My study of Compounds, Greases, and Pastes for Lubricating Brakes on Japanese Automobiles

X15

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I've spent way, way, way, too much time (no, seriously, way too much!) researching this to not share it and hopefully save others the frustration, there's no shortage of bad info out there, including annoyingly from the OEM's themselves. This is primarily focused on brake part lubrication but does include some odds and ends and is far from complete or definitive, if you can believe that!


Manufacturer is listed first if known / Followed by other sources of the same product (Part Number) - Color of the product (NOT the packaging), Description with known info, absence of info does not indicate that the product lacks that quality

Silicone Oil Based Greases:
  • Honda Silicone Grease (08C30-B0234M) - Supersedes Honda Caliper Grease (08C30-B0224M), may be a compound, very expensive ($50!), not to be confused with Shin-Etsu G-30M
  • Molykote 44MA / Subaru (26648FJ000) - Black, Lithium soap thickened, Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) solids, I have not found anywhere to obtain this in reasonable quantities
  • Molykote AS-880N / Subaru (K0777YA010) / Toyota Disc Brake Grease II (08887-02307) / Toyota Disc Brake Shim Grease 5g packet (08887-80409) - Black, Silica thickened, with Graphite, Mica, and Magnesium Oxide, used to lubricate clips and shims as an Anti-Squeal
  • Toyota [Disc] Brake [Caliper] Grease (08887-80609) - White, Silica thickened? PTFE solids, possibly a Molykote product
  • Shin-Etsu G-3W-0-M / G-30M - Grayish White, Honda "Shin-Etsu Grease" (08798-9013), Subaru (004404002), swells Silicone rubber, excellent for Honda door seals, low temperature, I would NOT use it on brake parts

Silicone Oil Based Compounds ("Dielectric Grease"):
  • 3M 08946 - Translucent White, NLGI #3, "100% silicone lubricant"
  • Fuchs CHEMPLEX 839 / ACDelco 10-4019 / GM (88862181 / 88862182) / Raybestos DBL-2T / DBL-3 - Translucent? White, NLGI #2, PTFE thickened, metal particle solid lubricants
  • Ford / Motorcraft D7AZ-19A331-A / WA-10 / XG-3-A / Mazda 0000-77-XG3A - Translucent White, meeting Ford spec ESE-M1C171-A
  • Molykote 111 - Translucent White to light grey, Slightly lower temp range than KS-62M
  • NyoGel 783D / Nissan (999MP-AB002) - White, Very thick NLGI #4, TDS, SDS
  • Shin-Etsu KS-62M - Translucent White, Heat Resistant, supplied in packets with kits for use on caliper seals

Glycol Based Greases:
  • Niglube RM / Mitsubishi (MZ101616EX) - Orange, NLGI #2, Sodium-complex soap, High-temp SDS
  • Toyota Rubber Grease (08887-01206) - Red, Manufactured by Cosmo Oil Lubricants, MSDS

Pastes:
  • Molykote M-77 / Honda (08798-9010, possibly 43231-SB0-315 5 packet) / Nissan (44003-7S000) - Black-gray, Molybdenum disulfide solids base, Lithium soap thickened silicone carrier oil, noted by Honda to 'polish more than it lubricates'
  • Molykote Cu-7439 / POLYSI PST-7439 / Nissan (44003-14C10PP) - Copper, Lithium soap thickened PETROLEUM oil base, Copper solids, high-temp copper anti-sieze

Unknown:
  • Niglube RX-2 / Subaru Rubber Grease (000041000) - Orange-red, Lithium soap thickened, unknown non-petroleum synthetic base oil, low temp range (-30 to 130c)
  • Sil-Glyde - Both Sil-Glyde Lubricating Compound and Sil-Glyde Brake Lubricant currently share an SDS, the only component listed is Castor oil 30-60% by weight

Note: Molykote brand products have been referred to as Corning, Dow, Dow Corning, DC, DuPont, etc, Molykote is used here throughout for consistency


Discussion:

Rubber Grease as defined by the Japanese auto makers seems to refer to products meeting JIS-K-2228 which "specifies non-petroleum base rubber lubricant (hereafter referred to as rubber lubricant), to be applied to the components of automobile brakes which use non-petroleum base brake fluids for transmission of working pressure". It appears to be a performance based standard for ensuring products do not damage rubber parts, and does not seem to exclude silicone based products.

