RR363 or TRW PFM201 Mineral Oil LHM Plus - Rolls-Royce and Bentley Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-27-2014, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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RR363 or TRW PFM201 Mineral Oil LHM Plus

I just acquired a 1976 Silver Shadow and I'm sending it in for services with an unfamiliar shop. The hydraulic fluid needs changed . The manual says use only Castrol RR363 but the shop is telling me that they use TRW PFM201 Mineral Oil LHM Plus and that it will work fine... They say it's them same. Is that true? I have read on this site (older posts) that there is no RR363 substitute but maybe the TRW is a newer product? Any advise you experts can share is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-27-2014, 11:19 PM
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No, it absolutely, positively is NOT the same!!!

RR363 is a DOT3 glycol-based brake fluid and it does NOT mix with mineral oil (LHM/LHM+/HSMO/HSMO+). Try mixing a bit in a small bottle and see what an ungodly mess you get. That mixture will cost you dearly in time and money to purge from your system.

The fact that this shop said something this patently stupid means you should run, not walk, away from them and never look back.

Download the RR & Bentley Parts, Repair, Restoration & Other Resources Compilation and see if there's a shop listed in your area. If there isn't, ask here if anyone is using someone who's familiar with the Shadow and its derivatives, because the shop you're talking to certainly isn't.

Technically there is no substitute for RR363 and it is the only brake/hydraulic fluid formally approved by Rolls-Royce/Bentley for the Shadow/T series cars, and their derivatives, from the first one produced to the last. Some (myself included) are experimenting with a blend of 90% DOT3 brake fluid and 10% pharmaceutical castor oil, but this is an "at your own risk" proposition. So far I am having no issues with this blend, neither are the others I know who are using it, and it has been popular with Citroen owners whose cars use LHS (note well: LHS, which is a glycol based fluid).

Brian

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
~ Niels Bohr


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Many thanks Brian!!! I've just join this forum in the nick of time. The service is (was) scheduled for next Monday. I will be moving the car.

I also appreciate the link to others shops.

Thanks again.

Michael
Orange County CA
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 01:39 AM
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Eatonmike

Don't ignore Brian's advice. This shop will wreck your braking system.

A couple of years ago I called in to a local European Cars Garage that "specialized" in Classic Rolls Royces, to buy some RR363. They told me they didn't stock it and that they used DOT3 instead, which they advised me to use. Needless to say I ran a mile from them. It proved they did not know how to maintain these cars. DOT3 alone will wreck your hydraulic pumps as it does not contain the lubricant these pumps require. Reconditioned pumps in the US, if you carry out the work yourself , come in at around $1000. If you pay a RR dealership to do it, then triple this price.

I cannot recall seeing any discussion of using LHM on the forums - it is too far off the scale of things not to do to your Rolls.

RUN AWAY.

Geoff
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 10:29 AM
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Geoff,

It's interesting that you mention a shop suggesting plain DOT3, as I do happen to know someone who used straight Prestone synthetic DOT3 (of course, all DOT3 has a synthetic base, so their packaging is redundant) for several years before going to YAK363 [the 90/10 mentioned above].

It would be fascinating if someone were able to do a compare and contrast of the lubricity of RR363 as compared to a number of commonly available DOT3 fluids. Even though the DOT3 spec has not changed I would have to imagine that specific formulations have, particularly with the advent of ABS systems. It would not shock me to find out that there are many "off the shelf" DOT3 fluids that lubricate as well as, if not better than, RR363, which has its roots firmly planted in the 1960s.

Sadly, it is beyond my capability to do such research. With each supply outage for RR363, and their increasing frequency, my gut keeps telling me that it will eventually stop being produced. The current outage is supposed to be resolved by the end of the year, but we shall see whether that deadline is met or not.

Michael, now that I know your location you are indeed blessed with a glut of choices of competent, very well-liked, and respected shops that service Rolls-Royce and Bentley motorcars.

Brian

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 01:20 PM
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Brian

I agree with you. It's a pity we do not have the means to get a definitive answer on whether present day DOT3 would be ok to use.

The shop I was referring to was D&D autos, in Las Vegas. I guess the point is they would not have any more information than we do on whether DOT3 could be used and are therefore risking their customers cars by not adding the castor oil lubricant or using RR363. I would guess these pumps will run for a few thousand miles on DOT3 (assuming DOT3 does not have the required lubricating properties) before they show signs of excessive wear, so the customers will never know. They will just assume their hydraulic pumps have worn out.

Geoff
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Looks like this company "Morris" is claiming to have a safe alternative. Has anyone ever had experience with this stuff?

"Castrol no longer produces the RR363, but we have a proven solution. The cost of the Castrol brake fluid skyrocketed several years ago. Back then we sought out and began carrying a less expensive, absolutely completely compatible fluid. Produced in England, we've carried and sold our alternative Rolls and Bentley brake fluid for the past six years to both the enthusiast who just wants to top off the system and specialty shops that buy by the case. Over the course of these six years, we have not experienced a single incident where anyone found the fluid to be sub-par or detrimental to the system in any way. You've found it--the proven solution to the now extinct Castrol RR363! Yes, you can buy brake fluid with confidence and keep those classics on the road!"

http://www.motorcarsltd.com/rr363m.html
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 02:58 PM
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Michael,

I've seen the exact webpage you reference in the past. I don't know what would make them:

1. Claim that RR363 is no longer produced. (Yes, there are times when supplies run out and you have to wait for the next production run, but that's not the same as "no longer produced.")

2. Come to the conclusion that they have. This stuff is DOT3 brake fluid that doesn't appear to be anything special. It's produced in the UK (or at least tries to make it look that way), which doesn't mean diddly.

As Geoff just noted, it's well-nigh impossible for them to know whether this fluid will result in long-term issues with the pumps or not. Most people drive these cars very little, and people can be using this fluid for years before sufficient mileage has accumulated before brake pump wear would surface. In addition, it's a DOT4 fluid, not a DOT3. This is not a huge deal, per se, but it makes their claims even more questionable. Look up some references (with a careful eye to the sources - most of the "I've heard [insert urban legend here] stuff" is pretty obvious) on DOT brake fluids. DOT3 and DOT4 are compatible with each other.

I just have never known how MotorCars Ltd has the hutzpah to make this claim.

Brian

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
~ Niels Bohr


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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All good points about not knowing the long term efrects.

I just placed on online order for the RR363 from one of the suppliers listed on this site. I hope it arrives next week. It's exepnsive, but I know I will be getting the right stufff.

Thanks guys for all the insights.

I love this forum.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 06:53 PM
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Michael

It's worth checking your local franchised RR dealership for RR363. I know it sounds unlikely, given the dealerships charge top dollar, however when I lived in Las Vegas the local Towbin Rolls Royce dealership supplied RR363, over the counter for $30 per liter.

Geoff
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