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Old 10-19-2001, 03:37 PM
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Angry please tell me if this is BS! MAD MAD MAD!

As some of you know, I got an all-around brake pad and rotor job the other day. Well, this morning I went to clean off some of the brake fluid that was splattered near and around the resevoir. And much to my horror, right above the brake resevoir and the driver strut brace, I see a huge (about 11 inches) oily stain on my 2-year-old hood pad. I'm sure it is brake fluid and was created by the mechanic. Needless to say, I called the shop right away. Here is their explanation:

The stain was caused by rebuilding pressure on the cylinder (or piston?) and there is a hole on the resevoir lid that releases excess fluid. He said it's normal and there is nothing they can do about it. But the hole is so tiny that I doubt it created such a huge stain! I'm mad! Hearing that I wasn't satisfied with the BS, the owner comes to the phone and suggest that I probably had too much fluid in the resevoir to begin with, hence the spurting out of fluid through the hole. If not that, the stain was there before the brake job. I know my car! I always give a pre and post-inspection when it needs to be serviced.

My biggest fear is that they pressurized the brakes with my hood down and the resevoir lid unscrewed. Any chances of contamination? Or could it be true about the little hole? They did top off the resevoir. Did my driving on the freeway caused small amounts of fluid to seep into the hood pad little by little? ARGH! I'm so upset right now! And to top it off, after reading the responses, I realized the mechanic didn't even measure the wear on the rotors! I would have changed the front parts, but the rear? I wonder now! I only went along with his advice because there was a saftey concern, and I felt I had no choice but to change everything.

Well, anyhow, the guy said I shouldn't be concerned about the fluid; it's not going to harm anything. Please say he's right! The owner also said they would change my hood pad, thus admitting some fault. But I don't want a new pad. I got one one two years ago, and I know how they change pads--I don't want my car to go through the torturous scraping again! I don't like blaming others, but I'm quite sure this mess was done at that shop, and I would like some compensation for their messy job and causing so much emotional distress.

Lastly, I want to comment about the DIY jobs. I would really like to do many things myself, but I lack the tools, facility, know-how, and the confidence to do them. I'm at the mercy of mechanics. I believe there are many good and honest ones (like the ones here), but there seems to be too many who take advantage of people's concerns and perhaps ignorance or naivete. BTW, this place was a M-B, BMW, Volvo shop. Thanks for reading this. I'm exhausted, but feel much better.
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Old 10-19-2001, 03:54 PM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
I doubt that your hood pad is damaged...except cosmetically...replacement is up to you, and since you're already familiar with what goes on in the process you can choose to go ahead with it or not...only you know how your techs do work.

I can't imagine having such a large stain from such a small hole in the reservoir cap. If they did unscrew the cap, then the excess fluid would have just trickled out of the bottom of the cap, and not through the little hole. Still, they offered to replace the liner, and that should be consolation that they are trying to correct the situation.

As far as tools for DIY projects, there are only a few specialized tools you need (and I don't have them either). I would only buy the specialized ones whenever the need arose.

So far, I have gotten along with a moderate collection of metric wrenches, sockets, and ratchets. I just recently bought a small set of hex sockets when it came time to go after my alternator and belt tensioner, but my regular set of allen wrenches got me through most of the time.

I did buy a punch tool for doing the brake pads, since you need to hammer out a couple of pins in each caliper to remove the pads.

Should you ever decide to get really bold, then a torque wrench would be handy.

Again, most of the really exotic tools don't get used frequently, so don't worry about them. For DIY guys like me who are just now venturing past the engine oil dipstick, just buy tools as you need them.

Christmas is around the corner, so pass hints to loved ones about how you would really want the Husky or Craftsman 500,000 piece tool set!!!

Oh yeah, get a manual or CD specific to your model and year...sure clears up a lot of unknowns...
2009 ML350 (84K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (71K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (124K) - My daily driver
2012 Mustang V6 (60K) - Daughter's car
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Old 10-19-2001, 04:10 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Jacksonville Florida
Posts: 723
Thumbs down Brake HOSE job

Please TELL the quote mechanic that when you compress the piston back into the brake caliper that YOU WILL GET MORE FLUID BACK IN THE BRAKE FLUID RESIVOIR and to put a rag over the master cyl inder resivoir......AND THAT YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO TELL HIM HOW TO TO A BRAKE JOB..... unless he is paying you? btw invest in the basic tools and do it your self
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Old 10-19-2001, 04:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Island Heights, N.J.
Posts: 487
I would be P-O'D beyond any account ever described!!! Talk about frosting my @#$&$ !! However, I do hope that this has reached an equitible solution.....I can share your pain!!
Dale, R129
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Old 10-19-2001, 07:06 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
And to top it iff, being told you "have too much brake fluid in the reservior". What's up with that? The max line is right near the top, I'd say you had the proper amount.

I hope they didn't get any brake fluid on the exterior, as I recall brake fluid was hazardous to automotive paint, not sure if the current formulations (brake fluid and paint) react the way the old stuff did.
Mike Tangas
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Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

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Old 10-19-2001, 07:25 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Saugus, CA USA
Posts: 1,974
I think you could turn them in for felony stupidy. That is, make a legitimit official complaint based soley on their stupidity. Putting new pads in makes the brake fluid go up. Being a shop and not knowing that is grounds for licence revocvation.
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Old 10-19-2001, 08:42 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
I have seen this over and over. When you do a brake job, you have to take off the lid and put a rag over it so the rising fluid will not spray out of the little hole.

The little hole in the top of the lid is for inlet air and is small, when pressurized by an idiot, it will spray out like a spray bottle.
Donnie Drummonds
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Old 10-20-2001, 12:19 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: PA
Posts: 5,440
For the price of the shop brake job, you could have bought all the tools you will ever need and the half the parts and next time you would only need to buy the parts. If you buy the parts at fast lane they will only cost 1/2 of what you pay at the dealer or shop. Labor, where else can you make $50 or more an hour tax free? DIY is the way to go.

Safety: I've run pads down metal to metal. It destroys the rotors but the brakes work just as good. Only one pad at a time is metal to metal, then you know they must be changed. Biggest thing in brake safety is the hoses and brake lines which can rupture. Did you replace all of them?

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