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Old April 27th, 2019, 09:17 AM   #1

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Brake Reservoir Issue

Took the 899 out of storage the other day and noticed that the brake fluid in the front reservoir seemed like it had separated. Bike was kept in a temperature controlled storage unit through the winter and was started/run every other week. Does anyone know what it is? Should I be concerned?

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Old April 27th, 2019, 05:24 PM   #2
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Flush it. Brake fluid shouldn’t separate. It’s either contaminated or old - so flush it. Good luck!

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Old April 27th, 2019, 10:00 PM   #3
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Glycol-based DOT 3/4 brake fluid readily absorbs moisture from the air, but water and glycol are miscible (like engine coolant) and do not separate out. So it's not water contamination.

I suspect that the brake fluid has been changed from the recommended DOT 4 glycol-based to DOT 5 silicone-based fluid (or vice-versa) at some point and the system was incompletely disassembled and flushed.

Glycol and silicone do not mix. DOT 5 fluid should not be used in a Ducati that uses Brembo components.

This is what Brembo has to say:


All Brembo braking products use natural-rubber base seals, and therefore are incompatible with DOT 5 silicone-based brake fluids. DOT 5 silicone-based fluids react with natural-rubber seals to swell them which can cause severe piston retraction problems.

There is no cure for problems caused by DOT 5 use other than complete seal replacement. Use only DOT 3 or 4 non-silicone type fluids … in your Brembo components.
(Yes, we know the cap on the Ducati rectangular master cylinders specifies “DOT 3–5 Fluids”, but please note: silicone-based DOT 5 fluids are not generally in use in Europe, but glycol-based DOT 5.1 fluids are. Hence, the DOT 5 cap designation.)

For best braking performance, we recommend changing brake fluid twice a year. If the machine is to be stored in a damp environment (over the winter, say) , we recommend installing fresh fluid before and after the storage period. At minimum service levels, glycol brake fluids must be completely changed at intervals not to exceed a period of 18 months.
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