FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid??? - The Jockey Journal Board

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Old 10-27-2008, 06:57 PM   #1
Luke Nosewalker
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Default FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

What kind of fluid should I be using with the Tokico calipers?

What problems can incorrect fluid cause?
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

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Originally Posted by Luke Nosewalker View Post
What kind of fluid should I be using with the Tokico calipers?

What problems can incorrect fluid cause?
My front brake is a Tokico. I use the silicon DOT 5


AK
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

I run DOT 5. If it is a new kit, be sure to flush them first. If I remember, yours are on a bike you purchased, right? If so - you may want to inquire of the previous owner, to be sure he didn't set them up with dot 4.
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

Oh, fuck. I put dot 3 in them!
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

Running DOT 5 fluid with natural rubber seals will degrade the seals. Brembo has a warning out on most of their aftermarket master cylinders for jsut this issue.

Tokico uses seals that work with both DOT-3, 4, and 5.

Mixing DOT-3, 4 or 5.5 with DOT-5 will cause a gelling issue and isn not recommended under any circumstance.

Denatured alcohol is cheap and works nicely to flush brake systems in the event of changing from a hydroscopic, Glycol based DOT-3, 4 fluid to a Silicone based DOT-5.
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

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Originally Posted by Fab Kevin View Post
I run DOT 5. If it is a new kit, be sure to flush them first. If I remember, yours are on a bike you purchased, right? If so - you may want to inquire of the previous owner, to be sure he didn't set them up with dot 4.
Yeah I got the bike on a trade. I'll try to contact Nino to see.

Kevin I will give you a call sometime this week hopefully to discuss my brakes (from your email.)
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

DO NOT USE 5... it requires a specific braking system.

DOT 3 and DOT 4 are functionally very similar. 4 has a higher boiling
point, but motorcycle brake systems don't generate the kind of pressure and
temperatures that need it on the street, in general, although it certainly
won't hurt your system to put it in.

DOT 5 is very different -- it's silicone based, doesn't absorb water, isn't
corrosive, is bad for some seals, is hard to bleed, and is not miscible
with 3 or 4. Stay away from it--it needs a system designed for it.

DOT 5.1 is compatible with DOT 3 & DOT 4

Here's more detail...

DOT3 is an aliphatic polyether.
DOT4 is borate ester based.
DOT5 is polydimethylsiloxane (silicone based).
DOT5.1 is borate ester based, thus its compatibility with DOT3/DOT4.

More information can be obtained from the following standards documents:

DOT3: SAE J1703
DOT4: FMVSS 116; proposed SAE standard J1704
DOT5: SAE J1705
DOT5.1: No SAE spec

If you are interested in obtaining copies of these standards documents, you
may order them directly from SAE at
http://www.sae.org/PRODSERV/STANDARD/gv/179.htm

According to DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards specification
49CFR571.116 (which refers to SAE documents J1703, J1704, J1705), the
minimum equilibrium reflux boiling point requirement in deg C for each is:

DOT 3 205
DOT 4 230
DOT 5 260
DOT 5.1 260

This shows that, all else remaining the same, DOT 5.1 has a significant
advantage in heat capacity over DOT 4. Note that these specifications are
for completely dry (no H2O content) brake fluid.

Due to the extreme operating temperatures of a high performance brake system, standard off-the-shelf brake fluids are not recommended. Of critical importance in determining a fluids ability to handle high temperature applications is the Dry Boiling Point and compressibility. The Dry Boiling Point is the temperature at which a brake fluid will boil in its virgin non-contaminated state. The highest temperature Dry Boiling Point available in a DOT 3 fluid is 572 F

The Wet Boiling Point is the temperature a brake fluid will boil after it has been fully saturated with moisture. The DOT 3 requirement for wet boiling point is a minimum temperature of 284 F.

There are many ways for moisture to enter your brake system. Condensation from regular use, washing the vehicle and humidity are the most common, with little hope of prevention. Glycol based DOT 3 & 4 & 5.1 fluids are hygroscopic; they absorb brake system moisture, and over time the boiling point is gradually reduced.

DOT 5 fluid is not hygroscopic, so as moisture enters the system, it is not absorbed by the fluid, and results in beads of moisture moving through the brake line, collecting in the calipers . It is not uncommon to have caliper temperatures exceed 200 F, and at 212 F, this collected moisture will boil causing vapor lock and system failure. Additionally, DOT 5 fluid is highly compressible due to aeration and foaming under normal braking conditions, providing a spongy brake feel. DOT 5 fluid is best suited for show car applications where its anti-corrosion and paint friendly characteristics are important, example stock HD set up.