Petroleum based products are NOT recommend for brake caliper / drum lubrication, petroleum fouls brake linings and can lead to grabbing or loss of braking power, it can also damage rubber parts and seals.



Applications:


Brake Pad Backing Plates / Shims, Retainers and Clips, Caliper Brackets:


Pastes, such as CU-7439 as spec'd by Subaru, Nissan, and others, as well as Toyota "Disc brake grease" (08887-80609), have generally fallen out of favor to dedicated Anti-Squeal greases such as AS-880N. Compare Toyota T-SB-0136-11, where "Disc Brake Grease" (08887-80609) is applied to the shims and pad ears, versus T-SB-0248-12, where an updated pad kit has AS-880N as Disc Brake Shim Grease (08887-80409) applied to the shims only.

Nissan and Subaru call for AS-880N as well, Subarau recently released TSB 06-68-19 calling for AS-880N to be applied on supports, clips, and ears.

Interestingly Honda still maintains a solid preference for Molykote M-77, why? Beats me.


Caliper Slide Pins and Boots:

Toyota has consistently called for "Lithium Soap Base Glycol Grease", aka Toyota Rubber Grease (08887-01206), on caliper slide pins, see for example T-TT-0132-11 and TS-TR-0075-D. You may see Russian sources saying to use Toyota Brake Caliper Grease (08887-80609), but a CAREFUL reading of this post makes clear that it was only recommended to do so in one specific TSB which appears to have involved Bosch supplied parts. The post does note that many have complained about Toyota Rubber Grease drying out too easily, and for that reason a silicone based grease is worth considering.

Subaru, like Toyota, has consistently specified their preferred rubber grease (Niglube RX-2) only.

Honda, on the other hand, dropped the use of rubber grease (08733-B020E) sometime around 1999 when it was not listed in their Recommend Materials TSB 99-030 Version 1 (Attached, can't find a good link ATM), in its place Honda Caliper Grease (08C30-B0224M) was listed for the task with the description "High-temperature, silicone-based grease used to lubricate caliper slide pins".



Drum Brakes:

Shoe Ends and Sliding Points/Surfaces:

The most common recommendation I see online is for Copper Anti-Sieze here, and while at one point at least both Molykote and Subaru called for it, I don't think it's a good choice for two reasons; the petroleum base oils can foul friction lining if the product is applied incorrectly or the oils drop out. And drum brakes, especially rear drums, and undoubtedly parking brakes simply don't get hot enough to necessitate copper over other better lubricating solid particles. A high-temp silicone based grease such as Molykote 44MA seems to be what the OEMs are moving towards here.


Adjuster and Springs:

You can find just about everything specified for this depending on where you look, trying to figure out what to use on drum brakes is actually what started this spiral into madness. Personally I'll be going with the aforementioned high-temp silicone product as that seems to be the most common type of product called for lately.



All trademarks are owned by their owners, accuracy not guaranteed, Your Mileage May Vary, not liable for misuse, use at your own risk, I think you get the idea...

Questions? Comments? Corrections?
 

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MolaKule

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I don't know what happened to the forrnatting but here is a two part article:

 

X15

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I don't know what happened to the forrnatting but here is a two part article:



Thanks, that's very useful for context, I wanted to put a brief description of the differences but lack your expertise.

