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Old 10-25-2003, 01:48 PM   #1
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"My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

This happens often and is an easy fix. First lets explain why this happens:

All these cars are now 15-25 years old, and most are on at least their 3rd or 4th owner. Unless one of the guys before you was a stickler for a safely operating car, odds are the brake hoses and calipers haven't been replaced since new. Rubber gets old, breaks down, and cracks, and things start to leak.

If you hit the brakes (spelled "brakes") and your car pulls to the LEFT, you have a problem on the RIGHT side of the car. Either the hose has collapsed internally and is blocked or there is a problem with the caliper, and it is not grabbing the rotor on that side, therefore shooting you over to the other side which is working good. The opposite is true if the car pulls to the RIGHT...problem with the LEFT side.

Every few years, you HAVE to replace the rubber hoses, it's that simple. I've learned this the hard way. They WILL get old and stop working, and this is really dangerous for you, your passenger, and others on the road. Also, when replacing brake hoses, replace the calipers while you're down there. They're EXTREMELY cheap ($15 at AutoZone w/ a $10 core) and they're practically off during the job. You should bleed the brakes anyway so why not put new stuff back on. (If you're running braided lines, the hoses obviously aren't an issue.)

When you replace brake pads and shoes, you NEED to flush out the old fluid between the master/prop valve and the calipers. Most of us (including me up until recently), just press the caliper piston back in, install the new pads, throw the caliper back on and head back out on the road. This is incorrect. You need to get the old fluid out. A good way to do this is to get a fairly big C clamp or a pair of large Vice Grips and two small flat pieces of steel and pinch the hose between the jaws of the pliers/clamp, open the bleeder screw, and while pushing the caliper piston back in, drain the old fluid into a container (being environmentally safe here). Then shut the bleeder screw, install new pads and the caliper, and bleed the brakes, forcing newer, clean fluid down into the caliper. Always recheck your fluid level to ensure you have enough stuff in there after the brake job. I know in the brake world it's belief that "bigger is better", but even a properly working stock disc/drum brake system will haul your car down in no time.

I often see guys running big motors, NOS, etc, and they rarely have paid attention to the brakes. I don't think this is a good idea. If your car is gonna run fast, make sure it can stop fast...it may just save your life or someone else's.

Thanks!

Ed Miller
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Old 10-25-2003, 07:29 PM   #2
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also.

if the car stops straight on the brakes, but pulls to one side when you release the brakes, the brake hose needs to be replaced.


the rubber gets old and somtimes can form a "one way valve" flap.. so the fluid is pushed into the caliper just fine, but it doesnt release on one side as quickly as the other.

when replacing the rubber lines, replace all 3 at the same time. the left front, right front and rear axle lines.. if one is worn, the others probly are too.
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Old 05-22-2004, 02:12 AM   #3
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believe it or not, tire pressure can be a culprit of not straight brakeing, had one on the front down to 15 psi and the other at like 40, slammed on the brakes and the car changed lanes, oops. Now i check my pressure regularily, 34 psi all around.

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Old 07-09-2004, 11:40 AM   #4
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Ed--maybe you can come help me with mine. i have replaced everything from the brake booster down. New/ reman everything. My car will brake staight for one or two stops, then it will pull very hard to the left. I have checked the right side line, caliper, slide pins, etc. Bled them several times.

Any suggestions??

With it stopping straight a few times, do you think it is the caliper sticking when it gets hot?? That is the only reason I can think of. It was a reman unit that I bought about a year ago.

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Old 07-22-2004, 04:45 AM   #5
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I wish I would've read this a year ago. Both of my front hoses were bad, and acted like a one way valve. They stopped the car but *** knows which way the car would go, and then the brakes would not release, meaning I had to floor it to get it going again. Took it to mechanic and he charged me a pretty piece for 'diagnosing' the problem and replacing them.
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:03 AM   #6
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What makes the braided hoses so much more efficient?
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by ThraxXx
What makes the braided hoses so much more efficient?

rubber slightly expands when you have the pressure brake fluid inside it.

