86 brake issues - JeepForum.com

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post #1 of 5 Old 03-29-2004, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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86 brake issues

First of all, I don't claim to know how to work on cars. I'm usually more of a trial and error kind of guy. So when my brakes starting acting jimmy I did my best.

This is what happend;

-I noticed that my brakes were getting progressivly squishy to the point where it was a little scary to drive.
-I popped the cap on the master cylinder and saw that the fluid looked a little low.
-So i topped off her off, both sections. (I dont know if i was suppose to do that.)
-I then attempted to bleed the breaks and did my best from what I could understand from my repair manual.

My brakes now have zero resistance until about the last 6 inches where the feel firm. So i have to slam them pretty hard to get to stop. Also as an added bonus my parking brake light is now on continually.

If somebody with some knowledge could help me out I would really appreciate it. I'd rather try to do the work myself than take it to a shop. I'm usually able to do things as long as I have a clear understanding of what I'm suppose to do.

1986 CJ-7 Renegade
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-29-2004, 06:20 PM
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Sounds like you've introduced air into the system (probably when you were trying to bleed the brakes). In addition, your brake pedal return spring is either weak or missing allowing the pedal to travel downwards a bit thereby activating the brake pedal light. Take a look up the brake pedal and see if there is a spring that holds it in the "up" position. It should hold it up against a small switch that has a button that sticks out and touches the brake pedal arm. If there isn't a spring, or if it's really weak, you can go to your corner parts store and pick up a replacement in the "self help" section. Just take the old one with you to compare. Now to the smooshy brakes. You probably have a leak somewhere (either at the wheel cylinders/calipers or at the master cylinder). I hate to sound kinda negative but if you don't have the mechanical know how to track that kind of problem down methodically, then you should either take it to someone who does, or solicit help from someone who knows and can show you. I only say that because the brake system is not really an area where you want to try trial and error repair. The error could cost you, or someone else, life or limb.

'80 CJ5 w/AMC360, T176, D44 w/Detroit 4.56, RE 4" YJ lift and 35s..

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post #3 of 5 Old 03-30-2004, 01:15 AM
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don't take it to a hibdons or any of the stores they own. they screwed up my brakes enough in 4 months.

did you ever check to make sure after you capped off the master cylinder it was still there? i know my 1 leaking wheel cylinder in the rear would completely drain my master cylinder in 5 minutes and sometimes less. just keep an eye out for leaks.

But yeah could be as simple as an old crapped out master cylinder, but then could be like my jeep and nearly every part could be bad. Either way, with your jeep being nearly 20 years old might be a good idea to start replacing all the brake system if it has never been done before.

'91 'Yota 4Runner SR5 4 Door, rides better than the CJ and well, runs! Although, it will never be a Jeep and never be the same...
'81 CJ7, 258, T176 - SOLD
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-30-2004, 03:12 PM
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I don't know what you're driving, but I'm assuming it doesn't have a booster. Either way, if there's no obvious loss of fluid when you detect this pressure drop on the pedal (remember it could be inside the drum), then ditch that Master Cylinder for starters. If you do have a Power Booster, replace that while you're there. Fluid loss is usually pretty obvious, especially with the pleasant aroma of burnt up brake fluid...

~sorry~ I guess I did kind of assume the brakes were bled correctly....

85 CJ7 / 258 / T176 / Dana 30/ AMC 20
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Last edited by Geer_hed; 03-31-2004 at 08:31 AM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-30-2004, 08:23 PM
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Sounds like the biggest problem is air in the lines. If you have to add fluid on a regular basis, then you certainly have a leak somewhere - If not then get them bled correctly. If you're doing it yourself (I assume you and a friend since its a two person job without special tools), make sure that you keep the master cylinder full at all times. If any air gets back in, you'll be starting all over again. Bleed in this order - right rear, left rear, right front, left front. If you're not confident in doing this properly, I agree fully with one of the previous posts - your brakes are not something to play around with.

Good luck

- Jeff
'83 cj
Another 7 by "CJ's Heaven"
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