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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
On my 88 s10, I have a small leak on my drivers side rear drum cylinder that a mechanic pointed out to me a few years ago. he said it was not something to worry about but I should get it changed before it gets worse. He also said there was a slight leak in the rear axial seal on the same side and that is expensive to repair, he said the dirt from the fluid leaks in the rear drums might make the rear drum grab a bit not being as smooth so i might notice that when coming to a full stop and i do notice that. i do not use the truck as a daily driver, only occasionally like once a few months.

Also recently within last year I notice when braking my truck pulls slightly to the left, its not too bad. I think it happens more especially if it has been sitting parked and not driven for a few months . i was thinking of replaced the brake hoses.I have been working full-time and so I just didn't have time to address these issues.but I did buy some brake hoses for the front because I thought the pulling wad due to old hoses so the fluid is not reaching all the whelks at the same time.

I want to understand how the brakes are design. I see the s10 has two brake fluid reservoirs. I always thought that the design of the systems with two reservoirs was that if one leak happens brakes fail, say in the rear cylinder bursts, then the front brakes still work. I thought it was a rear front split.

but i think I remember someone said to me that is how the cars were designed in the 60s and early 70a but then they switched to making it that the brake fluids lines isolated diagonally so of that is the case, then if there is a leak in the rear drivers cylinder then there would be diminished braking in the front passenger brake and the rear if there was less pressure in that system.

Can someone please clarify how the brake system is designed? Is the pulling to the left from the hoses or a sign the cylinder is failing more? I never added brake fluid to the truck in years and now inspecting the fluid it looks clean and seems pretty full in both reservoirs, but the front reservoirs is about 1/4 inch lower than the rear reservoirs. i have all the tools to change a cylinder and hoses and think i can do that or have a friend do that. i just want to be safe.

Im about to head out on a moving trip with the truck loaded and pressured due to limited time. The small town I'm moving too has a great low cost mechanic. The truck seems to stop pretty good besides the pulling but i sense the petal feels good but the way the brakes grab is not totally smooth and the pulling makes me concerned.

Can the pulling be telling be the cylinder is about to blow?

thank you.
 

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98 2.2 Extended cab, 2001 V6 Extended cab Sport Suspension, 2001 V6 Extended Cab 4x4
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First off I would worry less about the design and more about actually fixing the problem. The problem is the brakes are contaminated and they are causing more drag on one side and therefor the truck pulls.
The brakes are set front to rear, not diagonally. You have one line feeding the rear which splits to the 2 drums, the front has 2 lines that go to each wheel. The fronts are fed by the larger of the 2 chambers in the MC, and the rear by the smaller one. Calipers require a larger volume but less pressure to function, the opposite is true for a wheel cylinders, higher pressure, low volume. If your wheel cylinder is already leaking, it is already blown. What you dont want to have happen is a total failure of the cylinder which will prevent any brake pressure from building up in either rear wheel, and a loss of fluid. As a safety the fronts will still operate, so long as there is still fluid in their chamber.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
First off I would worry less about the design and more about actually fixing the problem. The problem is the brakes are contaminated and they are causing more drag on one side and therefor the truck pulls.
The brakes are set front to rear, not diagonally. You have one line feeding the rear which splits to the 2 drums, the front has 2 lines that go to each wheel. The fronts are fed by the larger of the 2 chambers in the MC, and the rear by the smaller one. Calipers require a larger volume but less pressure to function, the opposite is true for a wheel cylinders, higher pressure, low volume. If your wheel cylinder is already leaking, it is already blown. What you dont want to have happen is a total failure of the cylinder which will prevent any brake pressure from building up in either rear wheel, and a loss of fluid. As a safety the fronts will still operate, so long as there is still fluid in their chamber.
Thanks Rebel n Dirt,

I think you're right the brakes are contaminated or maybe I think one of the hoses probably the left front one is old and clogged so the fluid is not running correctly.

It happens I like to diagnose things and discuss to understand how they work so your replies very helpful. Especially knowing the front brakes and the rear are separated. I called my midas yesterday and they also gave me some interesting but conflictary information.

So as I mentioned the axle on the same driver side rear also has a very slight leak. and two years ago from the same Midas shop, they told me when inspecting it, that I would feel a grabbiness in my brakes when coming to a full stop so it's not like you could really smoothly come to a halt but that will be a slight grab at the end. The reason he said is the axle fluid soaks into the brake pads in the drum and they don't operate a smoothly in how they grab.

So I do feel that and that has slightly increased.

