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I have a 1973 chevy impala and recently an issue has arisen where when i press the brake pedal, only the rear drum brakes are activating. Also the ebrake light is constantly on even when im just driving along and not using the brakes, the light is on; even though the ebrake is disengaged. i think it may be a problem with the master cylinder because i still have full brake fluid. All responses are appreciated, thank you.
 

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Yes, the master cylinder is bad....that is the reason the brake warning light is on constantly, it is telling you that there is a failure in the system.

Its not just the Emergency/Parking brake on light.

Replace the master cylinder, it is lucky to have lasted this many years without deterioration of an internal seal.

Now would be a good time to also replace both front wheel to frame rubber hoses, and the one from the rear axle to the frame. Rubber deteriorates with age, even if actual run mileage is low. You'll replace the master and have good solid high pressure and the next thing you know you'll blow an old front hose and be replacing and bleeding the brakes all over again.
Best time to replace those hoses is the same time you've got all the lines unhooked at the master because it is being replaced.
Save yourself the hassle of bleeding the brakes again every time each hose fails.
 

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do you have to bleed the brakes when u change the master cylinder?
Yes! Any time you unhook a brake line from any component the brakes have to be bled again.

Unhook a line anywhere in the front brake system, the front brakes need to be re-bled.

Unhook a line anywhere in the rear brake system, the rear brakes must be re-bled.

Replace the master cylinder, then the master cylinder must be bench bled first, then when bolted on the car and lines reconnected the rear brakes bled first starting with the wheel farthest from the master(passenger rear) and then the front brakes finishing with the wheel closest to the master(drivers front).

all this bleeding is the reason I suggested replacing those now 40+ year old rubber hoses at each front wheel and over the rear axle center.....so you don't have to bleed things several times down the road.
 
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