Whenever you add fresh fluid to your existing system (never mix fluids of different DOT classifications), it immediately becomes contaminated, lowering the boiling point of the new fluid. For maximum performance, start with the highest Dry Boiling Point available, flush the system completely, and flush it regularly, especially after severe temperatures have been experienced.

Last edited by GAMBLER; 10-27-2008 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

"For maximum performance, start with the highest Dry Boiling Point available, flush the system completely, and flush it regularly, especially after severe temperatures have been experienced."

Exactly what kind of riding do you think someone will be doing on a harley-based chopper with an extended front end? Do you REALLY think that the lower boiling point of DOT 5 is an issue? I have ridden stock HD's up and down mountains, at high speeds (like a hundred and fifteen - the max of most big twins) over thousands of miles - and I can never recall boiling my brake fluid. In fact - I don't know of any street rider who has boiled his fluid? I'm not saying no chopper jockey hasn't boiled it - I've just never heard of it.

The info you posted was picked off the net somewhere. Do you have any practical experience converting dot 4 caliper to dot 5? I have, and here is what I can tell you from years of first hand experience.

I have a bike that has had a Tokico 4 pot caliper on it for 8 years. It was installed on the bike with dot 5 fluid. When I changed the pads for the second time, I drained the entire system into a jar just for grins. Guess what? No cloudiness or any other reason to think that it was less than perfect. The brakes were performing fine, so I re-filled the reservoir and bled the brakes. 8 years now, and they are still like the day they were installed.

In another instance, I dumped a couple of ounces of dot 4 into a jar, and a couple ounces of dot 5. Everyday, or whenever I was working on the bench with that jar, I shook it up to mix the fluids. Every time, and to this day (maybe 2 years now?), the fluids mix, then eventually seperate. No cloudiness, no sludge, no gel. I DO NOT RECOMMEND MIXING THESE FLUIDS IN YOUR BIKE. If you don't believe me - try it for yourself.

DOT3 was added to a system that previously had dot5 in it. It needs to be emptied, and flushed as soon as you can. After flushing, re-filling the system with DOT5 (and bleeding it more than necessary to be sure to flush out all the alchohol) will return it to the awesome system it was. Do not forget to address the rear brake anchor, like I eluded to in the email I sent you.
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

Kev,
I have 25/30yrs on bikes... dirtbikes, trackbikes, streetbikes... nothing compared to your exp with chops... you are beloved builder to everyone on the board, myself included. This info is available directly from DOT, or from the gsx-r manual... http://www.scribd.com/word/full/2848...=f9a14yg5pbq2i DOT 4

love the shit you build, a future customer
J
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:27 AM   #10
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

Hey Kev, I bought some Tokico calipers from you that already had fluid in them - I'm now assuming it was DOT 5 (but only because of your recent post). I wasn't sure at the time, so I used DOT 4 to fill the lines. I am having trouble bleeding the brakes. The M/C piston is sticking. It previously was fine w/ a dif. caliper.

I also scored a complete Tokico front-end braking (lines still attached)set-up off a 2000 600 GSXR. The M/C reservoir cap stated "DOT 4 Only" I put new lines on it,a new M/C piston, and some DOT 4, and it bled easy-peasy.

I wasn't sure from your post (maybe I didn't read it correctly). Tokico's from you have DOT 5, correct?
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:53 AM   #11
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

I have also had some trouble bleeding my rear caliper. Once bled they slowly get softer and softer after a few rides-- yet I they don't seem to be leaking any fluid???

I mixed dot 3 fluid with whatever was in there not knowing any better. Could this be causing this? Or maybe a bad MC?

I will try to flush them and run dot 5 silicon and hope for the best.

Last edited by Luke Nosewalker; 10-28-2008 at 01:56 AM.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

Gambler - I wasn't calling you out. The info you posted is not incorrect - but it doesn't tell the whole story either. On a bike that might see the high side of 150mph and regularly (like a several times in a 2 mile course) drop down to 20mph - things like boiling point are of paramount importance!

A common conversion on early model Corvettes is to rebuild the saystem to accept dot 5 fluid, since it doesn't absorb water and will outlast a dot 3 system on a car that doesn't see a lot of road time (vintage or restored cars). And, thanks for the vote of confidence in your reply.

