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Old 07-17-2005, 11:58 AM   #1
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Brakes failure in TV

I've had a sudden and total brake failure in my TV..... while i wasn't towing anything, and wasn't even going fast, it was still scary even at 25mph.

One minute it was working and the next, the brake pedal sank all the way to the floor, with very little or no stopping power. I used the emergency (parking) brake to slow down the vehicle.

While 1990 isn't "vintage", it's just old, and it shows you that even with low(er) miles, under 100K, it may still have problems.

Upon examination, found out it's the power brake booster, the big round thing behind the master cylinder that went bad. It's located on the driver's side of the engine bay. Looking at it after removing it, it was rusty and scary looking.

I took it off and replaced it, and just to be safe, replaced the master cylinder as well.

Bled the system - twice. First time I found out I did not tighten the brake line enough and it was sucking air in. Fixed that, and bled it again.

The job took about 2.5 hours, most of it looking for the right tools and taking brakes. Also need line wrenches for this job! Regular Craftsman wrenches will round off the soft metal of the brake lines (Ask me how I found this out with my daily driver...)

Moral of the story - pick one:

1) Preemptively replace power brake boosters

2) Use TV newer than 1990

3) Ford. vs Chevy argument... I think it's just old vs. new really.

4) have to like messing with power brake booster (as I do), or else take it to a pro mechanic.
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Old 07-17-2005, 12:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipso_facto
...One minute it was working and the next, the brake pedal sank all the way to the floor...and just to be safe, replaced the master cylinder as well.
Glad to hear you have brakes again.

FWIW, the it sounds like the real culprit was the master cylinder. The booster does not affect how far the pedal goes down, it only impacts how hard the pedal needs to be pressed to make the brakes work.

Tom
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Old 07-17-2005, 03:55 PM   #3
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i just replaced mine,i had to use a sawzall to get it out. the pin was rusted so bad i couldent get it out......less than $100 with the master cyl......$$$ well spent
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Old 07-17-2005, 04:06 PM   #4
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See, you should have been towing! Then you could have used the Airstream's brakes to stop you!
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Old 07-17-2005, 08:51 PM   #5
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rluhr

Interestingly enough, this thought has occured to me.
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Old 07-17-2005, 11:31 PM   #6
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Age and lack of maintenance thing pure and simple.

Break fluid will absorb moisture from the air. When it does this it becomes acidic. This then causes several problems.

It lowers the boiling point.
It causes corrosion within the system
It eats the seals.

The rear seal was seeping on the master (possibly a previous failed unit). That fluid sat in the booster and ate at it till it failed.


Older low mile vehicles are very prone to this because its ALL age related. Brake fluid should be changed ever 2-3 years regardless of brake condition. Normally most people will wear out the brakes in that time frame and a quality shop will bleed the brakes as routine in the process of repairing them. A shadetree will often over look this. I'm guilty of it and how I found this out.

Now if you had to replace the modern equivalents your repair bill would have been quadruple if not more if it was a ABS equipped vehicle.

So the rule would be it might not be a bad idea to pull the master off the booster and check for rust and dampness back there on older vehicles.
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Old 07-18-2005, 01:27 AM   #7
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59 toaster

you are very correct about that, as the fluid that came out was black. I don't know how many it hasn't been changed. 5-7 maybe?

Moral of the story, if getting a used TV, get all maintenance records, and if something isn't listed, assume it hasn't been changed.

I pre-emptively replaced much stuff on this TV, for example the radiator hoses, and they were original. They looked good on the outside, but not so good on the inside. 15 years is more than enough for them.

Next - differential fluid. It's probably original also.
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