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In Depth Braking Tips & Products for Your Front Wheel Drive Volvo

Page 6: TECH TIP: A Few Common Brake System Problems, TECH TIP: Master Brake Cylinder Internal Leaks, Brake Master Cylinder

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TECH TIP: Master Brake Cylinder Internal Leaks

While brake systems as a whole are over-designed to be inherently reliable, lack of necessary maintenance can lead to unnecessary wear and premature failure. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, or in other words, it will draw and absorb moisture out of the atmosphere. Brake fluid, residing in a system for years will eventually absorb enough water to begin a corrosion process that can wreak havoc on calipers, wheel cylinders and certainly master cylinders. Corrosion on the inner bore of these parts can damage seals, allowing fluid to leak past them, softening the pedal response. In some cases, fluid may even appear through an external leak, flowing onto the floor or into the booster, depending on the braking system. If the pedal slowly sinks to the floor with the application of steady pressure and no leaks are visible, then it may be time to replace the master cylinder. A loss of fluid may also be a sign of master cylinder failure, but make sure to thoroughly examine the brake system as a whole to rule out any other leaking components. While economical common sense may tell us that the most efficient way to happy travels may be to rebuild your old master cylinder. Our experience has shown us that most of the time, a rebuild ends up being “temporary” fix. Honing of the cylinder can effect the inner diameter of the seal seating surface, leading to a system that fails to operate to it’s fullest potential. We value safety as a top priority and believe that only by replacing the failed part as a complete unit can we offer the safest solution to you and your precious Volvo.

Individual E5 for ABS module removal
11-piece external torx set E4 through E20

Brake Master Cylinder

The brake master cylinder in your car is the metallic part that the brake fluid reservoir sits on top of. When you press the brake pedal, pistons inside the master cylinder pressurize the brake fluid and applies your brakes. When the cylinder begins to wear internally, fluid can leak past the pistons reducing pressure. In most cases no fluid leaks will be visible. In some cases you may see signs that fluid has been leaking out the back of the cylinder. A soft or squishy feel at the brake pedal or the need to repeatedly pump the brakes could mean that the master cylinder is failing. In most cases a brake warning lamp on the dash will also illuminate to provide advance warning. When replacing a failing master cylinder, the brake system will need to be bled and this is an excellent time to perform a brake system fluid flush.

Brake master cylinder 1993-1995 - includes reservoir
Brake master cylinder 1996-1998 - w/o tracs does not include reservoir
Brake master cylinder 1996-1998 - with tracs does not include reservoir
Brake master cylinder 1998-2000 - does not include reservoir
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