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Thread: Car troubles

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Jackson, MI

    Car troubles

    I am hoping somebody here can point me in the right direction.

    I dont know alot about cars, although I have did a lot of work on my own cars, but when it comes to figuring out whats wrong with them, I have no clue.

    I have a 1987 Pontiac 6000 2.8 v6 station wagon.

    When I start the car first thing in the morning, and start driving the first couple of times I stop the car the left front wheel locks up and causes the car to squeel, like when you have to stop real fast.

    After the first couple it stops doing it. I thought it was the calipers, but then I figured it would happen all the time, not just in the morning.

    Anyways, help on this would be great, if anybody can help. I know cars a along way off of computers, but I figured there has got to be a person in these forums that knows a good deal about cars.

    Thanks in advance,
    Craig Sparks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    I've own enough crappy (no offense) 80's GM products to know when they start talking to you about 'hey, my breaks don't work' by doing things like you describe, that it's time to thank the car for warning you in the morning and not just killing you out of nowhere.

    Then, promptly, RUN to the mechanic.

    From experience, I'd check out the master cylinder. The problem sounds indicative of a problem there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Waukesha, WI USA
    Yeah, I agree with Andrew a bit. It could be the Master Cylinder, the caliper, brake lines (Just because the problem stops, doesn't mean it's not the cause) or even your brake fluid level. Basically anywhere in the system hehe.

    I'd check the fluid level first. Make sure it's at the right level. Then I'd look at the master cylinder itself, as well as the brake power booster (Usually a big black cylinder connected to the master cyclinder, air lines connected to it). Look for leaks coming out from brake lines leading off of the master cylinder, the seal between the master cylinder and brake booster, and below the brake booster itself.

    While your checking the fluid level, look at it's condition too (Don't forget to wipe off any dirt and dust around the cap before you remove it!). It should have a good semi-opaque look, a little lighter then virgin motor oil. If it's a whitish color, odds are there's water in there. Dip a finger in there and examine it, look for dirt, water, antifreeze, etc. Rub it between your fingers, it should feel somewhat dry (hard to explain.. it should slide as easily between your fingers as, say, motor oil). Smell it - it shouldn't smell burnt or have an off odor. It should, for all intents and purposes, look, smell and feel a lot like a light grade machine oil - because that's what it is.

    If all seems well there, follow your brake lines down to the front left caliper. It should be a short run and pretty easy to follow since it's so close to the cylinder. Depending on the car, as your following the line you should hit a little box that splits the 1 brake line for the front brakes into two seperate lines, this is called a proportioning valve or metering valve. It helps assure that even pressure is applied to both front brakes (As well as reduce the pressure used to apply the ream brakes if they are drum). Check and see if it has any cracks or leaks.

    As you move down to the caliper (of course keeping an eye out for kinks, cracks, leaks, etc) take a general look at the caliper and rotor (Real easy if you have 'open spoke' rims - though I don't think your car does because of it's age/model.
    Just take a quick glance and look for any rust or gouges on the rotor or anything that just doesn't look right. If in doubt compare it to the other side of the car.

    You should still take it to a mechanic regardless, but if you have an idea on what's wrong, it makes the whole thing go a lot cheaper hehe.
    Odds are it's probably a rusted, warped, or worn cylinder. You apply the brakes, let go, and the piston doesn't move back right away - after a few times, you've heated things up enough so that it doesn't happen again until a long cool down. Good luck!
    Jeremy D. Pavleck (jjpavleck(AT)GMail(dot)com)
    Over 10 years of Systems Management experience, at a discount!

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