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1998 Oldsmobile Achieva brake problems...

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Jul 26, 2011, 12:55 AM

Post #1 of 2 (1892 views)
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1998 Olds Achieva SL sedan, V6 3.1, 150k mi, New England area
I recently replaced the left rear wheel cylinder on my 1998 Oldsmobile Achieva SL and, like an idiot, tried to bleed the brakes without replacing the drum on the outside of the rear wheel assembly. I had also taken the drum off of the right side of the vehicle so I could compare the two sides and ensure that I was putting the left side together correctly. The right rear wheel cylinder burst during the bleeding process. Once again, I replaced the wheel cylinder, but on the opposite side. This time I went to bleed the brakes and noticed that there was little to no pressure building under the pedal. When I turned the car on, the brake lights stayed on and the pedal had to be pulled up and held in this position in order to turn the brake lights off. When the car is off I can build enough pressure in the brake system to bleed the brakes by pulling the brake pedal up and pushing it to the floor. I know that pressure is being maintained in the brake system when the car is off because once the bleeder is loosened, the pedal then sinks all the way to the floor.
So with the car on, I have a useless brake system I can't keep pressure in and the brake pedal sits at half mast with the brake lights on unless I hold it in a fully returned position with my foot. With it off, I can build pressure in the brake system and bleed the brakes, but I have to force the pedal to fully return in order to do so. This was not a problem before I started messing with the rear brake shoe/drum assembly in order to fix this leaky wheel cylinder which has just turned into so many different problems.

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Jul 26, 2011, 4:52 PM

Post #2 of 2 (1873 views)
Re: 1998 Oldsmobile Achieva brake problems... [In reply to] Sign In

It's possible you damaged your master cylinder.

1st you need to rebleed the whole system to make sure there isn't any air trapped anywhere. If you still don't have a pedal after that you can try gravity bleeding the system, just crack open 1 bleeder at a time & let it drip. This takes a while and keep an eye on the fluid in the master while doing this.

Still no pedal and you will probably be looking at replacing the master cyl.

What happens is there is a lot dirt & debri that builds up in the master in areas that the seals never go. For whatever reason when the pedal does a full travel to the bottom, those seals go over that debri and if they were marginal already that the last straw it takes to take them all the way out......

I have seen a few cars where the only way to get the air out was to pressure bleed the system because manual bleeding wasn't doing the trick but you don't see that too often...


1998 Oldsmobile Achieva brake problems...

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