I have recently become the owner of a 1963 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty which is very different from from my other "fun" car, a 1964 Austin Mini. I have been working through some minor problems but one in particular has me baffled regarding the power assist brakes. I lose the power assist when I take car out of park. I have replaced the main vacuum line as well as a few smaller vacuum lines under the hood. Knowing that vacuum is used to release the parking brake I checked all the vacuum lines under the dash and everything is connected and looks like it is in good shape. When I put it back in park the brake pedal comes back up and it seems that the power assist is working again.
I am hoping that this is something others have experienced and you can steer me in the right direction. I love the car and it gets plenty of thumbs up cruising down Main St. in our little New England town of Falmouth, MA. Oh, and although many have suggested it, the Mini will not fit in the trunk of the Fleetwood!
Thanks for helping a newbie.
Glen, the neutral safety switch could be leaking vacuum. Unhook the vacuum line to the NSS, and cap it. One line comes from the firewall, the other goes to the parking brake vacuum actuator.
Thanks, Russ. I will give that a try tonight.
Thanks, Jason. That is two things you have helped me get straightened out. I appreciate the quick responses.
I disconnected the vacuum hose coming through the firewall at the check valve. There was some improvement but the brakes still seem to lose vacuum. If I come to a slow stop with my foot on the pedal lightly it will suddenly drop to the floor. Most of the time it will come back up with a few pumps. I bled the brakes a while ago and I think I should have one more go of it. The brake fluid was very dark colored so I will drain the fluid in the master cylinder and add all new fluid and flush out the lines. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Should I be thinking about replacing all the vacuum lines?
Thanks for your help!
Glen, the brakes going to the floor, is air in the lines. You are going to need to change the 3 rubber lines on the car. 2 in the front, and 1 in the rear. I have them on my shelf, if you can not find them locally.
The vacuum lines under the hood are probably brittle at the ends, so its a good idea to change them out.
Glen, congratulations on your new Cadillac. I would replace the master cylinder or rebuild the one on the car. Your symptoms of the pedal dropping to the floor under light pressure indicate you have worn seals or debris in the bore causing fluid pressure to bleed by. It is best to replace the booster also when replacing the master cylinder.
hope this helps.
Yup, your correct. I missed that one.
I must say, I am flabbergasted by all the responses. The wealth of knowledge in this club is an amazing resource for anyone trying to do what I am doing. I have been around cars all my life, and as I mentioned before, I own a '64 Austin Mini and know that car inside out. But this Cadillac is much more complex, and I have no experience with vacuum systems. Thank you to everyone who responded.
I have ordered a rebuilt master cylinder and when I get back from a business trip the end of next week I will dive in on replacing it. The master cylinder and the brake line fittings leading into it are rusty as hell, so I anticipate some problems and will probably end up replacing the brake lines to the nearest junction. I will keep you posted on my progress.
A special thanks to Jason Edge who responded to a problem I was having earlier with my windshield wipers. He introduced the club to me and it is the best thing I could have done to make the slow process of getting this beautiful car in tip-top shape a fun experience.
Glen, with everyone's input and insight, this website will only get better as we go along. I think we all learn something from each other every day! Glad to have you on board with us! Jason.