brake pedal went all the way to the floor suddenly

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Old 11-07-08, 01:05 PM
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brake pedal went all the way to the floor suddenly

hi

i have a 1995 dodge ram 1500 P/U with a V8 engine. disc brakes on front and drums on rear.

i was driving the other day and went to stop at an intersection and i flew through the stop sign because my brake pedal went to the floor. i looked at the dash and the brake light as well as the ABS light was on.

the truck now stops only when i press the pedal all the way down.

i haven't looked underneath yet but there is nothing in the engine compartment that is leaking fluid.

my experience with brakes is mostly disc. not drums.

is this most likely a drum/disc issue or some blown line?

thanks in advance
 
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Old 11-07-08, 02:02 PM
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brake failure

You either have a failed master cylinder, a broken brake line or air in the brake system. DO NOT DRIVE IT AGAIN UNTIL ITS FIXED. Continued driving it jeopardizes your life and the lives of everybody else on the road with you. My suspicion is the master cylinder is bad or you have very low brake fluid level.
 
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Old 11-08-08, 09:56 PM
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i took off the rear tires and i think i have a wheel cylinder leak. the drum shoes are also worn down to the rivets.

i suspect that the cylinder has been leaking small amounts of brake fluid and dropped the level so much the sensor went off.

i am going to put more brake fluid in and then do the brake job next weekend.
 
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Old 11-08-08, 11:25 PM
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Fix it

Robert, you know that you have a serious problem with your brakes. What happens if you need to make a sudden stop and the fluid you added has somehow leaked out again? You could kill someone. This truck should be parked until its fixed and brake parts are available over the weekend.

If you hit someone but did not know you had a problem it would be an accident. If you know you have a problem but still choose to drive it and hit someone it will be Manslaughter.
 
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Old 11-09-08, 10:26 AM
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i appreciate you pointing out the facts as you see them and ultimately, you are right.

but i have to also say that you have responded two times to my posting with NO suggestions how to fix anything. you didn't even attempt a suggestion on how to fix it.

i write in to this website looking for repair suggestions/guidance. i can handle the safety/morality part!

if you really want to help, you can advise how difficult it is to repair/replace the wheel cylinder. That is the part I don't know.
 
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Old 11-09-08, 11:13 AM
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Replacing/rebuilding the cylinder isn't that hard, if you've done a drum brake job before. I vote for putting a new one on. Do one side at a time and use one side for a reference.

Check pricing, new drums may be cheap and easier than turning the old ones, esp if they are original, they'll prob be too worn to turn.

Do you know where it is leaking from? If it leaked out that much, it should be pretty visible. It also could be that they just wore so much that the fluid reservoir got too low.

Do yourself a favor and start putting some penetrating oil/Liquid Wrench on the brake line connections to the cylinder now. Thats where the big problem will be, getting the connection off w/o damaging the connector or the line. That and bleeding afterwords, esp if you have anti lock brakes.
 
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Old 11-09-08, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by robert smith View Post
i but i have to also say that you have responded two times to my posting with NO suggestions how to fix anything. you didn't even attempt a suggestion on how to fix it.

i write in to this website looking for repair suggestions/guidance. i can handle the safety/morality part!

.
In the first place you never provided enough information to accurately diagnose the problem. You just said you had a problem and you said you were familiar with disk brakes. You then said you had found a leaking wheel cylinder. The you said you were going to drive it as is. I just assumed you were smart enough to either rebuild the leaking cylinder or replace it. But don't ***** cause I was unable to answer an unasked question.

if you really want to help, you can advise how difficult it is to repair/replace the wheel cylinder. That is the part I don't know
Its not difficult providing you have the proper tools and know how to remove the hub and brake shoes. Assuming you can remove the hub, you will need a brake spring tool to take the springs off the brake shoes and remove them. Once the shoes are off you can remove the wheel cylinder from the back. You will need a flare wrench to loosen the nut on the brake line. Then reinstall in reverse order and bleed the brakes.
 
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Old 11-10-08, 10:57 PM
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a tip

Just a tip do one side at a time so you can have a good side to look at like if you cant recall were a clip or spring goes.
 
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Old 11-15-08, 10:12 PM
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update to fix

here is the update:

i attempted the brake job this weekend and some went well and some didn't.

here are my questions:

on the rear right side, the parking brake assembly was on the left side so i mounted it to the backing plate with the adjuster mechanism and the secondary shoe. it looked right.

on the left side, the parking brake was on the left side so i mounted it to the primary shoe. i mounted the adjuster mechanism to the secondary shoe.

1) is that right?

the book i have says to mount the parking brake strut spring side to the primary shoe but i had to attach it to the secondary shoe on the left side.

2) is that okay?

the star wheel on the right side spins freely with a screwdriver. however, on the left side it is really hard to spin. i think the spring that joins the primary and secondary shoe is getting in the way.

3) should i reverse the spring?

4) how do i bleed the brakes? with the engine on or off? i bled them with the engine off but when i got in the pedal was soft and travelled too far.

