97 Ford Taurus accelerating when foot applied to brake?

I've got a strange problem with my 1997 Ford Taurus. Occasionally when I take my foot off the gas pedal and start to apply the brakes, the car actually starts to speed up. It started doing this a few days ago at around
60 mph. But last night it did it at around 35 mph. Cruise control was not on at the time. I'm taking it to the dealer.
Does anybody know of any similar problems? This is a dangerous situation and I'm not fooling around with it, but I have no idea what could cause something like this.
DDAY
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Are you certain you are not hitting the accelarator with the side of your foot when you slide it over? I can not count enough times I have done that and gotten the **** scared out of me.

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Positive. It's not the floor mats hitting the gas or new shoes or anything like that. I've been driving the car for about three years now with no problem like this, so I'm sure it is not me. The engine is not gunning or anything, but it is starting to accelerate when I press on the brake--not all the time, but sometimes, and it then decelerates.
I suspect that it could be some kind of short in the cruise control, because tapping the brake disengages the cruise control, maybe the system is confused and is turning a brake tap into a "resume cruise" signal. But it is rather frightening to step on the brake and have the car start to speed up.
DDAY
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I don't know the 97 at all, but is it possible that the two pedals share a common bearing (pivot shaft), and this bearing is rubbing so that when you press the brake, slight torque is being applied to the gas pedal? If so, maybe a little light machine oil in the bearing would help with this.
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No, they do not share a common Pivot. The Gas pedal is located on the left of the steering shaft and Brakes is located on the right. Each have its own pivot assembly that is not more than 2.5 inches wide.

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"V.B. Mercon" wrote

Well, there's your problem right there. Someone assembled your car backwards. Most cars have the gas on the right, brake on the left.
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Ouch, that was a serious Typo, dyslexia even...!

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That's OK I have been on ships for 12 years and still can't remember Port from Starboard. I do however always remember liberty.

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woody opined in

Mmm.. I was in the navy, never stationed on ship, but someone in Boot Camp said "Port" and "Left" both have 4 letters.
Sorrry if I am too serial here.
<grin>
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How thick are your floor mats? Many floor mats will cause this problem.

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I have had a similar problem before. It was traced to a vaccuum leak.

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That's my hunch. If you're sure it's not some human error, then check for a vacuum leak.
CJB

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I had this same problem approaching a toll booth,the car(oldsmobile) took off like a bat out of hell,i put it in low gear,turning the key to off while applying the brakes.I later found out--i had 2 motor mounts go & the other was hanging on by a tread.The way it was told to me--when at least 2 mounts go ,the engine picks up(like a seesaw effect)putting pressure down on the controlling rod to the gas pedal,causing it take off.Some cars might have up to 4 mounts--I think.It could definately cause a accident--I was lucky no one was in front of me when it occured.I hope this helps--good luck
R.H.

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Thanks for the suggestions. It was _indeed_ the master brake cylinder.
Can someone explain how come the car would actually accelerate because of this? I'm pretty sure that it was not just squishy brakes when I pressed on the pedal.
Now for a boring tale of shady mechanics...
I initially took it to my local mechanic, who found nothing wrong _and_ did a safety inspection, but whom I suspect is incompetent.
So on Monday I took it to Tysons Ford in Tysons Corner, Virginia (a big suburb of Washington, DC). I knew that I would pay more for labor, but I figured that a Ford dealer would know Fords.
They had a mechanic check it, supposedly checking the brakes. They "found nothing wrong." I then suggested (based upon the response here) that they check the master brake cylinder. They checked that and "found nothing wrong." That used up my first hour of diagnosis. $85 right there.
They then asked permission to do another hour's worth of checking for another $85. Considering that the car was dangerous to drive, I agreed. The next day they called and said--surprise!--they found out that the master brake cylinder needed replacing. That, along with the two hours of checking, would be $500. In addition, the rear brakes were shot (cylinder locked up, ate up the pads, etc.) and the front brakes were marginal. All total, they wanted $1300 for the repairs.
Now considering that they found none of these problems after the first hour of checking and after I suggested looking at the master brake cylinder, I was highly suspicious. It struck me as if they got me to agree to more labor by lying to me. I agreed to the brake cylinder repair. But two minutes later they called me back to say that they could not do that without an additional $200 of repairs. Every indication I had was that they simply wanted to rook me for additional labor. So at that point I declined all repairs and told them I would pick up the car.
I picked up the car this morning and, lo and behold, not only were they charging me for two hours of diagnostic checks, but they also added $30 for "shop supplies for vehicle repair" for a vehicle that had not been repaired.
So I complained and they immediately started wiping charges off the bill to the point where the manager ultimately told me there would be no charge at all. He even conceded that, based upon my description, the brake cylinder problem should have been obvious.
I then took it to Midas and got the brake cylinder replaced and had them inspect the brakes. They found the problem with the rear brakes immediately, when it had supposedly eluded the dealer's mechanic in his first hour of checking.
I could say that I've learned a valuable lesson in all this. But I've learned this lesson in the past too. How does one ultimately find an honest, competent mechanic?
DDAY
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Dwayne Day wrote:

it worth it and pays for itself many times over. i hate to work on my car, but have to as i really dont trust some of the shops and feel like i just got screwed when i do have to bring it some place to get worked on.....
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jim opined in

Ditto...
It helps to be an enthusiast and it hurts the feelings of the many competent mechanics out there but there is simply TOO much incompetence, apathy and fraud to trust the average "professional"
I just spent 3 hours cleaning and repairing an Air Conditioning system that was diagnosed by an HVAC "pro" as having a rusted condensate pan... (that'll be $2000 for a replacement, please) when it was obvious to the eyeball that the condensate drain line had come apart inside the housing.
Reason for the pro diagnosis? The system was 20 years old and "everyone knows its overdue to fail.."
BTW.. the last time a car shop tried to rip me off like that it was Midas...
I'm sure you can get MUCH more testimony to fraud against Midas than you can against dealer shops.
I HAVE found a couple good competent dealer shops in Columbus ... because I had to take cars there for insurance purposes.
I highly recommend Jim Keim Ford
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Simple solution. Remove you foot from the 'brake' you are using and move it slightly to the left and use the 'other' brake. LOL
mike hunt
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The master cylinder with the big brake booster thingie uses engine vacuum to boost the brakes. There are seals that keep the vacuum where it should be and don't allow air in. One of them developed a leak, probably a split that opened when you applied the brakes. This allowed air to enter, throwing the engine off. The same thing happens if you pull a vacuum hose off while the engine is running. Engines usually speed up - or the engine controls goose them to keep them from dying. Either way, it seems as if you hit the gas.
It happened to me long ago so I recognized the symptoms. I would think any mechanic would look there first, based on your description. I have been a "shade tree" mechanic since I was a baby, I think. My Dad taught me a lot and I couldn't afford "professional" repairs on my first car. Unlike you, I have had quite good luck lately with Ford dealers in general and Mercury dealers especially. I like to go to a garage for oil changes and the like to get a feel for the quality of service and the degree of BS before I have major stuff done.
I'm glad your problem is fixed.
Paul E in Ohio
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