Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra. - Page 2
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  1. #26
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bistineau View Post
    If post #16 is correct then flushing the lines as I described above should also flush any grit from this valve(it's called a proportioning valve). Then go thru the brake adjusting as I described, by backing up fast and hitting the brakes hard several times(this only works on rear drum brakes, if they are disc it won't matter). I know the 99 GM trucks had 4 wheel discs but not sure on the 98. If new fluid in the lines to all 4 wheels doesn't clear up the problem, then I'm 99.38 percent sure it's the master cylinder with internal leakage. Old fluid with moisture in it(indicated by dark color fluid) causes the seal material on the piston in the master cylinder to start deteriorating, it has the same affect on the wheel cylinders and calipers if left unchecked.
    If the problem was the power brake booster, then it would cause you to have to use a lot of pressure on the brake pedal to get braking action, but would not cause the spongy feel. I have a 94 3/4 ton Chevy Cheyenne and a 96 S-10 that share the same type brake system as the 98 GMC. The 94 develpoped a spongy brake feel and required a master cylinder even after bleeding the lines. A few months later the brake booster on the 96 went out, so I know what the symptoms and brake feel is for both problems.
    I don't know whether they were an option or not, but my 98 1 ton dually had rear disc brakes. I wasn't the original owner so I didn't see the window sticker.

    I agree about the hydraulic fluid. I think I saw somewhere that 7 years is about the max duty life due to the moisture absorption and breakdown you mentioned.

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  2. #27
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    looking back every chevy pickup of that vintage i drove did the same thing. Minus the brake light comming on. like you we just learned to live with it.
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  3. #28
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    WELL? Didjyafindanythying?

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  4. #29
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    WELL? Didjyafindanythying?

    David
    I'm wondering what happened with this fix, too. Did he get it fixed or did the brakes fail entirely and now he's laid up in the hospital and can't reply(hope not, or worse could have happened). I would like to see him come back and inform us what the outcome on this brake situation is.

  5. #30
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Check ALL the rubber hoses to make sure they are not "Balloning"out during pedal pressure..

    That will give the sponge feel also.

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  6. #31
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Well, I finally got a chance to look at the truck... I did top off the master cylinder a few days ago, just to say I did it, it was not low.

    Today, I pulled all the wheels and inspected everything. The front calipers are free, and rotors and pads look fine. One bleeder broken off, but no leaks...

    The rear is a different story. The passenger side drum dropped right off, without backing off the adjusters. As you can see, the leading shoe is toast. It looks like it just disintegrated, the drum was full of dust. I'm sure the adjusters had not caught up yet. I will pick up a new set tomorrow and see what happens.

    I did not pull the driver's side yet, it needs to be backed off first, and I have to figure out how to do that on these drums. Any advice on that would be appreciated. The access slots(2) are not behind the adjuster wheel like I'm used to, but are located at 10 and 2, like you are supposed to pry the shoes away from the drum?... I haven't worked on this style yet.
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  7. #32
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    I could try and explain it in words, but just watch this two part video. It is very important to not breath the brake dust. A simple spray of a water hose or using brake cleaner will work before you start. It is not hard just a little different.


    Good luck,
    Yakdung
    Last edited by yakdung; 11-24-2011 at 07:29 PM.

  8. #33
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Thanks for the links yakdung, but replacing the shoes is not what I have a question about. These drums have the star wheel adjusters located under the wheel cylinders and above the axle shaft. There is no access hole in the backing plate to allow you to back them off. To remove a drum with a ridge around the outside from normal wear you need to retract the shoes first...The one I took pics of is no problem obviously, It's the other side...

  9. #34
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Looks like that wheel cylinder froze up and cooked the shoe. There is a hole in the backing plate right behind the ajusting wheel it has a rubber plug in it. If not it has a knock out that you will have to knock out with a punch.
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  10. #35
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    be sure to check the emergency brakes are not holding the brakes on.
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  11. #36
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Update.

    I replaced the passenger side shoes only. Nothing else. No wheel cyl, no bleeding, nothing.

    Adjusted so I could just slide the drum on.

    Brake light is off, and pedal is firm. Truck stops pretty well again. Not perfect, but serviceable.

  12. #37
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    If you don't "Disturb" the wheel cylinders then no bleeding is needed...


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  13. #38
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    how much meat is left on the passenger side?
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  14. #39
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    That's a good question, Dualie. I haven't pulled the drum off yet. I was going to, but one of the cheap advance auto shoes that I picked up is damaged right out of the box. Lining cracked, and two rivets pulled thru. I didn't feel like running back to the parts store last night, so it will have to wait till I get them exchanged.

    I still am not sure how to get the adjusters backed off on this style of drum. I could just cut the pins that retain the shoes I guess...

