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Old 08-26-2016, 10:32 AM   #1
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Question What's the approved brake fluid for 1986 345 moho?

Hey guys,
We're stuck by the side of the road with no brakes and Good Sam is taking an eternity to find us a tow and we're on a schedule!

I don't have the manual for the coach with me. It may be at home on my old computer. We've found the two brake fluid wells. (There are two, aren' there?!) One of them is empty.

Could you please tell me what is the approved brake fluid for a 1986 345 moho? We don't want to use the wrong stuff.

We suspect a brake fluid leak and we're trying to get it up to service about 20 minutes away. I have a car. If i can get the right fluid we can get there.

Thanks!
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:57 AM   #2
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Dot 3 should be fine
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:59 AM   #3
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My P30 service manual says to use DOT3 fluid. I understand that DOT4 can be used in place of DOT3, but nothing else.
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Old 08-26-2016, 11:06 AM   #4
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Dot 5 and 6 are not backwards compatable with the recommended Dot 3, but DOt 4 OK. You should be able to do a quick refill. Look inside the driver side wheelwell. There should be a metal shroud with a gap in it (may depend on year of coach). Shine a light through the gap and remove the clip off the top of master cylinder (rectangle metal part with two fluid cavities inside). Try and use a mirror and torch to see which side is lacking fluid. Refill to about an inch below the top or the cavity lacking fluid. Try not to spill fluid on the rubber lines etc. Obviously, if you decide to drive the coach, try to use the brakes only when needed. The leak could be at the be at the cylinder itself (in which case you will probably be able to see the fluid leaking out). It may be in a line or at the brake. If in doubt or if you have lost all brake pressure, call out your recovery service. Good luck.
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Old 08-26-2016, 11:10 AM   #5
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Dot 3 or 4 is fine.


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Old 08-26-2016, 12:13 PM   #6
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Check inside the master cylinder for an dried brake fluid or crystalized fluid. I had a lid seal fail, which allows a lot of moisture into the master cylinder.
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Old 08-26-2016, 12:27 PM   #7
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Use DOT 3. But you can also use DOT 4.

If you need to eek out 20 miles, you should get a full quart. Keep reservoir full. Remember, one well serves as a reservoir for two brake cylinders/calipers. If one cylinder/caliper is leaking, you can still use the other. But you hafta keep the reservoir full.

Two brake fluid wells in master cylinder: Rear well is for front brakes, front well is for rear brakes. Which one is empty??

If you drive in "limp mode" for 20 miles, you should know that front brakes do about 70% of the braking. You can get by on that. Just be careful.

Rear brakes only do about 30% of the braking. I wouldn't drive on rear brakes alone. But if I did, it would be at an absolute crawl - and definitely not down any hill or grade.

Tom
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Old 08-26-2016, 12:42 PM   #8
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Branefluid

Hey,
to check fluid properly, REMOVE the metal shield in front of the mastercylinder.
Just a few bolts, quick done!!!
Carefull by open the clips, can be rotten!!
Mine was FULL with old rust and rott!
Also the "hydraboost" system can be "guilt for weak breaks". This is feeded with "powersteeringfluid". It's the small canister driver side. you see it, when hood is open. Check level with turning engine.
Check, if you see ANY leak on wheels/rims. You need to crawl under the rig to see it.
DOT 3 is best, DOT 4 works. NOTHING else!!!
Carefull, mann, forget any shedule you micht have, SAFETY FIRST!
These beasts are rock-heavy!!!
Good luck!
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Old 08-26-2016, 03:04 PM   #9
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Great help, thanks!

Nothing like a chorus of similar and and confirming voices to give a person some confidence!

I just transmitted this info about the oils to the service folks who finally had to tow the thing because a friend helping said we had to bleed the brake lines. I don't even know if this is true.

Anyway, at the garage they're saying they' filled the reservoirs, pumped the brake a million times and it's not leaking so they believe it's the master cylinder. The moho has been sitting for most of 3 years, so they say it's conceivable it's time for a new one. I told him I preferred DOT3 based on what you have told me and he said 3 or 4 would work which may mean he doesn't have 4. This guy is doing me a big favor because he was scheduled solid today and we're trying to leave tomorrow or Sunday.

So we'll see! I'll report back. Thanks!
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Old 08-26-2016, 04:53 PM   #10
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Jenni, in the grand scheme of things brake master cylinders aren't overly expensive and they really aren't that hard to replace. The real thing to worry about is whether the brake tube fittings are frozen to the brake tubes. If they are it's really easy to accidentally twist the fitting off the end of the tube. If that happens you can easily add several more hours of frustrating work to the job.

Hope for the best!

Brad
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Old 08-26-2016, 05:41 PM   #11
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Brake line broken and being rebuilt

Hey Bkahler,

Great timing, thanks, yes, although I don't know if its the brake tubes exactly, they did find the leak in the brake line and decided they didn't need to replace the master cylinder. They are having to rebuild the section to the front wheel. Also, the e-brake isn't working, so they're going to check out what's going on there.

I'm disappointed that we'll be losing so much time getting to Burning Man, but we will have access to the moho over the weekend, so we'll be able to finish packing and be ready to leave from there as soon as they've fixed the brakes.

Of course, you never know what the Automotive Fates have in store for us, right?

Keeping the faith and eating chocolate,

Jenni
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Old 08-27-2016, 04:42 AM   #12
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Jenni, hopefully the shop will get it taken care of over the weekend. Replacing the front brake lines can be somewhat of a challenging task due to lack of easy access. It's definitely a doable job but I'm sure if you were standing near the mechanic doing the job you might learn a few new choice words

Good luck!

