Brake fluid reservoir empty but no evidence of leak - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 1999-Up Super Duty trucks and Excursions. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 7.3L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 06-20-2011, 08:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Brake fluid reservoir empty but no evidence of leak

My 2002 Excursion with 70,000 mi. brakes went soft and I checked the fluid. It was basically empty so I refilled it and started pumping the brake pedal. The reservoir emptied again and there is no sign of a leak. Where is the fluid going? Is the master cylinder conected such that it can get pulled into the engine or exhaust?


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Old 06-20-2011, 08:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to TDS. Instead of just adding fluid and pumping the pedal, you really need to bleed the brakes and purge all the air out of the lines before you even consider looking for leaks, or heavens forbid, driving it somewhere.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Have you ever changed the brake pads? With 70,000 miles, they may be about worn out, depending on how much you torture the brakes. As the brake pads wear, they get thinner. As they get thinner, the caliper pistons move farther and farther out of the caliper. Check your brake pads to see how close the pad backing plates are to the rotors - if you have almost no friction material left, you've just figured out where your brake fluid went - it's still in the system, but it has migrated from the master cylinder to the caliper piston cylinders and you haven't actually lost any fluid. When new pads are installed, you typically have to crack open the bleeder screw when you push the caliper pistons into the calipers - this lets all the extra fluid out. If you don't do that, it pushes all the excess fluid back into the master cylinder and may overflow the master cylinder (not to mention is pushes dirty old brake fluid back into the brake system).

If the master cylinder level got so low that you got air in the system, you'll have a fun time bleeding the system. You might need to bleed the master cylinder as well to get all the air out. With the added complexity of the anti-lock braking system, it makes it that much more difficult to get all the air out.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F350_6 View Post
Welcome to TDS. Instead of just adding fluid and pumping the pedal, you really need to bleed the brakes and purge all the air out of the lines before you even consider looking for leaks, or heavens forbid, driving it somewhere.
The brake pads are in really good shape. I have new ones but the ones on the vehicle are nearly as thick as the new ones. I know, I find that hard to believe but it's true and the rotors are in very good shape. This is something that happened suddenly and the fluid is definately leaking somewhere but there is no sign of a leak. Therefore I am left wondering where it could possibly be going! I have done brake jobs on many vehicles over the past 50 years but this one has me puzzled.
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Old 06-21-2011, 01:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Go inside the truck and pull the carpet back in the area of the drivers feet. There is a rod going from the brake pedal through the fire wall. The oring that seals it can sometimes leak. The oily pad/carpet may provide the answer.
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