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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I'm new here. I just wanted to come on here and get some opinions, as a lot of you seem very knowledgable on the ins and outs of these vans. Mine is a 96 Grand Voyager 3.3, and I have recently had brake problems.

Early last year I changed the pads in the front, (and know it is now time to do the back) and they have served me well until a few days ago. What happens is that when I push on the pedal, the breaks engage, but then after a second of hesitation, the pedal sinks even further down to get the same break action.

I took it to a generic shop (Meineke) and they told me that it was most likely the Master Cylinder. That its wearing out, and that I needed to replace it. Now before I go dropping the money to replace it, I just wanted to hear the opinions of you guys here, because although I am a new user, I have been a reader for a couple of years now and I really like the opinions that are given on here. Anyhow, thanks for your time.
 

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Hi everyone. I'm new here. I just wanted to come on here and get some opinions, as a lot of you seem very knowledgable on the ins and outs of these vans. Mine is a 96 Grand Voyager 3.3, and I have recently had brake problems.

Early last year I changed the pads in the front, (and know it is now time to do the back) and they have served me well until a few days ago. What happens is that when I push on the pedal, the breaks engage, but then after a second of hesitation, the pedal sinks even further down to get the same break action.

I took it to a generic shop (Meineke) and they told me that it was most likely the Master Cylinder. That its wearing out, and that I needed to replace it. Now before I go dropping the money to replace it, I just wanted to hear the opinions of you guys here, because although I am a new user, I have been a reader for a couple of years now and I really like the opinions that are given on here. Anyhow, thanks for your time.
Welcome aboard. Enjoy the site.
Fluid level okay?
Any possibility for air in the system?
Any pulling to the side.
Proportioning valve sticking maybe?
I would gather all the data I could and get a second opinion from an actual Mechanic, that I trusted. Some Service Order Writers will tell you anything to sound knowledgable,and get your business.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Welcome aboard. Enjoy the site.
Fluid level okay?
Any possibility for air in the system?
Any pulling to the side.
Proportioning valve sticking maybe?
Fluid level is perfect. That was the first thing I checked. It doesn't pull either way at all that I have noticed. As far as air, I wouldn't know how it got in there since the system hasn't been opened anywhere. Even last year when I changed out the pads, I didn't bleed it, or even open it at all besides taking off the cap in the res. to make sure it didn't overflow.

Now the proportioning valve.... I honestly don't even know what it is, what it does, or where it's located.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok, I searched and found where the Proportioning valve goes. I will take a look at it tomorrow morning in the daylight to see if there is any leakage. I haven't noticed any leaks at all though, and my brake res hasn't moved on fluid.
 

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Ok, I searched and found where the Proportioning valve goes. I will take a look at it tomorrow morning in the daylight to see if there is any leakage. I haven't noticed any leaks at all though, and my brake res hasn't moved on fluid.
I had experience with a proportioning valve sticking one time. The pedal pressure would vary as you describe but there would be a banging noise as well when it un-stuck. No leaks though.

Here's something on trouble shooting brakes - don't know that it helps though: http://forum.chryslerminivan.net/showthread.php?t=10415
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info. I'm going to hope that its the problem, although I think that if that doesn't seem to be the problem, I'm gonna go ahead and have someone replace the shoes on the rear brakes and maybe that will shed more light on the problem.
 

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Thanks for the info. I'm going to hope that its the problem, although I think that if that doesn't seem to be the problem, I'm gonna go ahead and have someone replace the shoes on the rear brakes and maybe that will shed more light on the problem.
The rear brakes could be in need of adjusting up. Before doing that though, I would recommend removing the drums and taking a grinder to (or chipping off with a hammer) the lip of rust that builds up. Will save you a lot of grief when removing the drums at another time.
 

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I was thinking that a caliper could be sticking under light apply, then release. This would start building up braking pressure, then require more pedal travel while the second caliper moved. However, if this were the case, you would feel it pull to one side until that second caliper started working.

It really does sound like a master cylinder issue to me. Yes, it could be something else, but that's likely the culprit. If this is the case, what happens is that the system starts building pressure thru the first bit of piston travel in the master cylinder. When the piston seal hits a worn area (it doesn't take much), fluid pressure leaks around the seal, causing the pedal to feel dead. I had the same sort of thing happen on an older car, but it was my clutch master cylinder. Under light applies, the clutch pedal would go right to the floor. But if I was sure to hit the clutch fast, things were fine.

