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VIEW SOLUTIONS TO COMMON PROBLEMS
Brake Fluid Reservoir
Vacuum Brake Booster
Brake Lines and Hoses
Flushing the System
Select a part to view solution for common problems associated with the item.
Operation: The brake fluid reservoir is the holding tank for the brake fluid that is used by the braking system. It is usually graduated with minimum and maximum fluid level markings. Advice: Some replacement master cylinders require you to retain and reuse the brake fluid reservoir. Carefully remove the old reservoir, clean and check for any cracks or faults that could become a potential leak before reinstalling to the new master cylinder.
Operation: Bench bleeding removes all of the air from the master cylinder prior to introducing it to the rest of the brake system. Advice: Air in the brake system will cause a spongy pedal feel and result in inefficient braking. Due to the angle that the master cylinder is mounted in the vehicle, removing all of the air after installation can be difficult, if not impossible. Always follow the instructions that come with the new master cylinder for bench bleeding prior to installation.
Operation: The vacuum brake booster decreases the effort necessary to apply the brakes by increasing the force that is applied by the driver's foot. Advice: After removing the master cylinder, check for signs of fluid leakage out of the rear seal on the master cylinder. If the seal is wet with brake fluid, chances are that the vacuum diaphragm in the power booster has been subjected to the leaking fluid as well. Over time brake fluid will deteriorate the vacuum diaphragm. A hard brake pedal or hissing noises during braking are indications of a ruptured vacuum diaphragm. If there are signs of leakage, consider replacing the vacuum brake booster.
Operation: The brake lines act as a conduit for the brake fluid, supplying each wheel with the hydraulic action necessary for brake operation. The system is made up predominantly with metal brake lines. Flexible hoses are used at the wheels to accomadate the movement of suspension and steering. Advice: Check metal brake lines for signs of corrosion, physical damage or leakage. Check flexible brake hoses for splits, cracking or signs of leakage. The brake lines are connected to the various brake components with hollow fittings called flare nuts or line fittings. Because flare nuts are hollow they are susceptible to damage if a normal open ended wrench is used to remove them. Flare nut wrenches, sometimes called line wrenches are special open ended wrenches designed to slide over the brake line and still provide maximum grip on all sides of the fitting. Apply a generous spray of penetrating oil to the threads of the fittings and allow it to soak in before loosening the fittings. Recommendations: Flare Nut Wrench set Penetrating spray
Operation: Control valves such as metering or proportioning valves are used to control the application timing and fluid pressure between the front disc and rear drum brakes. Advice: Occasionally, internal corrosion can cause a control valve to stick, limiting or blocking the flow of brake fluid to one or more of the wheels. This usually shows up when you are bleeding the brake system. If you are having trouble getting brake fluid out of any of the bleeder valves, a stuck control valve may be at fault.
Operation: Depending on the system, different lights are used to warn of low fluid, unequal system pressure, worn brake linings or parking brake on/off status. Each of these warning lights are activated by some form of switch either hydraulic or mechanical. Advice: Use care when disconnecting electrical connectors. Time and heat cause the plastic connectors to become brittle and easy to break. To avoid corrosion problems, apply a little dielectric grease to the metal contacts before reassembly. Recommendations: Dielectric grease
Operation: Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that has been specifically designed for brake systems. Although there are different types of brake fluid, all brake fluids share some common characteristics. The viscosity must be free flowing at all temperatures. Brake fluid must have a high boiling point and a low freezing point. It must be non-corrosive to the metal and rubber brake parts and lubricate them as well. With the exception of DOT 5 which is silicone based, brake fluid must be able to absorb any moisture that enters the system. Advice: The color of DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluid varies between clear and light amber. Dark brake fluid is indicative of contamination. Over time brake fluid will become saturated with water due to it's moisture absorbing properties. Water in the brake fluid will cause inefficient braking and lead to corrosion in the system. Brake fluid should be changed every two years.
Operation: Flushing the brake fluid removes old or contaminated brake fluid from the system replacing it with fresh brake fluid. Advice: Brake fluid is a hygroscopic fluid, which means that it is in its nature to absorb moisture from the air. Over time the amount of moisture accumulated will decrease the efficiency of the fluid to act hydraulically. Moisture in the brake fluid can also cause corrosion in the system. Brake fluid should be flushed every two years. Recommendations: Brake fluid