Nicholas Fluhart

April 21, 2013

Project Loadstar: Brakes Part 1

Filed under: Project: Loadstar,Trucks & Equipment — Nicholas Fluhart @ 7:59 pm

In the second installment of the Loadstar project, I will be addressing the brakes. To make it possible to at least operate the truck around the yard, and certainly anywhere else, I figured the first mechanical repair attempt should be the brakes. It appeared that all the rear brake lines were replaced recently before the truck was taken out of service, however the front lines appeared to be original and in poor condition. I inspected the master cylinder. The fluid was low and the piston was stuck at the bottom of the bore. I knew I would probably need a new or remanufactured master cylinder if I couldn’t get the piston unstuck in order to rebuild it, but why was the fluid level low? The previous owners told me the brakes worked when they parked the truck, but they were having to add fluid regularly due to what they said was a leaking wheel cylinder. I began looking for leaks. I check the inside of the wheels/brake drums for leaky wheel cylinders. No sign of a wheel cylinder leak now or ever. Also, the brake shoes looked really good. I checked the firewall around the master cylinder location, and again, no sign of a leak. Oh well, it will all come out in the wash when I repair the master cylinder.

Turns out the master cylinder was beyond repair. I ordered a remanufactured unit with a 1-year warranty and front brake lines from Bumper to Bumper/Crow-Burlingame. You see the brake master cylinder in the photo below; it is the one on the left and the clutch master cylinder is on the right.

Master Cylinder

The front rubber brake lines were still available, but I couldn’t find the intermediate lines around the vacuum booster which is located under the driver floor on this truck, so I used steel lines there. Below you see one of the new rubber lines connecting from the frame to the wheel cylinder.

Rubber Brake Line

Results: Well there is good news and bad news. The good news is the brakes bled out and the master cylinder works fine. The bad news is that the vacuum booster is not working and I have no power brakes. At least I can move the truck around the yard and stop, although stopping requires me to fully stand on the brake pedal. This most assuredly would be difficult if the truck was loaded. Looks like I’ll be addressing the booster later on, but first I definitely need to power wash the frame and chassis; it has years of caked on mud from the oil field.

Until the next installment…

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