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Brakes work but no pedal pressure

9114 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  ClydeTheCamel
I've searched the forums to the best of my abilities, so please forgive me if there's already a thread about this. I just haven't found it. Ever since I bought my truck two months ago, I've had issues with the brakes. At first, only the last bit of pedal travel gave me stopping power. I'm talking the last two inches or so. I had just bought it and knew it'd need at least new pads and shoes. Did the brake job, replacing the pads, rotors, and shoes in the back along with a parking brake cable. The right rear shoe had eaten into the drum just a bit because it had been metal on metal for so long. I now had no vibrations or noise when braking. It sure felt like an improvement. But the pedal was still the same. It felt like it was pushing past a seal and figured it was probably the master cylinder. Then my ABS light came on. Read about the ABS light possibly occurring because of the rotor swap and the wheel speed sensor. Decided the master cylinder was the more important job to take care of. Replaced it and still the same pedal feel. Finally, the brakes completely went out in the middle of rush hour on the busiest road in town. Both the ABS and emergency brake lights were on. Managed to get over three lanes, fly into a parking lot, and pull the ABS fuses to get some brakes back. Replaced the ABS module, tapped the offending wheel speed sensor back into place with a 2x4, and bled the brakes both the old way and with a vacuum bleeder. Haven't had the ABS light come on since. My pedal now had pressure through the whole travel, but it was a bit spongy when the truck was on. When the engine wasn't running, the pedal got stiff quickly. Went to start it up recently, and the pedal goes straight to the floor immediately upon the engine starting. What's weird is that even with no brake pedal pressure, my brakes still work well. Any ideas? I'm relatively new to brake systems.
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Is the vacuum line properly hooked up to the brake booster?
We shall soon see! Obviously a visual inspection is going to happen, but are there any other good tests? I seem to remember hearing that an unlit propane torch around a bad vacuum line will raise the engine rpm? Would that be a good test?
Take the booster hose off and bend it every couple of inches. If it cracks then time to replace it as it is leaking. Also will the ebrake hold the truck?. Take the slack out of the cables if not before you lose a wheel cylinder and have a bad day.
I'll have to do that when I get back to my place. The ebrake does hold the truck, but it's not as strong as it could be. The connection between the cable that runs in the cab and the cable that runs to the rear drums (the one I replaced) was so rusty that I was worried about breaking something off when adjusting it. Also, the adjusters were bent when I did the brake job. I've got the new adjusters and drums ready to put on though.
Get that stuff taken care of and see how that goes, and double check for leaks.(Fluid or vacuum). Post up your results or if you need more help just ask.
Today I put on the new drums and adjusters. The brake pedal feel is greatly improved. But it feels like my front brakes aren't doing a whole lot. I push the pedal pretty hard and the ABS will step in for the back wheels. But I'm not stopping extremely quickly. It's as if I'm not getting full braking force to the front brakes. I looked at the rotors and they don't have rust on them. Any ideas?
Turns out, my front driver's side caliper had come completely loose. That could certainly explain the lack of front brakes.
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