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Old 07-07-2022, 09:57 AM #1
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Brake failure, please advise!

2004 SR5 v6 with very bad rusty bottom.

A month ago the brake failed completely while a relative was driving it. He managed to drive it to a garage 2 blocks away. A brake line was busted due to corrosion and was replaced(They showed me a metal brake line leading out from the reservoir).

The next day I noticed the transmission fluid was leaking so went to my usual garage. They replaced some(maybe all? not sure) transmission lines and fittings and told me it should last the life of the vehicle. Also did the annual inspection that day. They found the exhaust pipe was disconnected at the joint, but since it's after the CAT they said it's not a safety issue, only loud. So I went home.

The brake has been a little spongy after the brake line replacement. I thought it might need a better bleeding but didn't get to do it yet.

July 4th morning before heading out to BBQ I found a faint water mark under the truck so I checked all the fluid level and they were all good. So I thought it's from the rain last night. How will I regret it!

When returning home, a few blocks away, I noticed some unusual hissing sound then a minute later the brake light lit up. I drove very slowly to reach home and while I was pulling into the driveway the VSC and ABS lights lit up too. In the last few seconds I completely lost the brake but managed to stop the truck before it hit the fence. Then I found a streak of fluid trailing behind the truck and a completely empty brake fluid reservoir.


OK here are my newbie questions, please bear with me:

1. Can I just add brake fluid and slowly drive it a few miles to my usual garage? If so what type of brake fluid and how much do I need?

2. What about drive it 2 blocks to the nearby garage? Flat roads all the way.

3. If I must have it towed, anything I need to know? Right now it's facing in so can only be pulled out the driveway from behind. Also...it's rusty down there.

4. The transmission leaking and brake fluid leaking are non-related?

5. Or could they somehow all related to a disconnected, loud, potentially vibrating exhaust pipe?

6. Anyway to fix the exhaust pipe without spending $500 like the garage quoted for a replacement?

7. Is it necessary (consider the age of the truck) to have all brake lines inspected and replaced perhaps? If so any idea about the cost? I live in NYC.


Sorry for the long post and thanks for your time and patience! It's a very scary experience. I had my entire family of 6 people on the truck when it happened. I swear I'll never drive anything if there's anything unusual and I'm not 100% sure what it is!
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Old 07-07-2022, 10:33 AM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karyins View Post
OK here are my newbie questions, please bear with me:

1. Can I just add brake fluid and slowly drive it a few miles to my usual garage? If so what type of brake fluid and how much do I need?

The system will be full of air now I expect, so it won't be that easy.

2. What about drive it 2 blocks to the nearby garage? Flat roads all the way.

I would do this, leave early in the morning or late at night, leave it L and just drive slowly. You have engine braking that way.

3. If I must have it towed, anything I need to know? Right now it's facing in so can only be pulled out the driveway from behind. Also...it's rusty down there.

A flatbed is probably easier, don't think autos like being towed

4. The transmission leaking and brake fluid leaking are non-related?

Non related apart from the fact it's an 18 year old truck

5. Or could they somehow all related to a disconnected, loud, potentially vibrating exhaust pipe?

No

6. Anyway to fix the exhaust pipe without spending $500 like the garage quoted for a replacement?

Might be able to get it welded, hard to know without seeing it

7. Is it necessary (consider the age of the truck) to have all brake lines inspected and replaced perhaps? If so any idea about the cost? I live in NYC.

Well if one has already gone...you said yourself it is rusty. Also I read that if you don't change the fluid, it absorbs moisture and they rust from the inside out
I replied directly to the quote
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Old 07-07-2022, 10:38 AM #3
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I unfortunately have no advice but urge everyone reading this to research and understand methods of slowing your vehicle should your brakes fail, for example downshifting to use engine braking.
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Old 07-07-2022, 11:16 AM #4
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Unlikely the loose exhaust is affecting any of this, getting it fixed could be as easy as taking it to a welding shop and getting to hooked back up, but itíll cost you a couple hundred at least.

If one brake line was rusted through, itís easy to conceive of all the others being at that same level of near-failure. Best bet is to have a shop replace them all. It is possible that the shop used the wrong brake line fittings when they replaced the first one and it failed under pressure. Without knowing where the leak is coming from, new line or one of the originals, itís hard to say. Find a reputable shop and have the entire system inspected. Good time to replace all of the rubber lines at the calipers, too.

I wonít advise you to drive without brakes, or even with bodgy ďhope you put fluid in faster than it leaks outĒ brakes. Your risk assessment is your own. Get it towed if you arenít 100% certain you cannot make the drive without putting yourself or others at risk, flatbed is the way to do it, expect a couple hundred for this, as well. Local garage might cut you a deal on towing if you have them do the work, though. Might not, depends on your relationship with them.

Brakes arenít hard to fix, but they are messy and there a dangerous chemicals to deal with. Brake fluid will strip paint, for example. Personally I learned how to fix my brakes because I kept getting screwed by brake shops, and it has been well worth it. Time, tools and patience arenít available to everyone.

Good luck.
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Old 07-07-2022, 03:42 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesky 07 View Post
I unfortunately have no advice but urge everyone reading this to research and understand methods of slowing your vehicle should your brakes fail, for example downshifting to use engine braking.
I would be screwed, after 20 years of driving manuals with a handbrake the muscle memory just isn't there to do anything instinctively/in an emergency other than jab at a clutch pedal and hand brake that aren't there
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Old 07-07-2022, 03:46 PM #6
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As mentioned, if one brake line is rusted then most likely you have more ready to go as you have found out plus the tranny and fuel lines often have the same fate. Usually it's the rear brakes first and you still have front brakes but you have to press really far to get them to engage well. These have a pump for the rear brakes so adding fluid will just dump the fluid out pretty quickly.

As for getting it to your mechanic, I would try it myself if close by in low and assuming my e-brake was working properly but wouldn't recommend someone else do it for how cheap a tow is.

After the brakes are fixed bring it to a place that specializes in exhaust, they may be able to fix it but in reality $500 is pretty cheap.
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Old 07-07-2022, 03:48 PM #7
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And if yours doesn't have a dipstick for the ATF, make the sure the daft ATF level check procedure has been done properly after the transmission work...
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Old 07-07-2022, 04:24 PM #8
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Brakes! All your other questions are secondary to your SAFETY and others around you. Tow it to the mechanic, have then inspect the entire brake system and get everything fixed.

DO NOT drive it there.

Now that we have that covered. The transmission issue should be completely unrelated and the exhaust should be a relatively easy fix unless your truck is rusted out. You poor eastern folks and your rust.
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Old 07-07-2022, 08:44 PM #9
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Thanks guys! I read your post but got no time to reply. Crazy day.

So it's not the brake...sort of...It's total blast! damn...

See here:

complete loss? Mad frame rust and mad me

BTW I took in your good advice and had it towed to the garage.
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Old 07-08-2022, 11:14 AM #10
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good call!

Quote:
Originally Posted by karyins View Post
Thanks guys! I read your post but got no time to reply. Crazy day.

So it's not the brake...sort of...It's total blast! damn...

See here:

complete loss? Mad frame rust and mad me

BTW I took in your good advice and had it towed to the garage.
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