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95 S4 master cylinder/ABS issue - Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Hubs/Steering/Geo - The Lotus Forums - Official Lotus Community Partner Jump to content


95 S4 master cylinder/ABS issue

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Hey Guys, got my car back from the dealer today and they informed me that my master cylinder was leaking

with a "puddle" of fluid under it. I was suspicious of this and brought the car home and put a paper towel under it

to show any further leaking. i have since drove it 50-70 miles with no such evidence.

My ABS light was on for the whole time until today i decided to open up the brake fluid reservior and the lid

looks really funky i have pictures of the lid to see if any of you guys can see if this looks normal.

after re-seating the lid and going for a test drive, the ABS light is not lit up anymore and no leaking so far

Think the lid is my problem?? is my brake fluid too low?

thank you all in advance. -Nick

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Hi Nick,

You said that you had a C-service done in a "shop".

You also said that you had a LARGE puddle under it after that.

And now after you removed the cover it locks like that.

And you did not refill it.

Right !?

To me it looks like that these muppets in your "shop" just overfilled it and then when the Accumulator was released all the excess of brake fluid was pushed out.

Oh my god, what kind of muppet shop did you choose to work on your Esprit ... it seems to me that they don't have too much clue ...



PS: Please try to clean all the brake fluid out of your car by using lots of water !!! Because brake fluid will eat up your paint !

Edited by Tentenths


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Thank you for the reply Marcus, I did have a "c" service 800 miles ago (longer than i thought.) On the ticket it says the fluid

was replaced with "Castrol GTLMA Fluid"

I just recently drove an hour to a certified lotus shop and dealer for a clutch issue but they informed me of this issue and said it was not drivable and i needed a whole new master cylinder. I don't know if they topped it off...i will ask but I most definitely did not. they also said i needed a new clutch...i am getting a second opinion Thursday. My opinion is that it is running great.

I did not trust them from the time they gave me the bill...why i took it back home.

is the lid ruined? could that cause my abs blinking light?

Thank you so much for your time and knowledge, -Nick

Edited by nickruocco
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The rubber liner of the lid appears ruined....mine is smooth. It almost looks like it had some type of chemical reaction with the fluid that is in there....and not the good kind.

Please say that the fluid is not DOT 5 (silicone) as that is a huge no-no for the Delco Powermaster 3! If it is silicone in there you are going to have to get the whole system flushed!

Is that the level of the reservoir after you have discharged the accumulator? As that appears high if the accumulator is not discharged.When the system is charged most of the fluid is in the accumulator.

Brake fluid check procedure:

Park on a level surface.

De-pressurize the accumulator. Press the pedal up to 40 times. Pedal will get hard with extended travel.

Remove reservoir cover. The fluid should be a the lower step level molded on the side of the reservoir.

If it is above the mark, those 'tards overfilled your reservoir....and that is why it was leaking out. Fluid on the rubber seal is normal as fluid is typically sprayed upward during operation. Never press the pedal with the cover is off as it could possibly spray over your car and subsequently ruin your paint.

Hope that helps

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Thank you paul,

Yes that is after i de-pressurized it.

I have listed on the "c" service 800 miles ago that it was "Castrol GTLMA Fluid" ( not sure what dot rating that is ) i have not changed or filled it. I did hear about the wrong fluid doing that. but why this late?? maybe the shop i just took it too put some in...?? but they did not charge me anything to even check it out. something fishy here??

thank you again.

either of you know where i can order this part from. i have the shop/part manual so i know the part number.

thanks, -NIck

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Hi Nick,

Castrol GTLMA is a normal Dot 4 fluid, no problems with this.

Yes, your cover looks strange, but this should not cause problems if it still is sealing tight and not leaking.

However its quite strange ... what caused it to warp that much ????

Very fishy, indeed.




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My lid looks like that, perhaps not as bad but it's certainly gone all wrinkly.

Can't see why that would be a problem though, it's just a seal.

Brake fluid level looks fine (looks blue to me but I have seen digi cameras capture golden oils appear blue why I dont know !).

On the side there are two tabs inside each chamber the fluid level is max when the fluid is on the lower part of the tab step....if that makes sense.

Possibly one of the chambers went low - when you pump the pedal the accumulator discharges and that pushes fluid back which can equalise the two chambers again which got rid of the ABS light.

If the light is on now and the ABS function still works and you can stop as good as before there is no prob - just monitor it.

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Thank for the reply Jonathan, if yours looks kinda like mine i feel better...

if you can take a look in my original post with the picture, maybe it was not seated correctly and that middle divider was not separating the two reservoirs. ( do they have to be separated?? )

Edited by Tentenths
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Alright folks...the resolution is...drum roll

There is nothing wrong with my car.hallelujah! at least anymore that is.

this was all confirmed by a very respected Mechanic that specializes in Esprits.

first issue, the grind into second: it was on the hottest day of the summer and it was at the end of a 40 mile trip. got a grind into second. let it cool for a day or so, on the way to the shop to get it checked out, no grind into second and since have not had any problems. Mechanic ( respected one ) said that the fluid must have boiled in the hose or something like that creating bubbles. these bubbles were still there the next day ( still grinding ) on the hour trip to the shop, bubbles must have escaped and that minuscule amount the clutch was not engaging caused the grind. sounds similar if not "red hose syndrome" which I still do have that red hose on the car.

Second issue, Lotus dealer/shop said that my master brake cylinder had a puddle of fluid under it and was not drivable. also had an ABS dash light blinking: looks like it boiled or was just not seated correctly and the seal between the two compartments. after re-seating it and checking for leaks after many test drives, no leakage and no more abs light. I have also ordered a new lid because my respected mechanic said it did look a little bit too abnormal. but some wrinkling is normal .

Lastly, the shop I took it to in Gaithersburg, Maryland U.S.A. called "Criswell Automotive" def tried to rip me off and I have since found out their reputation for this kind of work. I am going to have a word with them about these issues and do my part about spreading the word on these assholes ( excuse my language )

Hope this can help anyone with similar issues. I will update you guys in a few months to see if anything has changed.

thank you for all of your help,

Nick Ruocco

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Nick -

The ABS master cylinder cover can be had from any Pontiac ? GM dealer....just tell them 89-90 Pontiac Turbo Grand Prix. It is from a Powermaster III abs system.

Most definitely cheaper than a Lotus dealer or likely even than the usual parts sources.

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