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Thread: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

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    Default Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Has anyone found Finish Line brake mineral oil to be markedly inferior to the "official" Shimano product? Good, bad, usable at all? Thanks, I'm just catching up to hydraulic brake servicing.

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Not worth the risk. Mineral oil is not standardized. Different brands, different formulas. I have seen shimano brake seals ruined by other mechanics who used finish line in a pinch.

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Yup. Having seen mineral oil in the bottom of my mineral-oil-storage cause stray o-rings to swell to many times their original size, I'm not taking the chance with a customer's XTR or MT-8 Next brakes... Mineral oil brakes get spec oil, nothing else. I think a litre of the red stuff is $20, probably double that for the blue blood. $50 will buy a shop a year or two's supply - and that's a lifetime supply for any individual.

    I don't give a rat's ass what ends up in a DOT fluid brake, provided it's more or less DOT fluid and is not DOT 5. (Except Hope brakes. Even the lever pivots on those don't get lubed with anything that might have e petroleum product in it.)

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Quote Originally Posted by watchcwgo View Post
    I have seen shimano brake seals ruined by other mechanics who used finish line in a pinch.
    I haven't seen that in the brakes I've bled with the FL stuff, but I *have* seen the results of people trying to run DOT fluid in mineral oil brakes

    M

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Thanks for the advice, all. I just did the brake bleed--had enough Shimano oil. This was on one of the Alivio level M445 brakes. Very easy job, shockingly good component for the price level it's on.

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    As much as I use Finish Line products on a daily basis, for brake fluid I stick with the original Shimano and Magura stuff where appropriate.
    Better safe than sorry, no reason to think about saving 2p when the recommended stuff is relatively cheap, lasts long, as is readily available.
    Andrea "Gattonero" Cattolico, head mechanic @Condor Cycles London


    "Caron, non ti crucciare:
    vuolsi così colà dove si puote
    ciò che si vuole, e più non dimandare"

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    "Mineral oil" is a general description of components that can vary quite a bit. Plus there's no grading of mineral oil. And it can accumulate a fair amount of water that can separate under pressure in braking and cause problems. There's no saying that Shimano oil is better than Finish Line, but it's likely different and in a warranty claim, Shimano will want to know that Shimano oil was used. I wouldn't substitute any brand with any brakes.
    Lane DeCamp

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    old thread, but I used Finish Line "mineral oil" in my SLX brakes a while back. I didn't have any Shimano fluid handy and the FL stuff was right there. it's been at least two years since I did that, but I have had these 675 brakes on several bikes for over five years. I could never get the brakes to bite hard with the FL stuff, so after one or two rides, I flushed it out and waited for a proper liter of Shimano fluid to come in the mail. impatience is a horrible disease.

    since then, the brakes have never felt truly crisp. I gave the rear a good flush last week and a ton of black goo came out of the caliper. I flushed all that out until clean red fluid came out. still spongy a week later. a flushed again last night and more thick black goo came out.

    I can't say with any level of confidence that the FL fluid ruined my brakes, but it's possible. Shimano has gone on record that Magura oil will ruin Shimano brakes. regardless, I need a solution. it looks like this brake system is rebuildable in theory, but Shimano provides no guidance on this procedure, nor spare parts to replace seals. I see some sketchy kits on aliexpress, but yikes. what should I do at this point?
    Jonathan - Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Jonathan,

    I wish i had read this a year ago! I have been putting Magura Royal Blood in my son's SLX brakes since his first bleed. He is the only Shimano guy in the family and I assumed mineral oil was mineral oil and used what I stock. The brakes have always performed and felt fine with Magura fluid so I never had a reason to question my substitution. FWIW, I had black goo coming out of the caliper when I originally flushed the genuine Shimano fluid.

    He has been running the SLX brakes for a year with tons of use so I don't think the Magura fluid will cause a quick and violent death of the seals. On the bright side, brakes are somewhat cheap and replacing calipers and parts often outpaces the price of new complete units when you factor in the time and PITA factor. The new Deore or the lower end 4 piston models are really nice.

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    old thread, but I used Finish Line "mineral oil" in my SLX brakes a while back. I didn't have any Shimano fluid handy and the FL stuff was right there. it's been at least two years since I did that, but I have had these 675 brakes on several bikes for over five years. I could never get the brakes to bite hard with the FL stuff, so after one or two rides, I flushed it out and waited for a proper liter of Shimano fluid to come in the mail. impatience is a horrible disease.

    since then, the brakes have never felt truly crisp. I gave the rear a good flush last week and a ton of black goo came out of the caliper. I flushed all that out until clean red fluid came out. still spongy a week later. a flushed again last night and more thick black goo came out.

    I can't say with any level of confidence that the FL fluid ruined my brakes, but it's possible. Shimano has gone on record that Magura oil will ruin Shimano brakes. regardless, I need a solution. it looks like this brake system is rebuildable in theory, but Shimano provides no guidance on this procedure, nor spare parts to replace seals. I see some sketchy kits on aliexpress, but yikes. what should I do at this point?
    I'm afraid there's no single spares for Shimano brakes.
    I would replace the lever/MC first and see what happens.

