brakes and clutch, which is a good thing to do if the car has been sitting for a couple of decades.

You may be amazed as to the muck that comes out of the brakes. Sometimes, you may have to remove the bleed screw and clean out the bleeder or orifice at the base of the wheel cylinder or caliper threads to get a good flow of brake fluid. Once you have a good flow and clean fluid, you are on to the next brake or slave cylinder.

AND...

Purging the clutch or brake system is not difficult, nor is it that time consuming. If you spend about $50 for a Motive Power pressure brake bleeder, you can flush the brake system quickly, stopping only to replenish the master cylinders, or, you can put the fluid into the pressure vessel and it will replenish itself (I don't do this as I like to have fewer things to clean up). The Motive Power will come with a standard type of brake master cylinder pressure cap that will fit the common Lockheed/Girling master cylinders (as well as my Mercedes from the early 90s on...).

The end result of using the pressure bleeder is that you get clean fluid, and bled brakes, without any air in the system, without having to get your buddy to pump the brakes for you. It is a one person operation.
Note that the pressure bleeder can bleed a fresh master cylinder that was not initially bled on the bench. The pressure bleeder does this very quickly, should you have been in a hurry with a replacement.

You can also use a Vacula (mine draws vacuum driven by my compressor), or other vacuum brake bleeder (vacuum bleeders use vacuum at the brake bleed screw to draw out the fluid, pulling the clean fluid in behind it). I have and use both, depending on the application. While I do have a preference for the pressure type, mine doesn't have all the different master cylinder types of covers (but they are available). With my Vacula vacuum system, I don't need a specific cap for the master cylinder.

Using a pressure bleeder is easy: Pressurize the brake system slightly, then open the farthest brake bleed screw. Let it drain a bit, then tighten, and go back and replenish the brake fluid reservoir with fresh, clean fluid (before it starts to suck air...). If you want, you can wipe out the inside of the reservoir if it is accessible prior to replenishing.

Having both a vac system and the pressure system, I often use the vacuum system to remove the fluid from the master's reservoir prior to filling it with fresh fluid and beginning the flush/bleed. This speeds things up a bit as you won't have to wait to pull the entire reservoir of old fluid on the first brake you flush/bleed.

Using the vacuum system, attach the tube to the bleed screw, power the vacuum bleeder, then open the bleed screw. Watch the tube and note when the fluid turns clear and clean. You are done with that brake. Replinish and repeat on each brake. Start with the brake farthest from the master cylinder, and work your way in. In about 15 minutes, you will have a fully flushed and bled system. Pump the brakes to ensure that you have a firm pedal.

Yes, a vacuum bleeder will also bleed a master cylinder that was not previously bled on the bench prior to installation.

Don't be alarmed with the bubbles in the brake fluid as the vacuum unit will draw air in from around the bleed screw. You might use a silicone grease on the bleeder threads to reduce this if it makes you feel more comfortable. When you pump the brakes after the flush/bleed, you will find a solid pedal if everything is working properly.

Next: The biggest problem of old fluid is rust in the brake system as brake fluid does attract water (although this is not as much of a problem with the systhetics available over the last couple of decades), occasionally locking a brake cylinder or the master cylinder. This requires a rebuild.

My recommendation, which comes from reviving many older cars after decades of storage, is to replace or rebuild individual brake cylinders if leakage is evident after the fluid flush (or before, if you think that you already have leaky or sticky cylinders).
Master cylinders should be rebuilt as well if a problem is detected. That said, I have flushed systems that were in storage for a couple of decades, and the components worked perfectly well, for many more years.

Note that careful storage with a full system, in a climate controlled environment without excessive moisture, along with a high quality brake fluid will reduce somewhat the rust problem, maybe...

One of my cars had all the original brake parts after more than 34 years, another after more than 26 years (with a properly working ABS as well), with 3 year fluid changes. Both cars are still running their original brake components without problems.

And one more thing... Some soft parts of the master cylinders or brake cylinders are not compatible with DOT 5 synthetic fluids, but you can use DOT 3/DOT4 synthetics (as listed on your master cylinder cap) without a problem.
I have has excellent results with Valvoline Synthetic DOT 4, or other similar products. Stick to the recommendations imprinted on your brake master cylinder cap and all will be OK.

As far as tires, I have found that older tires that have been sitting will cause all sorts of handling problems before you will get a "blowout". While catastrophic failure is certainly something to worry about, the feel of the car will be more evident. Old dry tires are not good to have on the car if you are trying to sort it out and learn how it handles or brakes, or if the suspension components or adjustments are within proper specs.