I've taken the liberty of reposting your article with the formatting restored:

Grease Technology - Part I by MolaKule

History

A Lubricant's main purpose is to reduce the frictional burden that is found in machines. Ancient engineers recognized that certain natural oils and fats reduced friction and rolling resistance when applied to them. This ancient practice is found in the archeological record and indicates that the first lubricants were olive oils or animal fats mixed with various inorganic fillers to reduce the friction of rolling stones over planks, and for reducing the frictional forces of chariot wheels. In fact, the first calcium soap grease was a mixture of animal fats (today we know them as mixed esters of glycerol), calcium oxide, and lime. Frictional heating would cause a chemical reaction between the lime and calcium oxide producing an in situ saponification action. In even earlier times, spear points were greased to allow further penetration into wooly mammoth hides. How many times have you seen a carpenter apply a soap or a grease to a nail or screw to reduce driving friction? Here we address greases for automotives applications.

General

Any oil that is mixed with either organic or inorganic fillers is called a grease. A grease is a semisolid lubricant that stays put where other methods of lubrication would fail. Modern greases contain one or more fillers, a base oil, additives, and an optional tackifier, the latter makes the grease sticky and increases adherence. The filler holds the oil in its interstitial spaces, but it is the oil in the grease that actually lubricates.

Oils for Greases

Oils for greases may be either mineral or synthetic and of various viscosities, depending on the target application. Any synthetic oil from diesters to alykylated cyclopentanes may be used, with poly-alpha-olefins being the most used oil today for synthetic greases. In reality, most oils for greases are mixtures of mineral oils, synthesized hydrocarbons such as PAO or alkylated cyclopentanes, and esters. Some of the same oil types and oil mixture formulas used for gear lubes are also used for greases, since many of the EP additives are the same.

Thickeners

While it is the oil that characterizes the type, it is the thickener that determines the identity of the grease. Most thickeners are made of metallic soaps or alkali metals of Calcium, Lithium, Sodium, or Aluminum. For example, a lubricating grease prepared from a PAO oil that is thickened with lithium 12-hydrostearate (LiOH.H2O) would be referred to as a lithium-soap thickened synthetic hydrocarbon. An ester thickened with an organomodified clay would be described as a clay-based synthetic ester*. A PAO-based grease thickened with an Aluminum complex thickener of aluminum hydroxide [Al(OH)3] would be called an "Aluminum Complex" synthetic grease. Some greases are known by the additives in the grease. For example, if one adds molybdenum sulfide powder (MoS2) to a PAO/ester or PAO/alkylated cyclopentane oil, and the thickener for the grease is aluminum hydroxide, the grease might be known as a "Synthetic-based Moly Fortified Aluminum Complex Grease."


Thickener types are Metallic Soap Thickeners, Complexed Metallic Soap Thickeners, and Non-Soap Thickeners. The Non-Soap thickeners are organo-clay, polyurea, and PTFE.

The Metallic Soap Thickeners are:
- Aluminum Soap
- Hydrated Calcium Soap
- Sodium Soap
- Lithium Soap

Complex Metallic Soap Thickeners gives the grease a higher temperature boost with better oxidation and high drop points.
The Metallic Soap Thickeners are:
- Aluminum Complex
- Calcium Complex
- Barium Complex
- Lithium Complex

The Non-Soap thickeners are organo-clay, polyurea, and PTFE. The organo-clay greases requires thorough dispersion of the oil in the clay and require a polar dispersant to force the grease to gel. Organo-clay greases are used where temperatures hit 500 F, such as ovens, steel rolling mills, etc. Of course, the base oil in this case should be a synthetic oil of viscosity between ISO 220 and 680. Polyurea Greases are made by mixing oils with suitable amines and isocyanates or diisocynanates. Polurea greases are also good high temperatures greases. These greases are NOT currently compatible with any other grease. They do perform well in low shear applications such as ball bearings, but not as well in high-shear applications such as roller bearings. PTFE (Teflon) powder does made a good grease thickener.

In part two we will examine the advantages and disadvantages of the general grease types, illustrate how greases are made, tested, and classified according to the National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI).
 

