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Old 05-06-2017, 05:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Diagnose my f-150, again!!!

'04 f-150 screw 5.4 4x4

Haven't done any recent brake work, nothing in a couple years (truck gets very little mileage).

My brake pedal goes to the floor on the first press, then it's harder (almost normal) on the second press. No fluid is leaking out, reservoir is still full.

My google-fu tells me that I should start by adjusting the push rod behind the master, but this recommendation is usually when a truck has "always had shitty brakes" not a sudden change like I have. I'll be trying this tomorrow. I think I should extend the rod in small increaments until the brakes feel normal, but not so much that the brakes drag.

When this doesn't work, replace the master cylinder and see if that fixes it.

Is there any reason to test the amount of vacuum available at the booster? If so, what should it be? My truck sometimes has a random whistle sound when driving that ramdomly stops. I was told it's probably a vacuum leak, and it stops when the PCV valve closes (or opens or whatever).

Something else to test or look for???
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Replace/rebuild the master and flush the entire system.
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Does it have four wheel ABS? If so, take it to a gravel parking lot or a dirt road and exercise the ABS. Get it up to 30 or so and stand on the pedal as hard as you can. Let the ABS work it's ass off. Do this two or three times. Usually works wonders on fleet vehicles that are heavily loaded and get driven like little ol' ladies drive 'em. Dirt and such gets under the valves if the ABS never gets cycled. The fluid leaks off into the accumulators, which is why the pedal sinks but no fluid is lost. Worth a try, won't make it any worse and it's free...
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It sits a lot- have you checked to see if the calipers are bound up/slides corroded?
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muckin_Slusher View Post
'04 f-150 screw 5.4 4x4

Haven't done any recent brake work, nothing in a couple years (truck gets very little mileage).

My brake pedal goes to the floor on the first press, then it's harder (almost normal) on the second press. No fluid is leaking out, reservoir is still full.

My google-fu tells me that I should start by adjusting the push rod behind the master, but this recommendation is usually when a truck has "always had shitty brakes" not a sudden change like I have. I'll be trying this tomorrow. I think I should extend the rod in small increaments until the brakes feel normal, but not so much that the brakes drag.

When this doesn't work, replace the master cylinder and see if that fixes it.

Is there any reason to test the amount of vacuum available at the booster? If so, what should it be? My truck sometimes has a random whistle sound when driving that ramdomly stops. I was told it's probably a vacuum leak, and it stops when the PCV valve closes (or opens or whatever).

Something else to test or look for???
You shouldn't have to adjust the pushrod on the vacuum booster unless you've changed the master or booster. The fluid in the reservoir should make up for the difference.

Random whistling sounds like the booster could be leaking. Normally, the booster starts leaking because it is rusty or the master is leaking fluid into the booster. Also, the diaphragm can start leaking from age, but I don't think 2004 is that old.

It sounds like the master cylinder is going bad to me.

However, I had mushy brakes on a 2000 F150. The ABS module was leaking; it had similar symptoms.
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muckin_Slusher View Post
'04 f-150 screw 5.4 4x4

Haven't done any recent brake work, nothing in a couple years (truck gets very little mileage).

My brake pedal goes to the floor on the first press, then it's harder (almost normal) on the second press. No fluid is leaking out, reservoir is still full.

My google-fu tells me that I should start by adjusting the push rod behind the master, but this recommendation is usually when a truck has "always had shitty brakes" not a sudden change like I have. I'll be trying this tomorrow. I think I should extend the rod in small increaments until the brakes feel normal, but not so much that the brakes drag.

When this doesn't work, replace the master cylinder and see if that fixes it.

Is there any reason to test the amount of vacuum available at the booster? If so, what should it be? My truck sometimes has a random whistle sound when driving that ramdomly stops. I was told it's probably a vacuum leak, and it stops when the PCV valve closes (or opens or whatever).

Something else to test or look for???
My '05 screw is exactly the same, I did the push rod adjustment and it worked! For a couple of weeks.

