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Discussion Starter #1
We had our first few days of summer proper down here in South Texas, with the daytime high over 100 and humid as hell to boot... but at least that KKS radiator kept the car cool with the A/C running eh? Now that there's a break in the heat I'm looking at tackling some of these issues.

Open to advice here ('97 T-Bird):

-- Stomped on the brakes, no ABS came on... not equipped or not working?
-- No window squirters (still), control works but I'm guessing pump isn't
-- Cruise control doesn't seem to be working at all


And finally, one thing that I'm curious about:

If "launching" or cornering too hard (ok, when kicking the tail out leaving a lot or the like), my Brake (!) indicator comes on for a second or two, or until it shifts whichever comes first.... Is this the same as the '95 Cougar I used to have regarding the oil light due to oil sloshing about in the sub-par oil pan, or is this something drivetrain related? Oil light works but has never come on when driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I should also add that my rear brakes feel a tad spongy, like they take too long to get to squeezing when I hit the pedal.... is this normal on rear disk brake equipped cars or should I start thinking about replacing the master and possibly a bias valve?
 

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I would bleed the system, and replace all the fluid with fresh first.

Don't let the reservoir get empty, bleeding the ABS is tricky.

I rig a siphon to a big bottle of fluid, and open the bleeders, and let it flow for a while, until fresh fluid comes out.

You go most distant to least distant, RR, LR, RF, LF.

THen get someone to help you bleed it, and see how it is.

Check the two residual pressure valves under the LF plastic wheelwell, and see if they're leaking, or if the rear won't bleed.
 

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You might not have ABS on a '97, I don't. They are the least optioned year of MN-12's.

Cruise can usually be fixed by bypassing the brake light switch on the brake pedal. I have had success on two Fords doing that. Basically, you connect the two wires together before the connector with a snap-lok connector. Sounds crude, but everything works as it should afterwards.

Al
 

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You might not have ABS on a '97, I don't. They are the least optioned year of MN-12's.
Well I haven't gotten into it yet, probably going to check this weekend, but if it in fact doesn't have ABS that'll make doing an adjustable brake bias both easier and more important (because 70/30 sucks).

Regarding cruise, I've noticed that there are two switches on the brake pedal when I was reinstalling my steering shaft... which switch are you suggesting bypassing? Know of any way to test the cruise system?

Grog,

Fortunately I've not noticed any leaking fluid during the time I was under the car (I had removed the front bumper to replace the header panel during the rebuild) but unless I'm mistaking it for water streaks, it does look like at some point the master may have leaked a small bit down the booster at some point in time... which would usually mean rear going out. The stain has been dry since I've owned the car, but I'll have a closer look today since it's not murder outside.

Appreciate the suggestions.
 

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Your door tag should list if it's got abs, iirc.

The seals in the residual pressure valves have been giving some people problems with their rear brakes.

The master, if it leaks, will put brake fluid into the booster, killing it in a short time; then you notice it won't idle with your foot on the brake, from the vacuum leak.

I'd bleed it, and make sure all the fluid is new, then troubleshoot from there.

The stuff that comes out will be milky at the least, and could look like coffee, at the worst. :)

See what the reservoir looks like.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So the car isn't equipped with ABS, which I see as a good thing because that means adjustable brake pressure should be much easier.

Grog:

Yeah it's going to get all fresh fluid once I get the new brake upgrades in, even though that'll be a couple months yet (trying to put the money together for the tune right now). The master did leak at some point in time, it's definitely a stain from brake fluid on the front of the booster. Not too worried about stopping power at the moment though, they are adequate for now and traffic moves so damn slow in this town people just don't even bother touching the gas pedal... hell they probably don't sell them on the cars at the local dealer!

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Going back now, regarding why I keep seeing the Brake (!) light come on occasionally for a second or two...

Putting it simply - If I lay rubber at all it comes on, even if only for a split second... sometimes it'll come on when I corner swiftly but again, only for maybe a second tops. Sometimes it just comes on for maybe two seconds in the morning when I put it in drive and start rolling (super light throttle with a cold engine) and goes away once it shifts into 2nd gear (happens very soon after rolling off, modded trans).

I know in the '95 Cougar I used to have the oil light would come on under... spirited conditions due to the oil sloshing about in the pan and uncovering the oil pickup for a second, which is why I never really got on that car unless I had to. Nobody wants wiped cams.

Does this sound like the same warning? I mean, the car DOES have an oil light right next to the Brake (!) light and the oil light DOES work when I turn the key forward. I'm going to be installing an oil pressure gauge once I get the mount, possibly other gauges as well. I like to know what's going on, and the '97 dash doesn't tell you squat compared to '96 and back.
 

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There is a cruise control self test I've done on my Explorer before:
https://www.fordforumsonline.com/threads/self-test-cruise-control-check-engine.1486/
The Cruise control and radio are on the same circuit, the tabs in my fuse box were worn and the fuse sat in there loose. I would hit a bump on the highway and my radio would reboot and the accelerator would pop up.

Also, forscan (https://forscan.org/home.html) will run a self test of the ABD and engage the ABS motor for bleeding. May also have some cruise testing.

For the brake light, I would check out your parking brake pedal and see if it's just loose enough to be tripping the switch on it and triggering the warning light. You can try pushing down on it slightly and watching for the light to come on. I had a car that every once in a while I had to reach down and pull the pedal up cause it would settle and the brake light would come on.
 

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If you have a brake system leak, and the light is coming on, a crazy thought is to maybe run the fluid level a little higher?

Some cars are touchy about the level in the reservoir.

Al
 

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My guess behind why cruise isn't working is the brake pedal travel switch - it and the brake light switch are redundant measures to ensure cruise gets deactivated if you depress the brakes. The brake pedal travel switch is the plunger-like switch that mounts near the top of the brake pedal and connects with a white plastic arm a few inches down. That switch is supposed to be closed when the brakes aren't depressed. There's a small press-on contact near the end of the plunger rod, which closes the switch when it rests in contact with another set of contacts at the front of the switch body. With pressure applied to the pedal, the plunger of the switch gets pushed into the switch body, away from the front contacts, and opens the switch. Chances are it's not the brake light switch, unless you have no brake lights either ... and by now, you'd have probably found out if that was the case. :)

It is possible to "hyper-extend" the switch if the brake pedal got lifted inadvertently, causing the press-on contact on the plunger to be pulled down the rod. When the brakes are in the usual resting position then, the contact on the plunger isn't in the right place to close the switch and the cruise control module thinks the brakes are depressed. When I started driving my T-bird over 10 years ago, cruise on it wasn't functional either. This was what the fix was in my case.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all for the replies so far.

Kidd-7:

I didn't know the cruise had a self-test cycle similar to the CEL, that's pretty cool. I gave that a try, but the cruise light doesn't even come on once... my guess is that the system isn't getting power, but with it well over 100° outside I'm not about to sit out there poking and prodding around. Definitely not a loose fuse issue for me, my radio is loud all day every day and doesn't skip a beat. I'll check out that parking brake idea when the weather isn't above 7th-level-of-hell hot.

T6Rocket:

Just to clarify, it leaked sometime in the past before I have owned it, because since I've had the car there have been no brake leaks but there's clear evidence of it having occurred at some point by residue/stain on the booster under the master. They may have replaced the master, I'm not sure... but the car was heavily neglected so I'm not ruling that out.

theterminator93:

If I get a chance to explore deeper in to the cruise system as to why it's not coming on at all, I'll check that switch out. Currently cruise is last on my list (it isn't crucial, only optional).


Curious if the cruise system and window washer pump share a power connector somewhere since they're both not working....
 
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