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Old 11-25-2017, 11:32 PM   #1
dtbjan
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Default Brakes not working after oil change

Hi there,
I have a 1993 Ranger 4 banger with a manual transmission.
On Wednesday, I went to get my oil changed at a jiffy lube type place. I usually don't like going to these places but I just moved into a new house and needed to change the oil before a short road trip home for thanksgiving.
They had me wait in the lobby and did the change in about 5 minutes.
I drove home without any issues and packed up to leave. I thought I noticed the brake pedal felt soft as I was first leaving the house, but then firmed up. I didn't notice any issues until I pulled onto the interstate and hit the brakes because traffic was slow and the pedal went to the floor. No stopping power at all. It was as if the brakes weren't doing anything. I could get some pressure if I pumped but the pedal would sink quickly.
I made it back home. It is not fun driving with almost no brakes.
I took my other vehicle instead and am now back in town. I haven't had time to dig into it but am hoping to get it worked out tomorrow.
Any ideas on what might have caused this? What could have happened at the jiffy lube to cause this? Why would it not show up until I had driven a few miles in traffic?
The level in the fluid reservoir has not dropped. I could not see any fluid leaks.
One thing I may have noticed but I can't really trust my memory: I saw one of the workers grab the water hose and pull it over to the drivers side of the engine bay and fill something. At the time, I figured it was the washer fluid reservoir. I have been working on my 97 F250 a lot lately and the washer fluid bottle is on the drivers side. On the ranger, the only reservoirs on the drivers side are the brake cylinder and clutch cylinder. Is this insane? Why would someone add water to the brake reservoir?
Please let me know if you have any advice.
Thanks,
Duncan
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Old 11-29-2017, 05:36 PM   #2
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Duncan:

I wouldn't think water would affect the seals, especially not that fast.

Brake fluid, either for clutch or brakes, is hygroscopic (water absorbing) so even if water wasn't deliberately added, there would be some in system, so seals should be able to cope. Water would cause corrosion long term and "spongy" brakes if heated (water boils at much lower temp than brake fluid), but it's still a liquid, so not like air in lines which will compress rather than pads applying.

Sounds like master cylinder issue. Could be just coincidental timing.

Let us know if you come up with something.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:40 AM   #3
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I agree with Don. This sounds like an internal failure of the brake master cylinder, nothing that Jiffy Lube did. Also, shame on you for assuming sabotage.
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:48 AM   #4
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The water on the drivers side was probably to rinse off a fluid spill or top off the radiator. I'm not a fan of those places but I don't think they are dumb enough to fill the master cylinder with a hose.
This is why I don't like working on other peoples vehicles: You replace their window motor, then on the way home the brakes start squealing, or there is a clunk in the transmission, and suddenly it's your fault.
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