Just because the tires have tread doesn't mean much if they are a decade old.

Poor steering feel, skittering around, a feeling of instability, pulling to one side or another, thumping, a tendency for a single wheel to lock on a hard stop will be an indication of a bad set of tires, and maybe not a chassis problem such as alignment, bad bushings or worn dampers.

My +8 felt HORRIBLE (scary even, and I was not going fast, but it sure felt like I was...) on the way home through my local canyons, with its 20 year old Vredestines. The next drive was from my home to the tire store, with my wife following in the Mazda, carrying a fresh set of Avons in my preferred 185/70 size. The difference was amazing, feeling as though I had just rebuilt the entire suspension and steering systems. And now, with fully rebuilt suspension, the car is, as new, but with far better tires than originally fitted.

Have fun. You can run a search on Motive Power brake bleeder kits. They are reasonable, and inexpensive. Once you use it, brake bleeding or flushing will no longer be a chore requiring companionship just to get out of the garage.

DuncanCharlton Avatar
DuncanCharlton Duncan Charlton
Elgin, TX, USA   USA
1967 Morgan 4/4 "Toly's Car"
1967 Unknown Unknown
1971 Morgan Plus 8 (+8)
If you have a few metal scraps you can make your own pressure bleeder for free. I used some 1/8" aluminum plate for the top and bottom, using some all-thread on either side for clamps. The underside of the top plate is covered with sheet gasket material that I glued in place, and in the center is a Schrader valve I found in my spares. I use 10-20 psi to pressurize the reservoir (I don't want to overpressurize plastic reservoirs). I put a notch in the bottom plate for a metal reservoir that had a brake pipe exiting directly below the cap.

Duncan


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GoMoG Avatar
GoMoG Lorne G
Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador   ECU
In reply to # 13708 by DuncanCharlton If you have a few metal scraps you can make your own pressure bleeder for free. I used some 1/8" aluminum plate for the top and bottom, using some all-thread on either side for clamps. The underside of the top plate is covered with sheet gasket material that I glued in place, and in the center is a Schrader valve I found in my spares. I use 10-20 psi to pressurize the reservoir (I don't want to overpressurize plastic reservoirs). I put a notch in the bottom plate for a metal reservoir that had a brake pipe exiting directly below the cap.

Duncan

That is super cool! Do you mind if I use it for GoMoG?

gmg

DuncanCharlton Avatar
DuncanCharlton Duncan Charlton
Elgin, TX, USA   USA
1967 Morgan 4/4 "Toly's Car"
1967 Unknown Unknown
1971 Morgan Plus 8 (+8)
Sure. I'm sure I didn't invent such a thing but don't recall where I saw the idea.

One watchpoint -- don't fill the reservoir to the top because when you attach the air hose you may inject air right at the surface of the liquid, which would aerate the brake fluid, and that's a bad thing...

SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
If you don't have the time to make such beautiful parts, or pay someone to make them for you. Duncan has a specific set of skills...

The Motive Power unit doesn't require an air hose or compressor. The top threads on as does the original reservoir cap. It is designed so that no air will get into the brake fluid. No fabrication is necessary. Just pump it up to half way up the gauge, go and bleed or flush at each brake bleed screw.

You don't have to remember to turn down the compressor air pressure (my garage system is set at 125psi, which works great with the air driven vacuum bleeder, but not so well if I want to directly pressurize my brake system). It has a hand pump and a pressure gauge right on the pressure canister. Simple, no loose parts or adapters to get lost.

AND... you can fill the canister and it will automatically replenish the brake fluid, again reducing the chance of aerating the brake fluid.
I don't do that, as I don't want another thing to clean up after bleeding the brakes... But that's just me. I have never had a problem using it to just pressurize the system with air, and occasionally top up the master cylinders with fluid when necessary.

The canister holds enough pressure to bleed the entire brake system, but you may have to replenish the master cylinder reservoir.

Just open the bleeder and wait for the clear, bubble free fluid. It even comes with a catch bottle.

No compressor is needed, and you only have to carry out one small device to bleed the brakes.

You can make your own master cylinder cap(s) as Duncan suggested, and connect the Motive Power unit with the air hose, or order the unit with a couple of extra caps to match your various cylinder configurations. The cap shown here is for the Girling/Lockheed types and most European cars. This is a standard unit configuration. It is likely that you only need one cap, maybe two.

These things are inexpensive, and save hours of time and aggravation. You can take them with you to the races, or over to a friend's house when you are finally tired of pumping his brakes when they need to be bled...

