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SPOG 2CV Parts 2CVGB News article – May 2018

“Bring me sunshine”, indeed we could all do with some, including Taffy after a very wet and snowy Spring. But that didn’t deter 2CV folk from a Camp in Morecambe during March, although to be fair the gathering was in a Hotel on the sea front with full board etc.

Despite a chilly wind I just had to visit a famous memorial statue and pose for the usual photograph along with all the other tourists. I didn’t realise that Eric Morecambe died as long ago as 1984. Also that over 27 million watched Eric and Ernie’s Christmas Show in 1977, over half the UK population of which I was one. Certainly not “rubbish” … remember the duo’s catchphrase.

Many thanks Liz and Jim for organising this weekend for us … where to next year?? We had the usual raffle although I must have bought the wrong tickets and missed out on the large yellow duck last seen driving home in an orange Dyane.

After the weekend Gill and I headed South to see the Anthony Gormley figures on the beach at Crosby. Warning notices of quick-sand on the shore-line were quite correct although I would say the terrain was more like sinking mud. And yes I daringly walked out across the alleged sands with filthy boots to prove it although didn’t suffer the same fate as one of the statues … poor fellow.

No such problems at the TROY Camp, a flat grassy riverside field awaits. “No Expectations” is on again with this time absolutely nothing organised.  There is a pub on-site serving breakfasts and evening meals with plenty of other places nearby to visit for whatever, if so required. Elvington Aircraft Museum, just a few miles away, is holding its annual War Weekend if this type of thing interests you.

Wow, have I opened up some interest with the suggestion of changing my 1981 front drum brake 2CV from a DOT 4 to LHM system that would include a stainless steel lining to wheel cylinders plus s/steel pistons with LHM compatible lip seals. Why? Because DOT 4 is hygroscopic and absorbs water thereby potentially causing rust/seizure/leakage of brake wheel cylinders thereby contaminating/ruining brake shoes. Not good.

And the word for this water absorption phenomenon is hygroscopic. This is not a typo. If unsure please check your Oxford English Dictionary. Despite being written everywhere, the word hydroscopic does not exist. For the language students among you the derivation of the hygro prefix is of Greek origin, hygros meaning wet. Does not a hygrometer measure the water vapour content of the atmosphere? Having got that sorted I’ll now move on.

Several 2CVGB Members have contacted me since my previous article, such feed-back very much appreciated, to relay their experiences of using Silicone brake fluid instead of DOT 4. Having very little knowledge regarding the nature of this alternative, I’ve been busy over the last four weeks asking questions about such an option to all and sundry. What have I learned? Well both good and bad indeed some folk have had an awful experience with this change.  Firstly may I say that using Silicone brake fluid is something that you do entirely at your own risk, no recommendations from me whatsoever, I’m only reporting on what I have discovered.

The bad … brake seizure. I’ve heard of several cases of such problems with Members’ cars. One suffered a master cylinder seizure locking on all the brakes, another had the same trouble with a rear wheel cylinder. Somebody else found that the actual brake pipe connection rubber seals leaked. Likewise the Classic Car brake guru who is relining wheel cylinders with stainless steel sleeves etc. has said that brake problems using Silicone are common.

Finally at the recent NEC Restoration Show in Birmingham, Ant Anstead and Mike Brewer (from the TV Show Wheeler Dealers) were live on stage answering questions from the audience. Up went my hand. What are your thoughts about changing brake fluid from DOT 4 to Silicone? “Don’t do it” was the forceful reply from both gentlemen with further explanation I’ll discuss later.

And yet one of the Trade Stands present at the NEC Show was the firm Automec who manufacture copper nickel brake pipe. Since they also advocate and supply Silicone brake fluid, I picked up one of their promotional leaflets for further information. There it reports that this fluid repels moisture and unlike polyethylene glycol based fluids, Silicone will never need changing. Likewise rust and corrosion are inhibited. And with a higher boiling point and being less flammable, Silicone brake fluid ensures a consistent, long term safe performance.

To uphold this statement I now tell of 2CVGB Members’ successes with a change from DOT 4 to Silicone brake fluid as I feel that every option should be considered. Indeed two enthusiasts have been using Silicone brake fluid in their front drum brake cars for over twenty years without adverse effect, similarly the owner of a Morris Minor Traveller.

And this is why I attend Classic Car Events such as the York Historic Vehicle Club’s “Drive it Day” along with fellow supporters of old cars rather than something always organised by 2CVGB. Our own Club gatherings, such as Registers and the National, can be rather insular in that one only meets up with fellow A Series owners. However with being part of the wider Classic Car scene, there is the opportunity to discuss various technical matters with enthusiasts driving a huge range of “other” cars, the Morris owner being a prime example.

So how come some people have experienced no problems using Silicone brake fluid? Perhaps here is the answer. When I asked Ant Anstead at the NEC he said that no matter how much you flushed Silicone through the braking system, the likes of DOT 3/4 fluids remain dissolved in all the rubber seals. In time this reacts with the Silicone causing the rubber to swell and become hard, ultimately causing brake seizure.

However the people who report that they have successfully used Silicone brake fluid in their cars for many years, have in fact all rebuilt their vehicles from scratch with new brake pipes, wheel cylinders, pipe seals and master cylinder. No DOT 4 anywhere to be seen. Yes, the assumption has been made that all the rubbery bits in the new parts are compatible with Silicone. Indeed the result of such speculation seems to have worked very well for the duration.

If there is a wish to replace every brake component with new as part of a brake fluid change over, I personally prefer an LHM system to supersede the DOT 4 set-up. Silicone is not for me. Consequently I intend to fit all new brake parts to my 1981 drum brake 2CV to include stainless steel adapted front wheel cylinders with LHM lip seals. Although as said before, whatever change you do make to your car’s brake fluid is entirely at your own risk. I accept mine.

David Eden


2CVGB Parts (SPOG) supplying specialised, rare or obsolete 2CV parts