PLEASE HELP. AT WITS END. Ford Escort Mk2 brakes not working

Asked by Aug 22, 2019 at 03:11 AM about the 1977 Ford Escort

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have been struggling to get my brakes
working on the damn car.

Im the 3rd owner of the car. The second
owner experienced a small fire in the engine
bay due to perished fuel line dripping onto
the distributer - in turn all damaged rubbers
and plastics were replaced with new parts
and engine bay resprayed.

I bought the car with the previous owner
telling me “the brakes just need to be bled”
as the car was still in the process of being
put back together after the bay was

The first time i bled it, both of the front brake
lines were perished and leaking. I replaced
those with Ford Capri brake lines with same
thread pitch etc.

I then proceeded to bleed the car for daaays.
Nipple closed, pump pump pump a few
times, hold, open nipple, close nipple.
Repeat. Still no brakes. There was no
pressure being built up in the system. I ended
up replacing both rear drum brake piston
“units” as i noticed the seals were shot and
allowing fluid to leak out of the cylinders in
the drum brakes. I bled and bled and bled...
still nothing.

Decided to take the master cylinder in to get
resleeved and new pistons and seals. Sleeve
was still good, but got new pistons and
seals. I bled and bled and bled and bled...
same story, no pressure, no brakes.

I always noticed a lot of play on the brake
pedal but was told its normal on the escorts.
Looked into it and after disassembling the
pedal and rod that connects to the booster i  
found that there were no bushings on any of
the pins holding all the arms/rods together
which was causing the play. So i replaced the
pins with thicker bolts to make up for the
play and it greatly improved the pedal travel
and overall pedal feel. However, still no
pressure build up when pumping on brakes.

Checked brake servo/booster check valve by
blowing and sucking on the vaccum pipe that
connects to intake manifold.

I dont know what else to do. Ive tried multiple
bleeding methods and not once has there
been any sort of pressure build up. People
have suggested removing the booster
completely but i dont want to have “ manual

Please help. At this point i just want to set
the car on fire and watch it burn.

1 Answer


The correct bleeding method takes two people, unless you have a bleeder machine. You first need to bench bleed the master cylinder. After you do that and install the master cylinder start with the right rear wheel. Make sure the master cylinder is full with the top on. With the engine off have your helper press the brake pedal to the floor and hold it there while you open the bleeder screw. Air and or brake fluid should come out. Now close the bleeder screw and have your helper release the brake pedal. Repeat this 5 times then move to the left rear wheel. Repeat. Then move to the right front wheel. Repeat. Then lastly move to the left front wheel. It is not necessary or correct to pump the brake pedal to "build up pressure"! Doing that just wastes time. If this is a disc drum system you may have to hold the proportioning valve open while bleeding. But if it's a 4 wheel drum system you don't have a proportioning valve to worry about. If after bleeding the system using this method doesn't bring back the brakes something else is going on like a bad master cylinder or clogged brake lines. Hope that helps! Jim

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