X15

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Grease Technology – Part II by Molakule

General

We discussed in Part I that all lubricating greases, whether mineral or synthetic, are composed of a base fluid and additives (for lubrication), a thickening agent (to immobilize the fluid), and an optional tackifier. The concentration of thickener determines the consistency and general properties of the finished product. Additives can be any number of antiwear, extreme pressure, and anticorrosion chemistries.

Greases not only reduce friction and wear, but absorb shock and vibration, seal the bearings against water, serve as oil reservoirs, and release oil as conditions warrant.


Thickeners

Thickener types are Metallic Soap Thickeners, Complexed Metallic Soap Thickeners, and Non-Soap Thickeners. The Non-Soap thickeners are organo-clay, polyurea, and PTFE.

Since Metallic Soap Thickeners are rarely used, we will concentrate on the Complex metallic soaps and other thickeners.

Complex Metallic Soap Thickeners gives the grease a higher temperature boost with better oxidation and high drop points. We will discuss advantages and disadvantages of each grease below.

The Metallic Soap Thickeners are:

Aluminum Complex - Higher drop point than the noncomplex aluminum grease. If the grease is subjected to higher temperatures than designed, it can turn rubbery on cooling. Low temperature characteristics are fair to good. Shear stability is good to excellent. Water washout and some other tests show only good result, while water spray tests show excellent resistance. Often mixed with calcium for applications in pharmaceutical and food processing where USDA H-1 specifications are required.

Calcium Complex - This grease is touted as a general purpose grease for those not wanting a clay-based grease, but have been obsoleted by other types of high temperature, general purpose greases. This grease requires a major amount of thickener for proper consistency. Low temperature and water resistance operation is satisfactory. Sometimes used alone or with aluminum for applications in pharmaceutical and food processing where USDA H-1 specifications are required.

Barium Complex – a complex barium soap grease using acetic acid as a complexing agent. At one time it was a popular grease for factory wheel bearing packing applications since it was firm and stringy, or fibrous. Has since lost its appeal and is rarely used in aftermarket applications.

Lithium Complex – Lithium greases, especially the EP fortified greases, are the most popular high temperature, multipurpose greases today. They have some of the highest dropping points (350 F) and with good synthetic base oils, sustain 325 F temps with up to 450 F intermittent temperature peaks. They have good water resistance and excellent mechanical stability. Lithium greases can absorb up to 50% of its weight in water and continue to lubricate and protect metal surfaces from rust.

The Non-Soap thickeners are organo-clay, polyurea, PTFE, and silica gel.

The organo-clay greases requires thorough dispersion of the oil in the clay and require a polar dispersant to force the grease to gel. Organo-clay greases are used where temperatures hit 500 F, such as ovens, steel rolling mills, etc. Of course, the base oil in this case should be a synthetic oil of viscosity between ISO 220 and 680. A clay is usually a alkylaryl ammonium hectorate or equivalent. All clays have to have a surface treatment in order to act as an oil absorber, because they are normally hydrophillic. Clay thickened greases are less expensive to produce than the complex greases because they take less energy to heat and mix. Although clay-based greases are nonmelting, and are often recommended for high temperature applications, sustained high temperature operation is highly dependent on the viscosity and quality of the base oil, which implies mineral-synthetic blends or full synthetic base oils.

Polyurea Greases are made by mixing oils with suitable amines and isocyanates or diisocynanates. Polurea greases are also good high temperatures greases. These greases are NOT currently compatible with any other grease. They do perform well in low shear applications such as hot ball bearings, but not as well in high-shear applications such as roller bearings. Polyurea greases are being developed to be more compatible with other greases and to increase their water washout resistance.

PTFE (Teflon) micropowders do made a good grease thickener. PTFE can be classified as a universal gellant, and can be used with any synthetic or mineral oil, but excels with synthetic oils. It thickens because of its low surface tension, surface area, and dispersability in most organic fluids. Only 20 to 40% of thickener is needed for PTFE greases, so most of the grease package contains oil.

