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Is there any special procedure for a brake fluid change in the Escapes?

I can remember reading about some vehicles needing ABS pumps engaged at certain times to make sure a complete exchange is done. That's something I definitely don't have the equipment for, if it's part of the procedure.

Otherwise I would be using a vacuum pump at the calipers, and a helper at the resevoir to exchange the fluid. If I can't find a helper I may just go with the gravity method.

Just thought I'd check to see if there is anything special that needs to be done before hand. Also, anyone know how much fluid it would take to exchange the entire system?
 

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No special procedure required for the brake fluid exchange - the only time you have to worry about the ABS module is if air got into (ie: you replaced the HCU, then you would need to do the service bleed procedure). The equipment we use simply pressurizes the system at the reservoir and pushes the fluid through when we crack the bleeders. Either of your methods should work fine as long as you keep the reservoir full and no air gets in!
Good luck -
 

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The shop manual says to engage and disengage the parking brake 5 times for rear integral parking brakes before bleeding. I did mine at 7 years @ 57K miles, the fluid was at the min line and quite dirty. The manual says 6 years or 100K. I would change the fluid @ 6 years max.
 

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Manuals always use a very long interval for fluids. Brake fluid included if it's included. It's a marketing strategy in most cases.

Brake fluid should generally be replaced every 2-3 years depending on your driving habits and weather.

It is extremely hygroscopic and the braking system is not an air tight/sealed system.
 

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My Ford service indicator says to change it every 2 years or 30,000km. with a normal oil change service. I thought this was a bit premature.
A mechanic told me there was a way of testing the quality of the fluid to see if it requires changing??
 

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Two years is the normal interval for every car I've owned.

I did our other car myself about a month ago, it's 2011 Kizashi that's always been dealer serviced up to now. One of the rear nipples refused to let any fluid through- I had to remove it and clear a blockage, that looked something like corrosion. It's definitely worth doing every 2yrs as that could have got worse.
 

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I really don’t get why people are so resistant to changing brake fluid. Especially in the US. It’s viewed as like kidney dialysis. But, must change the oil at 3k miles!

Rebuilding a caliper with seized or corroded pistons usually changes the mind.
 

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I really don’t get why people are so resistant to changing brake fluid. Especially in the US. It’s viewed as like kidney dialysis. But, must change the oil at 3k miles!

Rebuilding a caliper with seized or corroded pistons usually changes the mind.
This reminds me that I should be changing mine. I honestly never thought of doing this. Next on my list.
 

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My Ford service indicator says to change it every 2 years or 30,000km. with a normal oil change service. I thought this was a bit premature.
A mechanic told me there was a way of testing the quality of the fluid to see if it requires changing??
The best way is with a calibrated brake fluid refractometer. Good ones are not cheap for a DIYer ($250-400).

There are cheaper ways to test it like with strips or a probe but their accuracy varies widely and in some cases are best guess/estimates/questionable. So, if you simply stick to a 2 or 3 year interval, you'll be fine.

For me personally, As much as I like new tools to do things the best way possible, I simply cannot justify the cost for any savings. Brake fluid (even expensive stuff) is cheap. So, even if I find if I get to skip a fluid change say once or twice in a decade, it's not worth the cost of the tool to me.
 

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What about just siphoning the reservoir a few times almost to the bottom and replenishing.. Say couple times a yr...I know your not getting it out of the brake lines , but your are getting fresh fluid in the mix...
 

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What about just siphoning the reservoir a few times almost to the bottom and replenishing.. Say couple times a yr...I know your not getting it out of the brake lines , but your are getting fresh fluid in the mix...
Nope, not gonna work. Brake fluid does not circulate. That trick CAN be used with power steering fluid since that system circulates the fluid.
 

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What about just siphoning the reservoir a few times almost to the bottom and replenishing.. Say couple times a yr...I know your not getting it out of the brake lines , but your are getting fresh fluid in the mix...
You can do that, and that's better than nothing at all but as HayaiKuruma mentioned, the fluid does not circulate so, the fluid in the caliper and elsewhere will not be changed and will continue to break down causing the same corrosion and problems.

Because the fluid is hygroscopic, the water absorbed in the reservoir will migrate (be pulled) throughout the system. Like a paper tower where you get a drop of water on the corner, it spreads. Not the same mechanism but the same concept.
 

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The shop manual says to engage and disengage the parking brake 5 times for rear integral parking brakes before bleeding. I did mine at 7 years @ 57K miles, the fluid was at the min line and quite dirty. The manual says 6 years or 100K. I would change the fluid @ 6 years max.
This may have changed between 2013 and 2014, there is no scheduled maintenance for brake fluid in my 2014 manual, only mentions checking the brake fluid level. From a recent article. "on the Ford Escape, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Camry and other models from those manufacturers, there are no recommendations for replacing the brake fluid, only instructions to inspect it periodically." https://www.cars.com/articles/how-often-do-i-need-to-change-my-brake-fluid-1420680336417/

Once upon a time when I was a research chemist I had access to a Karl Fisher titrator. I would about every 6 months check the water content of the brake fluid in my vehicles. This is the most accurate way of doing it but these tirators and the reagents cost thousands of dollars. In all my tests I never found the the water content to be higher than 1-2%. I never changed the brake fluid in any of my vehicles but bled the brakes lines whenever I had to replace pads or rotors. I have almost 70K miles on my Escape now and had to change back rotors and pads at 45K due to severe rotor corrosion (not from salt, I now live in TN), and I bled the brake lines. This week I'm going to inspect the front brakes, replace the pads if needed, lube everything up, and bleed the brake lines.

