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Randall C
Randall C, ASE MasterTechnician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 11268
Experience:  35 years ASE Master Tech, Diagnostic , Electrical Specialist
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2003 Ford f150: brake pedal..the HCU (Hydraulic Control Unit)..leak

Customer Question

I just picked up my 2003 Ford f150 from Goodyear, took it in to check on brakes as the brake pedal got very loose and spongy on my way home from work. They informed me that they believe it is the HCU (Hydraulic Control Unit) has an internal leak but they do not have the tools to make that repair...does that sound logical and how much am I looking at to have this repair done...ballpark? Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Randall C replied 3 years ago.

Tracer :

Hello, My name isXXXXX will do my best to assist you with your question

Tracer :

I have little over 18 years with Goodyear so very familiar with how they operate etc.. I feel its more a matter of inexperience with this ABS unit rather than not right tools. basic tools will replace the unit IF it is the route of the problem. I think they may? have been unsure and this was the best opt out. rarely does the hydraulic unit cause this type of symptoms. I lean more to master cylinder, small leak, a caliper not working correct or something else. They should have scanned for codes first, then maybe performed a bleed procedure to see if they could get pedal back. The HCU is not too expensive but the control module is. IF you have a bad HCU, they can be $150-$250 for modulator alone. Labor around 2 hours. maybe the $500+/- range? I own the 2004 model and my brakes have begun feeling spongy and all because i know the pads are worn. Not the answer your looking for but.. even though i back Goodyear, I recommend and independent shop and /or second opinion.It may be much simpler than HCU unit. I have not run into a HCU unit yet on this model that will have internal leak but.. it is possible. Thinking they were guessing

Tracer :

Brakes get thinner, cant retain heat, pads run hotter, pedal becomes sloppy. Just thoughts. Did they scan for codes? are you ABS lights on the dash

Customer:

Let me type out the "steps" they went through to come up with their diagnoses.

Tracer :

Perfect

Customer:

1 - clamp off brake hoses to the front and rear wheels and retest to see if the pedal still fades. If it does not, remove the clamps one at a time and see which is allowing the pedal to fade and service if neessary 2- if the pedal still fades, remove the brake lines from the master cylinder and put plugs in place of the brake lines and retest for pedal fade. If the pedal still fades replace the defective master cylinder. 3- If the pedal does not fade, about all that is left short of a leaking brake line, is a bad HCU 4- Remove the dust cap of the accumulator at the HCU- these will be two rubber caps or plugs located below where the brake lines connect to the HCU. Take a straightened paper clip and put it in the small hole that is under each dust cap and have a helper apply the brake. If either paperclip moves...the HCU is internally leaking and needs to be replaced.

Customer:

It was the paerclip test that brought them to their conclusion...make sense to you?

Customer:

My next step is to take it to a ford dealer for the repair...if I read your earlier statement correct the cost should be $500+/-...if Goodyear is right

Tracer :

Yes... but please understand, NOT to discount what they wrote, The Gemini computer system through Good year spits out this diagnostic flowchart. makes them look good :) Kind of misleads the customer though. Does NOLT mean they did not follow all this, they may very well have and then yes.. this is near 100% correct. What concerns me is IF they did all these steps or skipped some. Checking brakes, checking hydraulics, going through the diag chart takes a great deal of time. I would say you should have had a near $200 -$$250 +/- bill for all this. they would have also had to do a full system bleed. Another charge. Lets assume they are correct? I would go to a reputable local shop before dealer if one in area. The $500+/- was for modulator valve ( HCU) only but.. they may be only able to buy with control module attached which can raise price a few hundred $. This is why at this stage and from what you sent, symptoms etc. I recommend second opinion. Yes,, IF they did the paperclip step and it failed, you may have bad HCU. If you got a high bill from Goodyear, then they may have run the steps, If low bill? they spit out the flowchart and are assuming. I hope this makes sense

Tracer :

What you wrote was more from the manual rather then WE did blah,blah etc, Just advising at this stage. call it near 35 years experience :(

Customer:

They charged me $118, I like to think it is because I am a loyal customer but....the mechanic they marched out to speak with me didn't instill a lot of confidence in me. Thanks for the help i will seek a second opinion. The line about not being able to do the repair because they do not have the same tolls as the dealer is just a line correct? the deler won't have a special tool a good mechanic wouldn't have right?

