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Old 06-19-2014, 04:32 AM   #1
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1998 Bounder - Has Anyone Experienced Brake Failure In Hot Weather?

Yesterday I was in stop and go traffic in 95 degree weather. Just as I arrived at my campground destination, my brake pedal lost all pressure and smoke was coming from the engine compartment. I limped into my campsite and looked for a broken brake line or leak. I was astonished that my master cylinder reservoir was full. After my Bounder cooled down, brake pressure was restored. Has anyone experienced this problem? I know that brake fluid can boil at relatively low temperatures . . . perhaps it's time to flush out the old fluid and replace with new?

My engine is a 454.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:35 AM   #2
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What chassis is your Bounder on.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:38 AM   #3
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What chassis is your Bounder on.

I don't really know. It's length is 35 feet and rated at 16,000 pounds.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:41 AM   #4
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Are there any decals ( Ford or Workhorse ) on the sides or in the engine compartment or on the steering wheel ?
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:45 AM   #5
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I'll have to look. It's 5:45 am right now. May I ask why the chassis matters?
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:45 AM   #6
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If it's a Workhorse it may have been involved with a brake recall . The previous owner may not have had it fixed.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:48 AM   #7
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1998 Bounder - Has Anyone Experienced Brake Failure In Hot Weather?

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If it's a Workhorse it may have been involved with a brake recall . The previous owner may not have had it fixed.

Ah! Thank you! I'll look around later this morning.

Is there a website that lists recall info?
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:53 AM   #8
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There's a lot of info here on previous threads. Here's a link.
https://www.google.com/search?q=Work...com&gws_rd=ssl
If you confirm
it is a WH , I'll move this to that forum where others can advise you better.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
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If it's a Workhorse it may have been involved with a brake recall . The previous owner may not have had it fixed.
ANY 1998 chassis is NOT be included in the Bosch Brake Recall. ONLY the W series chassis made by Workhorse was recalled.

IF the OP has a "Chevy" chassis, the 16,000 GVWR is a P32 and they were not known for having the greatest brakes. It reads as though the hot weather and stop and go traffic overheated the fluid, causing it to "boil" and loss of pedal. The fact that pressure returned after cool down confirms this. It is time to replace the fluid with fresh, which will have a higher boiling point.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:05 AM   #10
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Regardless of the chassis brand I would suggest you have the brake system flushed and replace the fluid with DOT4 fluid. Both Ford and Workhorse recommend flushing the brake system every 2 years.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs and retains moisture. As it absorbs moisture the boiling point is drastically reduced. New DOT 4 fluid has a boiling point as high as 510*F. When it absorbs enough water become "wet" or reach 3.7% the boiling point is reduced to 311*F.

Just a side note, being hygroscopic or retaining water in suspension is a good thing. If the water wasn't held in suspension it would pool in low points of the lines and related hardware. It could freeze in cold weather and render the brakes inoperative. Even if the temperatures don't get cold enough to allow the water in the system to freeze continually sitting in low points could cause lines and calipers to rust and seize.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:46 AM   #11
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Both of above are excellent advice.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:35 AM   #12
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Don't think the workhorse chassis came out until 99.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave1194 View Post
Yesterday I was in stop and go traffic in 95 degree weather. Just as I arrived at my campground destination, my brake pedal lost all pressure and smoke was coming from the engine compartment. I limped into my campsite and looked for a broken brake line or leak. I was astonished that my master cylinder reservoir was full. After my Bounder cooled down, brake pressure was restored. Has anyone experienced this problem? I know that brake fluid can boil at relatively low temperatures . . . perhaps it's time to flush out the old fluid and replace with new?
Dave1194
Because DOT 3 and DOT 4 hydraulic brake fluid is hygroscopic, the older it is the more water it has absorbed...the more water it absorbs the more apt it is to boil and cause brake failure, (soft pedal).... especially in stop and go traffic in 95 degree weather, (and when descending grades).
See: BRAKE FLUID

I suspect you are correct... "it's time to flush out the old fluid and replace with new" DOT 4 brake fluid.
Mel
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Dave1194
Because DOT 3 and DOT 4 hydraulic brake fluid is hygroscopic, the older it is the more water it has absorbed...the more water it absorbs the more apt it is to boil and cause brake failure, (soft pedal).... especially in stop and go traffic in 95 degree weather, (and when descending grades).
See: BRAKE FLUID

I suspect you are correct... "it's time to flush out the old fluid and replace with new" DOT 4 brake fluid.
Mel
'96 Safari

I'm in the process of replacing the fluid with DOT 4 this morning. Thanks for all the advice.
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