Mixing fluids

Tiny
KAPTTON
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 DODGE RAM
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 132,000 MILES
Out come of accidentally mixing power steering fluid and brake fluid and using the mixture in the brake system
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Sunday, August 7th, 2011 AT 9:52 PM

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Tiny
KAPTTON
  • MEMBER
Something else to chew on while thinking about above question -- I would guess and say that my better half accidently put "just a splash" of power steering fluid in the brake system arounbd 5 to 7 days, last night while driving vehicle (it has been drove everyday since accident) I heard an unusual noise only once as pulling in the driveway (didn't think much about it since it was just once and everything seemed fine) but later while other half was driving the brake pedal went to the floor with no resistance and no response from the brake system even if the pedal is pumped numerously, is this the result of the power steering fluid in the brake system and if so what are the damages and parts that will need to be replaced?
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Sunday, August 7th, 2011 AT 10:22 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
There is only one proper repair and it's going to be expensive. You must drain all of the brake fluid out of the entire system, replace ALL parts that have rubber parts that contact the brake fluid, flush and dry all the steel lines, then refill with clean fluid from a sealed container. You MUST replace the front calipers, rear wheel cylinders, all rubber hoses, the master cylinder and reservoir bladder seal, and the combination valve. If the van has anti-lock brakes, the hydraulic control unit must also be replaced.

All of the rubber parts will swell and become mushy. You'll see that with the bladder seal under the reservoir cap. If any rubber part is not replaced, the petroleum product will leach out and destroy all of the other new parts and you'll be starting all over again.

I did a demonstration for my students every year to show how critical it was to keep the brake fluid clean. I dropped two rubber wheel cylinder seals into a pair of beakers with new brake fluid and let them sit for a week. In one of them I added two or three drops of power steering fluid into the inch of brake fluid. By the end of the week the contaminated seal had grown by about 20 percent and was real mushy. Those rubber parts are only compatible with brake fluid which is a glycol product. They are not compatible with petroleum products.
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Monday, August 8th, 2011 AT 12:16 AM

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