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'99 Windstar - Brake Problem

09-13-2008, 12:44 PM

I have a brake issue that I need a consult on.

The details: '99 Windstar, 3.8L, 150K miles, Front disc and rear drum, Traction Control, No ABS.

So here goes - a few days ago I ran a quick errand about a mile from my home. On the way home I noticed the van acting sluggish - and the problem got worse as I drove. It was like I was driving with my foot applying about half pressure to the brakes. Got the van home and started jacking the wheels - sure enough the wheels were locked - and there was a distinctive "hot brake" odor. Not wanting to leave the brakes like that I cracked the brake line on the master cylinder - and sure enough - I could hear all four brakes relax - and now the wheels spun as they should. So I replaced the master cylinder - and still have the problem.
So now I'm thinking it's the brake booster - but in all my years of driving and wrenching I've never seen or heard a brake booster exhibiting like this. So some questions:
1- Has anyone on this forum had a similar problem.
2- Do I get consensus that the next most reasonable step is to replace the brake booster.
3- Could I be overlooking a possible relay/sensor issue that could be causing the problem.
4- Anything else I may be overlooking.

My thanks in advance.

09-13-2008, 01:10 PM
You pull the booster hose. Did the brakes release? I doubt it is the booster is just a one way switch for the pedal. There might be a safety sub cylinder? Like the main one fails and you have that tiny back up master?

Because you did find some air is checking one way and not releasing as per. So, check a line and follow it to that main M/C or there is that backup master> :confused: maybe.

09-14-2008, 07:30 PM
This has happened to me two times on my 2000 Windstar. Each time I found the rear brake cylinder (drum brakes) frozen with the brakes shoes engaged. Car felt like it was surging, like something was holding me back. Also noticed the rear wheel was hot.

09-14-2008, 08:24 PM
I have had two instances of "rear brakes not releasing" ... both times it had to do with the emergency brake cables being stuck/rusted/corroded inside their protective sleeves along the underbody. Caused by the manufacturer's (little) initial lubrication being washed out over time. In one case, I had to replace the cable assembly ... never could free up the original cable.

Something else to look at.

09-15-2008, 12:44 AM
you smelled the abestas burning huh? it's either the ppv if all wheels were locked or it could be booster. how long you say it's started doing this? because i just put a booster in a 94 ranger and if you been around cars also for years. the only other link would be all 4 hoses your rubber hoses is they colasped and i doubt they did anyway never happened to me i say booster.

09-16-2008, 10:19 AM

Wanted to let you guys know the final outcome. First though - thanks for your replies - they gave me some options to consider. However in thinking it through the best I could - I was still convinced the booster was the most likely culprit - so out it came. I must admit - when I got it on the bench and began testing it by hand - the results made me anxious - because I detected nothing wrong. No binding, hanging-up, hardness in depresssing the plunger, NOTHING!!. I had located a remanufactured Cardone unit at a local Advanced Auto for $98.00. When I placed my unit and the Cardone unit side by side - they matched up perfectly - and the only significant difference between the two was that mine exhibited some radial play in the rod connecting to the brake pedal - and the remanufactured one didn't really have any. Other than that they were the same. Went home and installed the booster - started the truck and held my breath - PROBLEM SOLVED - the brakes were no longer binding. I am still at a loss to explain the brakes locking up - all I can figure is the vacuum added some dynamic to the equation that caused the internal plunger to bind. In any event - wanted to post the conclusion in the hopes my experience may benefit another.

Good Luck

09-16-2008, 11:39 AM
Thanks for the feedback ... that's good info!

10-07-2008, 05:57 PM
i've been neglecting my front brakes on my 99 windstar, i was planning on getting them fixed friday and i noticed yesterday that there is a loud squeaking when i turn the wheel, today i was parking and the wheel was really hard to turn i guess cause it was a tight turn. my question is does it sound like i will be able to save the rotors or i would need new ones.

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