Here, my brake bleeder is pictured after a rebuild/flush/bleeding the diabolical Group 4 brake system of the Renault R5Turbo "T300", which has a tandem master (front and rear brakes) cylinder and a second master cylinder attached to the hand brake specifically for just the rear wheels (the better to rotate the chassis on those tight mountain passes). No pumping required. It flushed and bled both systems (and the clutch) in a few minutes.


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PDMS Peter Stoveld
Newtown Square, PA, USA   USA
Thanks for the detailed response - especially on tires! I bought the car from the original owner who had it built while he was teaching pharmacology in the UK. The VIN was registered in 1998 but the car was delivered in 2000. The car has been driven regularly but very little having only 9k on the clock!

When I bought the car I asked if he had had any work done on it and one of the things he mentioned was having the front tires replaced because they were "perished". After your response I checked the DOT stamp on the tires and found that the read and spare Continentals were made in Germany and dated "wwOO" - as in 2000. The front tires are dated "ww12" - as in 2012. The rear tires are stamped "Outside" to ensure mounted correctly but not the front! I suspect one of the front is the wrong way around, although could be wrong, as the DOT week/year stamp is only on one side of the French made tires - on the outside passenger (US) side and inside on the drivers side?

In any event, while the car is driven regularly, not far and not at high speed, it appears that I need at least 4 new tires!

Again, thank you for the expert advise - I only considered tread wear, not age!!!

Cheers, Peter.

GoMoG Avatar
GoMoG Lorne G
Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador   ECU
In reply to # 13735 by PDMS After your response I checked the DOT stamp on the tires and found that the read and spare Continentals were made in Germany and dated "wwOO" - as in 2000. The front tires are dated "ww12" - as in 2012. The rear tires are stamped "Outside" to ensure mounted correctly but not the front! I suspect one of the front is the wrong way around, although could be wrong, as the DOT week/year stamp is only on one side of the French made tires - on the outside passenger (US) side and inside on the drivers side?

Forgive me. But I am not so sure. Those are not post 2000 Tire Age Code Identification numbers. The first two digits (always numbers) of a code indicate the week of the year and the last two are the year. There is a different code interpretation for tires made before 2000, but who cares, they should not be on any car. eye popping smiley

Quote: In any event, while the car is driven regularly, not far and not at high speed, it appears that I need at least 4 new tires!

Yes you do Peter!!!. And you should be happy about that because you have a surprising treat in store, if your purchase is wisely made. Not only that, you will be far safer.

With all the jumping about these days, I find the stock Morgan capable of an absolutely sinuous suspension. Quite remarkable. Sadly, a lack of understanding and maintenance, has given the cars the opposite reputation. None of them are precisely the same, as an integral part of the suspension is the flexing chassis, a big no-no in today's automobile doctrine. And a flexing chassis changes over time.

But even more than the chassis, the tires are the most significant factor for a classic Morgan handling, comfort and composure. You MUST get tires that match your car. This is your hobby and there is no more important component. Need help? It is getting harder to find the right rubber for older cars...at least in North America. Europe is wonderful in this regard.

What is ALL the codes on the tires you have now? Manufacturer and tire model as well.

gmg



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-01-12 04:09 PM by GoMoG.

SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
New tires? Supple Morgan suspension?

OK, time to move to a new thread, yes?

I think that we have the Brake Fluid Solution.

PDMS Peter Stoveld
Newtown Square, PA, USA   USA
Again, thanks for the input. If I may do a quick "re-wind" on the info presented so far, precise details on existing tires are as follows:
Spare and rear: Continental, ContiSportContact 205/55 R16, Made in Germany, dated 4100, 3100, and 3000. All originals on this 1998-2000 Plus 8.
Front: Continental ContiProContact 205/55 R16, Made in France dated 1012 & 1312. Replaced by original owner.
I am open to suggestions on replacements - size and brand.
Thanks again, Peter.

SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
'Depends on what sort of driving you intend to do. Fortunately, there are a LOT of tires in the 205/55/16 size, in DOT competition tires and performance summer sizes.

I often get by (well, actually much better than "get by"winking smiley with DOT approved, road useable competition tires. My use of the car is limited to the time I can really enjoy it, and not for daily use. I never drive in the rain (on purpose) unless it is to an event (track day), and even then, I am loathe to put up the hood (should the windshield even be on the car).
So...

Yokohama makes the A052, which wears well but is a little short on tread if you like to drive hard in the rain. That said, I have run races on the DOT race tires and have found that they work pretty well. Competitively priced at less than $140 each at Tire Rack.

