Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..
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RWD 19xx-1984 DeVille and Fleetwood,
1985-1996 Fleetwood and Brougham Forum Discussion, Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure.. in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; This is more of a "vent" post than anything.. Yesterday, I took the step-son to the Toronto Auto Show.. I've ...
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    Poda is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    This is more of a "vent" post than anything.. Yesterday, I took the step-son to the Toronto Auto Show.. I've gotten really bored with these over the years, but the wee one likes it, so I take him to sit in all the cars he's "going to buy" when he starts driving

    Anyways, while there, I saw, in the only booth worth visiting IMHO, the new Cadillac XTS. Very nice! I think this is as close to the old Fleets as Cadillac's gotten in a long time. Big car, comfy, and has quite the presence. "Not bad" I thought.. "May buy one when they hit the used market" I mused..

    Car must've read my thoughts. Today, she decided while I was exiting the highway, to stop braking. Pedal like mush, rapidly losing pressure until it ends up on the floor. Shit! Like a ninja I slam the gear shift into neutral, position my left foot over the emergency brake in case, right foot blip the gas to increase vacuum pressure then on the brake.. ok.. some brake pressure. Slowly back down to the floor. Rinse, lather repeat. I get the car stopped, and call a tow truck.

    While I'm waiting, I pop the hood. I spend a fair amount of time in there cleaning and tinkering in the summer, so it blew my mind that what I saw was the front left brake line pissing like a race horse all over the frame rail where the fuel lines exit. It's so tucked away and covered in grime, I'd never noticed it there before. It's so badly corroded compared to the other lines that I thought I'd post this as a warning to others.. Check your lines! Especially that one!

    Car's at the shop now since I need it back ASAP.. I'm not looking forward to the next day or two of 4 hr commutes on transit to work. Balls.

    On the flip side, thanks to my OCD nature, I'm now obsessed with replacing the entire brake line system on the car. As soon as the good weather hits the rest of it's getting done in the driveway from booster to caliper/drums, and she'll be good for another 20 years.

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    cadillac kevin's Avatar
    cadillac kevin is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    At least you had room to get stopped.
    Brake lines are next on my list of things to do on the car...they're not leaking yet, but I'd rather replace them before they blow.

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    bigm57ict's Avatar
    bigm57ict is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    Thanks for posting the warning/reminder!

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    Poda is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    It's one of those things where I've always thought "Who suffers brake failures?? How does that happen???"

    Well.. Me.. Because I didn't follow that line all the way back last time I checked. Doh.

    Flip side is I've got brand new lines for the fronts - I had them do both, and pick the car up tonight. Rears are fine, but starting to show specs of rust, so I'll do those anyway later when the weather warms up.

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    Re: Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    Kudos to you for not involving an accident because brakes are the most important components and in your case you acted quickly and kept calm by taking good actions .I read some car mags and they mention brake fluid should be replaced every 3 years to avert corrosion , I thought that was a BS but still could hold some water

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    MoistCabbage is online now Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadillacboy
    I read some car mags and they mention brake fluid should be replaced every 3 years to avert corrosion , I thought that was a BS but still could hold some water
    Hydraulic fluid loves water, it's hydroscopic. One of the reasons it periodic replacement.

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    Re: Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    Steel brake lines also love salt.

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    Poda is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    Are there any real alternatives to steel lines? Everything I'm reading points to no, but thought I'd ask anyway..

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    Re: Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    Quote Originally Posted by MoistCabbage View Post
    Hydraulic fluid loves water, it's hydroscopic. One of the reasons it periodic replacement.
    Brake fluid also does not boil at high temperatures, water not so much...

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    Re: Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    I've had to replace brake lines and exhaust on my car 3 times each in the 8 years I've owned it. Pisses me off. I washed and undercoated that car every winter, only to have it rot away, regardless. Time to move down south...

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    Re: Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    Poda,

    Just try to remember any unusual braking experience a day or two before complete failure. Car stopped just two-three feet behind the line you expected it to stop? That kind of failures usually send some warning signs one should just notice and take action IMMEDIATELY. Do not ask how I know it... Scary experience. You did pretty well. Someone could just hit the parking brake while in gear and it would not respond at all. A lot of people (ladies) panic and put the gear selector in Park. You can do that if the car is almost sopped and you are about to hit another car or something.

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    Re: Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    I've replaced at least one brake line on EVERY winter car I have ever owned. Part of life when you drive old cars in the salt belt. The only time you run into real problems is when a line breaks before the prop valve. That's when things get interesting. In my experience (and I've popped a lot of brake lines), it always happens when you make a hard emergency stop. You'll stop fine, then the light will come on. Congrats, you've broken a brake line. Usually it is the long line from the front to the back, but sometimes it is one of the axle lines. On my old 87 Caprice, it was a line before the prop valve. One hard stop, then no brakes right after. Boom. Literally.

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    cadillac kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayoldschool
    I've replaced at least one brake line on EVERY winter car I have ever owned. Part of life when you drive old cars in the salt belt. The only time you run into real problems is when a line breaks before the prop valve. That's when things get interesting. In my experience (and I've popped a lot of brake lines), it always happens when you make a hard emergency stop. You'll stop fine, then the light will come on. Congrats, you've broken a brake line. Usually it is the long line from the front to the back, but sometimes it is one of the axle lines. On my old 87 Caprice, it was a line before the prop valve. One hard stop, then no brakes right after. Boom. Literally.
    Yup....that happened with my dad on his 77 poncho wagon....guy in a chevy truck ran a light. Dad hit the brakes and barely missed creaming the guy....then the brake light came on and there was a big puddle under the car.

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    Poda is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Ugh.. not-quite-catastrophic brake failure..

    That's the weird thing. No warning signs that I can think of, and I'm usually really in tune with the car behaving differently than I'm used to. No hard braking or emergency stops in the days leading up to it either. And when it happened, I wasn't trying to quickly scrub off speed for the off-ramp. I know how tight it is, so for that ramp it's a slow, gradual decrease way ahead of time.. Oh well, I have everything I need now to do the rear lines when Spring hits and I should be good. This is the last winter for this car anyway - I'll continue to drive it full time over the summer, then it's time to retire her to "Summer Toy" status and start the build-up I've been envisioning..

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