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YES, 'undetectable' amounts of brake fluid can cause lockups

From: Daven Anderson
Email: 1961fury<at>
Remote Name:
Date: August 05, 2003


This happened to me years ago and I posted about it way back when (buried in the archives). A front wheel cylinder micro-leaked whenever the car sat for more than a week. I NEVER saw a leak at the cylinder (the leak area was so small that the telltale fluid evaporated), but eventually the lower shoe was so full of brake fluid that even hot-tanking could not get it out and it had to be re-lined entirely. You would not see any fluid on the shoe lining either until AFTER the brake locked up! The fluid would condense in the inner part of the lining, you pull the drum before operation and it would appear bone-dry, then drive the car and it locks up, pull the drum again and THEN you'd see the 'sweat beads' of brake fluid. Brake fluid evaporates very fast (unless it gets into linings!) so not every leak will be visible, even if you're looking for it...


Last changed: July 19, 2018