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Old 07-04-2015, 05:23 PM   #1
turbobuick33
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1992 SL2
Default Is the my brake master cylinder bad?

I replaced the front calipers and I gravity bleed the passenger side fluid came out but for the driver side no fluid came out. I'm thinking restricted brake hose, I took the hose off the hard line and no brake fluid was coming out. I sprayed brake cleaner inside the rubber hose and it flows out easily. I stepped on the brake pedal a few times and nothing comes out from the driver side hard line. Is this just a bad hard line? or the master cylinder?When everything is all connected I can't get a hard pedal to bleed the brakes. I checked all the other lines for leaks and none found. Did my master cylinder just crapped out just like that? Before replacing the calipers, the brakes were good and with a good brake pedal pressure and now I can't get a hard pedal to bleed the brake. What do you guys think? Thanks

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Old 07-04-2015, 05:30 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Is the my brake master cylinder bad?

Was brake fluid ever replaced?

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Old 07-04-2015, 10:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is the my brake master cylinder bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Was brake fluid ever replaced?
Yes, a fews yrs back, I have a brake fluid tester tool that tests if the fluid is good or bad and it is still good.

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Old 07-04-2015, 11:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is the my brake master cylinder bad?

Well, the only way to test and verify a good or bad brake master cylinder is either bench testing or on the car. Bench testing may be more difficult as a set up is needed to pump brake fluid out each port and fed back to the reservoir using flexible clear tubing. This won't test for a failed one. Pressure testing requires blocking off all output ports and observing if the front or rear piston leaks - the brake rod will go in if a leak occurs from old seals. On the car, pumping the brake pedal several times to build up pressure will allow bleeding the master cylinder ports. This accomplishes a pressure test while bleeding each port before bleeding the rest of the brake system. If pedal pressure doesn't build up then the master cylinder may be worn out. If this is the original master cylinder (mileage?) it may be worn out. All master cylinders build up pressure immediately (after several pump cycles to bleed off the vacuum brake unit) and firm up with less than four inches of travel - full hydraulic pressure from leg power alone, no power assist to interfere with flushing/bleeding/troubleshooting hydraulic problems.

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Old 07-04-2015, 11:47 PM   #5
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1992 SL2
Default Re: Is the my brake master cylinder bad?

This is the original unit with 167K miles. If there is no brake fluid coming out the driver side hard line and if I connect it all back, should there still be a slight hard brake pedal after a few pumps?

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Old 07-05-2015, 12:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Is the my brake master cylinder bad?

There is no such thing as slight hard brake pedal. The reason to press the pedal several times after engine shut down is to bleed off the vacuum power assist where driving gives less than a firm pedal feel. Try any car with the engine OFF and press the brake pedal several times; you might hear a faint hissing sound as the vacuum brake boost unit bleeds off this vacuum reserve. The boost unit holds vacuum for several emergency brake pedal applications if the engine suddenly dies and the car needs to stop. This reserve vacuum stays in the large black canister directly behind the brake master cylinder - half the canister is holding vacuum from a one-way valve that's fed vacuum every time the engine's running. Bleeding off this vacuum leaves only the brake master cylinder feel as the pedal pumps up pressure until it stops traveling. Every car works this way with pedal travel occurring less than four inches when pressed. This is hydraulic pressure pressing against brake fluid to force brake pads and shoes to lock brakes. Oil as a liquid is incompressible so the pedal should feel firm and never fall to the floor. Every car, truck, and suv brake system works the same way without power assist. The pedal stops and stays hard. If you cannot pump up the brake system with the pedal falling to the floor, air entered the system, brake fluid is leaking out somewhere or the master cylinder is worn out.

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Old 07-05-2015, 07:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is the my brake master cylinder bad?

I removed the hard line from the master cylinder and nothing came out. I used an air gun and shot some compress air in the port and the fluid came out. So there is some crap or dirt in the master cylinder. I connected everything and I was able to get a hard brake pedal and I bled the brakes. I want to remove the master cylinder and remove the reservoir to clean it out. If I take off the master cylinder do I have to bench bleed the master cylinder before reinstalling it?

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Old 07-05-2015, 10:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is the my brake master cylinder bad?

In theory and practical terms, it's always better to bench bleed a master cylinder before putting it back on the car. By knowing the master cylinder is bled, all that's left is a thorough flush/bleed of the rest of the brake system. You can always try bleeding the master cylinder on the car but you already found problems with crap remaining until using compressed air. Moving crap downstream into one or several lines leaves some doubt whether it comes out during the bleed process. Separating the master cylinder for bleeding ensures crap is flushed out into a container and not into lines to eventually enter calipers or wheel cylinders.

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Old 07-07-2015, 01:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is the my brake master cylinder bad?

You should go ahead and replace that Master cylinder. By blowing Air into the fluid port, you have also pushed back any crap that has worn off of the seals in all the years it has been in service. Buy a new one, bench bleed it, and install it on the car. Keeping the fluid full, allow first the RF, then LF caliper to gravity bleed. Once you have nice clean fluid flow, close the bleeders screws, and bleed the brakes with a buddy. Pump three or four times, hold the pedal down, quickly open the bleeder to release any air, then close before the pedal gets too low. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.

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