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Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? #5387176 03/27/20 04:34 PM
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Cressida Offline OP
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I just found that I have leaking wheel cylinders on both of the rear drum brakes of my 1993 Oldsmobile Ciera 3.3L - no ABS. One side is so bad that the brake pedal has gone soft so I'm taking the car out of service until this is fixed. I'm working on the parts list order.

The brake shoes have lot's of life left but it's all pretty much a nasty mess with fluid on about everything.

1. I wonder if I can clean the brake shoes or does the brake fluid soak and contaminate the friction material so much that it will not be good to re-use them ?

2. Should I get new wheel cylinders, or just those cylinder rebuild kits that have the new rubber caps and springs? (A few dollars cost isn't the issue but thought installing the kit might mean not having to risk rounding off that brake line nut that goes into the back of the wheel cylinder body)

3. If anyone happens to know what size "E" socket will fit those bolts that GM used to hold the wheel cylinders that would be useful. I only have a E6 which is too small so I'll have to buy a bigger one. Perhaps an E8 or E10 ?

Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5387179 03/27/20 04:41 PM
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Chris142 Offline
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Nope. Once the shoes get contaminated the fluid will leach into the material. You can't clean it out of the pores. Replace them. They are cheap.


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87 F250 Valvoline 15w40
07 fjcruiser Car lube plus 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am Maveric edge 5w40
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Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5387185 03/27/20 04:52 PM
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eljefino Offline
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+2, new shoes, new cylinders. And if the line nut "catches" on partially rusty line prepare to change that too.

Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5387196 03/27/20 05:10 PM
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slacktide_bitog Online Content
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Bendix makes a pre-assembled kit to make replacing the shoes less scary happy
The kit seems to include the wheel cylinders too, but if you prefer OEM wheel cylinders, GM still makes them, so you are lucky

Pair them with coated drums

Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5387217 03/27/20 05:56 PM
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CT8 Offline
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I would guess a new master cyl would be a smart idea


2015 F150 2.7
2018 F350 6.2
Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5387252 03/27/20 06:53 PM
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Wolf359 Online Content
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When doing drum brakes, I'd get the whole brake hardware kit. That way the adjuster isn't rusted out and the springs will be brand new. They're not that much money and you don't have to use rusted old parts covered in asbestos.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=3056352&cc=1221073&jsn=2223

Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5387264 03/27/20 06:59 PM
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Silk Offline
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Soak them in hot water, dry and check, do it several times. Run a flame over them to draw the fluid to the surface. If it's not too bad this will get the brake fluid out.


1987 BMW R65 - Penrite VTwin 20-50
2005 Nissan Expert - 5W-30 Castrol Edge
1996 Volvo T5 - Penrite HPR15 - 15W-60. Ryco syntec filter.
Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Silk] #5387281 03/27/20 07:10 PM
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Wolf359 Online Content
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Originally Posted by Silk
Soak them in hot water, dry and check, do it several times. Run a flame over them to draw the fluid to the surface. If it's not too bad this will get the brake fluid out.


A new set in the US is around $12 online. Plus the old ones might have been asbestos. Wouldn't waste my time for $12.

Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5387342 03/27/20 08:06 PM
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andyd Offline
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Simply due to the age of the car. Definitely get new hardware,unless the hard ware has been recently replaced,it isn't worth fussing with. Do NOT R+R the MC unless it leaks The pressure a new can create will pop the 27 yr lines and hose. AMHIK grin2


'16 Camry LE STP synth 0w20 and STP filter. the Fridge

1994 Ranger ,the Rat, 5w30 dino, STP filter

'16 Camry SE, Valvoline HM 0w20 and OEM filter
Thick oil is better grin2
Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5387351 03/27/20 08:16 PM
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benjamming Offline
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I went the wheel cylinder rebuild kit route on my 1994 Grand Am. I would do that again.
I thought it was a #6 Torx socket but I have written down that mine took an E8 (female). I tightened to 15ft-lb.
Tightened hub assembly bolts to 45 ft-lb.
Inlet tube nut (12mm) gets 17ft-lb.


'16 Toyota Highlander 2GRFE/U660F
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'01 Ford Ranger 4.0L/5R55E
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Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5387580 03/28/20 06:51 AM
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yst Offline
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A new wheel cylinder and a can of the brake cleaner it is all you need. At my Walmart it cost $5.59 here. Friction material is not a cardboard. Too many paranoids around here.
Added: This is another place CarParts

Last edited by yst; 03/28/20 06:54 AM.
Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Chris142] #5387599 03/28/20 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris142
Nope. Once the shoes get contaminated the fluid will leach into the material. You can't clean it out of the pores. Replace them. They are cheap.

What is the down side of reusing them? I ask because I just went thru this with my Sierra and I know they only replaced the cylinders and cleaned them.

Mine were not as bad as the OP, no visible leaking or sinking break pedal, the only way I knew something was heading south is when I came to a compete stop or put it in gear with foot on the break it sounded like there was gravel in there. It took a couple hundred miles after the mech fixed it for the noise to go away so I'm guessing the pads had break fluid on them?


89 GMC Sierra Advanced 5w30/TG
08 Lucerne CX Advanced 5w30/TG
18 Toro Super Recycler T5 10w30
Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5387734 03/28/20 09:45 AM
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nobb Offline
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You can reuse them, the best way to get rid of all the oil soaked in is to heat the pads. I've used a hot plate in the past but you could also use a fire, or outdoor BBQ oven. Heat is the only way because the oil soaks into the pores of the friction material.

Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Cressida] #5388090 03/28/20 04:26 PM
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HangFire Offline
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I would never reuse soaked shoes, but if they adhesive fixed, I REALLY would strongly suggest you not reuse them.

An old MC that still works will bust bad old brake lines as surely as a new MC. Bad is bad.


Various musings: http://hangfire.net
Re: Brake Shoes cleaned after soaked in brake fluid? [Re: Wolf359] #5388387 03/29/20 03:51 AM
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AC1DD Offline
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Originally Posted by Wolf359
[quote=Silk]

A new set in the US is around $12 online. Plus the old ones might have been asbestos. Wouldn't waste my time for $12.

He will spend more in brakleen instead of buying new pads LOL

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