Brake Fluid and ABS


Technical information and Q&A applicable to all years and models of Goldwings
  • Sponsored Links
Post Reply
lyleapgmc1992
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:49 am
Location: White Bear Lake MN
Motorcycle: GL1200

Brake Fluid and ABS

Post by lyleapgmc1992 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:08 am



I'm not certain of this but the clues sure indicate that a small amount of brake fluid leaking from the container destroyed the trunk of my GL1200. We all know that brake fluid will destroy paint. What about ABS?

I had purchased a bottle of brake fluid and had not removed the entire seal. With the cap off it would pour a small stream. With the cap on it would seem some fluid, slowly.

I had the bottle in the trunk so I could refill the clutch reservoir that was leaking at the sight glass. One day I noticed that a piece was missing from the bottom of the trunk. The contents were exposed. The trunk was not overloaded. Nothing heavy in it. On further investigation I found that there was brake fluid in the area where the trunk had broken. I wiped up as much as I could and removed the brake fluid bottle. As day went by more of the trunk broke. It didn't dissolve and sag as one would expect from a solvent. It seemed to crack from stress. The damage was done and was not repairable.
Has anyone else experienced anything like this?



User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 18215
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Brake Fluid and ABS

Post by WingAdmin » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:55 am

lyleapgmc1992 wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:08 am
I'm not certain of this but the clues sure indicate that a small amount of brake fluid leaking from the container destroyed the trunk of my GL1200. We all know that brake fluid will destroy paint. What about ABS?

I had purchased a bottle of brake fluid and had not removed the entire seal. With the cap off it would pour a small stream. With the cap on it would seem some fluid, slowly.

I had the bottle in the trunk so I could refill the clutch reservoir that was leaking at the sight glass. One day I noticed that a piece was missing from the bottom of the trunk. The contents were exposed. The trunk was not overloaded. Nothing heavy in it. On further investigation I found that there was brake fluid in the area where the trunk had broken. I wiped up as much as I could and removed the brake fluid bottle. As day went by more of the trunk broke. It didn't dissolve and sag as one would expect from a solvent. It seemed to crack from stress. The damage was done and was not repairable.
Has anyone else experienced anything like this?
A very small amount of brake fluid will do to ABS exactly what you have described. It breaks the polymer bonds in the ABS, making it very brittle and weak. It is not reversible, and once the brake fluid has contacted the ABS, the damage is done, pretty much instantly.

The only way to fix it is to either replace the affected piece, or to cut out the affected area of ABS and cement in a new, fresh piece of ABS in its place. This is why it is SO important to protect your bodywork when changing brake or clutch fluid. Brake fluid will very quickly damage your paint's finish, and if it hits unpainted ABS plastic (or sits on paint for too long) it will irreparably damage the plastic.

User avatar
Dave Crook
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:52 pm
Location: South Point, Ohio
Motorcycle: 2008 Goldwing
1995 Aspencade (sold)
1982 Aspencade - Long Gone But Not Forgotten

Re: Brake Fluid and ABS

Post by Dave Crook » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:13 pm

Very informative!

I had no idea Brake Fluid would attack ABS plastic in this manner. :shock:

Bug
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:14 am
Location: Westminster, CO
Motorcycle: '76 GL1000

Re: Brake Fluid and ABS

Post by Bug » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:41 am

I had a similar thing happen in my wife's car, and think it kinda fits here.

We had some sunscreen (lotion type) that leaked in the pocket of her car door. I can't remember the brand or what chemicals it might have had, but it took the texturing and paint right off both sides of the plastic, and caused some large cracks.

Probably best to keep any possibly-leaky substances double bagged.



Post Reply