1994 Ford Escape - low brake pedal height

hello all ...
1994 Ford Escape V6, front discs, rear drums, right at 35,000 miles.
replaced the front rotors and pads. the brake pedal moves closer to
the floorboard than is usual. the brakes do stop the vehicle, but the pedal is much closer to the floor now (than is usual).
(i did not replace the rear shoes/drums as they still have some life left).
initially, i was going to have the rotors turned, so i compressed both front calipers to remove them so i could take both rotors off.
turns out the rotors were already at their minimum thickness, so i bought 2 rotors, installed them, the new pads, bolted up the calipers, topped off the brake fluid, then took the truck out for a test spin.
initially, when i pushed on the pedal, it would get to a firm state, then the pedal would move down a bit more, so i deduced that i should bleed the brakes. so with the aid of a helper, we did the typical "pump the brakes, hold it, open the bleeder screw, close it, pump, etc". it took about 3 cycles of this procedure [for each wheel] to clear the fluid of any trapped air.
after the bleeding procedure, i took it out for another test drive and we are at the point where "the pedal goes further to the floor than is usual".
any thoughts about this? is it maybe a bad master cylinder? or maybe another brake-bleeding session is required?
also, i noticed the brake fluid in the system is black. maybe a brake system flush?
thanks!
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wrote:

A flush sure won't hurt and would get any other trapped air that is in the system out. Also if you have drums in the back go ahead and pull the drums and manually adjust the rear shoes.
Steve B.
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[snipped]

hi Steve ... thanks! i did nothing to the rear drums brakes, except to remove the drums to check the shoes, so i will adjust the rear drums this afternoon.
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The best I can tell from all of the clues is that you most likely have a 2004 Escape, or less likely, a low mileage 1994 Explorer.
Now, does your (fill in the blank) have ABS?
Toyota MDT in MO
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good catch Comboverfish ! ... can't believe i typed "1994" ... the title should read: "2004 Ford Escape - low brake pedal height" ... and in the body of the text, it should read: "2004 Ford Escape V6, front discs, rear drums, right at 35,000 miles."

i dont have a definitive answer until i get to the vehicle later this afternoon and double-check. there is no wiring going to the calipers (only hydraulic brake lines), but i do remember seeing what could be an ABS electro-magnetic ring on the front drive shafts. (not my Escape).
thanks! michael
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If you have ABS, then there is a possibility of suspended contamination at the lowest points of the system (front calipers) being forced back through the normally open ports of the ABS hydraulic modulator and even into the master cylinder during piston retraction. This can block small passages, possibly keeping your master cylinder pistons from properly replenishing with fluid. This scenario is not likely but should be mentioned. In the future, squeeze brake fluid out of the bleeders into a waste container when retracting caliper pistons to be on the safe side.
If this just happened after pad replacement and it is not due to air trapped in the system, I would be double checking your brake pad installation. Make sure that the rotors are seated squarely and fully on the hubs as well. Check for any binding parts that should slide freely as well as pads or shims that aren't squarely in their mounts.
Toyota MDT in MO
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yep - this Escape has ABS ...

i've checked the rotors and they are seated squarely and fully on the hubs (i had wire-brushed the hubs to clear them of rust/etc before putting on the new rotors). the pads are seated squarely to the rotors and all turn freely as they should.
my next steps are to adjust the rear drums/shoes and then vacuum bleed the system (i have a MityVac).
any other suggestions are welcome.
regards, michael
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no joy on second attempt ... (2004 Escape, ABS, front disc, rear drums, 35,000 miles)
summary (initial procedures): * replaced front rotors * replaced front pads. * removed drums to inspect shoes - shoes okay, so re-installed drums (did not adjust drums at this time) * low brake pedal, so did a two-person bleed routine at all four wheels
(Note: did not open bleed valve when compressing front caliper pistons, but allowed fluid to "bleed" back to master cylinder)
still had a low pedal after above procedures, so last night: * adjusted the rear drums (per Steve B) * vacuum bleed (using MityVac) at all four brakes.
same issue - low brake pedal. if i pump the pedal, it does come up.
any suggestions? maybe a new master cylinder is in order?
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