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Unread 06-11-2005, 10:20 AM   #1
jabco
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Brake lights on / pedal hard

Good afternoon all, I was recently given a 91 Jeep Cherokee from my inlaws because it has had an ongoing brake problem. I am hoping someone here has had at least heard of the problem and may offer a solution. Sometime at random and for no reason the brake light, the check anti-lock light stays on. The pedal gets hard like there is no power brakes. Just brakes said the only code they could get out of the system was about the high pressure vessel (cant remember exactly what it said). Jeep wants about 150.00 dollars for the vessel but I want to make sure this is the problem before I replace it. Any and all help would b greatly appreciated!! TKS jeff

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Unread 06-11-2005, 10:57 AM   #2
BrunoS
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congrats on the jeep, and for your first post.

1) you've got a good vehicle there, price was perfect.
2) you're going to spend a few bucks on oil, filter, fuel filter, air filter, zerk all the grease fittings, and maybe plugs/wires/cap/rotor if you are further inclined.
3) these are good vehicles and tend to have a very long life. abused ones last quite a long time, too, they are very solid and dependable and even better if treated right

4) ok, enough of that, now you have to deal with the brake problem:

first, check brake fluid. (of course)
next, check master cylinder for leaks
you most likely have a bad master cylinder that still works, but there is a worn seal of the several, and the left/right braking balanced action of the fluid piston is overtraveling either front or rear, and this is what is triggering your brake light. it is the first indication that your (proabably) master cylinder is going belly up. if the brakes are mushy, or it pulls to one side, you may have air in the lines which can be bled out.... BUT...before you bleed brakes, place a 2x4 under the brake pedal and DO NOT PRESS THE BRAKE PEDAL TO THE FLOOR WHEN YOU BLEED OLD BRAKING SYSTEMS....(i'd say more than 50k miles) because all the crap at the end of the master cyllinder will be shoved into the o-ring seals, cut them, and then 2 weeks after bleeding the system and everything being ok, you will suddenly experience brake pedal going to floor when stopping....YIKES....so take it from an experienced wrench.

anyhow, you have several choices, here's what i'd do:

1) bleed brake system with above suggestions
2) if light still stays on, take it to good brake place for a freebie estimate
3) most likely, you have a bad/internal problem on your master cylinder
4) do it yourself, buy a new (not rebuilt) master cylinder, or at least go to NAPA. stay away from pep or trak lifetime warranty ones, you'll get good at swapping those out from time to time...yes they work, but go for quality (like tires) and don't go cheap on brake components.
5) have shop do it otherwise, and prepare to pay $200-300

let us know how it goes!
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Unread 06-11-2005, 11:07 AM   #3
jabco
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TKS for the reply BrunoS, I have been working on it for a while, replaced the whole cooling system, tuned it up and soforth. The thing runs great, rear main leaks but I can fix that. All the brake suggestions u gave have been checked by Jeep and another certified mech. The only thing that the brake place can find is the hydrogen vessel or somthing like that. Jeep had it for a while when my mother inlaw had it and it either would not do it or they coild not find a problem. The thing is the problem comes and goes, with no rhyme nor reason, no constant length of time or duration! When the brake system works it works fine, I hate to just start replacing parts in hope of blindly solving or not solving the problem.
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Unread 06-11-2005, 11:48 AM   #4
JTruel
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Does the jeep have ABS? If so, maybe check into unplugging it.... old ABS units are notorious for being crappy
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Unread 06-11-2005, 11:54 AM   #5
jabco
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yes it does have abs, that is one of the lights that stays on when the brakes r doing there funky thing. Where do u unplug the abs, I will give it a try! TKS
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Unread 06-11-2005, 11:58 AM   #6
JTruel
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I would try a new post with "91 XJ with ABS problem" or something similar.... my jeep doesn't have it (I didn't want it) and I don't know anyone that does, so I can't help you there... may also try searching (ABS is too short- use anti-lock) and see what pops up.... keep us posted
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Unread 06-11-2005, 02:04 PM   #7
jabco
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thanks JTruel found the solution. TKS everone for all ur help
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Unread 06-11-2005, 02:14 PM   #8
JTruel
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Don't keep us in the dark.. what did you do to fix it?
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Unread 06-12-2005, 11:49 AM   #9
jabco
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Sorry about that, ur suggestion on a search for anti-lock lead me to several posts where people have removed the anti-lock system and installed booster/master cylinder setup from say a 96 cherokee. it appears that the anti-lock system is less than perfect. So now I am insearch of brake parts.
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