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Brake pedal goes to the floor and now brakes won’t register to shift out of park

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So around this time of year last year I changed my brakes and my rotors and was going to replace my front bearings as well. My 08 is a Michigan truck so it’s got a plethora of rust accumulated. One of caliper bolts had seized so I completed what I could with the brakes and headed home to figure the best attack for a seized rusted bolt with thread lock. Anyways that bolt was a ******, so I went to my brother cause he had an air compressor and thought we’d try that. Needless to say the bolt one, so my brother put the wheel back together but before he put the caliper back in place over the rotor he decided to decompress the spring?. Why? I have zero idea thought it was pointless for him to do that Considering I had to do it to change the springs. So I start to head back home just worried about getting this bolt out so I can change my bearing. So as I start to leave I don’t notice anything out of place until I get down the road and my brake pedal goes to the floor. It made no sense, I couldn’t figure out what happened in the 30 minutes I was there; that would take my brakes from having good pressure to having none.  Then not long after that my fuel pump goes. Old Murphy’s law coming in clutch for me! So I get the fuel pump swapped get the caliper freed so I could replace my bearing. Then go to bleed my brakes and I can’t get any of my brake pedal back. I have abs so I I went out and bought a scan tool cause I heard bleeding brakes with an abs system without the scan tool is difficult and is more than likely the reason my brakes still go to the floor. So I do everything the device tells me to. There’s no change, except now I can’t shift it out of park to even attempt to check if there’s at least some pressure. I’ve been battling these brakes so at least the last half of 2021 my family is telling me to just sell it for whatever. Honestly I don’t want to sell it I rather enjoy having it and am not ready to let it go. Any help or advice would be so appreciated!




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do you get a steady stream of fluid when your bleeding? when you compressed the caliper piston its possible you pushed any gunk that was in the caliper back up into the abs controller and master cylinder. the proper way to compress the piston is to clamp off the brake hose and open the bleeder so that doesn't happen. you can disconnect the lines at the master and plug them 1 at a time and see if you get a pedal, that will tell you if its the master and if not which brake circuit has the problem. check the fuses for the no shift problem, its not because of pedal travel

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2 hours ago, richard wysong said:

do you get a steady stream of fluid when your bleeding? when you compressed the caliper piston its possible you pushed any gunk that was in the caliper back up into the abs controller and master cylinder. the proper way to compress the piston is to clamp off the brake hose and open the bleeder so that doesn't happen. you can disconnect the lines at the master and plug them 1 at a time and see if you get a pedal, that will tell you if its the master and if not which brake circuit has the problem. check the fuses for the no shift problem, its not because of pedal travel

I get a steady stream at first followed by a good amount of air bubbles. On every wheel. Thank you for that i never knew you were suppose open the bleeders to decompress the piston correctly. As well as I’ll try out your suggestion for the master now have a plan for troubleshooting. I’m a greenhorn when it comes to vehicles.

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If ever there was a case of having tech data at hand and reading it before and during work here it is.

I think all Haynes manuals cover this.

I grew up in NE Ohio so I am familiar with your pain.

To remove rusted bolts, use a good penetrating oil like WD-40, others, like Kroil (found in supply houses that service professionals, may be in some A/P stores, "Blast Off" is another (I think) and there are others like "LPS"; LPS comes in grades 1, 2, or 3. Let it soak; maybe overnight some times it takes days but usually not.

You can get a torch, acetylene is hottst but most shade tree guys don't have one, I have used "MAP GAS" it comes in a yellow bottle or butane in a blue bottle, I might have these colors screwed up, my day soldered with the blue bottle, I think the map gas is hotter. Anyway heat the area around the bolt; the idea is to thermally expand the outer threads away from the bolt, I'm not sure that works in this instance as the outer threads expand toward the bolt too, but anyway it usually works; problem is the bolt you're heating can loose it's temper, if it's a critical bolt like in a brake application you MUST replace it unless YOU KNOW it's ok. I have heated up a bolt (hinge bolt on a 1957 Chevy Suburban) and used bee's wax on the bolt (like it was penetrating oil) and the bolt came out. These hinge bolts are made like a coke bottle as an attempt to keep the bolt from backing out, it's old school but it works, it takes a lot of elbow grease to get them out, anyway the bee's way liquefies on the hot bolt like you wouldn't believe. You can find bee's wax at hardware stores usu. hanging on a strip, ask for it. It comes in little puck like shapes. Always use a torque wrench ESPECIALLY on critical systems like steering, brakes, suspensions. Always use thread lock of the correct type and grade, after all it's YOUR butt in the vehicle or the butt of some one you care about. AS you may have found out there is no sinking feeling in your gut like the sinking feeling  you get when the pedal goes to the floor and you're on a hill. That sinking feeling comes from your dinner making a hasty exit.... I know lock tite might seem like a frivolous expense and it usu. feels like it until a bolt works loose but then it's too late; your next question will be "What's that smell?"

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most likely the master cylinder. I take for granted that you have already replaced the steel brake lines at least once in the trux life and there aren't any leaks. until they came up with the nickel copper lines I would have to replace my lines about every 3 years because of the road salt

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  • 2 weeks later...

Normally I don't recommend taking it in, but if you are really frustrated - it might be worth paying the $80 to have Les Schwab bleed the brakes. They have the tools and experience to do it by the book. If that doesn't fix it, at least you can eliminate air bubbles as the cause, and move on to replacing parts. Look for bulging hoses, a bad master cylinder, or maybe you are out of brake fluid?


You could also try various different types of pressure and vacuum bleeders on Amazon. They are very inexpensive, and can reverse bleed, and things like that.

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