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Old 09-14-2017, 03:03 AM   #1
ZepSL2
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Default brakes failed need help

Ok when i was coming off the highway at my exit i hit the brakes and the pedal went to the floor i had to use the emergency brake to stop.

luckily it was late at night (about 20 minutes ago) i was only car on the road.
I slowly drove home about 1 mile away popped the hood thinking no fluid and breakline failure but to my surprise fluid level was fine and as far as i can tell no leaks.

with engine off i got in car and pumped the brake pedal and it got hard and seemed fine but as soon as i started the car the pedal went right to the floor. I shut engine off and pumped them and just a few pumps rock hard again. Turn engine on and pedal right to the floor again.

ok so what does this mean? bad master cylinder? vacuum leak? booster issue?

what do i check/do next to pin the exact problem down?


thanks

Russ

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Old 09-14-2017, 06:29 AM   #2
Highmile
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1995 SL1
Default Re: brakes failed need help

Good brake petal after the vacuum in the booster is bled off indicates bad booster.

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Old 09-14-2017, 06:51 AM   #3
underthehood
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Default Re: brakes failed need help

Even if the booster fails the over whelming odds are you would simply lose boost not pedal. Odds are FAR more likely you lost a brake line or maybe a rear wheel cylinder. Contrary to what you might think OP if you lost a brake line or cylinder you would not see an appreciable drop in the master cyl.
I'm sure if you look at the rear wheels or perhaps underneath the car you will find fluid
I did not see where you live but a rusted out brake line would not be a surprise

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Old 09-14-2017, 04:07 PM   #4
onlinebiker
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Default Re: brakes failed need help

Is it standard or ABS? did you get a brake light??

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Old 09-14-2017, 11:07 PM   #5
sedativechunk
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Default Re: brakes failed need help

Quote:
Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
Even if the booster fails the over whelming odds are you would simply lose boost not pedal. Odds are FAR more likely you lost a brake line or maybe a rear wheel cylinder. Contrary to what you might think OP if you lost a brake line or cylinder you would not see an appreciable drop in the master cyl.
I'm sure if you look at the rear wheels or perhaps underneath the car you will find fluid
I did not see where you live but a rusted out brake line would not be a surprise
First of all OP, very happy to hear you are safe which is most important. I had that happen last year, driving my mothers' 2004 Chevy Impala around. A break line popped and it's scary. I'm glad you made it home safe.

Second, I agree with underthehood... it to me just sounds like a break line or rear cylinder popped. My SL2 has over 130 miles and I've never had a problem with the booster or master cylinder. Not saying they don't go bad. But I would jack it up and look underneath. Leaks on fuel and brake lines can be very discrete. You won't see them, but they are there.

If you have very rusty brake lines and especially live on winter roads, extreme chances are it's popped somewhere in a rusty spot. I'd start there, beings that's the cheapest route (if you do them yourself, anyway). Put some new lines on, steel lines are fairly inexpensive, especially for a small Saturn. Unlike fuel lines which are a little more discrete (and you also smell the odor more and more gradually), them brake lines, they can go bad and you won't notice until you try stopping!

I will say my SL2 is about due for some new brake lines. They're extremely rusty. It passed inspection and I'm surprised they passed it because the brake lines aren't too sexy looking anymore. Beings mine are rusting so bad I would say check there. GM's in general are notorious for rusting lines.

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Old 09-14-2017, 11:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: brakes failed need help

I had a '93 SL2 that was rust free everywhere pop a rear rubber brake line on me. Car was crazy fun to drive (kinda helped that I had put every bolt-on fun part to it) and until that day never gave me an issue stopping from well over the speed limit. Missed my driveway, spun it around in the next one...borrowed my moms car and had the line replaced about an hour later. ABS doesn't do anything when there's no pressure in the lines...lol

If the rear cylinder(s) have burst the drum will hold fluid for quite a while before it leaks out. I don't know how much you pumped the pedal but it takes a while for any leak short of a full cut-off line to give a noticeable drop in the master cylinder level.

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Old 09-15-2017, 05:52 AM   #7
Waiex191
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Default Re: brakes failed need help

On the initial pop there will not be a lot of fluid. Keep pumping the brake pedal, move some fluid, the leak will turn up.

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