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Old 10-16-2013, 09:41   #1 (permalink)
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1998 E250 brakes issue two lights on + mushy pedal

Hello all I have a 98 (or maybe 99) e250 that i dont drive often, its been sitting for several weeks and up until now the brakes worked fine. If anything the brakes were really grabby and the pedal grabbed really high. The guy I bought the van from *claimed* he has just paid someone to replace the brakes and the pedal was just a little high.

I took a 20 mile trip and at the start the ABS light came on and the red brakes light next to it. I checked the Ebrake and it was off, I tried setting/unsetting it but the red light stayed on (the brakes did NOT feel like they were sticking on while the ebrake was off). The brakes dont engage until the pedal is low and they are not grabbing like they used to. This is really weird because I've put maybe 200 miles on the van since I got it a few months ago. Is this just from lack of use? Could something have rusted/seized?

Towards the end of the trip yesterday I saw smoke coming off the driver side wheel well and even today there is a brake smell near there.

From a quick search it seems like this could be a sensor issue? Please tell me what to check and how. I'm pretty familiar with cars and have worked on brakes before, just not vans. I'm trying to figure out a way to jack the van and remove the wheel to see if the pad is warped/low.

The thread I saw about the sensor mentioned ohming things and checking values. I have a multi meter I'm just not familiar with them so please tell me how to do anything I need to check.

Thank you all for any help with this.

EDIT:
I Didnt see any leaks/puddles where it was parked before (I specifically looked for them). I checked the brake fluid reservoir today and it looked a little low, about the bottom of the neck but not as low as the boat part of the body. I added some but it only took a few oz to bring it to the max line. I'm going to try pumping the brakes and moving around the driveway to see if the level goes down.
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:52   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 1998 E250 brakes issue two lights on + mushy pedal

Update I think I found the problem. I pushed the brake pedal down and heard a different kind of whooshing than you often hear when pressing on an unprimed pedal - went to the rear and by the rear diff there's a brake line freshly wet and dripping. The crack/hole is clearly near the middle. Can anyone tell me what part number I want? I should be able to replace the part, bleed the system and be good to go right?
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:23   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 1998 E250 brakes issue two lights on + mushy pedal

Cant tell you the part number , but if you tell your parts supplier where it comes from and where it goes to , they should be able to identify and supply from that info .In the w/shop , we just removed offending pipe and made a new one as per sample .Should be good to go after replacing and bleeding system.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:52   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 1998 E250 brakes issue two lights on + mushy pedal

I'm really hoping someone has a part ready made because this has a lot of bends especially near the passenger side rear wheel.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:17   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 1998 E250 brakes issue two lights on + mushy pedal

Will a local garage not make one for you if you take old pipe ? Most have brake pipe kits and ends and will bend /shape as needed , done it often for customers .
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:32   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 1998 E250 brakes issue two lights on + mushy pedal

I'm not sure. I just found out no one sells a prebent one you have to bend it yourself. I'll attempt it and if I fail/cant figure it out ill take it to a shop.

Can anyone tell me what size it is? 1/4 inch or 3/16ths? I'm guessing 3/16ths since its just a slim brake fluid line.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:45   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 1998 E250 brakes issue two lights on + mushy pedal

Ours are 3/16ths .You will need to get the correct ends and flare on pipe .Measure with a piece of string .
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:58   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 1998 E250 brakes issue two lights on + mushy pedal

If you replace steel pipe with copper pipe , you'll find it a lot easy to shape .
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Old 10-16-2013, 15:58   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 1998 E250 brakes issue two lights on + mushy pedal

Mistake #1 - I forgot about the threaded pieces on the ends and bent the pipe with them both on one end - got almost done before realizing it. $6.50 down the tube.

Got the second pipe - Going along ok, but near the passenger side there was a metal strap holding the pipe to the axle, right where the stabilizer ends. Since I couldnt get to the strap to undo it I had to cut either the pipe or the strap, I chose the pipe. 30 Seconds and a hacksaw later Id freed the pipe but the rough cut left me with no clue which angle they go back together. Should have drawn on the pipe while it was still in one piece with white-out or something.

Now im under the van again trying to mock things up and find the way the second half of the pipe needs to bend so I dont have the new pipe going off in the wrong direction. Its trickier than it sounds though as I can tell if the angle is just a little off the pipe will end up straining against the threads and holding itself at an awkward angle away from the body. I'm gonna conscript my buddy to help with that tomorrow.

Thanks for the help R.S. Logan.
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:00   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 1998 E250 brakes issue two lights on + mushy pedal

We've all done that with the ends at one time or another .In the workshop we can overcome it by cutting the end off and reflaring the pipe .Some pipes can be a right b*****d , but a little patience usually wins the day .Best of luck .
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