Brad
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Old 08-27-2016, 05:10 AM   #13
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I switched from Dot 3 to dot 4 after a hair raising drive down from Lake Tahoe, where the brakes overheated and I lost the peddle almost completely.

The old fluid may well have been too old, and it was certianly fried after the overheating incident. So I went with the the higher temp tolerant Dot Four. The new fluid was a different color than the old so It was easy to see when all of the old fluid was out of the lines.

Was interested to learn that changing the brake fluid is periodically required in Canada. What's the story there? Is that correct?

Good luck in getting on the road to burning man soon!

Cheers Richard
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Old 08-27-2016, 09:31 AM   #14
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Hey Jenny,
now, that you are sure about what you need to do, let me suggest one thing again.
The elec brakes on tag axle are really a "gadget", not more. On e they work as the should, other times they don't. We have destroyed 2 (expensive!) tires by a bad working elec brake on tag axle. Now we actually do not use it anymore, i switched the controller maximum to "left side". No (!) issues at all, "Bangles" now brake's flawless, after our complete overhaul with new mastercylinder, lines and brakeboostet (Hydraboost).
Parts for this are incredible cheap in the US (compared to what we payed in Germany...!) Total work was a 2 days fix, ALL IN.
Once it's done, you will maybe not touch it again for the next 10 years!
Enjoy "Burning man", maybe you can post some pictures!!!
Best, Marcus
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Old 08-28-2016, 10:15 AM   #15
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Red face Wish I Had More Time

The more I think about it and read this thread, the more I wish I had an extra week or two!

I'd have all the brakes rebuilt, the engine tuned up again, and take a crowbar to everything in the interior of the motyho - remove the wall board, right down to the aluminum - and seal any possible gaps in the skin and remove and reseal the windows ...

But the main thing I would like to do is rebuild all the brakes.

So on Monday morning, I'm going to find out how long that would take. If they even have time to do it.

Thanks so much,
Jenniflow
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:20 PM   #16
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Smile On the road again!

I'm thrilled to report that after many ups and downs, one of which was so discouraging that it led to a serious conversation about selling the motyho (as I call her), the folks at Nave Motors in Novato, CA, pulled it off. Stu was able to rebuild the brakes to the other front wheel (they'd already done the first front wheel), and bleed the lines despite considerable rust, resulting in a big glob of goo finally getting pushed out the other end.

Even more amazing, he was able to connect the rusty parts to the new parts and the brakes are great now. I just hope they hold up long enough to get us to Burning Man, wherever we go after that, and safely home. Then we'll do a lot of cleaning and soul searching about the future of our RV travels.

Thanks so much for your advice!

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Old 08-30-2016, 03:01 AM   #17
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I'm glad to hear your up and going again.

One thing to add is brake fluid is hydroscopic and well absorb moisture. Which is why they recommend flushing the system with fresh fluid every 3-4 years. It's a commonly overlooked maintenance item.

Now on to dot 3 vs dot 4 they are compatible, dot 4 has a higher boiling point and is less common. Most brake systems well begin to fade before dot 3 starts boiling.
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:59 AM   #18
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These old beasts can really be disheartening at times.
I think we have all had to go thru those " I'm done with this thing " moments.

When the failure turns out to be something that should have been found and dealt with in the course of routine maintainance.
Well then it's on me. Just have to step up to the reality that these are complicated machines and require a lot of effort to cover all of there needs.

On the other hand as old as they are there are plenty of parts and that have had a lot of wear and tear, and could fail at any time. Those are the surprise breakdowns just waiting to happen.

Attention the maintenance, willingness to do comprehensive repairs to wear items, and known failure areas. Such as engine cooling systems etc is the path I'm on to having a coach that is fun to use without too much worries.
It is a long path. But so worthwhile.

Hang in there Jenniflow, have a great time at burning man. Hopefully the rest of your trip will be uncomplicated fun.

Cheers Richard
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Old 09-05-2016, 03:20 PM   #19
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Hey Richard,
you should really start a "Classic moho owner therapy thread" 😜👍🏻!

Could never ever explain better this, than you did!
I am in the lucky position, i can fix a lot myself and if not, i can ask Peter nearly any time, once a new challenge occurs. (He is my "Airstream-Guru", his knowledge about is tremendous!!!!)
Once is asked him, if there is it "done ready "once a time"...?! As Peter told me, short & clear, after i was terribly pi.... off 👹about a -new- "little issue": "No, never!" 😄😄😄🇺🇸
But what' s all this, if you cruise away in these coolest moho's EVER build! They attrack happiness from almost every person, countless "thumbs up, people smile and wave, if you drive along.
Also these rigs "feel" so well, once on the road. (if well maintained and no "little issues" ocur...!)
They are timeless iconic pieces!

So, "Jennyflow", enjoy Burningman, please post some pictures and DO NOT SELL ...!

You will definitifly regret it!!
Best, Marcus!

(I need to check very soon the front/left wheel, there is a "strange noise" since a while...🙄!

Look at this:
Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByAirstream Forums1473109834.094060.jpg
Views:	53
Size:	107.5 KB
ID:	270910
This is back in april 2014, once we saw our "Bangles" first time "for real", IN A REPAIRSHOP (!) in Davenport/IA, after a 15 hours flight across the ocean! 🇩🇪🇺🇸😀👍🏻



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Old 09-05-2016, 11:38 PM   #20
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Words of wisdom

Thank you all so much for your words of wisdom! We almost sold it this week but many of our friends looked so astonished when we brought it up that we reconsidered. Then I saw these posts and that clinched it.

Burning Man is the ideal place for this coach unless or until I do a major remodel. It gave a lot of people pleasure including us.

And I never even found the Airstream camp! Maybe next year.

So all that's left is to do some camping and cleanup in Truckee and then make it home.

Pics to come!
Jenniflow
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