    Since you're there, if you have enough skills you can try to clean the caliper by popping out the pistons and clean/lube. Mind you, the ceramic pistons are quite brittle so keep 'em straight!
    Andrea "Gattonero" Cattolico, head mechanic @Condor Cycles London


    "Caron, non ti crucciare:
    vuolsi così colà dove si puote
    ciò che si vuole, e più non dimandare"

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Done with Shimano for now. A company that claims to have a big emphasis on the environment but does not provide parts to rebuild brake levers is full of BS.

    Got very lucky to find a pair of TRP Slate T4s but I don't see all the spares for those either.
    Jonathan - Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    I recently received a box of used TRP samples from one of their development riders. The rider has tried just about every mineral oil in their systems, and the new TRP fluid(which is currently unavailable) is "most similar" to Shimano fluid(which is also hard as heck to find right now). I currently have my TRP Gspec DHR Evo's filled with Hayes Venom(yes, Hayes has a mineral oil brake model now) and it's not as crisp at the lever as I'd like, but temperature stability has been pretty good. At least with the TRP stuff, i've been told that their seals and fittings are pretty fluid agnostic.

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Quote Originally Posted by suspectdevice View Post
    I recently received a box of used TRP samples from one of their development riders. The rider has tried just about every mineral oil in their systems, and the new TRP fluid(which is currently unavailable) is "most similar" to Shimano fluid(which is also hard as heck to find right now). I currently have my TRP Gspec DHR Evo's filled with Hayes Venom(yes, Hayes has a mineral oil brake model now) and it's not as crisp at the lever as I'd like, but temperature stability has been pretty good. At least with the TRP stuff, i've been told that their seals and fittings are pretty fluid agnostic.
    I totally get that using mixing DOT/ mineral oil brakes and fluids is a bad idea. and I can understand why a brake manufacturer would insist that using their fluid will be best. I don't understand why they would insist that your brakes will self-destruct if you use someone else's mineral oil. they could leave a few options, or give us very, very specific reasons why, for example, TRP fluid cannot be used in Shimano brakes or whatever. the scientific details will probably go over the heads of most, myself included. but they could try to give a specific reason. otherwise, we consumers have no reason to believe that they are engaging in anything other than stopping us from using what is available because they just want us to use, no, buy their product. I would be more likely to buy a product that was designed to be agnostic when it comes to parts. at least TRP uses Shimano-shaped brake pads.

    it's not unlike when SRAM tells you to only use their chain on their cassette, but bike companies sell bikes with KMC chains and SRAM cassettes.

    I'm just saying it's fair to be skeptical.
    Jonathan - Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I totally get that using mixing DOT/ mineral oil brakes and fluids is a bad idea. and I can understand why a brake manufacturer would insist that using their fluid will be best. I don't understand why they would insist that your brakes will self-destruct if you use someone else's mineral oil. they could leave a few options, or give us very, very specific reasons why, for example, TRP fluid cannot be used in Shimano brakes or whatever. the scientific details will probably go over the heads of most, myself included. but they could try to give a specific reason. otherwise, we consumers have no reason to believe that they are engaging in anything other than stopping us from using what is available because they just want us to use, no, buy their product. I would be more likely to buy a product that was designed to be agnostic when it comes to parts. at least TRP uses Shimano-shaped brake pads.

    it's not unlike when SRAM tells you to only use their chain on their cassette, but bike companies sell bikes with KMC chains and SRAM cassettes.

    I'm just saying it's fair to be skeptical.
    Shimano are just being practical. If I were them, I would take the identical position.

    It's not realistic for them to do a comprehensive survey and assessment of all alternative products on the market. Even more unrealistic is to even try to keep up with any formula change that other suppliers might implement over time, assuming Shimano are aware of such changes. Why should Shimano or anybody else go through the trouble when they themselves offer a product that is warranted to be compatible, at a price that is more or less in line with the rest of the market?

    I have used mineral brake fluid from a Dutch company called Cyclon in my DA system without any issues. I got it from my LBS who said it was fine to use with Shimano systems and didn't have any Shimano fluid in stock at that moment. They use Cyclon to service Shimano brakes in their workshop. For warranty reasons, not a good move, but if it doesn't lead to warranty issues, then that's a moot point.

    Anyway, to avoid all this headache and frustration, there's a simple solution: don't buy Shimano hydraulic brakes.
    Chikashi Miyamoto

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    Default Re: Mineral oil question, Shimano "official" vs. Finish Line

    Anybody see the video of the guy (Seths' bike hacks) who ran baby oil in the shimano brakes for a year? The great thing about Shimano stuff is that you can get away with lots of things and the stuff just works. I doubt FL oil is going to destroy shimano stuff.

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