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Discussion Starter #1
The brakes went on my 1990 900. I checked the brake fluid resevoir and it is totally empty.

I have looked up the various information regarding bleeding etc and have a few specific questions..

-Do I need to bleed the brakes or can I just fill the resevoir and go from there?
-If I do need to bleed them, do you need to raise the car to access the appropriate parts or can you do it at the side of the street? Where can I get the tubing and container for this (is the tubing a specific diameter)?
-Is it likely that I have a leak somewhere or should I just have checked the fluid more often. The warning light never came on, but that could be due to a bulb/ fuse issue.

Thanks,
Phelo
 

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Well, the fluid has gone somewhere, it doesn't just evaporate. You will need to find the source of the leak, fix that, then put in new fluid and bleed the brakes to make sure there is no air left in the system.
 

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Phelo said:
The brakes went on my 1990 900. I checked the brake fluid resevoir and it is totally empty.
Ooops.

-Do I need to bleed the brakes or can I just fill the resevoir and go from there?
If the fluid level has dropped to below the level of the pickup, you'll have air in, so you'll need to bleed.

Perhaps more importantly, though, is that you'll need to fix the problem that's caused the leak - and that'll cause you to need to bleed anyway.

-If I do need to bleed them, do you need to raise the car to access the appropriate parts or can you do it at the side of the street?
You'll need to have the wheels off to get at the nipples easily.

Where can I get the tubing and container for this (is the tubing a specific diameter)?
You don't need any tubing or container, just a spanner to fit the nipples and an assistant who's capable of understanding the commands "Up!" and "Down!" and translating them to their right foot...

-Is it likely that I have a leak somewhere or should I just have checked the fluid more often.
The fluid level shouldn't just drop over time...
 

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Phelo said:
-Is it likely that I have a leak somewhere or should I just have checked the fluid more often. The warning light never came on, but that could be due to a bulb/ fuse issue.
The brake fluid level will go down slightly over time as the pads wear (less pad thickness means the pistons in the calipers are further out, meaning that the fluid level will go down) However, it is a sealed system so that, when you put fresh pads in, the pistons are pushed back into the calipers and the level will magically rise back up to where it was originally, unless you've got a leak!

Check it out straight away because brake fluid leaks aren't fun - I once drove 80 miles on various motorways after having thought nothing of a little patch of wetness on a rear wheel when I set off. By the time I came to stop for fuel I had no brakes left and ended up slowing down with the handbrake and getting recovered back home. Nothing quite gets the blood going like pressing the brake pedal and finding that it goes all the way to the floor
 

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Don't forget:

The brake fluid is also your "clutch" fluid. You could have a leaky clutch master or slave cylinder. The slave is at the front of your engine against the clutch. The master is under the dashboard in the firewall.

Good luck,
-Rob
 

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RM '92 SPG said:
Don't forget:

The brake fluid is also your "clutch" fluid. You could have a leaky clutch master or slave cylinder.
Or a fault which is quite common on older Lancias where the seals in the master cylinder wear and allow brake fluid to leak into the servo housing. It doesn't leave the trace of a leak since the fluid is sucking into the inlet manifold - all that you notice is that the exhaust is a bit smoky when you put your foot down after coasting
 

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Discussion Starter #9
All good tips thanks, I'll roll the sleeves up this weekend and see how I get on.

Cheers,
Phelo
 

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ABS systems require a different bleeding method--IF your car is so equiped take heed! If not bleed in peace :p
 

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As RM '92 SPG suggested, check the clutch. Is the clutch pedal further towards the floor or seems to have lost its return pressure?

If it was brake related it would probably have shown up very quickly with either a total loss of brakes or a large puddle on the floor (and brake fluid on the tyres makes them very slippery), but a clutch slave cylinder can go without being obvious as the fluid is often caught in the clutch itself or behind the clutch cover. Any signs of brake fluid in odd places in the engine bay? - it's often thrown around by the flywheel when the slave has gone.

Dan.
 

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The clutch wouldn't have drained the resevoir, its got the little resevoir in the resevoir thing going on to prevent that.

A failed clutch is one thing, failed brakes are another, you don't want your brakes to fail ever, when you clutch fails isn't quite so critical.

I once drove about ten miles with a blown clutch line, brakes never failed, just as they are supposed to.
 
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