Pads and rotors measure out good and I work the ABS too from time to time.

I too am at a loss, I've dealt with my share of shitty brake problems but this one has me stumped.

I am wondering if the brake hoses are suspect, maybe swelling under pressure, I dunno but I don't want to be throwing parts at it or taking it to a shop either.
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It's a Ford. You fix it by lighting it on fire and buying a Chevy. As a bonus, women might start to think you aren't gay.
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Start with the multiple abs activation trick as stated above. then get out and actually look at the brakes. have someone press the pedal while you make sure the caliper pistons move. Also check the rubber lines for swelling during this time. If all looks good, throw a master at it. If you want to spend money for diagnostic tools, purchase the master cylinder block off kit from thexton, so you can verify the master is bad. After you get the truck working well, sell the pile to someone and get a decent truck. (unless this is a "heritage" 2004, then keep it)
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Are you moving while this is going on? Usually this symptom will come about if there os worn out hub bearings. The rotor will press against the pad, pushing he piston back knto the caliper. I would pull the calipers, and check maybe even the slide pins.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Pull vacuum line at booster and see if there's vacuum there. Maybe it sat long enough for piders and mice to of plugged shit. But sounds like master has gone tits up.

Lawless, what's a screw? I know what a screw is, but not a 05' screw.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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LS swap
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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And do not adjust the rod between the booster and master unless you have the right tool. And adjustment will not fix the problem you are having anyway. At least not without a leak between the master and booster. Too much adjustment longer your brakes will be applied and the vent or replenish ports will not be open, and too short, it just takes longer swing of the pedal to apply the brakes.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
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LS swap
This. Replace the brake master with a ls7.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Think about it. No leaks? What happens when you compress your calipers after a brake job and drive it without pumping the brakes before you drive off?
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:34 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I would use the hell out of the hydro system. Come across a lot of problems from people putting around in their junk.

S-crew is the four door minivan with a tiny bed.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:56 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Pull vacuum line at booster and see if there's vacuum there. Maybe it sat long enough for piders and mice to of plugged shit. But sounds like master has gone tits up.

Lawless, what's a screw? I know what a screw is, but not a 05' screw.
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S-crew is the four door minivan with a tiny bed.
Yea pretty much this.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Are you moving while this is going on? Usually this symptom will come about if there os worn out hub bearings. The rotor will press against the pad, pushing he piston back knto the caliper. I would pull the calipers, and check maybe even the slide pins.
Never thought of that, makes sorta sense though.
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Old 05-07-2017, 07:06 AM   #18 (permalink)
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The hydraulic portion of the abs unit is bad. Had one a couple months ago do this and it fixed it.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:54 PM   #19 (permalink)
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This. Replace the brake master with a ls7.
This was hilarious!!!!
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Old 05-07-2017, 10:46 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Are you moving while this is going on? Usually this symptom will come about if there os worn out hub bearings. The rotor will press against the pad, pushing he piston back knto the caliper. I would pull the calipers, and check maybe even the slide pins.
Quote:
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Never thought of that, makes sorta sense though.

I have forklifts do this sometimes on the dual front wheel trucks... Width of tires puts a lot of pressure on the hub bearings. They go to shit... Wobble around... Cause the first brake stroke to be long. New hub bearings with spindle nuts tq'ed exactly to factory specs fixes it with no brake work.

If you have badly warped discs or drums in a vehicle it does the same thing. Presses the pads or shoes in too far... So the first stoke is too long.
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Old 05-11-2017, 07:22 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Supposed to go on a trip to visit my folks tomorrow. They are itching to see the grandkids. Worked on the truck tonight with no success. Threw a new master at it with zero change. Wasn't able to bleed right rear caliper, screw snapped. Left rear caliper bled but had some junk in it and fluid was black.

Yes, my fluid is old.