Sila gel is used as the thickening agent for high temperature greases which find application above 500 F to 1200 F and may contain copper, moly MoS2 powder, graphite, and titanium dioxide. The EP add is generally one of the high temperature phosphate esters. The base fluid is usually Polyethylene Glycol (PEG). Used mainly for furnaces and other extremely high temperature “refractory” applications.

Additives:

Additive packages are usually added to the base oil(s) before thickening, and are similar to Gear Lubricant oils. These may consist of various EP additives such as Moly disulfide powder, special forms of ZDDP, Phosphorus-Sulfur (S-P) compounds, and other organometallic EP additives such as SbDTC and Cerium DTC. Nonorganometallic EP and AW additives may include Borate esters or suspend borates and calcium carbonates. Friction reducers may be Molybdenum dithiocarbamates (MoTDC), esters of fatty acids, and synthetic base oils. Antioxidants may be ZDDP, MoTDC, and SbDTC. Rust inhibitors and metal deactivators are also included to reduce oxygen interaction with metals and to prevent rusting of ferrous surfaces.

Grease Classifications and Testing as Defined by the NLGI and ASTM.

Testing is according to ASTM testing protocols such as (not a comprehensive list):

ASTM D-217 – Unworked penetration. This test measures the consistency of grease prior to the input of mechanical energy. For pumping, this is what the customers pump is required to transfer.
ASTM D-217 – Worked penetration for 60 strokes. This test measures the mechanical stability of the grease.
ASTM D-2265 – This test determines the highest temperature attainable before a drop of oil separates from the grease.

There are about two dozen other tests made as well, and one can see these by looking at a manufacturer’s specifications sheet for the grease.

The grease consistency is classified according to the ASTM D-217 tests for worked penetration. From softer to harder greases:
NGLI
#000
#00
#0
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6

Greases 000 to 00 are in reality “semi-fluid” greases, with only base oils and olefin copolymers or polyisobutylene thickeners and additives. The hardest of greases are the 4-6 greases with 6 being the hardest.

For most ball bearing applications in automotive use, NLGI 0 to 2 is used, with 1 being for moderate temperature applications, and #2 being the most popular.

Let’s make a Synthetic-Based Aluminum Complex Grease.

We assume that the batch size we are making is about 100 kg of grease. The thickener content will be about 7.5% or 7.5 kg of aluminum hydroxide, and benzoic and stearic acid will be 0.8% or 800 grams. The reaction of the aluminum hydroxide, with the benzoic and stearic acid, is done with a small portion of the synthetic oil (PAO in this case). The remaining oil and additives are added after the reaction takes place or when the reaction temperature is below 100 C. The reaction is “exothermic” which means that heat is given off, with a small amount of alcohol liberated as well. The viscosity of the base oil and the rate of cooling will determine the final consistency of the grease.

Dyes and fillers are added for cosmetic purposes and for identifying product lines.

A tackifier, composed of polyisobutylene or ethylene and propylene copolymers, are sometimes included to assist cling or increase the adhesiveness of the grease.
 
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I’ve been using Loctite C5-A in place of Molykote M7439. From reading the SDS on both they are similar. Mercedes calls for their Bremsklotzpaste for years on their brake pads, common knowledge on the Benz boards says it’s Never-Seez. On a friend’s Subaru I care for, I used C5-A until I had to pull the pads and reseat the shims due to shim migration. I have Permatex Ultra Disc Brake Lube high-temp silicone formula formula on the pad ears now. So far, so good.

In Europe, it was an accepted practice to use copper grease(anti-seize) on the backs and edges of brake pads. ATE frowned upon that and recommends their Plastilube which is a Henkel product.
 

X15

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I’ve been using Loctite C5-A in place of Molykote M7439. From reading the SDS on both they are similar. Mercedes calls for their Bremsklotzpaste for years on their brake pads, common knowledge on the Benz boards says it’s Never-Seez. On a friend’s Subaru I care for, I used C5-A until I had to pull the pads and reseat the shims due to shim migration. I have Permatex Ultra Disc Brake Lube high-temp silicone formula formula on the pad ears now. So far, so good.

