power steering fluid in brake fluid reservoir :( - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 07-16-2010
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power steering fluid in brake fluid reservoir :(

k so long story short i made a really dumb mistake in the gf's truck and put power steering fluid into the brake fluid reservoir and have had nothing but problems since. I have bled the brakes on maybe 7 different occasions now, and this last time used the air compressor to blow the lines. The brakes work fine for short trips, but as soon as they heat up the pedal sinks and no more brakes.

I've been told to rebuild/buy a new master cylinder. One guy (ford worker known by my mom) said to buy new as a rebuild will not fix what i need? where as other family has said to do a rebuild.

mr ford worker also said that ill prob need to replace the ABS? i didn't know that the abs had the fluid going through it?

anyhoo im needing a solution as gf is driving around almost every day going to work. I'd prefer to be able to do everything myself, I'd like to think im pretty mechanically inclined, just not super familar with newer vehicles (66 bug daily driver and 64 being fully rebuilt/fabricated). I just figured the power steering reservoir would be above the steering :) oops.
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Old 07-16-2010
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using power steering fluid contaminated the rubber seals of the brake system, usually this cause them to swell up. Meaning the seal around the caliper's piston, the rubber in the brake hoses and rear seals in the wheel cylinder and the master cylinder and abs module.

I would jack up each axle and see which wheels are seizing. hopefully you can get away with just a master cylinder, it does not make a difference new or rebuilt in your case, they both will come with new seals, if you have to reuse the reservoir, make sure you really clean it out.
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Old 07-16-2010
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Unless your calipers or slave cylinders were leaking badly, you most likely only contaminated the master cylinder and will only have to replace or rebuild it. When I was young and more stupid than I am now, I did a similar thing to my 1955 Mercury Montclair. I went sailing through a red stop light when my brakes failed. Fortunately, it was in a small town and there was no traffic at the time and I hit no one.

I rebuilt the master cylinder, did a very thorough flush (with brake fluid of course) of the brake system with the brake lines disconnected, flushed again with the brake lines connected and all was well.
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Old 07-16-2010
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thanks folks. we've put about 4 qt's of brake fluid through the system now but still having issues. so i guess next step will be to start replacing.

:( stupid stupid mistake :(
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