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Old 03-25-2015, 05:44 PM   #1
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
White Lake , Michigan
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 95
Brake and power steering questions

My '88 345 gave me a scare coming down a long steep grade, my brake pedal went to the floor! Once everything cool down the brakes went back to normal and have work great ever since, any ideas for an explanation? Secondly, the fluid reservoir on the fire wall to the right of the radiator, is that brake, power steering, booster? And what's the best fluid?

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Old 03-25-2015, 06:40 PM   #2
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2005 19' Safari
Phoenix , Arizona
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If your brake pedal goes to the floor when the brakes are hot, you've got air in the brake lines.

As a minimum, you need to have your brake lines purged of air. Also, if you haven't replaced the brake fluid in several years (or ever), you may wish to have the brake system flushed, refilled with new brake fluid, and purged of air.

The brake fluid may not actually need to be replaced. However, I mention this because brake fluid is hygroscopic (i.e., it absorbs water); and if it's old and been exposed to the air, it may hold water, which will turn to steam when your brakes get hot. This steam will have the same effect as air in the lines, making your brake pedal spongy and/or allowing it to go to the floor with little or no resistance.

In any case, this is a serious condition, which needs immediate attention.

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Old 03-26-2015, 05:41 AM   #3
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
White Lake , Michigan
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 95
Thanks, will do, leaving for Florida next week. I was already thinking of doing it when I put on new tires, your response has made me certain. Thanks again, Mr. D.

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Old 03-26-2015, 06:23 AM   #4
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What you likely experienced was a form of vapor lock caused by boiling brake fluid. Moisture contamination is the culprit. Even small amounts of moisture in a brake system can cause problems when extended braking occurs such as a long descent with the brakes applied. When long braking takes place the fluid absorbs heat at the brake cylinder and if moisture is present bubbles can form and actually boil. Bubbles are gas which is compressible, the brake system is designed for fluids, so bubbles render the system ineffective.

Even when the system cools residual bubbles will remain in the system. I would bleed the system and purge the old brake fluid out to help eliminate the potential of this happening again.

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