Pulls to the left

Tiny
HPTIRE
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 FORD CONTOUR
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 132,546 MILES
Have a 1998 ford contour I have replaced both hoses and calipers on the car also replaced master cylinder and swapped portion valves in back to see if it would stop pulling to the left I am out of answers
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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 AT 6:37 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Do you mean pulling to the left during braking, as in a brake pull, or pulling left on the highway, as in an alignment pull?

For a brake pull, start by inspecting the lower control arm bushings, ball joints, and tie rod ends. Look at anything that could cause an alignment change during braking. Another thing that has been popping up more frequently that never used to cause a problem is the two front rotors must be very nearly the same thickness. One that is thinner will heat up faster and cause a change in the coefficient of friction leading to a severe pull that shows up suddenly during one stop but was fine the previous stop. That is more common on larger trucks but it can happen to cars too.

Look for grooves worn into the mounting surfaces for the calipers and pads. Those can cause a pad to catch and not apply fully.

A minor alignment pull can become much more pronounced during braking. Unfortunately Ford likes to make their small cars not adjustable for pulls, (camber and caster). What you got is what you get. The only thing you can do is check for worn parts and measure ride height. Worn springs let the car sag which changes the geometry of the suspension system and the angles of the half shafts. Typically a brake pull caused by uneven ride height will be accompanied by torque steer, a tendency for the car to pull to one side during acceleration.

Don't overlook the possibility of a tire pull too. One trick that works for finding a tire pull on front-wheel-drive cars is it will cause a pull one way when accelerating and the other way under moderate braking. Switching the two front tires side to side will identify that problem.

Caradiodoc
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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 AT 7:05 PM
Tiny
HPTIRE
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It pulls when braking slowly when apply hard it doesnt pull ball joints are tight control arm bushings tight tie rods tight even swap front two tires and also checked the alignment still pulls to left when braking when applying brake
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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 AT 7:54 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Do you have four steel lines leaving the master cylinder? This will be a split-diagonal system meaning the left front and right rear brakes are on the same hydraulic circuit. You might try bleeding the two front brakes with a helper pressing the brake pedal so you can watch how much fluid comes out. Don't let them press the pedal more than half way to the floor. Doing so can tear the lip seals on crud and corrosion that build up in the lower halves of the bores the pistons travel through in the master cylinder. Normally if a seal gets damaged, the red warning light will turn on due to the unequal pressures, and the pedal will be lower than normal. If you get just a little fluid from one front caliper, suspect a problem in the master cylinder.

When only one front brake works, the car will pull real hard that way when braking, but because of that being a real good possibility with split-diagonal systems, manufacturers have modified "scrub radius" to counteract that. That's a designed-in geometric angle related to the angle of the strut. It can be measured with computerized alignment equipment. The values are of no significance. All that is important is they are very nearly the same on both sides. On cars that have front cross members that can be unbolted, (GMs in particular), they can be slid sideways to equalize scrub radius on both sides. It is common to screw it up too when replacing that cross member after reinstalling the engine or transmission. On other cars it can't be changed and will only be incorrect if the frame is bent. Chrysler vehicles are the only ones that have totally eliminated any hint of brake pull when half of the system isn't working. On other brands of cars, that source of brake pull is reduced enough to prevent loss of control but you can still detect some pull.

One observation that might help is to notice if the pull diminishes while holding steady pressure on the brake pedal for a period of time. If the pull remains constant, either there is less fluid pressure going to that wheel or something is causing those brake pads to have less friction than the other side. That's assuming worn parts causing a change in alignment has been ruled out.

If the pull gradually decreases and goes away in a couple of seconds when holding steady pressure on the pedal, it means the two brakes are applying equally but one is applying more slowly. In that case, look for a crushed steel line or for mismatched pistons in the calipers. If one is steel and the other is plastic, (phenolic) they will apply differently but once applied, they will develop the same force on the pads.

I know you already replaced the hoses but it's worth mentioning that they can cause a pull too. Hoses that have a bracket crimped around the center can build up rust inside the crimp that slowly constricts the hose. That will cause a slow-to-apply caliper, and often a real slow-to-release condition resulting in pulling in the other direction after the brake pedal is released.

Caradiodoc
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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 AT 9:41 PM
Tiny
HPTIRE
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K I did find on the lower control arm of the right side the inside or back side bushing is messed up could this be a cause to pull to the left I check pressure from someone pumping brakes and holding the pedal down same amount of fluid and yes there are 4 steel lines that run to the master cylinder and none of the lines are messed up and also replaced both rubber brake lines (they dont have bracket)i also put new rotors on them just to make sure rotor thickness before (old rotors) left had.910 and right had.925 see what u think and I thank u for all ur help
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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 AT 10:10 PM

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