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Old 10-07-2017, 01:27 PM   #1
Jonasan308
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1999 SC1
Default Master cylinder

Awhile ago, i bled my entire braking system and flushed it of some very dark, sometimes black fluid that turned light green when i was almost done flushing and replaced it with some prestone brake fluid. After that, the brakes felt "better" but something still didn't feel quite right, but i cant tell what.

I have done the booster test, the brakes get firm with the engine off within about 3-5 strokes of the pedal. Start the car, and the pedal sinks to the floor.

I've been feeling a "click" when i press the pedal past a certain point. Although, it may not be related, i wanted to mention it anyway since i havent noticed such a thing.

Now, my pedal is feeling somewhat worse and the master cylinder is missing fluid. I checked my wheels, no fluid leaks there.

So after all this, should i suspect my master cylinder? The junkyard got a 96 sl1 with 136k on it while i was there, should i go rip off a master cylinder?

...
1999 Saturn SL1-129k at purchase(may 2016)-139k when wrecked(September 2016)

1999 Saturn SC1(This car is cursed)-156K at purchase(october 2016)-170k currently (jun 2017)

Last edited by Jonasan308; 10-07-2017 at 01:32 PM..

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Old 10-07-2017, 02:35 PM   #2
billr
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Default Re: Master cylinder

If it is losing brake fluid, there has to be a leak somewhere. Check at the firewall where the push-rod goes through from the brake pedal to the MC; if there is no leak there, changing the MC isn't going to help any. That is the only place the MC itself can lose fluid, assuming you have a cover on the reservoir and no sign of leakage there.

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Old 10-07-2017, 02:54 PM   #3
Jonasan308
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1999 SC1
Default Re: Master cylinder

I cant find the push rod for some reason. Would it be directly behind the booster and master cylinder?

Also, my pedal makes a pretty significant wooshing sound when pressed.

...
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1999 Saturn SC1(This car is cursed)-156K at purchase(october 2016)-170k currently (jun 2017)

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Old 10-07-2017, 03:30 PM   #4
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Master cylinder

If it is not showing up on the garage floor under the car, will not be easy to spot on gravel or dirt, then it is leaking into the vacuum booster. Look on the BACK side of every tire for the signs of brake fluid, will look ,like oil on the tire. You will not see it leaking into the booster but you might not a change in the engine sound/idle when you step on the brake.

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Old 10-07-2017, 03:55 PM   #5
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1999 SC1
Default Re: Master cylinder

I had mentioned noticing a change in engine idle if i press the brake sometimes. I have noticed it going down.

...
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Master cylinder

If you do a thorough inspection for brake fluid leaks and do not find any, low fluid usually results from normal disc brake useage. Drum brakes do not accumulate fluid in each wheel cylinder when (drum) brake shoes wear but disc brake calipers do. As disc brake pads wear, the caliper piston extends further from home position. As pistons in calipers extend, the empty space behind it is filled with brake fluid. As disc brakes wear, fluid level will drop to fill the caliper chamber void. This is one reason to never top off brake fluid; a topped off master cylinder avoids/ignores possible worn brakes or leak and when disc brake pads are replaced, the caliper piston needs to be pressed back into the caliper body resulting in pushing brake fluid in the caliper back up the lines and into the master cylinder to overflow and spill fluid. When a properly working brake system doesn't have leaks or brake issues, the fluid level drop indicates disc brake pad wear. Servicing brakes, the best time when rotating wheels, would be checking on pad wear/thickness and drum removal to inspect rear brake shoes. This serves to correlate pad wear to fluid level. Performing inspections at tire rotations is the best way to stay informed. If you don't rotate tires periodically then you miss the opportunity to perform simple brake checks and have to remind yourself of inspections before damage occurs.

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Old 10-07-2017, 05:47 PM   #7
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1999 SC1
Default Re: Master cylinder

Alright, ill take a closer look at my front pads. When i bled the brakes, i didnt remove them but they seemed to have plenty of pad left.

...
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Old 10-07-2017, 06:20 PM   #8
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Master cylinder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonasan308 View Post
I had mentioned noticing a change in engine idle if i press the brake sometimes. I have noticed it going down.
If the pedal stroke has increased and the engine idle changes that might just be a failed master cylinder. You can unbolt it from the front of the booster and pull it out just far enough to wipe a finger around the back end to check for fluid. You do not have to detach the brake lines to do this.

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Old 10-07-2017, 08:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Master cylinder

How much fluid have you had to add, and how often?

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Old 10-08-2017, 02:21 PM   #10
Jonasan308
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1999 SC1
Default Re: Master cylinder

Its been almost a month and so car, about 1/8 or (rough estimate) of the MC is missing fluid. Which means, not much fluid getting used up.

Ill unbolt the MC to look for fluid.

...
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1999 Saturn SC1(This car is cursed)-156K at purchase(october 2016)-170k currently (jun 2017)

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