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Random brake issue

03ranger4x4

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Ok, so for the past year i have noticed an issue with the brakes on my 03 ranger.

When this issue occurs, this is what happens. When i hit the brakes, the rear tires screech and the front tires dont seem to be doing anything at all to stop the truck. The pedal feels very sensative aswell, as in even if i tap the pedal the rear tires lock up and the front tires keep rolling. This happens every blue moon with no warning. Though i do believe this happens more often when it is damp outside, becuase everytime i remember this occuring it was damp or rainy outside, however this doesnt happen EVERY time its damp outside. As i said its every once in a blue moon, but when it does arise it seems to be only when it is damp outside.

anyway, my guess is the proportioning valve has some gunk in it ( as the truck has 90,000 miles on it with the original fluid in it), however if anyone else has delt with this issue i would like to know the exact cuase of it to avoid wasting hard earned cash, thank you!:icon_thumby:
 


srteach

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90,000 miles with original fluid. It happens when there is high moisture content in the air. Those are your clues.
It affects the rear wheels because there is more fluid in the (longer) lines to be affected.

Brake fluid is hydrophillic (it absorbs water from the air). In 90K miles, it has probably absorbed enough to cause problems.

Change (and bleed) the entire brake system.
  1. Suck out as much old fluid as possible (any way you can) from the master cylinder. Try to keep dirt and gunk out.
  2. Refill with clean DOT3 fluid from a (new) closed bottle.
  3. NEVER LET THE MASTER CYLINDER GET EMPTY WHEN DOING THIS PROCEDURE.
  4. Starting at the farthest wheel from the master cylinder, have a helper pump the brakes up and hold the pedal down.
  5. Without releasing the pedal (no matter what) open and close the bleeder valve.
  6. Pump and repeat until you get clean fluid out of the bleeder, then move to the next closer wheel and repeat.
  7. When finished with the last wheel, start the cycle over again to bleed air out of each cylinder.

If it is gunk in the prop valve, this should flush it as well.
 
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LearjetMinako

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Brake fluid is hydrophillic (it absorbs water from the air). In 90K miles, it has probably absorbed enough to cause problems.

Change (and bleed) the entire brake system.
  1. Suck out as much old fluid as possible (any way you can) from the master cylinder. Try to keep dirt and gunk out.
  2. Refill with clean DOT3 fluid from a (new) closed bottle.
  3. NEVER LET THE MASTER CYLINDER GET EMPTY WHEN DOING THIS PROCEDURE.
  4. Starting at the farthest wheel from the master cylinder, have a helper pump the brakes up and hold the pedal down.
  5. Without releasing the pedal (no matter what) open and close the bleeder valve.
  6. Pump and repeat until you get clean fluid out of the bleeder, then move to the next closer wheel and repeat.
  7. When finished with the last wheel, start the cycle over again to bleed air out of each cylinder.

If it is gunk in the prop valve, this should flush it as well.
+1 :icon_thumby: Also make sure the person doing the brake pumping has good strong legs. They may get cramps from the constant pumping. If you don't have someone to do the pumping, get a vaccum pump. But I would check to make sure your bleed valves aren't rusted closed (like mine were).

Also, dump climates causes the rear drum brake shoes to swell. But after you drive it for a bit and use the brakes, the issue should go away. I always had this same issue, even after new brake shoes and brake fluid flushing. New brake shoes help, but doesn't always get rid of the problem.
 

03ranger4x4

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yeah, it coming around the time to do brakes on my truck, so im going to go ahead and change them all out and put new shoes and drums on the back. I will probably bleed the fluid aswell, weather it is required or not just to flush all the black seal crud out that tends to build up over the years
 

adsm08

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While wet brake fluid may well be your issue, it has to get in somewhere. A bad seal on the cap maybe?

I have 200,000 miles on mostly original fluid, and no brake issues.


Not saying that I endorse poor brake system maintenance, that's just how I go her. Planning to wait and re-do the whole system when I do the engine and axle swaps.
 
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LearjetMinako

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Moisture in the brake lines usually cause a mushey brake pedal as the brakes get warmed up. And brake fluid does breakdown from the constant heating and cooling during braking. The only place where brake fluid can asborb moisture from the atmosphere is through the brake fluid resevior (thats if the cap seal is bad, cracked, or toren). Any where else in the brake system, it should leak out from the high pressure during braking.

Either way, after 100k miles on the orginal brake fluid. It really should be flushed. And if your brake lines are looking crudey or cracked, you may want to consider changing those too.
 

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I have had the exact same problem since i bought the truck last year, the dealership that i bought it from told me it was a siezed Ebrake cable, so they replaced it, still did it a week later, so they replaced the drum. Fast forward 9 months and its started doing it again. I have found if you work the E-brake, it makes a short term difference. Best of luck.
Croot
 

robertc1024

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It's the heating and cooling cycles that let moisture in. If you take an empty, dry, sealed can and poke a very small hole in it and leave it in an environment where moisture and temperature change it will slowly fill up with water. If there is more moisture outside the can than in it and it cools down, it will suck water molecules in. Now, the only place they can escape is through the small hole - which isn't going to happen because the mean free path of the molecules is so high. The next time it cools down, it sucks more molecules in ... and so on and so on. Even if the can heats up, the water molecules only have a very small chance of aiming themselves at the hole so that they can escape the can. Same thing for a breaking system. If there is any leak at all of any of it, it will eventually get water in it. I try to do a complete flush of my vehicles breaks every few years because of this. Trust me, I make my living with extremely high precision pressure instruments and have seen this over and over again. When you're making pressure controllers that can measure 0.000001 psi, you can see the problems.

Years ago, we just used to have a regular dual-piston industrial Dayton air compressor that we used to compress air to ~120 psi inside the machine shop in our building. Pressure regulators 200' away would have their air/water separators fill up with water from the atmospheric moisture. (I realize this is an extreme case - but it's still the same point.) We now have a refrigerated condenser the water/air mixture has to pass through so that the air coming out is extremely dry.

Sorry for the long post - I get excited when I can contribute something I actually know about.
 

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ford put out a tsb about this. i don't know it its applicable up to 2003, but it was the brake lining material absorbing moisture on a cool morning and the grabby brakes go away after the first few applies.

the fix was to replace the brake shoes with new ones because the new ones were an improved formula.

my truck has original brake shoes in the rear and they grab almost every single morning, i've learned to be light on the pedal until i've gotten down the road a couple blocks, then they work as normal
 

k3eaxk3eax

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The Comments about brake fluid water contamination were really off the mark! None of them could possibly have brought about the elimination of the problem.

The rear shoes are obviously locking-up. Just as the previous member said, the lining are probably being affected by moisture. They should be replaced, the anchor pin and backing-plate inspected and lubricated.
 

Ranger44

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Yeah, as it is bad maintenance to let brake fluid go so long without being flushed.....I don't see how it will cause this issue.

I'd also suspect the brake shoe lining. Not only because of the Ford TSB, but because they ARE obviously locking up like presented previously.

I'd pull the drums and inspect the shoes. Look for cracking, brake fluid or axle lube contamination.....replace them and adjust them. Don't forget to machine the drums.

Myself, I've only had it happen once. It went away after a few brake engagements.
 

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