5) first road trip, the truck shimmied when i tried to stop. it definitely is stopping better but it shouldn't buck like that. why do you think it is doing that? i think it is the left spring that gets in the way of the adjuster lever and maybe the shoe isn't adjusting correctly.

thanks in advance

bob
 
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Old 11-16-08, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by robert smith View Post
............
on the rear right side, the parking brake assembly was on the left side so i mounted it to the backing plate with the adjuster mechanism and the secondary shoe. it looked right.

on the left side, the parking brake was on the left side so i mounted it to the primary shoe. i mounted the adjuster mechanism to the secondary shoe.

1) is that right?
Parking brake shoes are both either mounted on the leading or trailing brake shoe Same on both sides
Originally Posted by robert smith View Post
..........
the star wheel on the right side spins freely with a screwdriver. however, on the left side it is really hard to spin. i think the spring that joins the primary and secondary shoe is getting in the way.

3) should i reverse the spring?
The spring is supposed to get in the way, its designed to provide resistance to the adjustment wheel. It should be hard to turn. But its a good idea to remove both adjusters and make sure they operate smoothly and freely for the entire length when replacing brakes

Originally Posted by robert smith View Post
4) how do i bleed the brakes? with the engine on or off? i bled them with the engine off but when i got in the pedal was soft and travelled too far.
Either way but its far easier to depress the pedal with engine running. Sounds like you either still have air in the lines or your brake shoes need to be adjusted out
[/QUOTE]
 
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Old 11-17-08, 09:14 AM
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quote: Parking brake shoes are both either mounted on the leading or trailing brake shoe Same on both sides


are you sure? i know that the parking brake cable enters the back of the backing plate in 2 different locations. on the right side it enters the left side of the backing plate and curls around where the secondary shoe would go.

on the left side it enters the backing plate on the right side and curls around where the primary shoe would go. i don't know how i could turn it around so as to mount it to the secondary shoe like i did on the right side rear.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 09:46 AM
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Robert....I know this may sound stupid, but I know it can happen (don't ask how I know).

The 2 sides should basically be mirror images, not identical. If one shoe has more material on it than the other, they should be in the same position on each side.
IE smaller shoe in the back position on both sides, larger shoe in the front position on each side. Not sure if thats actually the way they go, but you get my meaning.

IIRC the metal of the shoes are the same, but on the ones I've done recently, the brake material is longer on one than the other. Your's may not be.

I think that can cause the bucking you noticed also.

Also, normally (again, on the ones I can remember) the straight portion of the spring is what touches the start wheel and keeps it from turning.

Just a few thoughts...
 
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Old 11-17-08, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by robert smith View Post
quote: Parking brake shoes are both either mounted on the leading or trailing brake shoe Same on both sides

are you sure? .............
I am positive. What you are saying is the parking brake cable enters the backing plate from the rear on both sides. That would imply the parking brake is to be attached to the rear brake shoe (and I think that is correct).

You might spend some time in your Public Library with a Chiltons Manual and photocopy the page that shows the layout of your brakes. You have something hooked up wrong.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 11:47 AM
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This why many people recommend just doing one side at a time and using the other as the reference. That and digital pictures.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 03:13 PM
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Gunguy wrote: This is why many people recommend just doing one side at a time........
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AMEN! Totally agree
 
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Old 11-17-08, 04:59 PM
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all you can do is hope that the person that did the last brake job did it right. and on your truck the small brake shoe goes in the front and the larger on in the back,if the barking brake cable enters from the front then the lever goes on the rear shoe and if it enters from the back it connects to the front,Manufacturers started doing this so that the parking brake works both forward and backwards.
good luck
 
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Old 11-17-08, 05:22 PM
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greg got it right

greg you got it right! as per my description, the parking brake cable enters the backing plate in two different locations. that is why i mounted the parking brake assembly to the primary shoe on one side and the secondary shoe on the other.

i have a book with photos and i only did one side at a time. but, i was surprised to see the parking brake assembly in two different spots. the book i have only shows the right side of the vehicle and that is the side i did first.

but since, on the drivers side (the left side) i installed the parking brake assembly on the primary shoe, a few of the other steps had to be altered too. the book says the parking brake strut goes with the spring toward the primary shoe. but since the parking brake assembly is mounted in the primary shoe, i put the spring side of the the other way.

i think everything is right!!! the only thing i didn't like was the placement of the spring that joins the two shoes. it has a long side and short side. both sides have hooks. i hooked the spring in the same direction on both sides of the truck. as a result, the coil part of the spring is rubbing against the shoe adjuster assembly. i think the straight part of the spring should be doing this.

so, if you can comment on the placement of the spring...that would be great!

also, what hypothetically would cause the shimmying? will air in the system do that?

thanks
 
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Old 11-17-08, 05:55 PM
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Air will not cause the shimmy,it is a warpped rotor or drum.as far as the spring the straight portion of the spring should be over the adjusting wheel.if you could link the picture it would help, its been a while since I have done dodge brakes.
 
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