Question about Ford Taurus

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I have a 1998 Ford Taurus SE. It does not have anti-lock brakes. My daughter borrowed the car a week ago, came to my house yesterday, and when I went to move the car the brake pedal went to the floor. The car stopped, but barely. I told her it wasn't like that when she took the car a week ago. Apparently the brake light came on a couple of days ago. I checked the fluid level, and it was very low so I topped it off. The pedal still goes to the floor and I didn't see any brake fluid leaking under the car. I suspect either the master cylinder is bad, or perhaps there is a leak somewhere. What should I check? I can perform some if not all of the work myself. Thanks, Randy

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  • randy_yates Apr 26, 2010

    Thanks for your quick reply. I only did a quick look under the hood yesterday as it was raining and I didn't see any leaks around the master cylinder. It was difficult to check for leaks under the car due to the rain. My intentions are to check the master cylinder more closely tonight, and if that looks good I'll start by pulling the wheels off. I'll probably start with the rear wheels (drum brakes) and see if the wheel cylinders look ok or not.

  • randy_yates Apr 27, 2010

    Well, took the rear wheels and drums off last night. What a friggin' disaster. The right rear brake shoes look new. This brake is not functioning at all. In fact, there is grease on the shoes, not sure how that got on there. Upon depressing the brake pedal, nothing happens on the right side. The left rear wheel is a different story. The shoes are completely worn down, the rivets scored two deep grooves in the drum. I had to hammer on the drum for a few minutes before I could even get it off. This side is obviously functioning. The real problem however is the brake line running along the drivers side is leaking. The entire line needs replaced, both drums, new shoes, and maybe one or two wheel cylinders. In fact someone had replaced the original brake lines, because the original brake lines are still under the car and corroded to the point that they were breaking off in small 6" sections. I'm not sure why the right rear brake isn't working. I need to get fluid over there first to see if the wheel cylinder is functioning or not. Getting access to the brake lines is not easy. I removed the cruise control module, which gives some access, but not much. This is a challenging job, which probably explains why the labor on this kind of job is so excessive. I'm semi-retired when it comes to working on cars, so this is not something I'm looking forward to, however I don't want to shell out $1000 for a repair either. If I can replace the brake lines, I might decide to fix the car (I only paid $1400 for the car 6 months ago). I certainly don't want to spend $1000 or more for repairs. When I look at the proportioning valve where all the lines screw in, its hard to tell which lines go to the back of the car. I don't have a clear view of where the lines go from there, so I need to get under the car and check this further. Anyway, I know what to do and how to make the repairs, it's just not easy. Maybe you have some advice to make life easier, like driving the car off a cliff!



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Missing fluid = a leak somewhere
common leaks points are the rear wheel cylinders and lines
if its leaking at the master then your booster should be wet

additionally, since you added fluid, the new fluid is probably sitting on top of air in the system and cannot get to the leak

just keep pumping and adding fluid until you find the external leaks

often it takes at least two bottles to get the leak going again

Posted on Apr 27, 2010

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Hi! First check if the brake master cylinder has a leak. If there is, then replace the brake master cylinder. If the brake master looks good and no sign of fluid leakage, check the wheels if there are any marks of brake fluid. If a wheel has a leak then replace the brake caliper kits specially the brake piston seal for it may be worn. HOpe this helps and have a good one!

Posted on Apr 26, 2010

  • dj_relly999
    dj_relly999 Apr 26, 2010

    That'll be a good move to make... Its really hard to check on wheels when the ground is wet... Good luck on this and hope to hear from you after.


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