Troubleshooting and Repair Advice for Ford Diesel Brake Systems

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Brake troubleshooting for Ford Diesels is essential to increase your level of safety and to make repairs quickly. Braking power is often taken for granted. Drivers brake hundreds of times throughout the span of one week and rely on their brakes to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them. When the brakes fail or don’t respond properly, an accident can occur. Most brakes wear on the front before the rear, because most braking is done with the front brakes. To identify a problem, this is where you should begin your examination.

Brake Fluid
Brake fluid level and condition should always be your first step. When fluid is low you can simply top it off. Or if the condition of the fluid is less-than-great — brake fluid should be clear in color — it will need to be replaced. If your fluid is low you also need to check that there are no leaks. You can look on the inner sidewall of the tires for streaking. On the front, also check the undercarriage and steering linkage.  Check other reservoirs around the area to ensure there isn’t a leak of other fluids getting into the brake fluids.

Component Isolation
Once you’ve checked the fluids, if you’re still having problems it’s time to move on to the different parts of the braking system to find a faulty component. For master cylinders and ABS systems the problem could be in the master cylinder itself or ABS system operations. If the master cylinder needs to be replaced there is generally a pressure problem with the brake pedal. For the ABS system, the same symptom would be caused by a problem in the computer programming of the system. Another issue you may be experiencing is caused by a vacuum problem. First depress the brake pedal, pushing all of the air out. Do this for at least one minute. When a minute is up, pump the brakes slightly, feeling for pressure. This indicates there is no problem with your vacuum system.

If there is excessive pedal movement it can indicate a problem in the hydraulic lines and an adjustment may be needed. The shoes may need to be adjusted to bring the shoes and drums together. When they are properly adjusted, the parking brake should hold the vehicle in place. While adjusting the drums and shoes, check for scratches, gouges, or other damage on the braking system.

Spongy brakes are a common symptom and one that drivers notice the most. Spongy or grabbing brakes can be an indication of oil or grease on the pads or shoes. This causes stickiness and the grabbing feeling you get when you push the pedal. The cause of spongy brakes is usually linked to air in the lines. This can also be caused by a bent brake shoe, though this is pretty rare.

Pulsating brakes are another symptom that there is a problem in your braking system. This is caused by a warped rotor or out-of-round drums. It also could be a loose or damaged outer or inner front wheel bearing.

Squealing brakes is one of the easiest symptoms for everyone in your neighborhood to notice. This can indicate that the pads are dirty, the braking plates are loose, or the caliper could be missing a spring.

Once you’ve done your brake troubleshooting, you can work toward the correct repair. Check your user’s manual or a quality repair guide for your make, model, and year for instructions on how to repair the problem you’ve diagnosed. If you feel uncomfortable with the job you can always ask a repair shop or auto parts store for advice. Once the repairs are made you need to replace the brake fluid and then test the parking brake. After the process is complete, set the parking brake and see if your vehicle holds. If it does, you’ve completed the job correctly. After a couple of days, check for leaks as you did in the initial check.

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