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84' F250 Brake Challenge

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by i_am_chris, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19


    I've an '84 F250 with a bit of a brake problem. Late last year the brake light came on and the brakes got pretty soft. Fluid was alright, but it wasn't stopping on a dime and the pedal was getting pretty far down. This happened rather suddenly, not over time.

    I got through the rest of the winter, in some cases by using the drifts on either side of our driveway to keep me from getting too much steam built up.

    The truck ended up at the top of our driveway and there it sat for a bit. I had to move it, and while doing so, the brake pedal hit the floor and I felt what was left of pressure disappear. Since I was only jimmying into a better spot to make room, wasn't a big deal, I threw it into park, shut it off, pulled the battery cable, and went on with summer.

    So, winter is just around the (...looks out window...) corner. I need a new vehicle but squeezing one more year out of this was my plan. What I have now is a truck, with no power brakes, an emergency brake I've never used, sitting at the higher end of a 1/4 mile long gravel driveway. The other end of the driveway is 600' downhill.

    Sanity says trailer it down to the bottom, have my mechanic come over and see if there's ANY reasonable fix. Generally I'm sane, but getting this down on a trailer presents a whole host of other problems. So, I'm open to suggestions. If I had confidence in the e-brake, I'd make short little trips downhill, stopping fully at the couple level parts of the driveway. If I didn't care about the driveway, I'd drop the plow blade and let it dig in periodically. If I had an anchor.....

    My dream rig is a Unimog, but I can't pull that off this year, so I'd have to go more standard if I can't get the F250 to stop. If anyone has any radical suggestions, I'd entertain them, if for no other reason than to laugh at my predicament as I write out a check to the dealer for a new truck.


  2. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    Why in the world would you try to put it on a trailer before you have checked the easy things? Did you look over the lines? I bet you just blew a line. There is not much to a brake system especially an 84'.

    Look over ALL of the lines, I bet you have a blown line.
  3. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    Is the master cylinder full of brake fluid?
    Have a helper pump the brakes and you be under it looking to leaks / drips. If there is none, it could be the master cylinder. You should have a little bit of brakes if only one circuit of the brakes has lost a line. Replacing brake lines and bleeding circuits is a hazard of owning plow trucks. I hate to do it, but I do it all the time. If you do the job yourself ask questions if you need too. We all have been there too. Ask before you attempt to bend tubing because we can give you tips.
  4. affekonig

    affekonig Senior Member
    Messages: 909

    If you do decide to move it down the driveway, chain your truck to a truck behind you and have it be your brakes on the way down. Should be a lot easier than loading it on a trailer to take it down the driveway. I also agree that it's probably a brake line and not a big deal.
  5. massbowtie

    massbowtie Member
    Messages: 97

    use 4-lo that should make it crawl down the hill
  6. probably a line or a wheel cylinder calipers don't spring leaks very often but its possible. follow mickirig's advice to find the leak. if the frist part of the pedal was soft\non existant then immediately hard two thirds of the way down you probably have a leak in the rear brakes vice versa if it was kinda hard then got soft about 2\3 of the way down look at the front half of the circuit. when you depress the brake pedal the first part applies the rear brakes then starts the fronts about 1\3 rd of the way in. I bet either a leak in one side that has let all the fluid out of the master (creating the no brakes at all problem) or a leak in both the front and back circuit. either way brake line is very cheap and easy to fix(especially if its a lot truck that dosn't go on the road you don't have to be picky on the routing) even if you pay your mechanic to do it. cheaper then the new truck
  7. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I presume you never had to add fluid for the rest of the winter while you had the "soft" pedal. And you haven't looked since you flat out lost the brakes. My guess is you have a flex line that is/was bulging out. That would cause the soft pedal, and excess fluid flow to one circuit which would activate the brake light. I would also guess that either the hose completely ruptured, or you popped a steel line. As suggested, get a helper to pump the pedal and find out where the fluid is going It won't take long. If it is in fact just a line/hose, and you don't want to do it yourself, you can likely get someone to come to your house to do it. Save yourself a wrecker billj or a lot of aggravation getting the truck to a shop.
  8. adksnowo

    adksnowo Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    All of what has been said above is very true. If there is a leak in one of the circuits, you can block off that circuit (front or rear), put fluid in the master cyl. and limp down the hill in 4 lo. Block at one of 3 brake hoses on this truck, easiest thing to do. Are you losing fluid? If not it is the master cyl. Hardest part of all this is going to be getting the rusty,crummy bleeders open.

    In the long run though you can buck up the money and have it towed. This is an easy fix in any shop. It is the SAFEST thing to do, and you cannot put a price on safety. And if anything happens on the tow, the tow Co. is responsible for damages.
  9. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    Another trick you can do is locate the break or leak in the line. Take it off, get the right line and fittings. Bend it close to the shape you need, install it. But leave the distant end a loose fit. Have a helper lightly push the pedal down till you get a good flow out of the loose fitting. ( Wear goggles so you don't get fluid in your eyes.) Tighten the line as your helper SLOWLY pushes down on the pedal. This will get 9/10's of the air out of the line. This will give you a decent pedal if the bleeders decide you are not bleeding them ! This way you can move the truck safely or if you have a decent pedal to finish the big event. Then deal with the bleeders when the sun comes out. If it's not a good pedal don't take it out on the road !