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Technical How Flammable is Dot 3 Brake Fluid?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by blowby, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,047

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Trying to replace the leaky calipers on my '65 Vette. The mounting bolts are stuck, in danger of rounding the heads off. There's fluid from the leaks all around. Am I safe getting under there with OA torch?
     
  2. JimSibley
    Joined: Jan 21, 2004
    Posts: 3,444

    JimSibley
    Member

    Brake fluid is very flammable
     
    kidcampbell71 and blowby like this.
  3. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,185

    Mr48chev
    Member

    Yuppers, you could actually use it for starting fluid to start a fire on anything you intended to burn. Anyone who has cut through a brake line with a torch can tell you a story or two too.
    A good quality 6 point impact socket helps a lot in not rounding the head of a bolt off even if you don't have an impact. If it is an Allen head bolt better quality Allen head sockets help over cheap cad plated Allen wrenches.
     
    pitman and blowby like this.
  4. It's not like gasoline, but brake fluid will ignite readily from the flame of a torch. Clean up as much of the fluid as you can and have a fire extinguisher close by. It might not hurt to have someone watching as you work to make sure nothing flares up while you are working.

    Also, be advised brake cleaner is very flammable as well.
     
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  5. AngleDrive
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,000

    AngleDrive
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Florida

    Disconnect the brake line and cap it off. I have had it explode a rubber brake line if the fluid gets too hot.
     
    VANDENPLAS, blowby and BJR like this.
  6. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,047

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Thanks guys. I disconnected the line and douched it with brake clean. Going to let it dry overnight and shoot for a Thanksgiving fireball.
     
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  7. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 11,150

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    Be sure the brake clean is dry. Don’t rewet the area.
    FYI.

    Short term exposure to higher levels of Tetrachloroethylene ( brake cleaner) can cause build-up of fluid in the lungs, respiratory irritation, severe shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and vomiting. In extreme cases, short-term exposure to higher levels of this chemical can cause unconsciousness and death.
     
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  8. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 3,066

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    It's flammable (like fresh oil) but not volatile until mixed with something.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
    blowby likes this.
  9. Now might be a good time to update your Last Will and Testament :(
    I do quite a bit of welding in my garage and have read way too much about the dangers of some brake clean products. I absolutely refuse to use any form of brake clean product for anything.
     
    saltracer219 and blowby like this.
  10. b-body-bob
    Joined: Apr 23, 2011
    Posts: 515

    b-body-bob
    Member

    This is a first-hand experience
    https://www.brewracingframes.com/safety-alert-brake-cleaner--phosgene-gas.html
     
  11. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,047

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Mission accomplished! A lot of heat and smoke, fortunately I was under the smoke. What should have been a one hour job took five, par for the course. Even smoking hot it took a long breaker bar. 7/16-20 bolts. I was probably the last guy on the planet with original brake calipers. The pads come out without removing them, so they had been on there for decades.

    Almost Turkey time! Thanks fellas!
     
  12. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,530

    indyjps
    Member

    I read this earlier and was hoping for the best. Little bit of fire can be big real quick with a glass car.
    Happy to hear all went well.

    Let's see a pic.
     
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  13. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,047

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Didn't take any pics of the mess but here is one of the offending bolts. I started with the usual 5/8" 12 point socket, then 6 point. Still sloppy, next step was hammering a 15mm 12 point on, which worked well for a couple of them, until the socket split. I bought a 15mm 6 point impact but it would not hammer on. Went back to 5/8 6 point impact with the torch and got the last two. I've heard of putting valve grinding compound on the bolt head, should have tried that too.

    Painted the car a couple weeks ago.
    wefgerf.JPG pp.JPG
     
  14. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 2,193

    Beanscoot
    Member

    Just for reference, in my part of the woods the parts stores sell both chlorinated and non-chlorinated brake cleaner.

    I just use soap and water to clean brake stuff though, since brake fluid dissolves in water.
     
  15. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,780

    1946caddy
    Member
    from washington

    I haven't messed with corvettes since the mid 70's but when my 66 calipers started to leak, the solution was to send them in and they bored the cylinder and installed a ss insert.
     
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  16. swifty
    Joined: Dec 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,873

    swifty
    Member

    And you're playing with a torch in the wheel-wells of your freshly painted car?
     
  17. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,047

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Yes, I was 'playing' with a torch, holding it against the fresh paint.:rolleyes:
     
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  18. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,535

    Budget36
    Member

    I wish I saw this earlier. May or may not have saved you some time. But I have a few sets of impact type sockets that that are made to wedge into the flat portion of the hex on the bolt/nut. They dig in. I’ve always just turned the pressure down on my impact, rattled it, the swapped to a 6 point, tightened it, and back and forth.
    But hey, ya got it out and you’re on the way!
     
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  19. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,047

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Those sound good, never seen them.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  20. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,535

    Budget36
    Member

    One set I bought years back can’t recall where. I bought another set at Auto Zone for metric sizes.
     
  21. yellow dog
    Joined: Oct 15, 2011
    Posts: 474

    yellow dog
    Member
    from san diego

    The autoignition point ranges generally 500-1000*F for DOT 3

    For comparison:
    50/50 EG coolant is 800-1200*F,
    PS fluid 600-1200*F,
    and 87-92 octane gas 1135-1550*F.

    lots of scary stuff around heat in a car besides fiberglass. Its CF and fiberglass that surround me
    that I'm scared of.
     
  22. guthriesmith
    Joined: Aug 17, 2006
    Posts: 5,826

    guthriesmith
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    Can’t wait to see your car back together after the repaint! Oh, and glad you didn’t burn it up getting the caliper bolts loose. :D
     

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