Bleeding On The Brakes

It was time to start diagnosing the failed braking system.  A quick visual inspection showed there was no fluid in the master cylinder.  The system is sealed (or at least it is supposed to be sealed), so the fluid had to have leaked out somewhere.  Looking at the back of the master cylinder where it bolted to the power brake booster assembly I saw quite a bit of corrosion.  It looked like the master cylinder had been leaking.  So I set out to remove and replace the master cylinder.  I’ve done this job before on this car so I felt fairly confident in my abilities to perform the task correctly.

One thing that had been bothering me for some time is that the master cylinder on the car was a different form factor from any of the others I’ve used in the past.  This master cylinder is an inch or more wider, which leaves very little clearance around it.  This became an issue when I tried to remove it.  I ended up having to remove the driver’s side valve cover to get enough room to maneuver the master cylinder. When I did finally get it removed from the car it showed signs of leaking in the back.

I purchased a new master cylinder at the local auto parts store.  This one matched the form factor of some of my past master cylinders, so I was much more comfortable with it.  It was also much easier to wrestle back into position and bolt on.  In the process of removing the old master cylinder the push rod in the booster fell out.  But I put it back in and bolted everything back together.  Then I ran into my first snag.  I was unable to get one of the brake lines threaded into the master cylinder.  I struggled with it for several hours, and then gave up for the day.

The next day I decided to remove the master cylinder and brake line and assemble them off the car.  Then I installed the master cylinder with the line already attached.  That all went fine except that the push rod in the booster fell out again several times.  It was also a challenge to attach the brake line to the distribution block, but that went a lot better than the previous day’s challenge of attaching the line to the master cylinder.  Everything was now buttoned up.  I didn’t have enough time to move on to bleeding the brakes, so I left that for the next chance I had to work on the car.

When I did finally get around to bleeding the brakes I had no pressure.  I spent quite a bit of time with a vacuum pump but had no success.  When my son came home from school I asked him to pump the brake pedal for me.  Still no success.  Finally i loosened up the brake lines at the master cylinder and pumped the pedal.  Still no pressure.  I was out of time once again so I left it for another day.

Another day never arrived because I got a call from Val who said he was ready to work on my car.  He came over to my house and we pushed the car out of the garage.  The car hadn’t seen the light of day in so long that I think it blinked a few times from the brightness of the sun.  Here’s what the car looked like as it was coming out of the garage.

Once it was out of the garage, Val looked the car over.  I shared with him my list of goals and tasks for the car.  After we talked for close to an hour he put the car on a trailer and towed it away.  Here’s a few more pictures showing the car going on to the trailer and sailing off into the sunset.

After Val has had a chance to fully assess the car I’ll post the results.  His first task will most likely be to finish up my unfinished brake job.