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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Today was the 2nd -30F day of the season so far, potential for many more in the coming months because lakes are froze and this is the dead brutal cold part of the winter.

At -22F all is still perfectly fine. But at -30F, typical behavior, tires frozen into ovals, gearshift like molasses, frozen brakes. Takes 18 miles to open the 195F thermostat then cools right back off again and yes cooling system is perfect, grille is blocked but I don't have a front bumper cover. Other than that doesn't run any different. Thankfully not a high traffic area. Just too freaking cold.

Well I'm thinking it might not be a brake problem but maybe a vacuum problem. Don't have any other vacuum problems I know of, I went over everything. New front calipers and rear lines just over a year ago, fluid is clean and full. At first of course the pedal is rock hard and have to stand on it to do anything at the stop sign 4 miles away. By 6 brakeless miles to the next turn after many hills the brakes are fine so all should be thawed and well. Next 4 miles of stops and hills I notice that while they should be fine (thawed) from here on out, they are fine for a push or two but then are hard again till I drive some more. Then another 12 miles of no stops till work (level road this time), and same thing, good for a push here and there till it recharges. At lunchtime I fire it up and all is perfect as it's no colder than -20F.

Any ideas besides the obvious (just too freaking cold!) ? Booster maybe? Maybe I could try heat tape on the booster and plug it in overnight in case I wake up to -30F again. Don't have a garage.
 

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I drive mine at -40F regularily and I get the frozen brakes and rock solid gear shift, once it warms up tho (I put cardboard infront of rad) it stays at pretty warm temperature...

My brakes are definately also cold for 3 or 4 full pushes, but after that they stay soft.

I dont exactly know what the problem is, just trying to say they shouldnt re-freeze after they have been pressed a few times.
 

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Actually had that problem in new Mexico at about -10. My fluid was old, dirty, and contaminated with water I'm sure. My solution...a slight press of the brake pedal while driving around the hotel parking lot for 5-10 minutes. Heated the fluid up enough to where the pedal was functional at least. My problem was probably in the caliper though to be honest.

I swear I remember an ACdelco option for a 205 degree tstat for maybe a 1.6 x90 or a 1.6 2000 tracker. Maybe an option for you?

I'm thinking of getting one for efficiency reasons. They supposedly net another mpg. The new GM engines run REALLY warm for that reason.
 

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I believe that Rhino has advised that the ECU considers 'normal operating temp' from 60-88C (140-190F) and that above that engine temp, the ECU begins to retard timing. In any event, I would ask how old your brake fluid is - at -30F, it wouldn't take much for there to be an ice issue with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The fluid can't be much more than a year old. I bought it just over a year ago and the PO had just put new rear lines and front calipers on it, both of which would require a lot of new fluid to be pushed through. I did look and the parts looked brand spanking new, along with the exhaust. There was no corrosion yet from winter. Where as now the parts are definitely showing some corrosion.

The 195F stat does help but it still runs cooler when it's super cold outside. It takes a 175 mile drive downstate to burn the condensation from the oil, the 26 mile drives to work and back just don't cut it. Thankfully I have to do that twice every 2 weeks and it's never -30F for that.

Is there a booster check valve on these like there is on my other cars? Or is it built into the booster?

Ok I just found something. A small crack in the booster hose where it comes off the intake manifold. Hopefully that is it, I'll get a new hose tonight and try it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This evening was a balmy 10F and a little sun, I didn't even run the heater fan on the way home. Nice night to replace the bad hose. The crack did go all the way through so maybe at -30F the check valve and/or booster required more vacuum than could be pulled from a hose with a crack in it. I planned on replacing both but I found the check valve. It is actually in the middle of the booster side hose, never would have guessed that. So since it was holding vacuum and that hose was in much better shape, I left that hose alone for now.

Now I just wait for another -30F morning and see what happens!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well last night we got -33F. Zero problems with brakes so I'd say I got the problem licked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The vacuum hose with the small crack in it that I fixed in the post before that.
 

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I drive mine at -40F regularily and I get the frozen brakes and rock solid gear shift,
Its worth checking the boot on the gear lever, I had issues when mine was split and water got in there and froze.
 

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I drive mine at -40F regularily and I get the frozen brakes and rock solid gear shift, once it warms up tho (I put cardboard infront of rad) it stays at pretty warm temperature...

My brakes are definately also cold for 3 or 4 full pushes, but after that they stay soft.

I dont exactly know what the problem is, just trying to say they shouldnt re-freeze after they have been pressed a few times.
If I were running in minus zero temps, I'd be running synthetic gear fluid in my tranny. I ran synthetic in mine for awhile and could definitely tell a difference in cold weather on how easily the gearshift moved.
 

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Thank you guys for the advice, I plan on doing a fluid swap in the spring, any suggestions for typ of synthetic gear fluid? Also Rhino Ill check that out. And tlctracker76 its great to hear you got the problem solved.
 

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Thank you guys for the advice, I plan on doing a fluid swap in the spring, any suggestions for typ of synthetic gear fluid? Also Rhino Ill check that out. And tlctracker76 its great to hear you got the problem solved.
What I ran was the synthetic gear oil from walmart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Many towns here broke a 20 year record this morning, and so did I with -35F at my house. Brakes are still good! And it still starts and runs without any help.

Yes thankfully last fall I drained and refilled with synthetics in both the trans/transfer case and the diffs. Shifter is not frozen, as it still does move and no solid blockages, but it feels like pushing through tree sap at -30F or colder till I go a few miles. -20F is fine.

Same with thermostat, with grille blocked it barely opens at -30F, but at -10 F it opens in 7 or 8 miles, at +10F it opens in 5 miles. Everything has its limits.

I would double check the synthetic gear oil from Walmart, I think it is only rated for GL-5 which is for the diffs. They call for GL-4 for the trans and transfer case, safe for yellow metals. Not a lot of GL-4 synthetic out there, I used Amsoil.
 
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