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Power Strokes 1994-1997 General Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the Power Stroke engine in 1994 through 1997 models.

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Old 02-04-2012, 08:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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96 F250 Brake problems

My "96 Ford has a really bad brakes. I need help figuring this out cause I still have to use the truck.
The brakes feel like the first half of the pedal doesn't do hardly anything until the second half engages then the rears come in and lock up.
It's a very spongy pedal feeling. Front brakes not doin much stopping.

The ABS light has been on for a while. Does the ABS have anything to do with front brakes? Too expensive to replace if it's not gona fix problem.

I've had fluid replaced with a special pump, had master cylinder replaced 2 times cause thats what every shop I take it to thinks it is, had vaccum pump replaced, brake booster replaced, pads, rotors, calipers, drums, shoes, and rubber lines replaced, already.

I keep bleeding the brakes once a month cause it seems to help a little especially when I bleed the ABS.

Can someone help me figure this out?
I don't want to just keep replacing parts that don't fix it.

Thanks
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Explain how you are bleeding the brakes. Are you sure that your calipers are both working and the rear brakes are adjusted properly.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have tried bleeding the brakes myself with a one way valve bleeder system goin from the farthest bleeder first and back to the nearest. I have also done it from the nearest to the back. I have had two different auto shops bleed the brakes. I have had the fluid replaced at a third shop with a pump that recirculates new fluid into the system.
The calipers were replaced with new ones by one of these shops. The drums and rotors were also replaced by professional auto shops.
I didn't take to a brake shop because they charge a lot more plus they will for sure want to replace the ABS. I don't see why the ABS would affect the front brakes. Maybe theres something that releases pressure?
I need to know if there is something that the ABS controls besides the rear brakes. I follow the lines and the ABS is only connected to the rear. There are some wires that go to the ABS valve. Maybe those control some other electronic valve?
Thanks for any help.
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If everything else is in good working condition it sounds to me like you need to replace the abs/proportioning valve. It balances the brakes front to rear, you will notice there are no abs wheel sensors. There was a guy on another forum that had a problem with front brakes locking up and the fix was replacing the proportioning valve. Ford wanted like $480, Napa $265 and he found one in a salvage yard for about $40.
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Old 02-05-2012, 06:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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x2 on proportioning valve
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I too had this problem and it had me scratching my head for a few hours, I had a brake rotor break in half and lost all fluid when a piston came out of the caliper and when I was puting everything back togeather the answer was right in front of me the whole time, it is the front caliper design there is a small hole in between the two chambers and it is small enough to not let brake fluid gravity through it very well,,so the fix is to fill your system after replacement of calipers or in my case repair, once you are certain everting up top and the top of the caliper is fulluse a c clamp on the top piston to hold it in place and manualy pull out the bottom piston slowly to fill lower chamber, clamp the brake line open the bleeder and push it back in do this a few times the chamber is big after lower chamber is full bleed the brakes as normal one final time and you should be good to go and will no longer be compressing a large amount of air in a powered brake system,,,,,,hopfully this will help
This is also why some people have similar problems and say it gets better over time I couldn't believe how much air came from the bottom half of my caliper after I blead the brakes several times with a vacume bleeding system and the old two man method

Last edited by mustangpit; 02-08-2012 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Mine was only one caliper so I could only imagine how it would be if it were two,,let me know if this works out for you too,,,also this is a good thing to keep in mind while changing brake fluid because the lower half of my caliper was also a lot more stained than the top half was I change my break fluid once a year and I guess due to the design it will change the way I do it in the future,,,just thought id throw this out there because who rebulids brake calipers any more much less take them apart to inspect because they are so cheap to replace I just can't believe on the age of these trucks that ford hasn't put out a tsb on this

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Old 02-08-2012, 10:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Ok.
I will try bleeding the calipers out like you stated above and hope it works but if doesn't I will look into replacing the ABS.
Thanks for your help guys.
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I had to adjust the back brakes then bleed all the brakes starting with the furthest one from the master cylinder to the closest. I also flushed out and replace the fluid with Amsoil Brake Fluid. My truck is 15 years old so I have to manually adjust the back brakes when they start feeling soft. So far this is the best results I have had with these brakes. I do plan on getting a hydralic unit from an old super duty to improve the braking.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hopefully that will work out for you also sbcracer deffinatly let me know how it goes kinda funny we have basically the same truck and milage and so hopfully the same problem I just had to do that process 4 days ago on my truck wasn't too bad just wish it was 70 outside instead of 30 but I guess nothing ever breaks when its nice

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Old 02-10-2012, 03:45 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yea mustangpit man. Does your's have drum brakes in the back like mine? I'm gona work on it saturday or maybe get my favorite shop to do it.
It really does feel like there's air in the lines but no one has been able to find it.
Makes sense to me what you guys said for it to be stuck somewhere like in the calipers or the ABS valve.
I will keep you posted.
Thanks.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Yes mine also has rear drums,if ya go to a local shop they may think your crazy if ya tell them to bleed the bottom half of your calipers, iv been turning wrenches since I was aboout 13 and iv never seen this before I even asked my buddy at ford if he has seen it and he said he has seen the problem but im the first one to tell him the fix for it he works in the parts room and says there are a lot of guys wo drop some major cash after a caliper replacment and he even looked at a one and saw what I was talking about,he is their parts guy and really knows more than the mechanics
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Too freekin cold to work on it this weekend. (plus it was my nephews bday)
Gona have to do it this week.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:40 AM   #14 (permalink)
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If calipers are not the problem, it might be the ABS going bad! Maybe check Ebay
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Well I finally got to work on my brakes this weekend.
I took the calipers off one at a time without removing the lines.
For some reason I see alot of the piston boot extended out when the brakes are not even applied.
Anyway, I went ahead and pinched off the rubber line and open the bleeder. I pressed in the piston furthest from the bleeder and got nothing but air. It was amazing how much air seemed to be in there. I then blocked that piston from moving and began pushing in the other piston.
There was alittle air and then fluid came out. I kept on bleeding it out till it was all the way in then I closed the bleeder. I stepped on the brake pedal and after a while it seemed to feel a bit better. I added more fluid to reservoir and did the same with the other side.
Unfortunaltely, I still have the problem.
I bled and bled the brakes again until I got all of the older looking fluid out.
It seems to be working a little better and the ABS light has gone off.
I may not have done the procedure right so I will read the post again and maybe try it again tomorrow. This problem is really getting old.
Thanks for the help.
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