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Unread 09-09-2010, 10:43 AM
 
Location: DFW, Texas
35 posts, read 49,219 times
Reputation: 23
Default Brake booster broke on the way back from brake pad replacement?

I got my brake pads freshly repaired at a local brake shop, but on the way home my brakes "locked up" and let off a VERY strong burning smell. I hadn't even driven 10 miles. I brought it back into the shop and now they're telling me it's going to be nearly $500 to replace the brake booster!

It seems awfully fishy to me that something in my brake system would fail ON THE WAY BACK from having my brake system operated on. The mechanic said the problems are unrelated, but I don't know enough about cars to know if he's telling the truth.

All help greatly appreciated!!

EDIT: When I say my brakes locked up, I mean the pedal got really hard (was a lot softer than normal since the repair). After it got hard, I would smell strong burning shortly after. My car would also do high RPMs and wouldn't go over 30mph. I thought it was a stuck caliper but they said no?
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Unread 09-09-2010, 12:05 PM
 
3,190 posts, read 1,939,953 times
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Does you car have anti-lock brakes?

If so, they might have screwed-up in the replacement of the pads. This is especially true on some rear calipers that use the pads (no shoes inside of the rotor) for the emergency brake. Some are released mechanically with a lever (Cadillac for example) and some have pistons that need to be screwed back in with a special tool to make room for the new pads.
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Unread 09-09-2010, 12:17 PM
 
Location: DFW, Texas
35 posts, read 49,219 times
Reputation: 23
No ABS. They're saying the front wheels won't spin but the back wheels do. They say I need booster replacement, giving me a figure of $460 parts+labor.

Is there ANY possible way they could mess up a booster after pad replacement and rear drum buffing? I mean ANY!
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Unread 09-09-2010, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Seven Seven Three
431 posts, read 514,088 times
Reputation: 237
Honestly, I'd have to say your mechanic is telling you the truth, assuming his diagnosis is correct. The only thing fishy is that your brakes locked up, from what I've seen with bad boosters, usually it is just extremely hard to push the pedal down- the brakes don't engage themselves and lock up when you're going down the street. A simple pad replacement is nothing more than unbolting the caliper, pushing the piston back in, putting the new pads in, and bolting the caliper back on. A rear drum buffing simply requires hitting the drum off (some vehicles have an adjustment gear for the shoes, accessed via screwdriver on the back of the assembly), putting the drum on the lathe to cut it, and putting it back on the vehicle.

The brake booster is located on your firewall behind your master cylinder, runs off of vacuum, and you do not come close to touching it when doing the work you said you had done.
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Unread 09-09-2010, 12:51 PM
 
Location: DFW, Texas
35 posts, read 49,219 times
Reputation: 23
Yeah that's what I was wondering about. It was taking an insane amount of power for the car to get over 30mph and it would slow to a near complete stop from 30-0mph in about 10-15 seconds.
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Unread 09-09-2010, 01:24 PM
 
6,322 posts, read 5,914,999 times
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Quickest way to confirm what they're telling you, assuming the front wheels are still locked up, is to have both front wheels off the ground and remove the nuts holding the master cylinder to the booster and separate the two. Do not disconnect or loosen any brake lines. If there's a problem with the booster this will isolate it from the brake system and the front wheels should free up. If they don't, then you have other problems.

One thing I've seen over the years is the caliper gets rotated while it's off and then installed with the hose twisted. You can apply the brakes but they won't release.

Whatever the problem is, make sure they replace the pads again after the fix. If they've been that hot then they shouldn't be re-used. If they were a brand name pad they should be able to send them back as defects at no charge to you.

Good luck. (what's the year, make and model?)
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Unread 09-09-2010, 01:46 PM
 
Location: DFW, Texas
35 posts, read 49,219 times
Reputation: 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gimme3steps View Post
One thing I've seen over the years is the caliper gets rotated while it's off and then installed with the hose twisted. You can apply the brakes but they won't release.
Would this cause both front wheels to lock? It seemed like only the left side was locking when I was driving it, but he insists that both wheels locked up when they had it on the lift.

I just don't understand how a power booster could go bad and somehow cause the brakes to lock up...all of this while I just left a brake shop 10 minutes earlier. Seems like I have a better chance of winning the lottery.
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Unread 09-09-2010, 02:23 PM
 
6,322 posts, read 5,914,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmualum View Post
Would this cause both front wheels to lock? It seemed like only the left side was locking when I was driving it, but he insists that both wheels locked up when they had it on the lift.

I just don't understand how a power booster could go bad and somehow cause the brakes to lock up...all of this while I just left a brake shop 10 minutes earlier. Seems like I have a better chance of winning the lottery.
It would affect whichever side had the twisted hose. The left side would not affect the right and vice versa. When the hose is twisted and you apply the brakes, the fluid will be under pressure and get past the twist and your brakes will apply. When you let up on the pedal, the fluid stays under pressure because of the twisted hose and the caliper won't release.

A brake booster failure is highly unlikely to be your problem. Normally a bad booster will give you some warning before failing and then all it does is make your pedal feel like it does when the engine is off. I've never seen one fail and apply the brakes. And why weren't the rear brakes locking up too? They would have also been applied just like the fronts were.

I'm betting on a twisted hose.
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Unread 09-09-2010, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,712 posts, read 18,877,636 times
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I second 3-step's idea that it's a twisted hose. One related item is the port in the master cylinder that connects the cylinder itself to the reservoir, although most recent cars as in not antique have one circuit for front left, rear right brake, as opposed to the old school one circuit front, one back.

Make model and year would really help, OP.

Is this a chain brake shop?
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Unread 09-08-2011, 09:30 AM
 
1 posts, read 2,960 times
Reputation: 10
I'm having the exact problem with my 92 prelude my brakes lock after driving for about a mile and hot weather . The pedal gets really hard and the car slows down and when I step on the gas I have to go over 5000 rpm and won't go over 30 , I replaced pads, rotors, calipers , and new brake fluid and still lock up. Can anyone help?? What was your solution
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