But what the Midas person on the phone said that was conflictary that it's probably the case that grabbing on the driver's rear that is causing my car to pull the left. so he did mention the grabbiness just like the last by this person did two years ago. But strangely also said if there is a slight leak in your back brake cylinder if it blows meaning it gets a bigger hole in it and all the fluid leaks out all at once that I will lose all braking in front and back. He said my pedal would just go to the floor all of a sudden and I would have no breaks at all. I thought that's what I remember the guy 2 years ago also saying. Maybe Midas just lies about that or their employees are given the wrong information? It makes no sense to me. I agree what you said that if the back cylinder bursts the front brakes would still operate. The two systems are separate.. Why else would they have two different reservoirs.
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I think I want to clarify one thing when 2 years ago the guy said my rear cylinder was leaking I don't remember if you just said seeping. But what I do remember is he saw dirt and little grime on the rubber parts I think that you could see with your eyes I go in these shops and walk up to the car with the person and try to look with my peepers at whatever they're pointing to and back then and even the last time I think I inspected it I just looked a little dirty. I should use the word seeping. Instead of leaking. Anyway for the last 5 years I haven't lost any fluid because I haven't had to add any to that smaller reservoir which you are saying goes to the rear. If there is a leak that reservoir should be low and it's not.

my conclusion is I was just uninformed and too busy these last 5 years and now I know that brake fluid cannot just sit in a car that sometimes is unused for months and you're right it's contaminated. I need to get a brake fluid flush and I should probably change those hoses. And I should replace the cylinder.

The slight grabbiness when coming to a stop, doesn't bother me and because that grabbiness was happening for quite a while before the truck started pulling to the left during stopping, it might be separate issue causing the poles to the left which is pretty slight and which also sometimes goes away if I use the car a lot.

I didn't know until recently watching YouTube videos how fragile and contaminatable is breaking fluid. I watch some classic car videos recently and they have always issues if they don't change the brake fluid on cars that sit undriven for a while. I now understand that brake fluid goes bad over time and it absorbs water and it needs to be changed and so I have had this car for 8 years and not ever change the fluid. Nor have I ever had to add any to the system.
 

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The reason Midas told you that you would lose all braking is to scare the bejesus out of you so that you'll rush right in and hand them your credit card and beg them to save you no matter what it costs. The reason the NTSB requires dual separate systems is specifically so that can't happen.
By driving with both front and rear brake issues you're doing your damdest to make it happen. I just hope for your sake some child doesn't dart out in front of you when the front hose blows and greasy rears can't stop you.
 

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My best advise to you is to go into your local Auto part store that has a commercial department, and ask the people behind the counter which shop they recommend for honest work. It may be the Midas, but usually it is a local independent shop that only makes ends meet because of outstanding service and honesty. It is those shops who will give you the best advise and most likely the best work. Where I live the chain shops like Firestone, Midas, and the others in my area are not usually the first thing out of the mouths of the guys behind the parts counter. But Robs Repair (fake name) is. Rob is the guy who will fix it right and honestly, his livelihood depends on it.
 

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My best advise to you is to go into your local Auto part store that has a commercial department, and ask the people behind the counter which shop they recommend for honest work
I used to drive commercial for an auto parts chain, we were given a list of the shops that we were allowed to recommend if someone asked for a recommendation. That list was only made up of the best (read: most sales from us) commercial customers. Some of these were smaller mom and pop shops, but even at these shops, I often took back several parts a day because they ordered a part that wasn't actually the problem. I saw many national chains that had less returns than the smaller shops. I'm not saying that you can't find a dependable independent shop, just that the auto parts store isn't the place to find it.

If you've got a cars and coffee group in your area or something similar, find out where the guys with the older vehicles get their work done.
 

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Our Commercial rep wanted us only to recommend the big sales shops too, No one in our store would do that unless they were really good, and a couple were, but the best shop we had was a little 2 man operation that actually did know what was what. That was who I would recommend usually.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The reason Midas told you that you would lose all braking is to scare the bejesus out of you so that you'll rush right in and hand them your credit card and beg them to save you no matter what it costs. The reason the NTSB requires dual separate systems is specifically so that can't happen.
By driving with both front and rear brake issues you're doing your damdest to make it happen. I just hope for your sake some child doesn't dart out in front of you when the front hose blows and greasy rears can't stop you.
Well we made it on the 600 mile trip with no problems and now the brakes feel great, we disconnected the trailer and the truck no longer pulls. So maybe when someone has brake issues they should just pack up the bed fully and pull a 1500 trailer to fix the brakes, just kidding.

I got all the brake parts so i'm going to change the rear cylinder change the front hoses and totally flush the old brake fluid out of the system. It has not had a brake flush since I bought it in 2010

If the truck was low on fluid that would be the most dangerous sign to have stopped me from taking this trip. But in general i would have liked to have had more time to fix everything before to feel safe. I appreciate how this Forum helped me understand my risks.
 
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