It seems that a tech at Wal-Mart put trans or pwr steer fluid in the brake resv during a recent service. The contaminated fluid has worked its way thru the system. Sometimes, the brake pedel will go to the floor on the first pump, but come right up on the next (or 2). It does not happen all the time, and when the brake is engaged, it does not sink away, like with a bad master cyl, nor does it leak at the wheels. I suspected the ABS cyl. Maybe not functioning correctly. But I was told that if I got one from a used parts yard, it would have to be specific to that exact year & numbered for that specific computer. Can anyone shed some light on this? The modules are VERY expensive from the parts store. Help!
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The slash that you placed between the words steering/brake have me concerned. I certainly hope you did not think that these two systems are co-joined? The power steering system is a hydraulic system completely separate and isolated from the brake system. They also use two completely different types of fluid. Putting brake fluid in the power steering system would destroy it just as putting power steering fluid in the brake master cylinder will destroy it. The type(s) of rubber used in the seals for each of these systems demands they use their own fluid. Any cross-contamination will require a complete draining, cleaning, and replacement of ALL rubber components and seals. This would include the power steering pump and rack for the power steering system, and for the brake system the master cylinder, all calipers and wheel cylinder as well as the proportioning valve. If there is an ABS unit, it will need serviced as well.
When replacing brake pads on any anti-lock brake system alway open the bleeder screw on the brake caliper before compressing caliper piston or possible damage can occur to the anti-lock hydraulics. Brake fluid should be purged from all cars and trucks after 5 years of operation, old fluid can be contaminated by moisture in the lines and calipers causing rust which in turn can sieze caliper pistons and cause braking inadeqaucies and possible failure.
Do not start it brake fluid in the power steering. Will destroy the seal in the whole unit if you have started it you will need to take the return line off at the pump and flush it asap you can use trans fluid it has cleaner in it
Check first the third eye brake light. does it work? okay the problem reside in a ABS sensor make sure it is hook up or if you recently did a brake job it didnt get contaminated. When the ABS signal is interfered with ESP,Traction is disabled. One or some of the wheel speed sensor is disconnected or is being interfered with. This is common for a recent brake job if any occured
I would recommend spark plugs every 30K, Trans. fluid and filter change every 60K, Brake fluid flush every 100K. I usually only flush the power steering fluid if yhere has been a component failure causing fluid contamination. Coolant should be flushed every 5 years or 100K, and rear differential fluid changed every 30K. I have several of these cars come in my shop with 200-300K miles. They can be very reliable if maintained properly.
Old brake fluid can be a dark brownish red color due to contaminates like rust in the system. But the fluid you speak of could be automatic trans fluid. Is your car an automatic? The power steering system in this car also takes automatic trans fluid. Check the fluid levels in the reservoirs. You may have either a auto trans leak or a power steering leak.