Thread: Loss of brake fluid

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  1. #1 Loss of brake fluid 
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    So, I went to the grocery store, bought some goodies for the BBQ... hopped in the car and the brake light came on 1997 GTP.

    I popped the hood and checked, I could see the reservoir was low. I was only about 3-4 blocks from home so I gingerly brought it there and topped up the fluid. Brake pedal feeling has not changed, it is still firm.

    Now, I plan to do a full inspection of all calipers and brake lines and check the inside of the car for a master cylinder leak. There was no trace of fluid on the brake booster in the engine compartment.

    I do have the Tech2 scanner so I can properly bleed the system if I have to open it up (which I will for sure, you aren't supposed to be "using" brake fluid ) so that's not an issue.

    I just have questions about if there's a common issue on these cars. I just hope it doesn't have to do with the ABS pump body cause that looks expensive!

    This car is driven nearly every day so it wouldn't have any oddball issues related to the car sitting for a while.
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  2. #2 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
    Killa Bee Scottydoggs's Avatar
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    you likely just need new brake pads. as the pads wear the fluid lowers in the master. when you put new pads in the fluid level goes back up to normal.

    98 Buick Regal GS, F body brakes, Caddy STS wheels, tinted tails L36 bottom end, lightly ported heads, 1.95 roller rockers, headers, gen 5 N* 3.0 pulley, FSIC, 42 lb injectors, a BrandonHall rebuilt trans, DHP tuned and AEM water/Meth injection https://goo.gl/gpV5kW
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  3. #3 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
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    Common issue is the rear brake lines where they run above the crossmember that feed both rear brakes. I panic stopped to avoid hitting some idiot in town and my rear line blew up. It stopped in time but had to be towed home. Another common spot is where the brake/fuel lines run up the drivers side of the firewall. There is a plastic clip that holds all the lines and there is also insulation behind it which holds water. It's right at where they bend upwards towards the engine compartment. Had a line leak there too. After replacing said lines I left them out of the clip and removed that part of the insulation so they can't sit against that damp junk anymore.
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  4. #4 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
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    Thanks for the tips, I'll be sure to check them out.

    Come to think of it, this happened a few days after a panic stop. First time I'd engaged the ABS since I had the car...
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  5. #5 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
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    Just an update, put the car on ramps and also took all the wheels off.

    Fronts are about 40%, rears are somewhere between 40-60%. No leaks at calipers and all the brake lines in the front look OK.

    For the lines running to the rear, they have surface rust as you'd expect from a 25 year old car. The left rear looks OK, but the right rear I can't tell... the problem is I sprayed everything in the rear with penetrating oil so everything looks discoloured. I looked up with an inspection mirror as the line to the RR goes up around the gas tank.

    So it's kind of inconclusive for now. If I hadn't sprayed most everything under there when doing the swaybar and the rear struts it would've been a hell of a lot easier to figure out.

    I'll use the car for a few days and if even a tiny bit more fluid is lost I will park it and replace the lines running to the back of the car.

    That's not gonna be a fun job - looks like the axle's gotta come out or the gas tank. Heh.
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  6. #6 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
    Killa Bee Scottydoggs's Avatar
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    if the master's fluid is over the little low fluid sensor, it needs to be cleaned or replaced.

    98 Buick Regal GS, F body brakes, Caddy STS wheels, tinted tails L36 bottom end, lightly ported heads, 1.95 roller rockers, headers, gen 5 N* 3.0 pulley, FSIC, 42 lb injectors, a BrandonHall rebuilt trans, DHP tuned and AEM water/Meth injection https://goo.gl/gpV5kW
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  7. #7 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
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    If you have to do the rear lines there is a factory union somewhere back there, can't recall where, think it's near the drivers side rear. I removed the fitting, cut the factory line out and re-used the factory fitting then ran Ni-Cop lines from there to both rear brakes. No need to drop anything as it just follows the rear crossmember. Get it high enough in the air and when you set it on jack stands let the rear suspension fully extend and you're home free. Took me longer to get the lines flared correctly than it did to run them.

    And no, I don't remember which flare they use, lol.. I do recall it's 3/16" line though.
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  8. #8 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
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    Yeah, there was a union back there. I'm near certain it was forward of the left rear wheel.

    Maybe it won't be as bad of a job assuming that's the problem. I'm going to keep an eye out for drips over the next few days.

    I did start the car and stomped the pedal a dozen times or more but didn't see anything obvious.
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  9. #9 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
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    So I did do more testing and stomped the brake pedal under the car a lot more, like 50 times. While I didn't see any drips right away, the next day there was a puddle under the car underneath the crossmember running to the passenger side.

    Went and got a 6' nicopp line (longest they had other than coils) and it's 7" too short. Bah... car is down for a while. 25' coil of nicopp will take two weeks to get here.
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  10. #10 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
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    Well, I decided to be productive and replace both rear lines as they're both super crusty where it runs alongside the fuel filter to the back of the car.

    Noticed that they aren't double flared and are a bubble flare (first time encountering those on a car...) so I had to get a bubble flare tool. One line replaced, going to figure out how to adjust the parking brake, then I have to wait over two weeks to finish the job. Sigh.
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  11. #11 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
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    Good that you found it. Trust me you don't want that line to go, lol.. Not a fun time. I find it strange that the 97 has an ISO (bubble) flair on it. I know my 00 GT has the double. Must be another one of those wonder 97 only things.

    Sucks about the Ni-cop. Must be a regional thing since I can walk into my local store and grab a roll with no issues.
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  12. #12 Re: Loss of brake fluid 
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    Yeah, when I took the line off I was like "What the hell, it's round???" Had to google it lol. Never seen one before.

    I dunno if it's a supply issue here or what. I went to four different stores, only one could get the six foot nicopp line. Someone else could get the roll but it was $200 here, Amazon had a NiCopp branded one for $75. Guess which one I went with?

    Strangely enough, for both back brake lines (4 flares total), 3 were bubble flares and one was a double flare. The double flare was at the factory coupling ahead of the gas tank, I would assume they did that so you can't mix up left and right going up to the ABS valve body.
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