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SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

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Old 09-10-2005, 12:34 AM
PARoadRunner PARoadRunner is offline
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Default SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

ok, this was really scary. I was headed down a major road going about 50 MPH, and i see a red light in the distance. I casually press on the brake pedal, and after a few seconds of normal pressure, its as if someone popped a balloon my foot was on. All of a sudden, the brake pedal sinks all the way to the floor when I push, I HAVE NO BRAKES! I applied a little bit of the E-brake and made a quick left turn onto a little road (lucky it was there, cars were everywhere) After a few minutes I finally located the problem.

The rear right tire was drenched in Brake Fluid! There was a huge leak!
I turned off the car and checked the brake fluid level, it was emptying out as I pressed the brake pedal. The tow truck came in about 30 minutes and took me to a local brake shop. They cant look at my car until Monday

I feel so helpless right now. I am at school 70 miles from my home. I dont know any local mechanics. I will have to wait until Monday to see whats wrong. I think its probably the Cylinder, but someone please let me know what you think.

I cannot afford a big brake job. I feel unprepared to deal with these unknown mechanics. Please help!
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Old 09-10-2005, 12:44 AM
DevilsReject DevilsReject is offline
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Default RE: SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

Sounds like a busted cylinder but it could be something as simple as a broken brake fluid line. What I would suggest is finding a local phone book and calling around to any Midas, Car-X, Meineke, etc etc places that do brake work in the area. I realize you arent near home, but I would suggest at least trying to call around and get some estimates on what you think is the problem.

I would definitely call a few friends at home or even school and see if they might be able to tow you home....save yourself some cash maybe? Got any friends at home that know mechanics?

Messing with brake cylinders is difficult and highly frustrating if you arent mechanically inclined. I have done it once, and needed help. I'm sure there are people in here would could walk you thru it....but I almost hate to say it's probably easier to fork out the cash you dont have to get it done....

One last tip.....if you dont have Triple A, it's like $35-40 a year and you get like 15-20 tows anywhere in state for free.....so while you paid for that tow truck, you could have been at home right now possibly. Just a suggestion to look into....
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Old 09-10-2005, 01:03 AM
PARoadRunner PARoadRunner is offline
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Default RE: SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

yea my dad has AAA. 2 of the mechanics I spoke to around here dont even know what AAA is! I was actually on my way to the Department of Transportation center to get my license changed so I could get lower insurance and get AAA for my car. It was too ironic that this happened. I spoke to my insurance company and they said its like an extra $1.80 for 6 months to have towing coverage. One shop told me that when the cylinder is changed, they always put new brake shoes on. Can anyone verify that this is neccesary? Would it make sense to get both cylinders changed, or just the one that broke? Thanks
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Old 09-10-2005, 06:26 AM
DevilsReject DevilsReject is offline
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Default RE: SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

Well, it's always smart when something breaks to replace anything that may have potentially failed along with it. Also, depending on the cost to repair/replace it.....it may not be a bad idea to do it. If you just have enough cash to get the one side done....get it done so you can get home and worry about it then. That gives you the rest of the weekend/week to come up with the cash/help to do the other one. Triple A is a service you pay for....its not related to insurance. Anyone can get it regardless of your driving record. It's just roadside assistance. As for replacing the brakes.....if its like 20-30 bucks more....have them do it......if its anything more then 50....I'd tell em to go shove it somewhere.....it's really not a bad idea to replace them.....but it all depends on if they really need it/are damaged or worn....

Good luck with your ride and hopefully you get lucky and only need the one side done....
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Old 09-10-2005, 04:05 PM
PARoadRunner PARoadRunner is offline
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Default RE: SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

Well I was thinking of doing both sides just so that I have a little peace of mind that the rear axle now has new drums, shoes, and cylinders. That way regular maintenance is all I'll need to do, and not a full replacement any time soon.

I am looking up parts on the internet and after indicating which car I have, there are still several options for cylinders.
There are 3/4" bore, GB Plus?, and some others. I dont know which to get or if all will fit. The brake shop guy told me that his parts are cheaper than I can find them myself, but they are way overpriced! If I were to buy the parts on the internet and do it myself somehow I could save myself a ton, but I dont know if thats a good idea...
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Old 09-11-2005, 12:00 AM
thump186 thump186 is offline
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Default RE: SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

The reason they ussaly do the shoes when the cylinder blow is because of fluid contamination of the shoes. the dry porus nature of the brake linnings makes them *******y impossible to clen when soaked with brake fluid. I would have both done at the same time because if one goes the other probaly isn't to far behind.
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Old 09-11-2005, 04:10 PM
PARoadRunner PARoadRunner is offline
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Default RE: SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

yea, i will be doing both, two new cylinders and shoes. If Im not mistaken they will have to bleed the brake fluid and put new fluid in there. Are drums difficult to replace? I would want to replace the drums separately because they are definately overpriced at this shop. Other than the drums, shoes, cylinders, and brake lines, are there other parts to rear drum brakes that I should be aware of?
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Old 09-11-2005, 10:43 PM
thump186 thump186 is offline
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Default RE: SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

not really just some basic hardware stuff. most shop will not put new shoes on with old drums ro unturned drums.
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Old 09-12-2005, 02:35 PM
PARoadRunner PARoadRunner is offline
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Default RE: SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

Heres what I did. I went next door to a much more proffesional looking shop.
They dont accept outside parts, but heres the quote he gave me.
$24 for each wheel cylinder $48 total
$35 for each drum $70 total
$45 for shoe set $45
Total Parts: $163

After checking out the car he said there would be 3 hours of labor. Of course, it shouldnt really take this long even though cylinders arent easy, but I know this is really where the money comes from for them...
Total Labor: About $200 or $66.66 per hour.

After tax Im looking at a $400 job. Ouch.

The mechanic was hesitant to not change the defective drum. He said that there are liability issues if he changes the shoes and not the drums. Since his quote for drums were actually less than the parts store, i told him sure go ahead and get me two. Im not looking for premium brake parts, just something that will hold for a while. One more question:

What would cause one drum to completely wear out while the other drum doesnt? In an ABS system, could this be due to the speed sensor?
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Old 09-12-2005, 03:03 PM
DevilsReject DevilsReject is offline
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Default RE: SUDDEN LOSS OF BRAKES, PLEASE HELP!!!

Plain and simple, parts wear out....especially with brakes. It could have been negligence on the part of the previous owner....could have been faulty mechanics work.....or it could have simply been wear/tear on the vehicle.

I doubt anyone can give you specifics as to why it failed on your car without being there...That said, in my own experiences...when one side goes out and the other doesnt..its usually faulty equipment.

$400 is a lot cheaper then you might realize. Drums are harder to do then rotors...and they are a little more involved. Also, you're replacing cylinders which are a pain...I was quoted around around $250-300 for the front brakes on my truck. That was just new rotors, new brakes, and labor. I told them they were insane. I paid 99$ and did it myself.

Your already going to pay labor regardless...and those are good price quotes...
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Old 09-12-2005, 03:03 PM
 
 
 
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