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Old 11-11-2007, 08:36 PM   #1
BarnOwl
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Default How To Rebuild a Saturn Master Brake Cylinder W/Pics

Not too many people do this but, it's cheaper than buying a new master cylinder, you don't have to fool with core and it works pretty well. In my case, this was for a project car that I really didn't want to put any more money in. The brakes were working but, very spongy and the pedal was going to the floor. I'd tried adjusting the rear brakes and lubing the front caliper pin but, that didn't help. The rebuild kit can be had at www.rockauto.com for less than $20. There are actually instructions for doing this in the FSM.

First pull the master cylinder. I'm not going into how to do that here. If you can't figure it out, you shouldn't try this job.

Once you have the master cylinder out of the car, you need to remove the fluid level sensor. That's attached with the little black clip shown in the first photo. Note the pin holding the reservior on in that pic as well. The second photo shows the sensor removed.



Next you'll need to pound out the pins holding the reservoir to the cylinder. Use a pin punch and light taps, the cylinder is aluminum and you don't want to mess it up. You don't need to knock the pins completely out. You just need to get them to the point where they wont interfere with removing the reservoir. Then you can pull the reservoir off the cylinder. The first pic shows one of the pins pounded about as far as it needs to be. The second pic shows the other pin before I started on it. The third pic shows the reservoir removed.



Now it's time to remove the piston assembly. This is the only tricky part of the job. I put the cylinder in a vise with a cloth protecting it and very little clamping force. Then with my wife holding the piston assembly in with a large phillips screwdriver, I shoved the end of the clip further in to the master cylinder by placing a small screwdriver against it and lightly tapping with a hammer. This got the end of the clip out of the groove. Then I was able to grab it with some needle nosed pliers and remove the clip.

The pics below are the end of the cylinder with the piston assembly removed, the old piston assembly and clip, the rebuild kit box, and the contents of the rebuild kit.



Now you're supposed to wash everything really well with denatured alcohol and dry with low pressure non-lubricated air. Guess what. I realized at this point in the job that I couldn't find my denatured alcohol. So, that didn't happen in this case. You should do it though.

Before putting things back together, you need to lubricate the rubber parts with fresh brake fluid. Then install the piston assembly. It's pretty much the same as taking it out but, it's a whole lot easier to get that clip in. The pics below show the piston assembly installed and the completed master cylinder.



After the cylinder was installed and the brakes were bled, I was very satisfied with the results. The brakes felt good and hard.

There is one thing though in that last pic are some left over parts from the kit in front of the master cylinder. Anyone know what they are for?

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Old 12-09-2007, 03:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: How To Rebuild a Saturn Master Brake Cylinder W/Pics

I ended up having a similar problem, but rebuilding the master cylinder didnt help cause the bore of the cylinder was the issue. Having brake fluid that hasnt been changed, ever caused a slight corrosion in the master cylinder and the brake system not being able to retain pressure. I advise everyone in the middle of this, look down the bore of the cylinder with a flash light. if you see any circular shadows, you are probably dealing with the same issue I had, and will most likely have to buy a new master cylinder. but it doesnt hurt to spend like $10 on a rebuild kit, Id say atleast give it a shot.

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Old 08-17-2008, 09:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: How To Rebuild a Saturn Master Brake Cylinder W/Pics

Awesome How-to Barnowl!

I would like to add to this for further reference for other members.

When having the cylinder out, you may want to clean the valves under the two bolts. They were very dirty on mine. They are 24mm. Use a vice to hold the cylinder in place. Note that you do NOT want to remove the plastic piece thats inside the bolt. This was placed in and had the metal pinched around it at the factory and was not meant to be removed. Both the spring and metal piston can come out. Installation is just reversed.

Bleeding:
It is advised to prime the master cylinder before bleeding the brakes at the wheels. I installed the cylinder with out the 24mm bolts in place and with out the resiviour. The 15mm nuts holding the cylinder to the car were torqued along with each of the flare nuts. Then I filled the chambers with fluid and replaced the 24mm bolts. I then poured fluid into each of the resiviour inlets. Slowly they level decreased and bubbles appeared. Tapping the cylinder speed this process up. Once it seemed full I put the resiviour back in place and Bleed the system starting farthest from the cylinder.

It can be done with out the above, however the process is much slower.

Like Barnowl, I to had the same pieces left over. They did not fit any where on the cylinder.

Brakes are much better now!

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Old 12-04-2008, 02:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: How To Rebuild a Saturn Master Brake Cylinder W/Pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnOwl View Post
There is one thing though in that last pic are some left over parts from the kit in front of the master cylinder. Anyone know what they are for?
The extra parts would be for the secondary piston, primary seal, secondary seal, and seal retainer. It's all behind the secondary piston, easy to get out with compressed air and pliers.

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Old 10-26-2009, 08:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: How To Rebuild a Saturn Master Brake Cylinder W/Pics

Anyone have a writeup on getting to the 2nd piston preferably without air tools?

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