  15. #40
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    3/32 filler wire or rod, push the little rachet pawl from behind and under (or over) the adjuster and turn it with a screwdriver.

    You saw how it works from the other side.

    Glad you got it. IF you could have adjusted it, the pedal would have come back. New shoes or down to steel, you should have a good pedal.

    LITTLE shoe in the front, big one in the back if they are different.

    Looks like the adjuster was not working for a long time.

    David
    Last edited by David R; 12-01-2011 at 06:15 AM.
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  16. #41
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    As one poster has declared, a RED brake warning light indicates either a low Master Cylinder fluid level (if sensor equipped) or a hydraulic pressure issue. This is not a simple adjustment problem.
    If the Master Cylinder is full & has no recent history of re-filling, I would suspect a 'pressure' issue.
    Pressure issues often involve the introduction of air/atmosphere, particularly where fluid leaks are not obvious.
    Because Master Cylinders rarely leak internally (ie-no fluid loss), I would suggest you first remove the rear brake drums & examine the wheel cylinders for slight leakage &/or air introduction by pulling back the cylinder dust covers. If they show any evidence of fluid (not completely dry), replace them (both) & bleed the system.
    Leaking rear wheel cylinders are a very common failure point for the symptoms you describe..

    Hope this helps you out...
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  17. #42
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Since brakes are very important.... for the understatement of the day...

    daddy, YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS WORKING ON BRAKES.

    You post a question, half a dozen give you correct answers... you go right on about your business ignoring what they tell you to do..

    You have no basis for dealing with the other stuff which might be causing these things until you have the proper and clean brake fluid in the system with all the air bled out... no way , no how.

    YOU NEVER DO ANYTHING TO JUST ONE SIDE OF AN AXLE.... LIKE THE SHOES ... YOU DO THINGS per AXLE.... BOTH SIDES THE SAME.

    and do check as Zapster mentioned the possibility that the rubber brake lines a soft... better to just replace them if they are over ten years old.

    I have been doing this stuff for 40 years... including some time way back working in a spring and brake shop.... you do not cut corners on brake work. There ARE rules to be followed.

    Unless you are trying for those Darwin Awards....

    The first time someone is working on brakes they should have someone supervising them... not try to do it from piecemeal suggestions over the internet....
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  18. #43
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Quote Originally Posted by GBM View Post
    Since brakes are very important.... for the understatement of the day...

    daddy, YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS WORKING ON BRAKES.

    You post a question, half a dozen give you correct answers... you go right on about your business ignoring what they tell you to do..

    You have no basis for dealing with the other stuff which might be causing these things until you have the proper and clean brake fluid in the system with all the air bled out... no way , no how.

    YOU NEVER DO ANYTHING TO JUST ONE SIDE OF AN AXLE.... LIKE THE SHOES ... YOU DO THINGS per AXLE.... BOTH SIDES THE SAME.

    and do check as Zapster mentioned the possibility that the rubber brake lines a soft... better to just replace them if they are over ten years old.

    I have been doing this stuff for 40 years... including some time way back working in a spring and brake shop.... you do not cut corners on brake work. There ARE rules to be followed.

    Unless you are trying for those Darwin Awards....

    The first time someone is working on brakes they should have someone supervising them... not try to do it from piecemeal suggestions over the internet....
    Whoa.. kinda harsh, & not very helpful...
    Everyone's gotta start somewhere my friend.
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  19. #44
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    You start ON BRAKES studying a book which gives the rules..
    Then you have someone SUPERVISING YOU AT LEAST THE FIRST TIME.... to be sure you understand the rules and get it right.
    Where are the people who jump on new people working on Trailers when they do not have the proper background ? This is in the same category.

    If someone gets hurt because he did not understand the principles.... are you still going to call what I said ' harsh ' ? Not likely....

    A vehicle GOING is one thing... STOPPING IS in ANOTHER CATEGORY.

    This has the potential for being a LIFE OR DEATH ISSUE....

    I am surprised that you called my reaction harsh.... whatever I need to say to get his attention is fine with me.... I hope he re thinks his plan of action... FAST.

    and you do NOT START your mechanicing career on BRAKES.... a silly statement from someone certified as you are...
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  20. #45
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Quote Originally Posted by GBM View Post
    You start ON BRAKES studying a book which gives the rules..
    Then you have someone SUPERVISING YOU AT LEAST THE FIRST TIME.... to be sure you understand the rules and get it right.
    Where are the people who jump on new people working on Trailers when they do not have the proper background ? This is in the same category.

    If someone gets hurt because he did not understand the principles.... are you still going to call what I said ' harsh ' ? Not likely....

    A vehicle GOING is one thing... STOPPING IS in ANOTHER CATEGORY.

    This has the potential for being a LIFE OR DEATH ISSUE....

