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Changed brake pads, pedal touches floor, truck won't stop.


Old 10-08-2010, 10:28 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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Unhappy Changed brake pads, pedal touches floor, truck won't stop.

Let me preface this by letting it be known that I have $5 to my name.

My brakes had been squeaking then grinding for quite some time with the pedal going significantly lower to the floor. However, I threw caution to the wind and drove my '99 F-150 4x4 (V8, 4.6) until the truck absolutely wouldn't stop any more no matter how far down and how hard I pressed. At that point, I parked it in front of my girlfriend's house.

After watching a few Youtube videos and considering my financial situation, I took it upon myself to change my brakes. I bought front pads, jacked the truck up and put them on, only to realize that one of the pistons on my passenger side front caliper was chipped/cracked/broken. Thus, I bought another caliper and put it on myself (fairly easy too), though I couldn't quite figure out what to do with the thin metal clips that come with it.

The rotor probably needed replacing as I could feel slight ridges and grooves in the back, but just isn't an option at this time.

I added brake fluid, pumped brakes, yet the pedal would still touch the floor. I took it for a test drive and I couldn't stop without pumping the brakes and this was while going no more than 5 MPH.

A neighbor told me about bleeding the brakes. Unfortunately, by using pliers instead of a 3/8 socket, I've totally stripped the bleeder valve on the brand new caliper I purchased and installed and am having a heck of a time trying to get it off. However, I was able to bleed the driver side front brake and there was no air in it; fluid started coming out immediately.

My question to you guys is, considering the truck still won't stop unless I pump the brakes, is getting the passenger side bleeder valve off/open/replaced the answer to my woes? Why would the pedal touch the floor after pad replacement? Also, does it matter whether or not the squealer pad is on the inside or outside? Thanks for any help whatsoever.
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Athens, TN
Posts: 84
Not be ugly, but the best thing you could do right now is find a friend that has a clue about automotive maintenance. Yes, the passenger side caliper (the one that you replaced) is likely causing the problem. There's no excuse for using a pair of pliers on the bleeder valve.

There's a decent chance that you've also caused a problem with the master cylinder; over time the cylinder gets a line of crud at the limit of how hard you push the pedal. When you put air in the system and the pedal goes all the way to the floor, that crud gets scraped across the master cylinder seals, causing a leak. The best way to avoid that is to put a block of wood or something on the floor under the brake pedal, so that when you bleed the brakes the pedal doesn't drop all the day to the floor.
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:33 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: South Bend Indiana
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If the pedal is going all the way to the floor the 1st thing to do is make sure all the air is all out of the lines. If that does not fix the problem and the calipers are not leaking, then it could be a master cylinder problem. I am almost willing to bet it is air in the brake lines. You have to make sure there is all fluid coming out and absolutely no air at all when you bleed the lines. Be sure to keep the fluid full. If it goes dry you will be sucking air in to the lines and have to start all over again.
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Old 10-08-2010, 02:38 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Indiana
Posts: 2,155
ya... it definitely sounds like a bleed issue. You need to bleed out that new caliper.

Time to find a friend with some tools and get it done right.
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Old 10-23-2010, 12:49 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 50
Wish i could help, but i have never done a brake job. There are a lot of nice and helpful guys on here and maybe one will step you through it or put up a list of steps to go by. Good luck man, know the feeling about low funds.
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:55 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 27
You need to bleed the lines and probably replace all the fluid. You can do this with a bleeder tool. I have a mighty-vac I think its called. Put in on the bleeder screws (after you get a replacement) and use it to pull the fluid down into a container. Make sure to keep the fluid off any painted surface. Keep the master cylinder full of fresh fluid and continue until all old dark fluid is out. The new caliper probably has air in it, the mighty-vac will get it out. Do one at a time and also bleed the rears while your at it. When your done and before you replace the pads make sure to clean all the surfaces and rotors with brake parts cleaner, oily pad are worthless. Pump the brakes before you start the truck and put it in gear and make sure you have a good pedal.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:27 AM
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Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 164
Hi - Wow. First thing is get a friend who has some mechanical background. Failing that, go buy a Haynes manual from any auto store. Relatively cheap, and it will save you mucho dollars (in that you don't go ahead and wreck another master brake cyllinder, brake caliper, etc.). You really need to properly bleed the brake - pumping it a few times and not seeing any air bubbles does not mean there is no air in the system! As others said, you will likely need to replace all the fluid. It is not hard - get the Haynes manual, it will step you through the process. All you need is a length of plastic tubing, a jar, and the proper size wrench (NOT pliers).
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:08 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ft Hood, Texas
Posts: 3,782
You really need a buddy to help you out with this man. Bleed the brake and another thing is that was pretty stupid of using a pair of pliers instead of a socket.
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