Plan for now is to check really well for bulging rubber hose somewhere (although if a hose was bulging wouldn't it affect only one brake circuit??? I'll see if I can get another rear caliper tomorrow, change it and bleed all four corners again.

If I can't get another caliper, can I pull the one with the stuck bleeder, flush the line andtry to flush out the caliper on the bench. Obviously I'll try to get the bleeder out first.

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Originally Posted by reklund5 View Post
It sits a lot- have you checked to see if the calipers are bound up/slides corroded?
All four move freely.

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Originally Posted by Pukemaggots View Post
Replace/rebuild the master and flush the entire system.
Changed the master. Was able to bleed/flush both front calipers. Rear left needed the bleed screw opened about three turns before some oil exploded out (must have been blocked by crap). The fluid was black. Right rear bleed screw snapped off, preventing me from bleeding the fluid. Will bleeding using the banjo brake hose fitting do anything?

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Originally Posted by 4x4mechanic View Post
Does it have four wheel ABS? If so, take it to a gravel parking lot or a dirt road and exercise the ABS. Get it up to 30 or so and stand on the pedal as hard as you can. Let the ABS work it's ass off. Do this two or three times. Usually works wonders on fleet vehicles that are heavily loaded and get driven like little ol' ladies drive 'em. Dirt and such gets under the valves if the ABS never gets cycled. The fluid leaks off into the accumulators, which is why the pedal sinks but no fluid is lost. Worth a try, won't make it any worse and it's free...
ABS gets used regularly driving on ice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawless View Post
My '05 screw is exactly the same, I did the push rod adjustment and it worked! For a couple of weeks.

Pads and rotors measure out good and I work the ABS too from time to time.

I too am at a loss, I've dealt with my share of shitty brake problems but this one has me stumped.

I am wondering if the brake hoses are suspect, maybe swelling under pressure, I dunno but I don't want to be throwing parts at it or taking it to a shop either.
Still need to look at all the rubber hoses while brakes are being pumped. Will do first thing in the morning.

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Are you moving while this is going on? Usually this symptom will come about if there os worn out hub bearings. The rotor will press against the pad, pushing he piston back knto the caliper. I would pull the calipers, and check maybe even the slide pins.
Moving or stopped, same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cslimfu View Post
Pull vacuum line at booster and see if there's vacuum there. Maybe it sat long enough for piders and mice to of plugged shit. But sounds like master has gone tits up.

Lawless, what's a screw? I know what a screw is, but not a 05' screw.
There's a significant change between the feel of the pedal when the engine is running vs not running. When running the brake pedal will go to the floor every time, and poor brake performance. When the engine is off the pedal feels hard and normal, so I think the vacuum is ok.

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Originally Posted by Southern_Pride View Post
The hydraulic portion of the abs unit is bad. Had one a couple months ago do this and it fixed it.
How could the abs module cause this?

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Originally Posted by bigbroncojeff View Post
I have forklifts do this sometimes on the dual front wheel trucks... Width of tires puts a lot of pressure on the hub bearings. They go to shit... Wobble around... Cause the first brake stroke to be long. New hub bearings with spindle nuts tq'ed exactly to factory specs fixes it with no brake work.

If you have badly warped discs or drums in a vehicle it does the same thing. Presses the pads or shoes in too far... So the first stoke is too long.
Good thought. It does this while stopped, same as driving.
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Old 05-11-2017, 07:36 PM   #22 (permalink)
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No brake fluid loss after pumping the pedal the the floor?
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Old 05-11-2017, 07:41 PM   #23 (permalink)
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No brake fluid loss after pumping the pedal the the floor?
No, the reservoir level didn't change. Only went down when bleeding the calipers.
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Old 05-13-2017, 02:11 PM   #24 (permalink)
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There are valves inside the unit. They bleed pressure as needed when the abs is activated. One of yours is hanging or not seating and sealing properly most likely. Think of it like a transmission valve body.
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Old 05-13-2017, 02:14 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Nvm, didn't read enough
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