Mechanics

BRAKES

1989 Ford Ranger • 6 cylinder 4WD Manual • 110,000 miles

My brake pedal went to the floor last week, pulled the master cylinder and manually activated it and fluid came out both ports. I checked for leaks under truck. Found none. Put new mastercyl. On and the pedal still goes right to the floor. The brakes were working fine one day and now the pedal just drops right to the floor. Also the fluid level doesnt go down when I pump them. I also backed up the truck several times with no change. What am I missing? Is there a sensor or something electrical that can be causing this? I'm at a loss. No vacuum leaks. Can the power booster be bad?
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Mattmaxx
April 20, 2011.



Did you bench-bleed the new master cylinder? Was it a new one or a used one?

Caradiodoc
Apr 20, 2011.
Yes I did. Also when I took off the master cyl, I pushed the pedal in and it did push the arm out of the power booster. The pedal goes right to the floor with no resistance at all, the exact same as with the original one on.

Tiny
Mattmaxx
Apr 20, 2011.
Was this a new / rebuilt or used master cylinder?

Caradiodoc
Apr 20, 2011.
Yes, brand new, not reconditioned.

Tiny
Mattmaxx
Apr 21, 2011.
Yes brand new, not reconditioned.

Tiny
Mattmaxx
Apr 21, 2011.
Assuming you're not losing fluid as it appears, there must be air in the system, or the rear drum brake shoes are moving too far. For that to occur suddenly, it's more likely one of the linings has rusted off the shoe frame and has rotated with the drum away from the shoe.

There could also be a leak, often a rear wheel cylinder, that doesn't show up right away. That can be misleading because it can take a long time for the fluid level to go down. That leak can also let air be drawn in leading to a soft pedal.

Even though you didn't mention it, a loose front wheel bearing will let the brake rotor wobble and push the piston back into the caliper. You will have to push the brake pedal further than normal to push the piston back out before there will be resistance. The clue is you will be able to pump it up again and get a solid pedal when the truck is standing still. While driving is when that will show up.

You might try prying the front pistons all the way back into the calipers to push the brake fluid up and wash any remaining air bubbles into the reservoir. Normally I would tell you to never press the brake pedal more than half way to the floor when pumping the pistons back out, but the reason for that is crud and corrosion can build up in the bottom halves of the bores. Pressing the pedal all the way down runs the lip seals over that stuff and can rip them. That is not the case with your new master cylinder. That's why I asked if it was a new or used one.

Even if something is broken or there is air in one of the hydraulic circuits, half of the brakes should still work. If you apply the brakes while moving slowly on dirt or sand, see if the front or the rear brakes attempt to skid. If neither one does, look at the push rod in the front of the booster. If the push rod is adjustable, measure how far it sticks out when at rest, and how far it has to reach into the master cylinder to contact the piston.

If either the front or rear wheels lock, even just momentarily, that circuit is working, and the other one is not building pressure. That can help narrow it down to the front, rear, or something in common.

Caradiodoc
Apr 21, 2011.
Thank you very much, I will address these tomorrow hopefully, and let you know the outcome, Matt

Tiny
Mattmaxx
Apr 21, 2011.