'94 TBird Brakes

Re: '94 TBird Brakes
'94 TBird LX V8, 61K mi.,
Had new raybestos pads on front at 49k mi.
Brakes were making noise: sometimes hi-pitched whine. First thing in morn, scrunching sound, occasional
shudder (only when cold).
So I take it back the shop(Car-X), they shuck the wheels etc:
1.) I gotta very small leak in the left-rear wheel cylinder. Master cylinder is not really lo, and I've never added fluid. But it's seeping a tiny, tiny bit ...
2.) The service writer swears to be damned the brake fluid (same as was in the showroom, I 'spect) needs to be drained, replaced. Did a nasty looking test strip. I can't find anything in the manuals about routine fluid replacement.
I figger the rear wheel cylinders will need to be replaced soon. How difficult is it to do? I have no special brake tools.
Are they jivin' po' me about fluid replacement? If not, anybody know of a web site with bonehead step-by-step instructions?
TIA, Puddin'
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On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 14:54:21 GMT, Puddin' Man

Welcome to the world of Ford wheel cylinders. They typically have some seepage. This is not all bad as it keeps the pistons from seizing. As far as fluid replacement, there has always been some recommendation to replace the fluid periodically. It is sometimes called purging or flushing the system and is usually done at the time of a brake job. With the advent of ABS brakes, many techs are either afraid of them or find them to be a PITA to flush or purge and simply don't go thru the procedure when they do a brake job. That said, the condition of the fluid will not usually cause a noise problem but, it is always nice if the shop can get you to pay for something so the work is not totally uncompensated. The noise you describe is not uncommon for some pad materials. It used to be called morning sickness and is typically harmless past the first brake application. Raybestos has been one of the worst about this in my personal annecdotal experience. A different brand of shoes and pads may or may not be better. I tend to buy the Bendix pads and shoes when available. The difference in cost can't be allowed to be a factor in brake parts buying decisions. My life may be on the line with your brakes.
Good luck
Lugnut
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wrote:

Kinda like the rear-main seal on these 4.6L std. duty V8's from the early to mid 90's ? :-)

I couldn't find it in my Ford or Haynes manuals, but it -might- be in there somewhere ...

Should have stated that my 'Boid does *not* have ABS. I guess I lucked out when I bought it ...

I sucked some fluid out of the master cyl. with an eyedropper, compared it to some unused dot5 fluid I had on the shelf. The old fluid does not look very dirty. It smells a little like a radiator hose.

The "tech" had the wheels off, etc. After he wrote the $500 estimate (I declined it all), I asked him if he could blow the crud out of the exposed pads/shoes. He refused. His job is to hustle $, not do "favors". So I got some paper towels, cleaned 'em myself. No more noise now, but it will be back next week (if not tomorrow).
The shop installed the Raybestos pads several years ago. I doubt it was done properly. The hub drags a little when you spin it by hand and the rotors heat up too fast. The rotors have never been turned, but they say they are "getting thin". The mngr sez if I replace fluid (which lubricates components), it'll likely loosen up the actuators so the pads won't drag. I'm guessing this is a dual dodge: sidestep the issue of whether the pads were properly installed, and hustle some $ for fluid replacement.

True, subject to geography. For me, brake work is too labor intensive to scalp pennies on. So I shoulda checked around before I sprang for Raybestos. Oh, well ..
So do ya think you'd wink at both the fluid replacement and the rear wheel cyl issues if you stomped in my po' boots? :-)
Thanks, Puddin'
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I am an old-time shade-tree mechanic and have done my own brakes forever. I will share what I have learned, it might be helpful even tho Lugnut has covered it well.
I feel that an occasional fluid change / flush is a good idea because DOT3 absorbs water. I have had two cars with brake lines that rusted thru. On the other hand, they were old cars and in Indiana which supports halp of the road salt industry every year. I haven't flushed the lines on the '93 Cougar or the '95 CV and the fluid seems perfect in both. If the fluid is clear and generally appears the same as new, I doubt it really needs to be replaced. I seriously doubt changing the fluid will make any difference in your case.
Disc brake pads often make noises. First stop of the day will almost always be noisier than the rest because a fine layer of rust will develop on the disc over night. Nothing much to worry about there. The squealing is also a known problem. More often than not, careful use of squeal eliminator goo which is smeared on the back of the pads will control it. The last pads I used had a noise supression coating built in and they are silent. I bought the best ones I could find. I think they were some kind of carbon-metallic things. They stop like crazy.
It is also not unusual to hear the pads scrape on the disc a bit when the wheel is spun. There isn't really anything to retract the pads. The slight out-of-round nature of the disc is supposed to push the pads back enough. The cylinder is ever so slightly retraced by the elastic nature of the seals.
Like Lug sees, don't worry much about the rear seepage. It is perfectly normal, at least on Fords. You need to decide how much noise you can stand. Go on the pads might fix it but it might not. Top quality pads correctly installed won't do much but stop you really well with no complaints. You have a cool and fun car, enjoy it.
Pod
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Thanks go to Paul of Dayon, and lugnut as well.
It looks like there's nothing seriuosly wrong with my brakes. This was my primary concern.
If the brakes are engineered to make some noise, I guess I can live with it.
It is fairly easy to get some very good advice on alt.autos.ford. This is not true of a great many discussion groups.
Skoal, Puddin'
On Sat, 08 Oct 2005 00:59:53 GMT, "Paul of Dayon"

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