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Old 06-09-2019, 01:31 PM   #1
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Brake pedal has long travel and hissing sound

I have a 2002 Ford Focus ZTS without ABS. So this started out by hearing a sound from the Pass Front tire. I removed the tire and found the clip on the caliper was broken. I removed what was left, Im assuming these are just for anti-rattle, and decided to bleed the brakes as this car was previously owned and I had not done that yet. Like Ive done all life, I sucked out almost all the fluid from the reservoir, no air got in. I then started bleeding from the RR tire and worked around to the FR tire. No air coming through and clean fluid. I reassembled the car and drove it. The pedal was very spongy and traveled almost to the floor with reduced stopping power. The car would stop but it was much less power than I would expect. Also as I push the pedal I hear a hissing sound, almost like air, but I only hear during pedal travel. With the engine off, I could pump the brakes and build pressure. When I crank the engine the pedal would suck down. I assume this means the Booster is good? Bled the front brakes again, but noticed no air in the lines. Reassembled with same results.

After some research I thought it may be the MC. I ordered one and installed it. I was going to bench bleed but there was a paper inside the box that said not to and that it could damage it. I installed the MC and hooked up the reservoir, and added fluid. I slightly opened each line and gravity fed. I then had my son push the pedal in while I loosened each line at the MC and continued bleeding.

After several times, bleeding each line, there is good fluid with no air but my pedal still travels to the floor and I cant build pressure like before.

Should I bleed at the wheels now or do I have other issues? Also, with this MC, should the plastic "reservoir" attached to the MC be full of fluid or will there be air in there? If its supposed to be full of fluid, how do you get the air out?

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


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Old 06-09-2019, 02:56 PM   #2
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Bleed farthest from the master cylinder. Right Rear. Left Rear. Right front. Left front. Don't let the level in the master cylinder get low. You have a bunch of air in the system. I'm not a big fan of pumping the brake pedal. Pedal up. Open valve. Push to floor. Close valve. Attach hose to bleeder and put down into a jar with some brake fluid in the bottom so end of hose is submerged. This keeps air from returning into the line and you can see when the air bubbles stop coming out. Be patient. You may have to go around several times before the air is eliminated.
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:23 PM   #3
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My neighbor has a pneumatic bleeder. I borrowed that and bled the lines at the wheels. I did follow the standard furthest from reservoir to the closest. Reassembled and drove with same symptoms. At this point, I have bled almost a quart and half through the lines. Is is possible I could still have air in the system?

The car will stop but it is not a fast stop and the pedal travels further than what I feel is normal. I even drove the car over a dirt patch and tried to skid to a stop. The tires tried to skid but did not manage to actually skid.

Could it be the booster going bad? I ruled that out since the pedal is not hard to push and it also passes the test where you pump the brakes until pedal is stiff with the engine off, and then crank the engine and the pedal travels forward around an inch. Seems like it operates normal.

I am out of ideas. We bought the car used and its never stopped great. I think they put super cheap brake pads on it before they sold it. I might go ahead and replace them as well but even with crap pads, I feel like the car should stop better than it is and that also doesn't explain the pedal travel.
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:32 PM   #4
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Your first post said you sucked almost all the fluid out of the reservoir before you started bleeding. If you installed a master cylinder without bench bleeding (I dont care whether the paper said to not do it) and then proceeded to only use a pneumatic bleeder of course there will still be air. You need to old school bleed. The other possibility is a failing rear wheel cylinder allowing air to be pulled into the system. You absolutely cannot allow the fluid level to drop below the low line while bleeding . Last resort is to pull the master cylinder and bench bleed. That being said, I have gotten a bad new master cylinder before. Brake booster has nothing to do with bleeding the brakes or getting a firm pedal.

Last edited by pbfoot; 06-09-2019 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:10 AM   #5
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"Your first post said you sucked almost all the fluid out of the reservoir before you started bleeding."

I left out a part to this. I sucked out the old fluid and replaced with new in the reservoir.

"If you installed a master cylinder without bench bleeding (I dont care whether the paper said to not do it) and then proceeded to only use a pneumatic bleeder of course there will still be air. You need to old school bleed."

I think I essentially accomplished a bench bleed by installing the MC and then cracking the lines at the MC and having my son pump the pedal until fluid ran out. I bled it this way three or four times. I then bled the brake lines with the pneumatic bleeder.

"The other possibility is a failing rear wheel cylinder allowing air to be pulled into the system. You absolutely cannot allow the fluid level to drop below the low line while bleeding . Last resort is to pull the master cylinder and bench bleed. That being said, I have gotten a bad new master cylinder before. Brake booster has nothing to do with bleeding the brakes or getting a firm pedal."

Just as a question, will the plastic "reservoir" on top of the master fill entirely with fluid or will it still have air? This MC is different than every other one in existence it seems and I cant find a bled procedure for a MC that has a detached reservoir and then the additional reservoir on top.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:29 AM   #6
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Just as a question, will the plastic "reservoir" on top of the master fill entirely with fluid or will it still have air? This MC is different than every other one in existence it seems and I cant find a bled procedure for a MC that has a detached reservoir and then the additional reservoir on top.[/QUOTE] Picture please.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbfoot View Post
Just as a question, will the plastic "reservoir" on top of the master fill entirely with fluid or will it still have air? This MC is different than every other one in existence it seems and I cant find a bled procedure for a MC that has a detached reservoir and then the additional reservoir on top.
Picture please.[/QUOTE] Pictures please.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:15 AM   #8
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Im talking about the plastic piece on the attached photo. The reservoir has a hose that attaches to this piece. It will fill up with fluid but there is still air in the top. Every other MC I see a bleeding procedure for, the reservoir is attached directly on top of the MC and not this in between "reservoir"
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowsidedriver View Post
Im talking about the plastic piece on the attached photo. The reservoir has a hose that attaches to this piece. It will fill up with fluid but there is still air in the top. Every other MC I see a bleeding procedure for, the reservoir is attached directly on top of the MC and not this in between "reservoir"
I'm not familiar with the detached reservoir.Do you have a picture of your engine compartment? Is your car a manual or an automatic?
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:45 AM   #10
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I couldnt find a good picture with the reservoir and the MC in the same picture. So the reservoir is mounted against the firewall and a hose runs down to the plastic nipple of the MC (picture in previous post) The MC is located beneath the Fuse Box in the picture.

This car is automatic, so that rules out the clutch having any affect.
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