Badbrain - please call the shop today, so we can discuss your system. MY shop number is 586-465-2600, and if I'm not near the office, my cell is: 586-291-4798.
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:46 AM   #13
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

I have nothing to add to this really except to say it's nice to see an interesting and informed discussion on this topic.
I've seen a few threads in the last couple of years where people with no knowledge or interest in research think DOT ratings are something you can just experiment with.
Whilst I'm aware that most braking info has a "legal disclaimer" element and is therefore not always pure facts, it's still not just a question of picking your favourite number and pouring it into your bike.
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:12 AM   #14
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

How many times have we all read internet posts on any subject, where the poster is merely reciting what he heard from a co-worker of his brother-in-law's neighbor? I have done a lot of things in life that people told me not to do, who had no experience in the matter they were trying to school me on.

Example - I just finished a bike where I made an 8 1/4" rotor front and rear. Both ends have the same 2 piston Brembo caliper. The bike does not stop like a GSXR, but it stops better than any '40's era bike for sure. It is fun to ride, and offers enough braking power to be ridden as a commuter if desired. I had nay-sayers telling me it would never work, and none of them had any real life experience to be able to offer that opinion.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

I've been using DOT 5 fluid in Nissin and Tokico calipers and the same brands front and rear master cylinders for over six years now. I've ridden bikes equipped with them in city stop and go traffic, up and over the Rocky Mountains where the average elevations are 9000 ft., and on high speed highway trips.

I've never had them "boil" the fluid, never had them "vapor lock", never had them feel "mushy", and I've never seen water cause corrosion behind the caliper pucks.

But, maybe a lot of what I haven't seen is due to the fact that I actually perform preventative maintainence on my brake systems, like you're supposed to. That is something hardly anybody does, regardless of the calipers, or brake fluid used in the system.

People nowadays are in this mindset that "Well, I can drive my car 10,000 miles before I need to change my fluids now, my bike is the same way I'm sure". Well, it isn't.

If people worried and paid more attention to things like scheduled maintainance on their engine/tranny lubricants and brake systems, or actually bought a manual, and read it, instead of how cool it would be to have a faux patina or rust finish on their sheetmetal, or the "right" stance, they wouldn't have 90% of the mechanical problems they have. God forbid somebody should actually inspect, adjust, and actually service their bikes after they build them.

Which brings up another good topic: I'll never understand how anybody can buy a bike, put 0 miles on their new purchase, and proceed to tear into it and change it, when they have no idea how the bike actually rides and handles before they do it? How can you "improve", rebuild and modify your bike for the better, when you don't know what you have to begin with?

And, as another sidenote, as Kevin pointed out, if you've ever seen behind the caliper bores of an early Corvette 4 piston system with DOT 3 brake fluid, or an early Harley caliper with DOT 3, you'd know what corrosion is.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:33 AM   #16
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

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People nowadays are in this mindset that "Well, I can drive my car 10,000 miles before I need to change my fluids now, my bike is the same way I'm sure". Well, it isn't.
This is absolutey true. The next three bikes waiting for me at my shop are ALL here for caliper rebuilds.
And yet the owners will still tell me they'd like a newer model because they've read that radial-mounted calipers are better, when the calipers they actually own are working at about 50% efficiency!
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:25 AM   #17
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

Re: DOT 5 fluids. Pretty much all of the pros and cons posted above are true. DOT 5 is synthetic and does not absorb water. This is its primary benefit, but can also be a drawback due to the fact that regardless of what type of fluid you use, water will eventually seep into your brake system through the porsoity of the hoses and various seals in the system. With DOT 3 and 4 fluids, that water is absorbed by the fluid and when it reaches a certain percentage of the fluid, the "wet" boiling point of the fluid becomes relavant. Up to that point, and if you constantly flush the fluid, the "dry" boiling point is relevant. I agree most street riders will never reach the point where they are boiling the fluid, whether it is wet or dry. However, with DOT 5 fluid, the water that inevitably gets into the system remains separated from the brake fluid, and if it sits for a long time through disuse, those separated water bubbles can cause rust and corrosion in braking system components. This is the main reason why I personally would not use it.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:36 AM   #18
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

What is the recomended DOT fluid for the Tokico calipers from the factory bike that they came from? suzuki???
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:39 AM   #19
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

fab kevin for president!
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:46 AM   #20
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Default Re: FabKevin Tokico calipers?? DOT 3, 4, or 5 brake fluid???

"This is the main reason why I personally would not use it."

Keep in mind that HD used DOT5 from the mid eighties until the last year or two, and I have personally had more brake trouble with the DOT3 systems than with DOT5. However, all very good info for someone to make an informed decision.
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