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Old 02-13-2006, 12:51 PM   #1
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Brake Fluid Flush! DIY or Dealer??

Hi everyone, Im the new owner of an 01 Boxster. Before purchasing the vehicle I did take it into Porsche for a Pre-Purchase Inspection and the only recommendation was that I have the Brake Fluid Flush done as part of the 30,000 mile service. I was wondering if I need to go with Porsche Brand Brake Fluid or are there other brake fluids that are readily available at the local auto parts store that are recommended and safe to use?? Additionally, what is involved with doing the flush and how difficult is it??
ANy web links for a DIY fluid flush would be greatly appreciated
Thanks!

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Old 02-13-2006, 02:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jeff740
Hi everyone, Im the new owner of an 01 Boxster. Before purchasing the vehicle I did take it into Porsche for a Pre-Purchase Inspection and the only recommendation was that I have the Brake Fluid Flush done as part of the 30,000 mile service. I was wondering if I need to go with Porsche Brand Brake Fluid or are there other brake fluids that are readily available at the local auto parts store that are recommended and safe to use?? Additionally, what is involved with doing the flush and how difficult is it??
ANy web links for a DIY fluid flush would be greatly appreciated
Thanks!

Hi,

A Flush is recommended every 2 years. Brake Fluid absorbs moisture and this can significantly lower the Boiling Point of the Fluid leading to soft, spongy, ineffective Brakes. Also, this Moisture will corrode the Brake System and it's parts, especially expensive with ABS.

But, in addition to becoming moisture laden, Brake Fluid (primarily Glycol esters) will react with the metal in the system, Copper in the Brake Lines in particular. This reaction leaches Copper Ions from the metal which will react with the Oxygen and attack the Ferrous parts. ABS increases this effect because unlike Standard Hydraulic Brakes, where the Fluid basically works in a Fore and Aft movement (Like a cable in a sleeve), with ABS, the Fluid is circulated throughout the system. The contaminates are also circulated through the system and consists of iron or rust particles. The ABS Valves are especially vulnerable to this foreign matter.

You should use the Porsche recommended Fluid and Power Bleed using Porsche's recommended procedure. Not too difficult and you will save some money. But, if you're unsure of when the last flush took place, I would recommend buying twice the normal amount of Fluid and flushing it completely. So, a small initial investment for the Bleeder - $75 will be needed and it will help greatly to have an assistant. There are lots of links for How To's out there. Here is a pretty good one: http://www.europeantransmissions.com/Bulletin/DTC.Porsh/POR%20Model%20986%20Brake%20Bleed%20Procedure.pdf

Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:22 PM   #3
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When I had my PPI done they also said to have the brake fluid flushed. Your explanation gives a good reason for doing it. HOWEVER, I would like to point out that my 14 year old Miata with 130,000 miles on it never had the fluid flushed and never had a brake problem. I can say the same for my 16 year old Mercedes (one of the original ABS cars). As a matter of fact, this Porsche is the first car I ever owned that I have heard the recommendation to change the brake fluid so frequently. Why do Porsche's need this more often than other cars?

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Originally Posted by MNBoxster
But, in addition to becoming moisture laden, Brake Fluid (primarily Glycol esters) will react with the metal in the system, Copper in the Brake Lines in particular. This reaction leaches Copper Ions from the metal which will react with the Oxygen and attack the Ferrous parts. ABS increases this effect because
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:32 PM   #4
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Considering the costs and danger involved with NOT flushing your brake lines every two years, I'd say it's certainly a good preventative measure.

Now about doing it yourself, I would imagine it's no harder than any other car. If you're up for it and willing to buy the tools necessary, you'll find that working on your boxster isn't any harder than any other car when it comes to brakes. Replacing the pads is really simple!

