Ford Full-Size Vans 1989-1996 Repair Guide

Brake Master Cylinder



Use Ford Heavy-Duty Brake Fluid, Ford specification No. ESA-M6C25-, its equivalent, or superseding fluid; do not overfill.

BRAKE FLUID EATS PAINT. Take great care not to splash or spill brake fluid on painted surfaces. Should you spill a small amount on the van's finish, don't panic, just flush the area with plenty of water.


See Figures 1 through 5

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Fig. Fig. 1: The master cylinder used on Ford vans is of a see-through design, and has fluid level markings on the side

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Fig. Fig. 2: Without removing the cap, look at the level mark on the reservoir to check the brake fluid level

Brake fluid level and condition is a safety related item and it should be checked ANY TIME the hood is opened. Your vehicle should not use brake fluid rapidly (unless there is a leak in the system), but the level should drop slowly in relation to brake pad wear.

The master cylinder reservoir is located under the hood, on the left side firewall. All vehicles covered by this information should be equipped with a see-through plastic reservoir. This makes checking the level easy and helps reduce the risk of fluid contamination (since you don't have to expose the fluid by opening the cap to check the level). Fluid should be kept near the FULL line or between the MIN and MAX lines, depending on how the reservoir is marked.

  1. If it becomes necessary to add fluid to the system, take a moment to clean the area around the cap and reservoir.
  3. Use a clean rag to wipe away dust and dirt which could enter the reservoir after the cover is removed.

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Fig. Fig. 3: If fluid must be added, clean the master cylinder cap and the area around it with a rag ...

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Fig. Fig. 4: ... then unscrew the cap and set it aside

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Fig. Fig. 5: Add brake fluid until it reaches the MAX level indicator on the side of the reservoir

  1. Unscrew the cover and add brake fluid until the proper level is reached.
  3. Install and hand-tighten the cover.

If the level of the brake fluid is less than half the volume of the reservoir (and the brake pads are not approaching a replacement point), it is advised that you check the brake system for leaks. Leaks in the hydraulic system often occur at the wheel cylinders.