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Tech501
Tech501, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
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Experience:  38 years exp, ASE Mastertech with L1 Advanced Engine performance
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mustang gt: brake pedal builds until it is hard..tight..with ABS.

Customer Question

The brake pedal builds until it is hard and has no travel. All four breaks lock up as tight as a drum. It is on a 98 for mustang gt with ABS. I can release the pressure on the MC from a valve or what looks like a bleeded on the side of it. I have replaced the MC and still the same effect. Over time some of the pressure will self release.
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Tech501 replied 11 years ago.
 Your problem is likely in the pedal rod adjustment. It may not even be adjustable but may be the wrong master. You can confirm this by loosening the bolts that hold the master on at the time the brakes are locked. Pull the master away about a quarter inch and see if that releases them. If it does, the means the pesh rod is too long and you'll need to find the reason.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Tech501's Post: This was happening witbh the original MC from Ford. The same one that was on it the day it was made. I have owned the car since was rolled on the lot. I don't think this could be the problem.
Expert:  Tech501 replied 11 years ago.
 OK, then, was it ever contaminated with anything other than brake fluid. Swelling seals will do that too. Don't discount the other idea so quickly. If for ANY reason the pedal doesn't return ALL THE WAY, it will build pressure. A booster or binding pedal or anything else could trigger that scenerio.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Tech501's Post: Yes it was contaminated, with about an ounce of power steering fluid. The system was completely drained and all fresh put in. A few weeks later it started doing this and then a new MC was installed. I first thought the accidental grabbing and pouring of the wrong bottle might have caused it. But, I drained it all and it was weeks after that that this started happening.
Expert:  Tech501 replied 11 years ago.
 That explains it all. You can't save a contaminated system. EVERYTHING that has rubber in it has to be replaced, no exceptions. That's going to get mighty expensive but there are no shortcuts as you have found out. I would guess it's the ABS unit that got it the worst.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Tech501's Post: How can you say the entire system is going to have to be replaced. The calibers are still workingh fine even the mc seems to be fine something is trapping built up pressure below the mc and will not let it off.
Expert:  Tech501 replied 11 years ago.
 Look, this is not the first time we have dealt with a contamination problem. That chemical has mixed with the fluid and ANY piece of rubber that it touchs will eventually swell. It may take some things longer that others and then it may not reach some things at all but we're talking about brakes here and there's no room for error when somebodies life is at stake. We have to be sure and safe when we do this. I would hope you would be the same way. You can take your chances and try to guess how far it's traveled but that not the procedure any reputable shop will use. I know it's not what you want to hear but it is the crude fact of that type of problem. Call around to the dealer or other REPUTABLE shop and just ask them what has to be done when a brake system has been contaminated.  
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Tech501's Post: I will check with the dealer tomorrow and see what they say. Not that I am questioning your opinion. It just seems that if I went ahead and flushed out the system after it happened then it seemed like it should have been okay. Man if this is the cause I will make sure I never grab the wrong bottle when topping of fluids again. I feel pretty stupid for having all the bottles sitting there with the top off.
Expert:  Tech501 replied 11 years ago.
 Sure, that's fine. Just don't repond to this answer so you can leave it open and come back to accept it before the question expires.

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