Experienceing loss of power to brakes
1. What is the Brake Fluid Level?
2. Are you losing any Brake fluid at all? Are there any puddles or noticeable wetness on the ground or on the tires/wheels? With vehicle parked, the reservoir filled (overfilled), and engine running: pump the brakes and check on the ground and back sides (inside portions) of the wheels. Look for any brake fluid leaks.
3. Leaks from Calipers usually means a leak from the caliper piston. The rubber seals will be wet.
Leaks from Drums usually means a leak from the wheel cylinder.
4. In any case of leaks from the wheels - replace the calliper OR wheel cylinder.
For caliper leaks: change the brake pads, and clean the rotors with brake cleaner.
For drum leaks: clean the drum and brake hardware with brake cleaner, and replace the shoes.
5. If no leak is detected from the wheel area's: check under the Master Cylinder for wetness indicating a possible leak.
6. If no leak can be found: you MAY have a rear seal leak in the Master Cylinder which is pumping Brake Fluid into the Brake Booster (that large disk looking thing attached to the fire wall, attached to the Master Cylinder in front).
a. Use a large drip/catch pan under the Van in the area on the Master Cylinder.
b. Disconnect the brake lines from the Master Cylinder using a flair wrench.
c. Remove the two nuts (12 or 13mm?) attaching the Master Cylinder to the Brake Booster. If you have been using a lot of fluid, and have found no leaks, here is a good possibilty that all that brake fluid has collected in the Booster; so when you detach the Master Cylinder from the Brake Booster, all that fluid will come rushing out!
7. If there is Brake Fluid inside the Brake Booster: there is no cleaning that out. Brake Fluid is very caustic to the seals inside the Booster and should be replaced.
8. Of course the Master Cylinder will also have to be replaced.
9. After replacing the Master Cylinder/Brake Booster - make sure you get all that spilled brake fluid off the engine compartment area parts! I use a brake cleaner, then mild soap and then water to rinse. Clean any Brake Fluid off Paint imediatley as it will quickly dissolves finishes and paint.
10. If no leak is detected and the Booster is clear, there may be problems with the Booster One-Way Valve. This is attached to the outside of the Booster and has a hose from an "advance" connected to it. This maybe malfunctioning where you are losing power. Replace this first before deciding to replace the whole booster (in cases of NON-LEAKS ONLY). If that did not work, there may be inner seals inside the Booster that have failed. That means a new Booster.
11. In any of the above cases: Make sure you bleed the Master Cylinder correctly and bleed the brakes (at each affected wheel) correctly. Any air in the brake lines will decrease your braking proficiency or could result in brake failure.
Let me know if this helped or if you have any additional information or questions. Feel free to contact me at FixYa.com!
Dec 10, 2009 |
1999 Dodge Caravan