Brakes don't grab after startup. Any ideas? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource

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Old 06-02-2012
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2
Brakes don't grab after startup. Any ideas?

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to this forum, and am hoping someone else has had the same problem as me. I haven't had much luck finding anyone having a similar problem after an internet search or a search of the threads on this forum--it seems like many people have the opposite problem as me (ie, the brakes will grab more easily after startup).

If my truck (2002 Ranger XLT) has been parked and idle for more than a few hours, if I try to slam on the brakes they don't grab, and the car keeps moving a bit (2-3 feet, and I'm usually traveling at about 5-10 MPH---parking lot speeds). The brake pedal doesn't (and won't) depress fully during these times. It doesn't seem like a power breaking issue--I can't depress the pedal fully. I've lost my power steering/braking once before (on the freeway!) and I know you can just use a lot of force to get things working. Not the case right now. The issue occurs in both reverse and in forward drive. Seems to be worse on cold days (I live in Chicago), but it'll still happen on some warm days.

In general, by the time I'm out of the parking garage the brakes start working fine and will work perfectly. I can depress the pedal all the way. I can get the brakes to grab perfectly. So I'm not that worried about my safety. But I've also never tried accelerating super fast after backing out or starting up and see what happens... The problem does not seem to be getting any worse and I've never felt like I was going to run into something/someone because of this problem.

I took the truck to Ford and they did an inspection and replaced the front brake pads and rotars. They said the rear drum brakes are fine. They didn't see any other issues.

Has anyone else had a problem like this? It just seems weird to me---that my braking system needs to "warm" up. I get that rust will develop overnight, but I don't get why I wouldn't be able to depress the brake pedal fully and the brakes won't grab for the first minute or two of driving.

Thanks for your help,

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Old 06-02-2012
06RangerXLT's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Posts: 1,685
try flushing the brake fluid, bleeding the brakes, and making sure you dont have a seized piston. then check the mater cylinder. those can get sticky when sitting and older.
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Old 06-03-2012
Scrambler82's Avatar
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Are both the front and back brakes working.
Sometimes the Proportioning Valve will block one side if the pressure went low.
Maybe the Valve shut off one set.

Does the Brake System use Vacuum, check the Lines to the Master Cyl Booster.

Maybe there is air in the lines… although you said the brakes get better, bleed the brake starting from the furthest away Slave and work to the front.
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Old 06-08-2012
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2
Thanks for your quick responses--sorry I couldn't answer sooner--been busy at work.

Both the front and back brakes appear to be working fine--it's just when the car has been idle for some time that I'm having the brake trouble (whether in drive or reverse).

I think I'll start with bleeding the brakes and flushing the brake fluid and see where that takes me.

Thanks for your help!
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