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Discussion Starter #1
96 Ranger XLT. Manual. 4wd. 6 cyl.
Before I investigate further, truck is outside and this just happened. At an intersection, my brakes failed while I was at the light. Pulled into a parking lot and realized my emergency brake had been on. (Maybe a mile, mile and a half city driving).
The master cylinder drained. Brake fluid on the ground right below MC. Someone said that the fluid may have gotten too hot and maybe blue a seal or hose/line. But someone else said the emergency brake was back brakes and mechanical and would have caused he problem. I filled it and drove where I am now, it's still draining. I can't tell at the moment which fluid below MC is from draining or my filling. I'll have to dry it and investigate. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance!
Jim T
jvt321
 

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Could have blown seals on rear wheel cylinders .Need to pull drums and check out .Usually if cyls leak they get on to shoes and ruin them . You can sometimes see on backplates if fluid leaking .Master cyl will need checking and possibly replacing .You will have problems trying to bleed brakes if seals gone .Brake fluid will need replacing if boiled but you will probably be doing that anyway if replacing any cyls .
 

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and try to keep the brake fluid off the paint. It will cause it to bubble up and flake off.

Could be leaking from the rear of the master cylinder into the brake booster and down from there.
 

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" Could be leaking from the rear of the master cylinder into the brake booster and down from there. " Forgot about that , every possibility that is another cause / fault .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It is draining in the front, straight down below the MC. There is nothing anywhere else.
 

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If you take off the two nuts holding the master cyl onto the booster , you can usually pull it back enough without loosening brake pipes to see if fluid leaking from there .
 

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Front of the booster below the master cylinder looked wet. I filled it up. Put a small piece of dry cardboard directly under the booster. Started and gave it a couple pumps. Cardboard was coated with fluid. So, is that just a blown gasket/seal on the Master Cylinder?
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That is what we were saying , you can usually get a master cyl repair kit if you don't want to get replacement cyl .Always prefer replacing master cyl . myself rather than just seals . Some master cyls have pressure valves /switches attached to master cyl body which can leak also .
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was looking at them and notice quite a difference in price for MC with cruise control and without. My truck has cruise control. Can get a MC without? I don't do any highway driving and never, ever use it, or do I need to get the MC with since my truck has cruise control?
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If its leaking/spraying out the front then it has to be the cruise control release switch leaking. That's all it could be unless the front of the MC housing is cracked. You can replace that by itself and call it a day.

Otherwise I'm pretty sure the MC's is the same except for the CC switch fitting. BUT, as a safety precaution I do not recommend it the one without. If cruise is accidentally engaged it wont cancel out when you press the pedal. You'll have to press off on the steering wheel.

The leaking switch is a common problem and there is/was a recall on that. https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/daily-news/091014-ford-expands-cruise-control-switch-recall

$15.48 @ rockauto

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, it wasn't the master cylinder. Installed new one and it was still draining. Turns out that just below the mc where the brake line bends down and metal tubing goes into another material it looks like, there is a hole. The fluid was spraying out and hitting the face of the booster just below the master cylinder making it look like the mc was leaking. I imagine that brake lines are a bit different than they were in 1996. Can I get a line that has proper fitting on both ends? For the mc and at the wheel? I tried to up load a photo. Not sure if it worked.
 
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