    I am surprised that you called my reaction harsh.... whatever I need to say to get his attention is fine with me.... I hope he re thinks his plan of action... FAST.

    and you do NOT START your mechanicing career on BRAKES.... a silly statement from someone certified as you are...
    IMHO, your statements are neither helpful or relevant to the OP's issue.
    As far as I am aware, working on your own personal possessions such as vehicle, house, etc, is still legal & permitted in this great country..
    If your desire is to assure that all those who work on motor vehicles are properly trained & never require any help/guidance, then I suggest you write letters to Congress requiring legislation regulating the Automotive Repair Industry, particularly regarding the licensing of Automotive Technicians.. Hey I'm all for that...
    In the mean time I'll continue to help those I can, who ask for help..

    BTW, do you have any solutions to offer the the OP regarding his issue besides narrow-minded opinions?
    Last edited by ASE_MasterTech; 12-21-2011 at 09:40 PM.
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  21. #46
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Quote Originally Posted by ASE_MasterTech View Post
    As one poster has declared, a RED brake warning light indicates either a low Master Cylinder fluid level (if sensor equipped) or a hydraulic pressure issue. This is not a simple adjustment problem.
    I don't completely agree with the last statement. It is certainly a brake pressure problem, but it can caused by shoes so far out of adjustment that the master cylinder (rear circuit) bottoms out before supplying enough volume of fluid to push them into contact with the drum.

    From another point of view: it's not just "a simple adjustment problem" because there must be a problem with the self adjusters.

    I agree GBM was harsh, but the OP needs to understand that it's not wise to work on only one side of the axle . . . side-to-side balance is very important to vehicle stability . . . and will really degrade the performance of anti-lock brakes. That's especially true with his '98 truck as the rear brakes are not independently controlled.
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  22. #47
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Quote Originally Posted by papaharley03 View Post
    ABS is meant to prevent entering an out of control skid, not to help you stop sooner.
    Those things are not mutually exclusive...brakes can do more work if they're constantly applying friction to the drum/disk rather than intermittently stop/slipping.

    Having worked on a few 90's chevy/GMC pickups I can tell you a few things. Pay attention to the bleed order, if I had a brake book in front of me I'd tell you but it does seem to help, if its got the option for automated ABS bleed sometimes it's just easier to pay a shop to hook up to a Tech II and do it for you. Don't try to gravity bleed or bleed by yourself, sometimes I've had to have a second person quickly push the pedal which I'm not used to doing, but it worked to get the bubbles out.

  23. #48
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Bleed order should be the longest brake line away from the master cylinder first. Bleeding brakes is a simple operation that can be done with one person if done correctly. I have bled my brakes many times solo. I make certain that I use enough new fresh fluid flushing the lines. I also use a lab "wash bottle" cut after the curve and secure with a small zip tie utilizing clear nylon tube. A small zip tie is also used at the wheel cylinder valve to hold the clear "wash bottle" line in place. Fill the "wash bottle" with enough fresh fluid to cover the supply tube in the bottle of the bottle. This acts as a check valve and prevents air from entering and returning back upstream. Also, it is very important to unscrew the bottle just enough to let air to enter the bottle to escape when you press the brake pedal. I use approximately one standard brake fluid bottle per wheel or until the fluid is fresh in color. To feed the master cylinder fluid supply, invert a larger bottle of fluid into the master cylinder under the fluid level or you can check after several pumps of the brake pedal. If replacing with a new master cylinder it MUST be bench bled before starting on each wheel cylinder.

    Hope this helps,
    Yakdung
    Last edited by yakdung; 12-22-2011 at 03:34 PM.

  24. #49
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4sfed View Post
    I don't completely agree with the last statement. It is certainly a brake pressure problem, but it can caused by shoes so far out of adjustment that the master cylinder (rear circuit) bottoms out before supplying enough volume of fluid to push them into contact with the drum.
    Most post 1970's vehicles that have disc/drum brake set-ups incorporate a 'combination valve' (proportioning valve-metering valve-pressure differential switch) to eliminate, among other things, precisely the rear brake 'shoe-to-drum' clearance issue you describe.
    Out of adjustment brake shoes will cause a low pedal that can be 'pumped' up, but will return to a low pedal condition after release.
    Out of adjustment brake shoes will not cause a pressure differential between circuits (ie-red warning light).

    Hope this clears things up...
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  25. #50
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    Re: Hydraulic brake trouble. 1998 gmc sierra.

    Thank you all for the additional replies. For what it's worth, I think 4sfed is right about the gross mal-adjustment of the shoes causing the low fluid condition that lit the brake light. Looking back, the time it would last with a good pedal seems to be about how long I think the return springs took to pull the shoes back off the drum. Judging by the amount of dust and junk in the drum, and a comparison to the other side, I really think the lining failed all at once, and left a huge amount of travel till the metal of the shoe made contact.

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