Unfortunately since I retired I do not have access to a Karl Fisher Titrator. The most accurate way now of testing brake fluid for water content is the brake fluid boiling point tester. Here's how it works:
Prices for these range from $200. and up, still high for a shadetree mechanic but not for a working garage.

There's also the cheapo Chinese pen-type conductivity testers. You see tons of them on eBay and Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=brake+fluid+tester+dot+3+dot+4&i=automotive&crid=2E69YKAGZN5YX&sprefix=Brake+Fluid+Tester,automotive,179&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_18
I have to confess out of curiosity I purchased this one on sale for $5. for Dot 4 brake fluid. https://www.amazon.com/PTE-Tester-Calibrated-Brake-fluids/dp/B005HVG4GQ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=pte+tester+calibrated+for+for+dot+4+brake+fluid&qid=1572444514&sr=8-1
How they work. https://www.albadiagnostics.com/shopimages/OTB 001 - Conductivity tester bulletin.pdf
The one I purchased came with an alkaline battery that read 1.31V with my multimeter. The tester's battery check still gave a green Ok light, but I found with these tester's if you don't have a fresh battery that's reading 1.5V or slightly more it gave high water readings on brand new brake fluid. With a new battery it read <1% water on new fluid, <2% water on my Escape's fluid (it looked clear), and <1% water on my 2013 Scion FRS. It only has 25K miles on it so I have never changed pads, rotors, brake fluid, or bled the brake lines. Its fluid looks crystal clear. Go figure. I have no way of knowing if these numbers are accurate unless I take it to a garage that has a boiling point tester.
Here's another good article: https://www.bendix.com.au/bendix-news/bendix-high-performance-dot-3-dot-4-brake-fluid-testing
When Bendix DOT 4 brake fluid is new, it has a high dry boiling point. As the moisture content builds to 3% in the brake fluid, it develops what is known as a wet boiling point of 155°C. This temperature is critical and the brake fluid must be replaced if the boiling point is below 155°C.



As the article states the main flaw with these conductivity testers is that, "Such testers will estimate the water content electronically by measuring the conductivity of the fluid, which in theory increases as water is absorbed. The tester then converts this measurement to a supposed boiling point and indicates the result using an algorithm as a display of green, yellow or red lights as % water, depending on the conductivity. Unfortunately, this measurement principle is fatally flawed as the conductivity of new brake fluids varies substantially, from not only between DOT 3, DOT 4 or DOT 5.1 types but also from formulation to formulations within a DOT grade depending on the additives used. This means that unless a conductivity tester is calibrated on one manufacturer’s product and then used for that product only, it is likely to give very inaccurate results."

So now that you have spent 15 minutes or more, or none, reading this far, should you according to Ford never change the brake fluid. I'm somewhere in between. Yes, Dot 4 brake fluid is very hygroscopic but systems are now tighter. I'm ok with just thoroughly bleeding the brakes when I do work on them, but if you want to change your brake fluid every 2-3 years or 30-40K miles then that's your call.
 

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I really don’t get why people are so resistant to changing brake fluid. Especially in the US. It’s viewed as like kidney dialysis. But, must change the oil at 3k miles!

Rebuilding a caliper with seized or corroded pistons usually changes the mind.
I'm not sure that they are resistant, but with many folks using their local garage mechanics after the warranty is up, they just don't think about changing the brake fluid. Usually, the dealer keeps close tabs on these things, while your local shop won't have your vehicle service history.
Off topic a bit, but my dealer is now recommending folks that change trans and PTU fluid every 30K miles, despite Ford's recommenedation in the owner's manual, since they are also hearing and seeing premature failures. The cynical folks will see that as a money grab by dealers, but maintenance is usually cheaper than major repairs out of warranrty.
 

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Once upon a time when I was a research chemist I had access to a Karl Fisher titrator. I would about every 6 months check the water content of the brake fluid in my vehicles. This is the most accurate way of doing it but these tirators and the reagents cost thousands of dollars. In all my tests I never found the the water content to be higher than 1-2%.
Fascinating. Ever put your used oil in a mass spectrometer? Had never heard of the Karl Fischer test. Were you in a dry climate?
Great info in your post.

Not sure when this study was done. Thinking late 1990’s. A patent for Leica comes up in 2000 for a brake refractometer. The author of the study is listed on the patent. Buffalo, NY.

