Brakes Seemingly Applying Themselves!! - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:02 AM
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Brakes Seemingly Applying Themselves!!

So I recently bought a 1997 F350 CCLB from an ad I found on craigslist. The truck is stock with the exception of a 4 inch lift kit. The test drive went fine, as did the 3 hour drive back home. This weekend I ventured out for a drive from San Antonio to Dallas. After some time on the highway I set the cruise control and thought all would be well. WRONG. Out of nowhere, the brake light came on and the cruise control disengaged. While the truck did not feel like it lost any power it definitely felt like it was fighting itself. To the extent that I had to keep it near floored to maintain 70 mph. I tried pulling the brake release to see if that would cause the light to go away to no avail. I also tried pressing on the brakes. I even pulled over and shut the truck off to see if that would reset it. When I turned the truck on I got out and gave a little tug on the parking brake cable, it had a little give in it making me believe that the parking brakes were not actually engaged. So I got back in and continued on my journey. Eventually the light went away and things went back to normal. But it came back two or three times. It would stay on for a little the light would fade and then I would be able to reset my cruise control. Upon reaching my destination, I pulled the driver's side drum. When I did, part of the shoe literally disintegrated, and fell off in crumbles. I also noticed that when the parking brake is set the light doesnt always come on or if it is on go off when I pull the release. The previous owners kept phenomenal records of everything and handed me probably the most complete maintenance log I have even seen for a used vehicle. One of the things that I noticed was that they had the brakes replaced several times. Now rather than continuing to bandage this problem I would like to try and fix the cause instead of just throwing money at it. I heard that there was a recall on the cruise control (which I'm not sure it was addressed), but this doesnt sound like the problems that was supposed to fix. I apologize for the novel, but I was trying to provide everything that could be of any potential help because I have never experienced anything like this before. Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:51 PM
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Automatic or manual transmission?

First thing to do is check all the parking brake cables. If any are sticking, disconnect them, and if you have to, pull the cable from the assembly at the drum. Check the return springs on the rear shoes.

Look for an extra harness with a fuse on the connector at the front of the master cylinder. If you have one, the cruise recall has been done.
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Old 02-03-2014, 06:46 PM
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It is an automatic transmission. I will admit, the only parking brake line I checked was the one on the drivers side because that is the brake that fell apart. It seemed to have some slack in it while the brake was off but the light was on(noticeably different then when the parking brake was pressed down).

I bought new shoes to put on, and figured that while it was apart I should go ahead and replace the springs as well because they looked original and were less than 10$. I will have to do that this weekend. The sensor for the light isn't inside the drum though, so that wouldn't cause the light to go on or off?

After looking, I do not see anything that would make me believe that recall work had been done.
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:39 PM
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If there is a stuck cable, and the main cable has slack, the pedal could drop to the point that it closes the switch.

Also, if the brakes were dragging really badly, it could have heated the fluid enough to create a lose of hydraulic pressure, which would turn the light on.

Did you try shifting to Neutral, to see if the brakes were dragging the truck down? When you had to apply full accelerator pressure to maintain speed, did the engine rev up or did it continue to match the truck's speed?
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:36 PM
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Is there a cable that is more prone to becoming stuck than the others that I should check first? Is any slack bad slack? Will replacing the springs on the inside of the drum when I replace the shoes solve the dragging problem? I didn't shift the truck into neutral while I was driving it, but when I let off the pedal it lost speed much faster than coasting usually does. When I was in the parking lot I did put it in drive and let it idle. It must not be too bad or was starting to go away because the truck was still able to roll forward with no gas input. If the fluid was bad, how bad would it look? It is murky brown right now, but I don't know how murky is normal. A complete flush and refill is probably in the near future to give me a fresh start.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:15 PM
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Well, the intermediate cable isn't in a housing, but all the others are equally prone to seizing. This is why it's a good idea to use the parking brake frequently. It's one of those "use it or lose it" systems; it's when you don't exercise it that its components tend to fail. Hard thing for automatic owners sometimes to get in the practice of doing.

Yeah, if there's any slack when the pedal is up, then one or the other parking brakes is probably being activated. Did you ever pull the passenger side drum?

You can probably tell if one or both of the rear cables is sticking, by having an assistant operate the brake, pressing and releasing it, while you observe at the point where the two come together. You might see one cable move and not the other, and the little plate/bracket that joins the cables will take on an odd angle.

'Course, if you're going to be doing the hardware on both sides, you might just want to replace both rear cables, just for good measure.
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