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E350 Brake Trouble

02-26-2008, 08:26 AM
Could Use a little help. I have a 1996 Ford E350 Club Wagon, and just replaced the brakes for the second time in 5000 miles. The first time I replaced the Pads, rotors, calipers and wheel bearings in the front. Then replaced the drums and shoes in the rear. I noticed the van seemed to be dragging and found my left rear wheel to be hung up. I adjusted the rear wheel adjuster and it seemed ok. Then the front left wheel started squealing while driving and braking. This past weekend I had both rotors and drums turned, and found the front wheel bearings appeared to be burnt. I replaced the wheel bearings and put it all back together. It seemed to drive fine on the way into work, but coming home it would pull to the right one time and then the left another and sometimes brake straight. Then just before getting home the left front wheel started squeaking again. I jacked up the front when I got home and found the front wheels turned but not freely. Can anyone give me any ideas as what to check next? Iím thinking I have a bad master cylinder but am not sure how I can be certain. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks Ed

02-26-2008, 07:46 PM
Welcome to AF. I suspect the brakes are dragging on the front causing the bearings to overheat and fail. You might check the brake lines. If the flexible brake lines to the calilper are restricted it won't allow the caliper to release pressure on the pads once the brake has been let up. A bulge or kink in the lines would indidcate this. Check the calper bolts and spray them with some WD-40. They could be hanging up. You described the problem well and maybe some others out there could help with this. Anyone?

02-26-2008, 08:31 PM
Thanks for the reply. When I reinstalled the brakes last Sunday I cleaned all the surface areas where the pads slide and used a caliper lube on all the surfaces. I think your right on the bearings. The strange thing about the front brakes, when I jacked it up was that they appeared to be pretty even as far as the amount of drag each wheel had. I've been doing brakes since I was a teenager and never run across this before. I was wondering if maybe the master cylinder could be bad. Hopefully someone who has seen this before will run across this post and be able to offer some additional info.
Thanks Ed

02-29-2008, 08:02 PM
How old are your calipers I found that this is a common problem. I've had the hose collapse internally and won't let the fluid return. Dave mentioned a stone or rock bending the brake line.

03-01-2008, 01:34 PM
. I've had the hose collapse internally and won't let the fluid return..
A bad master cylinder will do the same thing, resulting in dragging brakes.

03-02-2008, 10:27 PM
A little additional info: I just relaced both front calipers and brake hoses yesterday as well as new brake pads. It appeared to brake ok for a short time just after the job. Today I took it for a drive and and it's still pulling left and the left front brake is sqealing. When I got home I jacked it up and sure enough the Left front was dragging much more than the right. I'm kinda leaning towards the master cylinder as well. Is their any way to check the master cylinder or do you just have to replace it?

Thanks Ed

03-03-2008, 08:55 AM
They do make a test kit where you can watch pressure it would probably be cheaper to change it. Did you observe any difference when you bleed the system on the front calipers any pressure difference.
I have noticed the vacuum boosters if you ever changed it before your problem started. The replacements have different length rods which are adjustible use a straight edge and measure to the tip of the old one and set the replacement the same. You may have to set a straight across the hole.
You didn't mention doing this but may have done it when the problem just started.
Crack the bleed line on the side dragging does it have pressure a good indication.

03-05-2008, 07:26 AM
Follow up: I gave in and took my van into a mechanic to diagnose the problem so I could stop throwing money at the problem. He charged me $45 and said he scanned and pressure checked the abs unit on my van, and because of the pressure results he feels the pulling is due to a problem in the ABS unit. My first concern is that if he truly disconnected the brake lines at the abs unit he would have to bleed the entire system and that would cost extra. My second concern is he didnít sound very confident, but was willing to replace my ABS unit for $900. Does anyone know if an ABS unit can cause 1 wheel to drag? I read up on the mechanics of the ABS unit and am unsure if this could really cause the problem. The dealer wants $750 for the part so Iím not to eager to just replace the unit. HELP!


03-05-2008, 09:12 AM
If it was my truck I would try bleeding the system first. Then I would put on a rebuilt master cylinder. My son has a 1998 GMC 3/4 ton I put a used unit from a junk yard on it. They are hard to bleed but he is still using it with over 100,000 on it.
I would say they can cause your problem but so can a master cylinder. The unit to check out the system is very expensive and I doubt an independent would have one. I had to borrow a friends Snap-on scanner to get it bleed properly and check out the brake problem. I think you can bleed it properly without a scanner. But his anti lock light was lit.
http://www.alldata.com/ has an online manual which is good. It costs $25.00 and your second vehicle is cheaper. Make sure you print the electrical one line diagram for your truck before it expires.

03-10-2008, 09:07 PM
OK, One more update. Had the van to a second mechanic. I got the same results. Unfortunately my van has the OBD-II computer and I was told I could not use a rebuilt or used ABS unit because it has to be programed with the main computer in the van. Apparently once they are linked to VIN # you can't swap them out. I pulled the fuse on the ABS to see if it would make any difference, to my surprise after braking a few times it started braking straight again. The front left still squeals when applying the brakes, but I'll see how it handles and hopefully not be rushed into replacing that thing anytime soon.


03-10-2008, 09:21 PM
Go to http://www.modulemaster.com/ They rebuild control units. It is around $200.00 plus shipping. As yours is not standard probably somewhat more. Call them and ask questions they say ready to go. Why will their exchange work different vehicle. Ask about bleeding.

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