And that might be your diagnostic test. Try hiting the brakes from 25-30 mph under different pressures. If light applies allow this problem, but harder applies tend to feel like they should, then that's another data point against the master cylinder.

PS - Sometimes it could be the seal or the piston INSIDE the cylinder that is bad, meaning the master cylinder could be rebuilt. At that point, it comes down to the cost of a new master cylinder versus the cost of a rebuild kit, PLUS the cost/ease/labor involved with replacement versus rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
And that might be your diagnostic test. Try hiting the brakes from 25-30 mph under different pressures. If light applies allow this problem, but harder applies tend to feel like they should, then that's another data point against the master cylinder.
That's exactly how it works. When I slam on the breaks they feel as they should. But when I ease into it, that is when it hesitates, then drifts further down.

On a side note, I just remembered that about 3 weeks ago I got new tires put on and they heard a clicking sound so they took the caliper off thinking it was something there but it was really just the lug nut cover making a noise. Anyway, you don't think this could be anything? Honestly I haven't felt any pull to one side or another so maybe not.
 

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That's exactly how it works. When I slam on the breaks they feel as they should. But when I ease into it, that is when it hesitates, then drifts further down.

On a side note, I just remembered that about 3 weeks ago I got new tires put on and they heard a clicking sound so they took the caliper off thinking it was something there but it was really just the lug nut cover making a noise. Anyway, you don't think this could be anything? Honestly I haven't felt any pull to one side or another so maybe not.
Maybe they didn't lubricate the sliding surfaces (pins and brackets) when they put it back together and it's sticking. I would be looking at their work for sure. Seems coincidental doesn't it?
 

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Well, you've got 2 good possibilities to look into. Check the calipers is easy enough. Removing the caliper doesn't mean that they wiped the grease from the pins :blink:. If this were the problem, you would have seen the problem before. But if you're gonna check the caliper bolts, you might as well pull the housing off the bracket and lube the pins. The get the bolts tightened up and drive it a bit. At least that will ease your mind before you put $ into anything.

But if/when the problem continues, don't wait on that master cylinder. It just might happen in a panic stop if it's not taken care off. Very scary to call for brakes and have them not work the way they should (as the other guys bumper gets closer, and closer.......)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
So update on the brakes. I havent updated due to the van being parked, but I finally got around to doing the rear drum brakes.

All went smooth and went to bleed them out. Rear Passenger side first, would not bleed. I got a dribble, when I opened it up, but nothing at all even after messing with the bleeder and pumping to no avail.
Opened up to bleed driver rear, and went smooth. Air came out, then fluid ran like a river while pumping. Bled and closed.
Went back to passenger rear, and again, a dribble, but thats it. Made sure that the res still had fluid and checked out good.
Went and did the passenger front, and bled very well. Just a bit of air, and then bled well.
Went to driver front, and there again, just like the passenger rear, got only a dribble, then nothing. Back to passenger front and bled well. Back to drivers front, and again, a dribble.....

So I am very stumped as to what is going on here... Anyone have any suggestions?

Just wanted to also mention that I checked the front, and made sure everything was working fine and it was prior to switching the very worn rear shoes, the cylinders (passenger cylinder was blown) and the drums as well (they were close to spec anyway).
 

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Not an expert here, but the braking circuits are redundant for safety. That is to say you have two (2) braking circuits delivered from your MC. One circuit is the rear/right & frt/left, the other is rear/left & frt/right.
Obviously now, hopefully, the one circuit appears fine, but the other coming from the MC is not.
Do you have a split chamber where you inspect the fluid, or just a plastic resivour one top, common to both internal chambers ?? I am wondering if one circuit is starving for fluid? I doubt it, I believe it is MC time.

I think this points to the MC, but I would have others chime in & Good Luck.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The bleed screw(s) is plugged. Remove it and poke it clean with a stick-pin.

-Jim
Removed the screw and did as you said, and still nada... Thanks for the suggestion though.. Still stumped, and really hoping that the MC has not gone out on me. :jpshakehe
 

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Fron reading your description about bleeding the brakes, it's possible you got some dirt in when replacing the passenger rear wheel cylinder.
That could be why you can't bleed passenger rear/driver front.
 
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