In Europe, it was an accepted practice to use copper grease(anti-seize) on the backs and edges of brake pads. ATE frowned upon that and recommends their Plastilube which is a Henkel product.

Yep, Molykote M7439 / Cu-7439 is just your standard Copper Anti-Seize as far as I can tell. Obviously it worked well enough to be recommended at the time, but it's clearly fallen out of favor as new and better products have been developed to address NVH and reliability concerns.

As an interesting aside, LOCTITE C5-A is apparently the only antiseize compound qualified to MIL-PRF-907 Type I for Copper/Graphite Formulation, the requirements and torque test for which can be found here.

Honda added Plastilube to their Recommended Materials Bulletin in 2017 with Version 2, it looks like they use it on vehicles with ATE supplied calipers and pad kits.
 
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Yep, Molykote M7439 / Cu-7439 is just your standard Copper Anti-Seize as far as I can tell. Obviously it worked well enough to be recommended at the time, but it's clearly fallen out of favor as new and better products have been developed to address NVH and reliability concerns.

As an interesting aside, LOCTITE C5-A is apparently the only antiseize compound qualified to MIL-PRF-907 Type I for Copper/Graphite Formulation, the requirements and torque test for which can be found here.

Honda added Plastilube to their Recommended Materials Bulletin in 2017 with Version 2, it looks like they use it on vehicles with ATE supplied calipers and pad kits.
That would make sense - that ATE design is as “universal” of a caliper as it gets. But Ford, GM, FCA and Subaru who use that caliper doesn’t call for Plastilube.

plastilube isn’t rubber friendly per ATE or Henkel - which is why BMW and VW want their caliper slide pins and sleeves dry probably.
As for the friend’s Subaru, the OEM Tokico(Hitachi) calipers are nice and quiet with the Permatex lube. It has a glossy, grayish-white appearance compared to the gray-silver and flat appearance of AS880N/M77.
 

X15

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That would make sense - that ATE design is as “universal” of a caliper as it gets. But Ford, GM, FCA and Subaru who use that caliper doesn’t call for Plastilube.

plastilube isn’t rubber friendly per ATE or Henkel - which is why BMW and VW want their caliper slide pins and sleeves dry probably.
As for the friend’s Subaru, the OEM Tokico(Hitachi) calipers are nice and quiet with the Permatex lube. It has a glossy, grayish-white appearance compared to the gray-silver and flat appearance of AS880N/M77.

I really wish I has some insight into the reasoning (or lack thereof) behind some of these decisions.

ATE claims that Plastilube is for use on slide pins and is "compatible with all metals and most all O-ring materials", but it's not a product I'd be comfortable using for those purposes. An old datasheet has it as a Bentonite thickened mineral oil grease, with one of the many SDS' confirming that and listing a fairly low flash point as expected. I can see a number of reasons not to lubricate BMW style pin-in-rubber-bushing caliper pins, and I definitely wouldn't use Plastilube if I were going to, that's for sure.

Honestly Plastilibe looks to me like it's in the same vein as anti-seize, a good off the shelf solution at the time that has since been surpassed by better products.

The Permatex Ultra Disc Brake Caliper Lube High-Temp Silicone Formula seems like it was a good 5% Moly Silicone Compound, it's a shame they discontinued it for the flashy ceramic stuff.
 

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X15

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ATE claims that Plastilube is for use on slide pins and is "compatible with all metals and most all O-ring materials"

ATE North America, at least, the German language page on ATE's European site expressly contradicts that it's ok on rubber: "Brake disc and brake pad friction surfaces or rubber parts must not be coated with ATE Plastilube!" (via Google Translate). The same warning can be seen in multiple languages, including English, on images of the tube.

s-l1600.jpg
 
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