Let us know what you decided to do... do it yourself or have a shop do it.
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rteichman
When I had my PPI done they also said to have the brake fluid flushed. Your explanation gives a good reason for doing it. HOWEVER, I would like to point out that my 14 year old Miata with 130,000 miles on it never had the fluid flushed and never had a brake problem. I can say the same for my 16 year old Mercedes (one of the original ABS cars). As a matter of fact, this Porsche is the first car I ever owned that I have heard the recommendation to change the brake fluid so frequently. Why do Porsche's need this more often than other cars?

Hi,

Without ABS it isn't as critical, but still very critical. Porsches don't need it more often than other cars, they all should be changed every 2 years. The SAE did a study of New Cars 18 mos. old. They found the moisture content averaged 4% with a low of 3% and a high of 7%. With DOT 4 Fluid, a 4% Moisture Content lowers the Boiling Point of the Fluid to about 218 Degrees F. To put this into perspective, this means you're only slightly better off than if you ran pure water in the system.

You may not have thought you needed it, but I'm certain that your maximum braking efficiency was severely reduced. Not to mention, that your Brake Hardware was probably excessively worn because of this.

It's true you may have a Car for a lifetime and get away with it, but that still doesn't mean it's a recommended practice. It's just as critical as an Oil Change, maybe more so considering the safety implications. It's a pain to do, but not really too bad and it's not too expensive, much less than replacing a single Brake Component...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:37 PM   #6
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Very easy DIYer Project. Can be a bit messy at first but after caliper number 2 you will have it down! The Boxster was my first brake flush. Used just less than 1 liter of fluid and bought a Motive power bleeder to do the job. This way you won't have to mess with pushing in the brake pedal.
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rteichman
When I had my PPI done they also said to have the brake fluid flushed. Your explanation gives a good reason for doing it. HOWEVER, I would like to point out that my 14 year old Miata with 130,000 miles on it never had the fluid flushed and never had a brake problem. I can say the same for my 16 year old Mercedes (one of the original ABS cars). As a matter of fact, this Porsche is the first car I ever owned that I have heard the recommendation to change the brake fluid so frequently. Why do Porsche's need this more often than other cars?


rteichman, Mercedes recommends this same 2 year service. With a coupon, Mercedes charges $89. We have it done religiously. Small price to pay every two years to stop properly! And protects against a costly ABS repair.
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Old 02-13-2006, 08:36 PM   #8
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Is the motive power bleeder better than just bleeding the brakes by pumping the pedal and having a little help from a friend? I thought the power bleeder was only for folks that truly "do it yourself."
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Old 02-13-2006, 09:01 PM   #9
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I say get one...no friend needed! Super easy to use. Fill with fluid, pump to correct pressure, attach drain hose to bleeder valve, slowly open valve and watch old fluid just rush out!. Close valve. Move to next valve. Get the correct order of bleeding by doing a search and the correct pressure for the bleeder before starting. Have rags handy to immediatly wipe any little drips you encounter. Your friend can then have a beer and watch instead of being under your dash!
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by bmussatti
Mercedes recommends this same 2 year service. With a coupon, Mercedes charges $89. We have it done religiously. Small price to pay every two years to stop properly! And protects against a costly ABS repair.
Interesting, I had my 1988 190E and my 1996 E320 religously serviced by the dealer. In the over 5 years (12 for the 190) and about 100,000 miles I put on each while I owned them, not once did the dealer do or recommend a brake flush. Maybe it was done as part of a x,000 mile service, but it was never listed on the receipt (and the other services were).

I'm not arguing against doing it, just relating my experiences with other cars.

Rob
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Old 02-14-2006, 07:07 AM   #11
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My Mazda 929 has 199,000 miles and the original brake fluid. I should probably change that lol. The boxster gets all the attention.
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Adam
Is the motive power bleeder better than just bleeding the brakes by pumping the pedal and having a little help from a friend? I thought the power bleeder was only for folks that truly "do it yourself."
It can save you huge headaches from accidentally pumping too much fluid out of the reservoir and getting air in the line. Once air gets in, it's a big pain to get it out. It also makes it very quick since you can just put 1 litre of new, unopened fluid (ATE Gold for me) in the power bleeder and catch the old fluid in the can you just emptied. Once it's hooked up, you just pump it to 10-15psi and go around each wheel, stick a tube on and open the bleeders (including the clutch).