Don’t know when Leica stopped making them, I remember seeing them roughly 10 yrs ago. They weren’t that expensive (for Leica) iirc, $250ish? But, don’t remember.

Determining Brake Fluid Quality By Refractometer A European Study of New and "In-Service" Fluids

By Thomas E. Ryan Leica Microsystems Inc.

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This study demonstrates that a large percentage of vehicles have too much water in their brake fluid. The 83 vehicles tested at a TUV Inspection Center in Germany show that even with regular fluid changes being rec- ommended by European automobile manufacturers, high water content is a major problem in the general population of vehicles. Either this recommended service is not being followed or water is entering the system much faster than previously thought.

This work also shows that refractive index is an excellent indicator of the boiling point and water content of the brake fluid from "In Service" vehicles. Refractometers offer many advantages over other types of brake fluid testers. There is no need to remove large samples of fluid for boiling point analysis. A few drops of fluid from the wheel cylinders may even be analyzed...
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“High water content” was 4% and up.
A graph with the Karl Fischer test comparison:
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91EC5BE9-42A1-464F-9CA8-52B5C79A1388.jpeg

—————/

Patent for temperature compensating refractometer:
www.freepatentsonline.com/6034762.pdf

Chevy recommends 3yrs or 45k on the 2014 Silverado. (Thought that was a trim level)
10yrs or 45k 2015 Equinox


 

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Fascinating. Ever put your used oil in a mass spectrometer? Had never heard of the Karl Fischer test. Were you in a dry climate?
Never ran an oil sample through the mass spec. Blackstone Labs, for a price, $28., will do a complete analysis of your oil. https://www.blackstone-labs.com/tests/standard-analysis/
We were living in the Pittsburgh area, a wet climate, and I should have added in my other post that I tested my brake fluid for water content for 4 years from 2 Nissans.

Refractometers are also an accurate way of measuring brake fluids' moisture content, IMO, not as accurate as a KF titration but a lot easier and faster. Prices range from cheap to $300.+ for the better ones. Here's another good article from Bendix: https://www.bendix.com.au/bendix-news/bendix-covers-brake-fluid-functions-issue-13
The KF titration has been around for a long time, since the 30's, invented by a German chemist. If interested, do a Google search on it.

So, getting way OT from the OP's question. Have to stop before I get modded.

@EscapeCode
Good how to thread on brake bleeding. https://www.fordescape.org/threads/how-to-brake-bleeding.82265/
 

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So, getting way OT from the OP's question. Have to stop before I get modded.
Lol. You’re one of the few people on the planet who’s tested their brake fluid with high end laboratory equipment. It’s at least interesting. Thread was started 2 yrs ago.

Thread is “Brake Fluid change”, it’s relevant. Wecould start a new thread on testing and have posts moved. Ok with that.

Anyway, you say you bleed your brakes. So, is that skewing your testing compared to the average car? How much fluid were you taking out?

Possibly your bleeding is making it less of a necessity for a Brake Fluid Change. ?
 

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Lol. You’re one of the few people on the planet who’s tested their brake fluid with high end laboratory equipment. It’s at least interesting. Thread was started 2 yrs ago.

Thread is “Brake Fluid change”, it’s relevant. Wecould start a new thread on testing and have posts moved. Ok with that.

Anyway, you say you bleed your brakes. So, is that skewing your testing compared to the average car? How much fluid were you taking out?

Possibly your bleeding is making it less of a necessity for a Brake Fluid Change. ?
That would be up to the mods if they want to move the posts or start a new thread. Need stronger reading glasses, I didn't notice that this thread was started 2 years ago, too much necroing old threads here.
Yes, bleeding my brakes would probably slightly decrease the amount of water in my brake fluid since I'm adding new fluid, but it's not a complete brake fluid change since I only bleed out enough until I'm sure it's air free. Would be nice if I could run a KF titration on my Scion FRS brake fluid since it has not been changed or bled since it was manufactured in 9/2012. The conductivity meter I have, with a new battery, says it has <1% water content??? I may take it to a garage that has a boiling point tester.
 

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I have an interesting anecdote.

for racing, boiling point is very important. people bleed their brakes to remove the water to increase the BP. (water causing corrosion, less so due to the time frames involved)
I have heard of people using castrol SRF as "lifetime" fluid, never need to bleed again. the wet BP is 518F. higher than most other fluids dry DP.
it does cost ~$70 per quart though....
 

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My local mechanic wants to change brake fluid. My Escape is 3+ years old and never had it done. My question is this: Why isn't this mentioned in the owner's manual / maintenance schedule? They have regular replacement intervals for engine coolant, automatic transmission fluid, etc., but nothing about brake fluid. (Except, fill it to the line when it's low.) How do you interpret that?

(I noticed on the Ford website, under how to change brake fluid, it says: "But like any fluid in your vehicle, brake fluid needs to be checked regularly and occasionally changed." Well, that's nice. Except Ford, you're the experts -- why not say this in the maintenance manual for semi-ignorant people like me, and include the recommended time/mileage intervals, or a range?)
 
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