1995 Ford Escort LX sedan brake line burst

The other day I was coming home from a camping trip. About 100 miles from my house, the brakes quit, and the brake line burst. My brake pedal went all the way down to the floor. It was on a quiet street, and
I managed to pull around and pull into a gas statiion to call AAA. There was a good deal of brake fluid under the driver's side of the car. How do I fix this? Also, I'll probably get a mechanic to fix it, so much do you think it will cost? I'm on a very limited budget.
Thanks!
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iamdrumming wrote:

Well, first of all you got that the wrong way round - the line burst, and the brakes quit - in that order :)
If you completely and immediately lost braking ability, this suggests a failure in or very close to the master cylinder, which is usually located on the drivers' side of the engine compartment, on the firewall. In my 98 Escort SE, the master cylinder is on the firewall, just on the driver's side of center. Check and see where the leak originates. If you put in more fluid, you should be able to see where the leak is coming from.
All modern cars (since the mid to late 1960s; I think '68 or so was the first year to require this feature) have a split master cylinder with the two halves routed to two wheels each, so that a downstream break will not cause total loss of braking power.
Looks like a remanufactured master cylinder is about $60 for this car, with roughly $30 core charge. However if it's a hard line that rotted out, I strongly suggest you get them all replaced. Brake fluid absorbs water, so brake lines corrode out from the inside, hence it's hard to judge their state from the outside. If you had a failure at one point because of this, it's a safe bet that you'll get another one soon elsewhere.
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In addition to your other reply... be aware that brake fluid is a very good paint remover.... if any is on painted surfaces, it should be immediately rinsed off with copious amounts of water.
Most times, failures such as this will give early warning signs.... It remains important that, when we have our cars serviced, a comprehensive inspection of underbody components is made - especially when our vehicles are aging. There is so much mre to an oil change than simply dropping the oil and spinning on a new filter.

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If you haven't been armor-alling the flex cable, expect them to burst at around this age. Replace them with the stainless steel braided lines for increased stopping power.
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