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Old 12-11-2019, 06:16 PM   #1
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E450 Maintenance- Brake Fluid Change

Once a year I go to a Ford dealer for their oil change and multipoint inspection. Six months later, I do my own oil change. I just read the maintenance manual for my E450 and noted that they recommend changing the brake fluid every 2 years. As I am almost always in dry climates west of the Rockies, I was thinking to extend this time period (not too many Ford dealers that will service RV's). Extending it would be by visual inspection for contaminants (color) and water/contaminate levels by a multimeter galvanic test and the use of commercial brake fluid test strips. I'd be glad to hear opinions on this idea.
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Old 12-11-2019, 06:35 PM   #2
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Yikes. Never changed mine. Of course, it only moves 2000-3000 miles per year - sits for 6 months at a time
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:02 PM   #3
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Brake fluid absorbs moisture. That can happen wheather you drive it or not.

It absorbs thru the caliper seals and hoses. I'm not sure that testing the fluid in the master cylinder is going to give an accurate reading of all of the fluid. The fluid doesn't circulate.

I had a 2000 E450 that boiled the brake fluid after making a down hill stop, back in 2015. Next pedal push was to the floor. The chassis only had 18,000 miles on it.

I personally wouldn't change the fluid every 2 years but I will sometime between 5 and 6 years.
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:44 PM   #4
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I'm not sure that testing the fluid in the master cylinder is going to give an accurate reading of all of the fluid. The fluid doesn't circulate.
I was wondering about this too. But I've seen some pretty dirty looking brake fluid in the reservoir above the master cylinder in some vehicles that had not had it changed. Maybe mixes through thermal convection?
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:59 PM   #5
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I was wondering about this too. But I've seen some pretty dirty looking brake fluid in the reservoir above the master cylinder in some vehicles that had not had it changed. Maybe mixes through thermal convection?
If the brakes have been replaced, the old fluid from the calapers is all to often pushed back to the master cylinder, when the pistons are pushed back in.

The bleeders should be opened while pushing the pistons in to flush that old fluid out.
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:39 PM   #6
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It can be risky to ignore changing the fluid indefinitely. I knew a family that had a National Sea Breeze, and half way down Siskiyou summit the pedal went to the floor. He was able to downshift and using the emergency brake was able to get it stopped. After waiting an hour, the brakes magically came back to normal. This is the classic symptom of a steam bubble in the caliper. Once the caliper reaches the boiling point, the absorbed water suddenly creates a steam bubble and you lose all braking. After the caliper cools down, the water goes back into solution and it brakes normally again. The steam bubble is not the only problem. When water is in solution in the brake lines and caliper, it steadily rusts them. These rust particles fall into the bottom of the caliper and gum up the caliper seal and makes them get stuck. It's a good thing if you flush the brake system. I don't do it every year but at least every 4-5 isn't a bad idea. Keeps you safe.
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:43 AM   #7
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I find it interesting/ (confusing?) that the Maint. Schedules ONLY list "Every two years - Change brake fluid" for (CLASS-A), yet do not mention for Class-C, or cars/ vans? (Knowing that moisture= rust/ steam= brake loss issues). Any insight from anyone? Is it that the (greater MASS of the Class-A) is harder to maintain descent speed w/ engine/ gears only (requiring more Brake use?) vs smaller rigs with more control w/ downshift= lower brake temperatures? OTOH, I would think moisture= rust would be an issue for any weight vehicle?
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Old 12-12-2019, 11:06 AM   #8
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I find it interesting/ (confusing?) that the Maint. Schedules ONLY list "Every two years - Change brake fluid" for (CLASS-A), yet do not mention for Class-C, or cars/ vans? (Knowing that moisture= rust/ steam= brake loss issues). Any insight from anyone? Is it that the (greater MASS of the Class-A) is harder to maintain descent speed w/ engine/ gears only (requiring more Brake use?) vs smaller rigs with more control w/ downshift= lower brake temperatures? OTOH, I would think moisture= rust would be an issue for any weight vehicle?
I think you got it right. Folks ride the brakes more in heavier vehicles.
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Old 12-12-2019, 11:18 AM   #9
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I change mine every 15-20 years, I do it at the same time I put new brake hoses on the rig.
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Old 12-12-2019, 11:23 AM   #10
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I change mine every time I buy a new vehicle.
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Old 12-12-2019, 03:52 PM   #11
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The E450 Manual may assume the chassis is for commercial use and never stops being driven.
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:16 PM   #12
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They mention class A because many of the don't run up mileage.

Trucks will typically run up high mileage and need brake jobs before enough moisture accumulates to do harm.
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Old 12-12-2019, 06:07 PM   #13
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Our E450 manual says every 5 years. I had it done once, overdue for another change.
If your fluid is dark colored, it is time.
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Old 12-12-2019, 06:12 PM   #14
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I have learned from my wife. Never ride brakes. Coasting to an anticipated stop also saves fuel. Who'da guessed. Only took 35 years to change my ways.
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