1999 Toyota Corolla Brake system or tranny?

Tiny
CAPERJENJEN
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 TOYOTA COROLLA
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 300,000 MILES
Last week I was going up a hill & had loss of speed suddenly. Stopped as suddenly as it started. Two days later, I go to back up in a parking lot. Can barely reverse. It went into reverse and the engine revved, but its like the ebrake was on and it barely backed up. When went forward it was shaking and sputtering. I shut it off, waited 10 minutes, seemed fine again. On the ride home it was sluggish and was taking a bit more rev to go into gear, but it drove. No lights on the dashboard. By the time I got home, there was smoke pouring out of the drive front tire and a strong brake smell. Mechanic changed the caliper. When I left the mechanic, 10 mins up the road again the loss of power and this time the car was shaking and sputtering and when I pulled over, it again wouldn't go forward or reverse, almost like the ebrake is stuck. Mechanic now says its the ABS control module. Can that cause my symptoms or does it sound like a tranny problem? Help! I don't want to get ripped off!
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Thursday, September 17th, 2015 AT 5:22 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
This sounds like you're trying to describe a dragging brake that isn't releasing. A sticking brake caliper is a good guess, but there's a more likely suspect. That's the rubber flex hose attached to it. The way to find this is to get it to act up again, then stop on a slight incline, shift to neutral, place a block about a foot downhill of one tire so you won't look funny chasing after your car, then loosen the steel lines at the master cylinder. You'll need line wrench for that, also called a "flare nut wrench". A regular open end wrench will usually round off the soft metal line nuts.

If loosening the lines there lets the brake release, we'll have to talk. That can be a very expensive repair. It's more likely the brake won't release there, so tighten them back up.

Next, open the bleeder screw on the caliper. Most likely the brake will release proving there's brake fluid trapped there under pressure. There's a metal bracket in the middle of the rubber flex hose where rust can form and constrict the hose. You can force brake fluid through it with foot pressure to apply the brake, but there's no pressure to make the fluid return to the reservoir, so it stays there and keeps that brake applied. A shaking in the steering wheel is a common symptom of a sticking brake.
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Thursday, September 17th, 2015 AT 9:36 PM
Tiny
CAPERJENJEN
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Thanks for the reply. The mechanic found that issue with the flex hose. Fluid was not returning to the reservoir. So he changed the house but still the same. That's when be came up with the diagnosis of the ABS control module being the culprit. Would you agree?
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Friday, September 18th, 2015 AT 3:23 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I've never replaced an ABS hydraulic controller for blocking brake fluid return, but that can be verified the same way. Loosen the steel line going to the locking brake. If the brake releases, the controller could indeed be the cause of the problem.
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Saturday, September 19th, 2015 AT 8:24 PM

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