928 Specialists has the Motive power bleeder for the best price I've found ($39). Just search "motive" on their site and you'll find it. It fits all Porsche models (except maybe a 40 year old 356).
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Old 02-14-2006, 04:01 PM   #13
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A little annoyance with the Motive Bleeder is the brake fluid reservoir cap can't just be screwed on...you need the screw the entire bottle as you screw or unscrew the cap. Did I do something wrong last summer or is there a workaround?
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Old 02-14-2006, 04:53 PM   #14
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A little annoyance with the Motive Bleeder is the brake fluid reservoir cap can't just be screwed on...you need the screw the entire bottle as you screw or unscrew the cap. Did I do something wrong last summer or is there a workaround?
Hi,

I agree the stock Motive is a Pain. But, there is an alternative. There is a swivel Cap you can add which eliminates the issue entirely. Motive sells it for $38.00, but I got mine here for $25...: http://www.zimsautotechnik.com/acatalog/Metal_Swivel_Cap_for_Motive_Products_Power_Bleeder .html
Hope this helps...

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Old 02-15-2006, 12:12 PM   #15
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Does anyone know of any local shops like Napa,Kragen etc. that sell Ate Super Blue brake fluid over the counter?
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Old 02-15-2006, 07:35 PM   #16
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Does anyone know of any local shops like Napa,Kragen etc. that sell Ate Super Blue brake fluid over the counter?
No, but this place sells it...
http://www.tweeks.com/shop?frame=8.2300
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Old 02-15-2006, 08:31 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the great tips and recommendations guys. I think Im gonna definitely DIY this one on my own and once again take great pride in keeping a little cash out of the dealers hands for now. I was originally going to go with the "using a friend to push the pedal method" however with the apparent ease and affordabilty of a power bleeder it seems like a worthwhile buy to me!

While Im at it, a totally off topic question....is there any sort of a particular oil filter wrench required for me to removed the plastic filter cup on my boxster?? I have seen a couple different ones advertised on ebay but Im hoping that one of the standard jobbies from a parts store might do??

Once again thanks for the help!

Jeff.
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Old 02-15-2006, 09:36 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by jeff740
Thanks for all the great tips and recommendations guys. I think Im gonna definitely DIY this one on my own and once again take great pride in keeping a little cash out of the dealers hands for now. I was originally going to go with the "using a friend to push the pedal method" however with the apparent ease and affordabilty of a power bleeder it seems like a worthwhile buy to me!

While Im at it, a totally off topic question....is there any sort of a particular oil filter wrench required for me to removed the plastic filter cup on my boxster?? I have seen a couple different ones advertised on ebay but Im hoping that one of the standard jobbies from a parts store might do??

Once again thanks for the help!

Jeff.
Hi,

There are several on the Market. The thing to remember is that it needs to be 74mm and have 14 flutes or sides. The Filter s/b Hand Tightened, so I just use a strap wrench, works great. The last thing I need is another job-specific tool in my already overflowing Tool Chests. Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 02-15-2006, 11:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNBoxster
Hi,

There are several on the Market. The thing to remember is that it needs to be 74mm and have 14 flutes or sides. The Filter s/b Hand Tightened, so I just use a strap wrench, works great. The last thing I need is another job-specific tool in my already overflowing Tool Chests. Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
Pep boys sells a oil filter wrench that works perfectly for a lot less then Porsches. The part number is A251,just call and see if your local Pep Boys has one. I beleive it was only $2.51.
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Old 02-16-2006, 04:46 AM   #20
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Pep boys sells a oil filter wrench that works perfectly for a lot less then Porsches. The part number is A251,just call and see if your local Pep Boys has one. I beleive it was only $2.51.
You should also bleed the clutch while you are at it. I is supplied by the same resevoir. Very awkward to do this without a power bleeder.

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