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Brake Problem on 1988 LeBaron

Old 10-14-2012, 06:32 PM
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Default Brake Problem on 1988 LeBaron

Howdy all, I need some advice from anyone who has anything to offer, it would be truly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

VEHICLE: 1988 Chrysler LeBaron Base Sedan, 2.2l EFI Turbo

PROBLEM: I recently replaced the calipers on my beast. After bleeding the system to seat the pads against the rotors, I found that, with the engine off, the pedal was excessively soft, and would travel to the floor with some resistance, but not much. With the engine on, the pedal had absolutely ZERO resistance, and was straight down to the floor with no braking ability at all. I then replaced the master cylinder, bench bled the new unit, and slapped it on there, only to discover that I still had the same problem.

QUESTION: I have bled the system about four times using manual bleeding and vacuum bleeding. I don't seem to be getting any air in the tubes, and have gone through about 3 quarts of brake fluid, but this has done nothing. Why do you guys think that is? Do I just need to keep bleeding the **** out of the brakes, or is it likely that the symptoms are caused by some other problem than air in the system?

MORE DETAILS: I changed the calipers because when I bought the car a few months ago it had tranny fluid in the brake system, which I have long since flushed out (I know, I know, this is terrible for the rubber components. I didn't know there was tranny fluid in it at the time I bought it, or I might have reconsidered the offer. In any case, the deed is done and I'm working on repairing the damage.) I also plan on replacing the wheel cylinders on the rear drums. I have not yet replaced the flex hoses, but that's likely my next job. I would just as soon do the work myself and save some money than take it in to a repair shop and have them do the same job for five times the price, but at this point I'm pretty stumped and ready to at least pay to have someone look at it. I just don't understand why there is so little resistance to the brake pedal, especially with the engine on. Could it be caused by a failure of the rear wheel cylinders? Swollen hoses? Am I an idiot and this model really *does* have an ABS unit that needs bled? As far as I can tell, there are no leaks, and all the steel lines appear to be in decent condition. I don't believe it's the booster, because from what I've read that results in an extremely difficult-to-press pedal. The brakes were working fine (aside from the fact they had tranny fluid in them) before I changed the calipers, and I just don't know what I possibly could have done that would have led to such a total system failure.

Again, any advice you guys can give me is a tremendous help, even if it's, "Just keep bleeding 'em." Thanks again, sorry for the long read
Old 10-22-2012, 02:05 PM
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Update: Replaced the wheel cylinders yesterday, and then bled the brakes again. Still no improvement, though I did seem to get quite a bit of air out of the passenger rear (I was using a vacuum bleeder, though, so I might have just been sucking in air through the bleeder threads).

In any case, I'm taking it in today for a professional diagnosis and possibly a pressure bleed, I'll post the results for anyone interested.
Old 10-28-2012, 07:19 PM
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Final post: Took it in a few days ago. Apparently, in my effort to check and recheck all the major components I replaced, I overlooked the tightness of a hard line-to-flex hose fitting, and this was allowing air into the system with each press of the pedal.

I replaced all the hoses, which were the last of the tranny fluid contaminated components, made sure all my connections were tight, and pulled a gravity bleed, and I am extremely pleased to report that this problem has been solved!

The moral of the story, children, is to always check the simple stuff first, cause you never know when you might just have a loose fitting
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