In the Extreme Performance Summer tires, you have a bunch of choices, starting at about $100 for Yokohama's AD08R, and up. There are tires from all the major manufacturers available in this group. You can find some excellent tires for around $160 each or less. All will work in the rain, and deliver excellent traction. As for wear, they would do well on the lightweight Morgan.

I don't like compromise tires such as the "all season" or M+S tires on my sports cars. They seem to lack the predictability that the performance tires have, and predictability is what keeps us out of ditches.

My early +8 has 15" wheels with a recommended 185/70 size, which is getting harder to find in a performance tire size. I went to Avon's competition catalog for my CRZZ tires, which are too expensive, but are amazingly good in the areas that matter to me: Predictability, traction and wear. I bit the bullet and bought, and I have never been happier with a tire choice.

You are lucky, in that you have a huge range of performance tires to try, all at reasonable prices.

My choices wold be the Bridgestone RE-71R. I have heard excellent things about Dunlop Direzza ZIII from other Morgan owners here on the coast. The Toyo Proxes R1R has a good reputation, and the Yokohama Neova. I have extensive experience with the Yokohama line and the Hankook Ventus on my road cars in all of our So.Cal weather (meaning NO SNOW).

All of these tires are under $160 each (less than $650/set), which is pretty reasonable for performance tires. I am sure that any of them, purchased for price or predicted performance, will make you very happy. Your Morgan's handling/feel/braking will be transformed with fresh rubber, all turning in the correct direction of rotation.

One thing that I am sure you will be cautioned on is the availability of these tires if you are somewhere in the middle of no where and you need a full replacement. What I do know from my own experience is that if you have a 205/55/16, NO ONE will have one in stock.
Fortunately, the likelyhood of a catastrophic failure is remote, and if you did have such a failure, your wire wheel may be damaged as well. so...
Get some very good tires and enjoy your Morgan.

And, if you do make your Morgan's suspension "supple" (giggle, giggle, jiggle, jiggle), then it will be all the better to enjoy your excellent tires.

While it may be possible to make One Morgan ride somewhat better than another Morgan, well... It's all relative. My Morgan rides quite well, considering the antediluvian underpinnings and its "stiffened" frame and optimized (double adjustable and Bespoke) dampers. But supple? Not enough suspension travel for that, even on my local roads, which are pretty good for the most part. But, I have taken a few of my British friends (Lotus 11 owners all) for a ride in my Morgan, and each said that it rode better than they had imagined (none, surprisingly had ever been in a Morgan), and none complained about the ride through the canyons. I find the car enjoyable, toss able and satisfying to drive. But then, I grew up with a '37 Bugatti Type 57, so... I am use to that sort of technology.

GoMoG Avatar
GoMoG Lorne G
Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador   ECU
In reply to # 13741 by PDMS If I may do a quick "re-wind" on the info presented so far, precise details on existing tires are as follows:
Spare and rear: Continental, ContiSportContact 205/55 R16, Made in Germany, dated 4100, 3100, and 3000. All originals on this 1998-2000 Plus 8.
Front: Continental ContiProContact 205/55 R16, Made in France dated 1012 & 1312. Replaced by original owner.

So three of the tires (the spare and two fronts) were made in the 41st, 31st, and 30th weeks of 2000. (ugh)
The two others are replacements, made in the 10th and 13th weeks of 2012. Most tire changes will switch the better tires to the front..believing that will be the better handling compromise. (on a big bad Plus 8, it is the rears that wear faster. They swapped them. I just can't figure how any tire seller would let a guy out of his shop with 12 year old tires. sad smiley ALL these tires are either risky to use or marginal.

I am open to suggestions on replacements - size and brand.
Thanks again, Peter.

My pleasure.

I did some research. You are lucky. thumbs up There is no shortage of good rubber of that size in the USA. So I have some picked out. But before I reveal them, can you describe the morgan driving and roads you like best and how you drive them? There is sufficient choices to match many preferences and styles. Let's see if you can be matched. And preferences for a tread style? Do you often drive in the rain? I also do not recommend mult-season tires if you can be happy with summer tires.

gmg

galja2 james g
marseiles, IL, USA   USA
1970 MG MGB
Every two years is recommended and a good idea that I follow.
I think there is two or maybe three synthetic fluids.
One is silicone that doesn't mix and will cause problems I think that is dot 5,but there is another that I believe and does mix that I have used for 20 years or so without a problem is . Synthetic 5.1 numerous manufacturer's .I use Castro lma which is suppose to ha v e less moisture absorption.there maybe a third that also d Kent mix.
I have used a moisture tester,but another forum member has pointed out is not accurate,alt h tough for me seems pretty helpful.

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