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1989 Chevrolet 3 4 Ton Pickups Base Fleetside 131.5

1989 Chevrolet 3 4 Ton Pickups
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August 15, 2012, 4:18 pm

Allen L

Question: Brake pedal travel. Pedal doesn't get "hard"

So when I push on the brake pedal I get stopping action but as I continue to push I actually get more travel of the pedal instead of it getting nice and hard like the other vehicles.

Recently I have replaced calipers, pads, and rotors on the front and the shoes, and brake hardware in the back.

Brakes bled I don't think it is air in the line. This general problem existing before doing the brake work as well.

Is there a way I test the master cylinder or the brake booster...or both??

I also saw something in a haynes or chiltons about checking the mounting bolts for the brake master cylinder.

Truck has just over 250K on it. I've put about 10K of those miles on it. Bought it at auction before this so don't know any earlier history on it.

Thanks in advance.


August 16, 2012, 9:27 pm

Richard W
Expert Mechanic

If you have rear ABS I would check it. There is a little valve or pump under the driver seat under the car. One way to test the master cylinder is push very slowly down on the pedal. If it keeps going down you need paster cylinder. This test is with the engine off. To test the booster. push down on the brake 5 times. Then push down on the brake. Start the car. If the pedal moves the brake booster is ok.

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January 19, 2013, 7:57 am

Allen L

How do I go about checking the rear abs. I have seen some other places on line that if this abs valve goes bad
that it will look like or act like a bad master cylinder.

I put a new master cylinder in it..and to be honest the problem really didn't change all that much. So..I could
have gotten a bad master cylinder...but I would really doubt it.

I'm having a hard time finding information on how to check the abs. I have found some places where people
talk about bypassing the abs valve.

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January 19, 2013, 7:13 pm

Richard W
Expert Mechanic

For safty resons I would not bypass the ABS valve. You need a scan tool to talk to the ABS unit. That is why little to no info on it. Even if you change the rear ABS valve you need a scan tool to blead it. SO at this point you need to have a shop work on it.

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January 21, 2013, 9:30 am

Allen L this scan tool different than the code scanner that pulls codes?? I guess i am not understanding the matchup between electrical and hydraulics on the ABS.

Or is there a way without using a scan tool to verify in my shop at home that in fact the master cylinder is good and it "must be" in the ABS. I was thinking of disconnecting the brake lines from the master and plugging them. Then pushing on the pedal to see if there is still any fade.


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January 21, 2013, 10:16 am

Allen L

Hey....just to put your mind at ease...this is not a daily driver. It is the plow truck for my farm. However..I understand that there is still something "not quite right" about the brakes and would like to figure it out. If that means I have to buy an additional scan tool...or figure out how to use the one I have to scan the brakes..or get them to bleed correctly. I will do that. I end up working on lots of vehicles so I'm sure I will use it in the future. This is the first time that I have ever run into ABS issues....or possible ABS issues. Trying to figure out how to nail this down for if it does end up going to the shop....I know for sure that I "have to" do that because it is beyond my capability.

Thanks for the help.


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