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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

was gonna drive Taurus 1996 GL out of parking lot but checked the brake pedal and it was going all the way down.
opened hood to find that the brake fluid reservoir was empty.
thought I had a leak somewhere so bought some new brake fluid and refilled the reservoir to pinpoint leak.
The issue is that the reservoir is not getting lower and the brake pedal has no resistance like before. It still goes all the way in. pumped it several times while car on/off and made no difference.

also the brakes still work even though pedal goes all the way in since car still stops when pressing it.

Brake experts please let me know what I should do next to troubleshoot.

Thanks!
 

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The brake fluid has to have gone somewhere, brake fluid doesn't just dissapear. A common issue on cars in the salt states is for the poorly designed brake lines to rust through. Remove your rocker panels and check on their condition if you reside in that part of the country.
 

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Also if the reservoir went empty, you still need to bleed the air out of the system. But as stated, the brake fluid just doesn't dissapear. You need to find out why the system went dry.
 

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Hello,

was gonna drive Taurus 1996 GL out of parking lot but checked the brake pedal and it was going all the way down.
opened hood to find that the brake fluid reservoir was empty.
thought I had a leak somewhere so bought some new brake fluid and refilled the reservoir to pinpoint leak.
The issue is that the reservoir is not getting lower and the brake pedal has no resistance like before. It still goes all the way in. pumped it several times while car on/off and made no difference.

also the brakes still work even though pedal goes all the way in since car still stops when pressing it.

Brake experts please let me know what I should do next to troubleshoot.

Thanks!
Jack up your car or put it on a hoist. The two main brake lines run under the drivers seat and rear seat behind the drivers seat. You will most likely find one brake line rusted out. Replace both brake lines because the other one will be in bad shape also.

I experienced this on my 96 sable about 1 year ago this time of the year.

Yes, I live in the rust belt.

On my replacement sable vehicle I am going to coat the brake lines with grease to hopefully eliminate or slow down the rusting of the brake lines.

Hope this help you!

k8crd
 

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I am a little confused. The res was empty so like said a leak. You refill the pedal goes to the floor but the fluid doesn't go anywhere. But the brakes work.That is all true?

As the brakes wear you loose fluid but not enough to dry the res out. Right now I would try to bleed them and get the air out. Also be aware that I have often heard that especially on older vehicles that the brake rod thet goes into the master cylinder often gets rust on the part that usually doesn't go into the MC due to the pressure. When you loose that pressure and the whole rod goes in it often damages the seal in the MC. Jim
 

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As the brakes wear you loose fluid but not enough to dry the res out. Right now I would try to bleed them and get the air out. Also be aware that I have often heard that especially on older vehicles that the brake rod thet goes into the master cylinder often gets rust on the part that usually doesn't go into the MC due to the pressure. When you loose that pressure and the whole rod goes in it often damages the seal in the MC. Jim
As your brakes wear you don't ever loose fluid unless you have a leak. The fluid level will go down only because it is in the caliper now because the piston sits out further now. You will need to bleed your brakes it's very easy to do and then you will be able to find your leak because it will spray out where ever its leaking at.
 

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As your brakes wear you don't ever loose fluid unless you have a leak. The fluid level will go down only because it is in the caliper now because the piston sits out further now. You will need to bleed your brakes it's very easy to do and then you will be able to find your leak because it will spray out where ever its leaking at.

I should have read that through before I posted. I meant the res fluid will go down into the lines not that it would loose it. Sorry for the confusion. Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
update:

brake fluid level is same as it was 2 days ago when I refilled reservoir.
brake pedal was still traveling all the way in.
I kept pressing it and then it seemed to be getting stiffer when car is off like the way it is supposed to be when you pump it a few times then it won't go in any longer.

Started the car and pedal was going in all the way. not good.
kept at it and it got stiffer.

I drew the car and the brakes some how have come back to life and work just as good as before.

I don't understand how the brakes could work again??

and what puzzles me most is what happened to the old brake fluid and why the new fluid is not leaking out if there is an leak.

what you guys think? I am gonna go have it checked anyway to be on the safe side.

I did change the rotors and pads a few months back in front wheels and rotors in the rear 2 months ago if that helps.
 

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If you don't know what the *&^%$ to do, take it somewhere that can do the brake work for you. You are endangering yourself and everyone else on the road by driving with iffy brakes.
 

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What's happening is those brakes need to be bled ... it's a good way to kill someone.

The brakes got "stiff" when the car was off because the booster ran out of vacuum. The brakes didn't get "stiff" as quick with the car running because the booster was helping. You're going to have to pump up the brakes to get the fluid by the air.

There is still air in the lines and they need to be bled. You can do this relatively easy with two people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you don't know what the *&^%$ to do, take it somewhere that can do the brake work for you. You are endangering yourself and everyone else on the road by driving with iffy brakes.
You don't need to teach me about safety.
I did state that I was going to take it to an professional to get it checked out. I never said I was driving it as if nothing happened.

I thought we are all here to learn how to do it ourselves so we can avoid going to the mechanic when ever possible.
 

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Did you find out what was wrong? I'm just curious :)
 

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yup same here curious
 

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This happened to me when I was about 15 yrs. old. The brakes need to be bled. If you know how to do brakes, you can do it relatively easily with little work. However, if you unhook your hydraulics and don't know how to bleed the lines, you are pretty much SOL. I'm sure you got this fixed by now, but I couldn't resist jumping in here. I bleed my brakes by myself all the time.

EDIT: in case anyone wants to know how, there are probably tons of videos on Youtube. The process is pretty similar on all cars, including Tauruses. I use an old Jim Beam bottle, a rubber hose that you could get at Autozone, and plenty of Dot 3 fluid.
 

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If the original poster still hasn't done so, find the leak. Worked on a daewoo a couple months back and the pedal went to the floor, but the brakes did work. I put fluid in and it disappeared. It was shooting out the left back. Same thing with the Taurus 2 years ago. Like these guys said, the fluid didn't just evaporate.I would make sure and do all the rear lines (and all 4 if possible) because if you don't I guarantee you will regret it, speaking from experience. To clarify, I wasn't involved in an accident, but it was annoying to do one line and a couple months later, guess what...
 
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