Tracer :

Even IF you had to do the HCU unit? NO special tools other than what a good tech should have is needed. $118 is TOO low. You should have also seen a charge for brake fluid. If they had followed the steps unhooking line? then they had to full bleed the brakes. Lots of fluid needed. Please understsnd i am Goodyear. just some techs are young and inexperienced. Yes, near 100% this was too big of risk for them. i can do an HCU every day with basic tools. Without pictures, here are the steps for replace of HCU. very straightforward

Tracer :

Hydraulic Control Unit (HCU)

Removal and Installation

Caution: Electronic modules are sensitive to static electrical charges. If exposed to these charges, damage may result.



  1. Disconnect the battery negative cable.


 


















[IMAGE][SRC][/SRC][ALT][/ALT][WIDTH]146.9387755102041[/WIDTH][HEIGHT]100[/HEIGHT][STYLE][/STYLE][/IMAGE]

















  1. Disconnect the ABS module electrical connector.


WARNING: Carefully read cautionary information on product label. For EMERGENCY MEDICAL INFORMATION seek medical advice. In the USA or Canada on Ford/Motorcraft products call: 1-800-959-3673. For additional information, consult the product Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) if available. Failure to follow these instructions may result in personal injury.

CAUTION: Brake fluid is harmful to painted and plastic surfaces. If brake fluid is spilled onto a painted or plastic surface, immediately wash it with water.

CAUTION: Only Ford authorized inlet hydraulic brake tubes should be used. These tubes are of specific design and only Ford authorized parts should be used when installing new inlet brake tubes.

NOTE: Plug each open port to prevent brake fluid from spilling.


















[IMAGE][SRC][/SRC][ALT][/ALT][WIDTH]150.78534031413614[/WIDTH][HEIGHT]100[/HEIGHT][STYLE][/STYLE][/IMAGE]

















  1. Disconnect the hydraulic brake tubes.


 


















[IMAGE][SRC][/SRC][ALT][/ALT][WIDTH]154.01069518716577[/WIDTH][HEIGHT]100[/HEIGHT][STYLE][/STYLE][/IMAGE]

















  1. Remove the bolts and the HCU.


 


















[IMAGE][SRC][/SRC][ALT][/ALT][WIDTH]142.24598930481284[/WIDTH][HEIGHT]100[/HEIGHT][STYLE][/STYLE][/IMAGE]

















  1. If necessary, remove the bolts and the HCU bracket.

  2. To install, reverse the removal procedure.

  3. Bleed the brake system.


 

Tracer :

Its the part thats high, NOT labor

Tracer :

$118 charge is around 1 hour labor plus shop fees.NO way they did all the steps required for $118. Just trying to give you a best advise as possible

Customer:

Thanks...I suspected things were not as described, a little disapointed since I thought i found a trustworthy competent mechanic at this Goodyear facility but knew it was odd they are recommending I take it to the dealer? Apreciate your help!

Tracer :

Your welcome. Please understand, Goodyear can? be very good with good techs, They do come and go.

Tracer :

We lost several A+ techs recently leaving me with most work. its all about pay. :(

Customer:

I realize that...I have been pleased with their work with this one exception

Tracer :

have some C techs now that i have to babysit. Rule of thumb. If you get bad vibes? trust them

Tracer :

Goodyear was setup as an in/out type repair shop and has to uphold Goodyear corporate standards. they do change from time to time. they would rather say "go to dealer" than take a possible costly risk

Tracer :

have done this myself many times when less comfortable

Tracer :

You may? have a bit os a slight complex problem that best falls into a more trained / dedicated, experienced techs hands

Randall C, ASE MasterTechnician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 11268
Experience: 35 years ASE Master Tech, Diagnostic , Electrical Specialist
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