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Old 11-20-2004, 07:02 AM
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dash brake light and no pressure?

Heres the question I have. Are the rear brakes on an '84 Chevy truck, the dash light for the brakes, and the rear proportioning valve somehow connected? I rebuilt my rear brakes, the pevious owner had cut the lines becauase "something sounded funny". It had no brakes whatsoever when I bought it. The brake light in the dash was on. We started to bleed the rear brakes and I couldn't get any fluid from either bleeder. The pedal will pump up to about 1 inch from the floorand won't go any farther. And now the dash brake light is out. Fuse is good, I checked that. Is this just a matter of my brake shoes are still out of adjustment or am I just not seeing something? Thanks in advance. Chet

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Old 11-20-2004, 08:02 AM
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Failure in the hydraulic system of the brakes, front or rear, should set the brake light on the dash. You said that the light is out. That is a good thing. I would check the adjustment of the shoes. A quick check to see if that is the problem on the rear, is to set the parking brake and see if that changes anything at the pedal. The parking brake will move the shoes to the drums, so you don't have all of that travel to make up with the pedal. If that causes the pedal to raise, and it is solid, just adjust the rear shoes.

NOTE**** Many times people just adjust the shoes until they drag on the drum, then think they are adjusted correctly. If you donot press the pedal periodically to center the shoes, they will still be loose, as only one shoe is moving when adjusting.
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Old 11-20-2004, 08:13 AM
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One little detail I left out previously is that the light was on prior to start of bleeding the rear wheels. I'm also a little leary of the parking brake cable up front. It's got a few broken strands showing and presently my business checking is kinda tight on funds. I was also wondering about no fluid at the rear bleeder screws. Could that junction block on the frame under the master cylinder be a culprit?
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Old 11-20-2004, 08:39 AM
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I have never seen one of those junction blocks go bad. That doesn't mean that it can't, just that I have never seen it. If the system was dry for a period, with the line open, it may have plugged up from corrosion. Have you checked to see if you have fluid at the lines in the rear? Could be bad bleeders. May also take the lines loose at the junction block and see if fluid comes out of there. Also see if there is a button on that junction block, that I believe is actually your porportion valve. They used to have a valve that would block off fluid to one end of the system if there was a hydraulic failure. Pressing that button would center the valve to allow fluid. Used to have to do that if a whole system was empty. Don't know if that vehicle has that or not. It's been alot of years since I was heavy into brake jobs. Maybe someone else can answer that.
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Old 11-20-2004, 03:59 PM
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Well, I checked the block for a button, there's a little rubber button on one end and an electrical plug leading into the top. I pushed in on the button, but it didn't seem to do much. I'll pull the lines from the rear hose and see if I get fluid there. The lines from the rear hose are both new (and un kinked, I re-checked that), the wheel cylinders are new on both sides, as are the shoes, drums, spring kits, and after today, the front rotors, calipers, and pads. This crap is starting to get real pricy. Good call on it sitting for a while. It sat for almost six months before I bought it. I'm almost wondering what I can strip off my Suburban to make this work.
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Old 11-20-2004, 05:50 PM
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You might just have an excess of air in the rear lines. It can take a while to get it all out, and gravity bleeding wont always work until it gets started (like a siphon).

The block can go bad, but it is uncommon. If it does, it normally will block pressure to one section, front or rear, preventing pressure from getting to it, and possibly holding air above it if air was introduced. The fact that the light went out suggests it is most likely operating, at least in some capacity. The button should be pushed in while bleeding. It is not always necessary, but it can never hurt. It is really for low pressure bleeding of one section, but I cant remember the details right now, so just push it in.

Otherwise, I have nothing to add at this time.


oops. Yes I do. This vehicle may have an aluminum step-bore master with plastic resivoir. They are very picky about bleeding... esp. the rear. Service instructions state "allow 15 seconds between each slow pump of the pedal when bleeding brakes" ... apparetntly to allow the quick take up valve to re-seat. Sometimes on these I just say screwit and use a syringe with rubber tip to force fluid through. Or I open a bleeder, push down, close, letup, wait, repeat... sometimes works.
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Old 11-20-2004, 08:12 PM
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Yep, it's got the aluminum master cylinder with the plastic reservior. I did notice too that the front part of the reservior looks like Old Faithful when the pedal is pumped. The rear part of it has no fluid movement, however. Is that normal? It's been quite a few years since I did this much to a set of brakes.
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Old 11-20-2004, 10:12 PM
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Try this article:
http://www.babcox.com/editorial/bf/bf60133.htm
It deals specifically with Chevy trucks with the QTU master. Just skip the stuff about the ABS.

A fountain when you let up can indicate air, or other problems, but with the QTU, I dont really know. It's been a while since I read that article, but it might mention it. Pick up a syringe and see if you can get fluid flowing to the rear... it is like a cheap, small, and clean pressure bleeder, and works realy well on the QTU masters.
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Old 11-21-2004, 06:52 AM
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Looks to me like we we just not waiting the 15 seconds between pumps of the pedal. Thanks for posting that article. I learned more from that than I have ever learned by the hands-on appoach. I called a couple of shops and they said it was probably the master and I should bring it in. It sounds to me like that is almost never the case if inspections are done correctly. Thanks again for all the help, Chet
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