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1974 vw Beetle with no brake pedal....

My 1974 vw bug has no brake pedal, it sinks to the floor. I installed new front brake lines (steel and rubber), new front wheel cylinders and a new master cylinder. The reason for the new master cylinder was the car had the same problem it has now and I assumed it was a bad master. No visible external leaks in the system anywhere. The vw's have the master cylinder mounted at floor level and the reservoir seperate, located about 24" or so above it. I did not bench bleed it because it has no reservoir attatched to it to run the bleeder tubes. I did attempt to pressure bleed the system by pressurizing the reservoir with about 10 p.s.i.. I did this no less than 4 times along with cracking the line fittings at the master cylinder and bleeding at the wheel cylinders the conventional way by pumping the brakes up. (The problem is that I get no pedal pressure whatsoever no matter what I do). Is it possible that The new German manufactured master cylinder (good quality) is a bad one? With no external leaking, air has to be entering from somewhere. Is there a way to bleed a master cylinder with a seperate reservoir? Please help before I cut holes in my floor boards and Fred Flintstone this thing to a stop.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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  • bdurand Jul 24, 2009

    dcs_bristo and pippall,
    Thanks for your fast responses.
    These are all the things that i've previously tried: After pressure bleeding the system with no luck (4 times)we attempted to pump the pedal and cracked the lines at the master cylinder to bleed, then (with reservoir full at all times) attempted to pump the brakes and bleed at the wheel cylinder bleeder screws (starting with the right rear, left rear, right front and then left front), still with no luck. I then tried to let the system gravity bleed and again no luck. I tried a vacuum pump on the bleeders with the discharge in a jar of fluid, still no luck. I have gone through 3 large containers of brake fluid so far. (Just can't seem to build up pressure at all). As for the pushrod adjustment I adjusted as the book says, (.004 - .007 play).
    A friend of mine just gave me great suggestion as a way to test the master cylinder. He told me to disconnect the brake lines (vw master cylinder has 2 brake lines to the front and 1 to the rear) at the master cylinder and plug them with 12mm brass plugs. Pump the brakes and if it holds, good master. If it doesn't, bad master. (makes sense) If it does hold, reconnect the rear line and give it a try. If it holds then move to the fronts. That sounds pretty logical as a process of elimination. If you can, let me know if that idea sounds like a good one and I will try to find some plugs and give it a try this weekend.
    Thanks alot for your help.
    Brian

  • bdurand Jul 24, 2009

    Darren
    I didn't even think of clamping the rubber brake lines. I did it with vice grips and clamps on all 4 rubber hoses and still no pedal. I guess that means a bad master cylinder. It seems it must be bypassing inside. I should have thought about that earlier and saved all of this aggrivation. This is a quality German master cylinder too. I paid alot more for it than the ones you get from Brazil or Mexico (JUNK). Must be a bad seal inside. I don't want to take it apart to look at it, it might void the return.
    Well, looks like i'll be pulling it back out and sending it back. It sure seems like alot of people on fixya.com have the same problem with no pedal, I hope this chat can help alot of people with their issues. A great way to isolate the problem. Well I appreciate all your helpful advice and fast response.
    Thanks again and have a great weekend.
    A very happy Brian

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Adjust the push rod that enters the cylinder.Sounds like your not letting the fluid into the cylinder.Shorten the pushrod then try.If still no success extend the rod if that fails you have a faulty cylinder.Hope that was helpfull good luck.

Posted on Jul 24, 2009

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Hi,
Ok you need to approach this logically and your in the right direction,but, you haven`t mentioned bleeding the rear brakes? ,if you have bled these first ? do not be offended by what I write as I can be a bit blunt !.
Right first you need to start bleeding the system from the wheel cylinder furthest away from the master cylinder NEARSIDE REAR,when you have clean fluid with no air lock the wheel cylinder bleed screw now do the same on the offside rear,then the Nearide front,then finally the offside front this should use about half a litre of DOT 4 brake fluid,if when you have done this the pedal is still soft but better then your in the right direction ,so do it again but this time,when the pedal is on the floor open the bleed nipple and when fluid stops coming out lock it off before !!! you let the brake pedal come up keep doing this on all the wheel cylinders in turn (order above)untill you have clean air free brake fluid comming out,if you still have a bad pedal E-mail me and i will tell you what to do next
hope this helps.

Posted on Jul 24, 2009

  • dcs_bristol Jul 24, 2009

    Hi Brian,

    yes your friend is right,when you have bled the system as you described the next step is to isolate the circuits indivdually before you undo all the hard work by disconnecting the master cylinder, try clamping each brake hose and seeing if the pedal goes hard if it does release 1 hose clamp at a time checking the pedal each time the bad circuit will be obvious as the pedal will go to the floor or be worse than if clamped (some travel 2-5mm is ok) you need to inspect the brake hoses under pressure if you have fluid comming out of the bleed nipples then the master cylinder is moving fluid,if you have mre than a stiffening of the brake hose under pressure than suspect it it should not inflate at all,,my memory of this braking system is that even though you get a lot of travel it still stops the car ok, ,have you adjusted the brake shoes all round to the point where they bind slightly ? if there is to much movement in the shoes to contact the drum this will give you a bad pedal hopr this helps .

    Darren DCS

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tdisline_603.jpg


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tdisline_604.jpg
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tdisline_605.jpg
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tdisline_606.jpg
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tdisline_607.jpg

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tdisline_296.jpg

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tdisline_297.jpg

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tdisline_298.jpg

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tdisline_299.jpg

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