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1979-2004 V6 Mustang Tech Discussions

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Unread 03-10-2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1998 Mustang V6: Brakes Catching Too Late

I have a '98 Mustang Coupe and I've been noticing my brakes are catching too late. Let's say hypothetically the pedal depresses 6" inches, they start to catch after 4" inches. At first I thought it was my pads, but I put them in sometime in August or September... maybe November. So, they aren't old (at all). I looked earlier and they looked in good shape from the outside.
So, I'm thinking it's my brake fluid? I checked it after I had my car off for an hour or so (if that matters) and it was showing some white thing in the shape of a cross. I'm going to go get more brake fluid now... but if that doesn't work I need some help! 'cause I don't feel safe driving with brakes that aren't catching. I had my hand on the e-brake the whole way home today.
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Unread 03-10-2008   #2 (permalink)
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How did you do your brakes? did you take off the brake booster cap and repress the calipers in, or did you open the bleeder on the caliper?
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Unread 03-10-2008   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by shinerstang View Post
How did you do your brakes? did you take off the brake booster cap and repress the calipers in, or did you open the bleeder on the caliper?
I took the calipers off and put the pads in.
(And for the back, little did I know you needed that special tool. Went at it for hours with needlenose before I called up a friend who works at a shop and specializes in Fords, and said you needed a special tool. Luckily AutoZone rents it for free, basically. Minus a deposit that you get back when you bring it back)
And it's kind of degenerative, really. At first they were instant, and I guess over the short time it's been getting worse and worse. I just put more brake fluid in it, put it to "max" and it's a little better, but not much. At least I feel safe(r) now.
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Unread 03-10-2008   #4 (permalink)
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im having this same problem but i have a 96
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im not driving too fast your just too slow
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Unread 03-10-2008   #5 (permalink)
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is it possible the rotors are glazed? this can make it hard for new pads to work. if you dont want to take them to get them resurfaced you can rough the rotors up with sandpaper, this will allow the new pads to seat to the old rotors. otherwise glazing will cause you to use excessive pedal pressure.
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Unread 03-10-2008   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by drewp View Post
is it possible the rotors are glazed? this can make it hard for new pads to work. if you dont want to take them to get them resurfaced you can rough the rotors up with sandpaper, this will allow the new pads to seat to the old rotors. otherwise glazing will cause you to use excessive pedal pressure.

I don't think so, man. I mean, they were working fine for a long time... well, not really a long time. But for months now, of nearly daily-driving (now it's daily-driven), and it's just now getting to the point where it worries me.
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Unread 03-11-2008   #7 (permalink)
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could be a leaking caliper seal, low brake fluid levels, bad master cylinder.
if the fluid levels got too low air can get into the line and make the brakes spongy.
worn brake pads can make the pedal go down farther

you should probubly take it to a shop for repair. low fluid can mean a leak. which would mean caliper or master cylinder replacememnt. probubly not something youd want to take on yourself without some experiance to fall back on.
if you must do it yourself get a manual at least. check for leaks around all caliper pistons, lift the rubber dust boots and check for brake fluid. same with the master cyl. check around it for signs of brake fluid leaks. if all is dry then try replacing the pads all around, compressing the calipers will force fluid back into the master resevior as will happen when you install new pads, make sure it doesnt overfill. some shops like autozone rent tools to do a brake job. good luck.
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Unread 03-11-2008   #8 (permalink)
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What happens if you push and hold the brakes? Does the pedal stay firm for a long time, or go down eventually?
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Unread 03-11-2008   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by shinerstang View Post
What happens if you push and hold the brakes? Does the pedal stay firm for a long time, or go down eventually?

No. When I push and hold the brakes it stays firm. It just seems like low compression to me.
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Unread 03-11-2008   #10 (permalink)
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I opened my trunk, and to my dismay found this... (I apologize for the camera, it's from my phone.)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v7...l/IMG00060.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v7...l/IMG00059.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v7...l/IMG00058.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v7...l/IMG00057.jpg


If you can't really tell, there's a discoloration around it. I rubbed it, and it was oily. I'm assuming it's brake fluid since that's the only thing near it, and I did put some in last night, but it was kinda dark so I didn't even look... but I KNOW I didn't spill one drop. (I'm really safe with toxic things-- call me a wimp, but something about toxicity makes me uneasy.)


EDIT: The first picture's to show you that some got on the wire.
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Unread 03-11-2008   #11 (permalink)
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looks like the master cylinder is leaking. one way to tell if it is in fact break fluid is smell. compare the smell of the fluid in the resevior to the wet oily substance that looks like its leaked. im betting it wil smell the same. its a pretty distinctive smell not at all like oil imo. of course that doesnt mean there arnt other leaks and worn pads, but its a good start. btw. clean break fluid off painted parts as soon as you can. that stuff will eat off paint down to bare metal.
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Unread 03-11-2008   #12 (permalink)
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Also check your brake lines at the junction right below your master cylinder. They have been know to leak. You may be throwing brake fluid from there too.
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