What's wrong with my brakes?

  • 1998 FORD TAURUS
  • 160,000 MILES
There are several symptoms that something is wrong with my brakes, but I'm really not sure what it could be. I just changed the rear disc brake pads/rotors, and found that the left side pads were completely worn down while the right side had about 50% pad still left. Also, I just changed the rear pads about 1 1/2 years ago. I don't think they should wear down that fast. I had to replace the right rear caliper also since the bleeder screw was completely destroyed. I bled the rear brakes only (I know I should have done all four, but.) And got some good air bubbles out of the left side (since the hose was detached to replace the rotor). I was using the two person method (pump brakes a few times and hold, then loosen bleeder screw, let some fluid flow out, close the bleeder, repeat). On the right rear brakes the fluid flowed out a little initially, but then no more fluid would come out even after pumping the brakes repeatedly. I also didn't get any air bubbles on that side. Is there another problem with my brakes on the right rear side? The brake lines were replaced recently because of corrosion. And the brakes have long been rather soft, but I've heard that is a common problem with this car. I have bled them before, and never gotten significant air out, so I don't think that is the problem. And the pedal does not sink to the floor when holding it down, so I hope it is not a master cylinder problem. Help!
Do you
have the same problem?
Thursday, September 15th, 2011 AT 6:18 AM

1 Reply

First, you should change things in pairs. If you replace one rotor, replace the other side. Usually you will go through 2-3 sets of front rotors for every rear set. Rotors are made so thin for gas economy that they really can't be re-surfaced.
Did the car pull to one side under heavy braking?
As far as bleeding the brakes go, you have to bleed all 4, especially in your case, and keep the pads completely free of any brake fluid contamination.
To do this, get a large soda bottle and some clear hose that fits the bleed nipple snugly from your local hardware store.
Fit one end over the bleed screw and run the line higher than the bleed screw then into the bottle. Put a little axle grease on the threads and once you get some of the air out, you can just keep flushing fluid without stopping to hold and release and tighten bleed screw. Since you have so many issues, I would suggest flushing it until it comes out clean.
Starting at the right rear caliper, (This is the farthest from the master cylinder and needs to be done first.)Pump and hold but you can also just pump if the level in the master cylinder is dropping. It takes a while to get fluid going from such a far place especially with a new caliper. To create the pressure to get the fluid going, it has to fill a large cavity the the master cylinder is not designed for. The master cylinder only moves a little bit of fluid when you use your brakes. So be patient, it will come.
If the pedal gets hard to pump, there is contamination somewhere and is often in the bleed screw. Remove it and clean it out.
Now move on to the drivers' side rear brake. Then the passenger side front brake. Then lastly the drivers front brake.
This system of working farthest away from the master cylinder to the closest helps remove the most contamination and helps more fluid to move along.
ALSO, never let the master cylinder get below the low mark. That will pump air into the brakes. If you think bleeding the farthest caliper is hard, a master cylinder is a killer to bleed.
I would recommend new rotors and pads all around as replacing in sets is important. The new rotor is fine thought. Front brakes are more sensitive and do over 80%+ of your braking. So at least get the front brakes straight. Try US AutoParts. They have good deals.
There is probably a link on this site for them or another vendor with good prices. You can get a pair of front rotors for $45 and pads for $20.
The brake booster is not an issue.I dont' think. To test it pump it off with the car off and then hold it. Start the car and the pedal should drop slowly underfoot.
If this all does not work, you are probably looking at a master cylinder and/or calipers.
I hope this helps. Gets lots of brake fluid and Brakekleener to keep pads and area clean.
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Thursday, September 15th, 2011 AT 9:50 AM

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