the braided hoses are stronger, and dont expand nearly as much, so more effort goes directly to the caliper, instead of expanding the brake lines... that also gives you a better feel at the pedal. or in the case of my motorcycle, a better feel at my fingertips.
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Old 07-23-2004, 10:37 PM   #8
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An excellent addition to ANY brakes system are "Speed-Bleeders" by Russell (now owned by Edelbrock). These make bleeding the brakes a one-man (or woman) job that takes all of 15 minutes!
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Old 12-03-2004, 09:04 AM   #9
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if your car is stoppin good for a couple stops and you honestly have replaced everything, id say its not in the brakes. things like bad steering components, tire pressure can/will cause some screwed up things under braking conditions
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Old 12-03-2004, 11:42 AM   #10
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I have in addition to my 3rd gens, a 305 powered 2wd S10 Blazer. Same basic brake setup as on 3rd gens. My Blazer would pull hard to the right once in a while, sometimes locking up . I replaced the hoses and calipers, and bled the system. Next time it rained, right front locked up solid!! I finally found the problem to be my front wheel bearings. They were so worn , they allowed enough play that when i hit the brakes sometimes it would **** the rotor just enough to lock it up. So, while everything is apart check out your wheel bearings too.
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Old 12-03-2004, 03:49 PM   #11
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Another thing... Brake Fluid is hydroscopic (absorbs moisture) so keep the bottle and master cylinder closed as much as possible to prevent corrosion in the lines. As a parts guy I constantly saw people who had just done a brake job within the last 6 months who suddenly had line corrosion or seized calipers. The master cylinder being open for periods of time would actually absorb the humidity in the air and lead to this. It's worse in hot & humid Florida than other areas but something to be aware of.
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Old 09-06-2006, 02:30 PM   #12
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this happened to me and i had a pinched hose it pulled when i hit the brakes
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Old 10-09-2006, 09:31 PM   #13
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seems some people have been using the feature here

there is some good info in this thread.

i thought i would add, when you replace those rubber hoses, or any time you remove one of the metal brake lines, you want to use what most mechanics call line wrenches, or by their proper name, flare nut wrenches.

with a regular open end wrench you may well round the flare nut off which can cause you big problems in trying to get it off or back on, & you may even have to replace that line to for it to work right. also, use a back up wrench when ever possible.
your brakes are something you don't want to take chances with.

one more thing, the better the quality tool you use, the better your repair is likely to turn out.
sometimes, even when using the best tools made you will have problems, but it really does help using the best tools you can afford.
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Old 12-15-2006, 12:53 PM   #14
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to the top for more views.
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Old 01-26-2007, 08:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebmiller88 View Post
This happens often and is an easy fix. First lets explain why this happens:

All these cars are now 15-25 years old, and most are on at least their 3rd or 4th owner. Unless one of the guys before you was a stickler for a safely operating car, odds are the brake hoses and calipers haven't been replaced since new. Rubber gets old, breaks down, and cracks, and things start to leak.

If you hit the brakes (spelled "brakes") and your car pulls to the LEFT, you have a problem on the RIGHT side of the car. Either the hose has collapsed internally and is blocked or there is a problem with the caliper, and it is not grabbing the rotor on that side, therefore shooting you over to the other side which is working good. The opposite is true if the car pulls to the RIGHT...problem with the LEFT side.

Every few years, you HAVE to replace the rubber hoses, it's that simple. I've learned this the hard way. They WILL get old and stop working, and this is really dangerous for you, your passenger, and others on the road. Also, when replacing brake hoses, replace the calipers while you're down there. They're EXTREMELY cheap ($15 at AutoZone w/ a $10 core) and they're practically off during the job. You should bleed the brakes anyway so why not put new stuff back on. (If you're running braided lines, the hoses obviously aren't an issue.)

When you replace brake pads and shoes, you NEED to flush out the old fluid between the master/prop valve and the calipers. Most of us (including me up until recently), just press the caliper piston back in, install the new pads, throw the caliper back on and head back out on the road. This is incorrect. You need to get the old fluid out. A good way to do this is to get a fairly big C clamp or a pair of large Vice Grips and two small flat pieces of steel and pinch the hose between the jaws of the pliers/clamp, open the bleeder screw, and while pushing the caliper piston back in, drain the old fluid into a container (being environmentally safe here). Then shut the bleeder screw, install new pads and the caliper, and bleed the brakes, forcing newer, clean fluid down into the caliper. Always recheck your fluid level to ensure you have enough stuff in there after the brake job. I know in the brake world it's belief that "bigger is better", but even a properly working stock disc/drum brake system will haul your car down in no time.

I often see guys running big motors, NOS, etc, and they rarely have paid attention to the brakes. I don't think this is a good idea. If your car is gonna run fast, make sure it can stop fast...it may just save your life or someone else's.

Thanks!

Ed Miller
ebmiller88
While I agree with almost all of what ebmiller88 said. I do have to disagree about "A good way to do this is to get a fairly big C clamp or a pair of large Vice Grips and two small flat pieces of steel and pinch the hose between the jaws of the pliers/clamp" all this effectively does is break down the inner wall of the hose and invites to brake pull to returs as soon as the hose collapses internally.
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Old 10-15-2007, 05:01 PM   #16
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

im sorry thats bullshit, having to bleed the brakes when you change brake pads is completely unnecessary. Just push piston back with large screwdriver and replace pads, done. Thats how my dad taught me and hes been working on cars for 30+ years, i've always done it this way and never had a problem either.
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:10 PM   #17
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

easy...bad caliper!!
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:50 AM   #18
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayzor32 View Post
im sorry thats bullshit, having to bleed the brakes when you change brake pads is completely unnecessary. Just push piston back with large screwdriver and replace pads, done. Thats how my dad taught me and hes been working on cars for 30+ years, i've always done it this way and never had a problem either.
Your dad has never bled a brake system in 30 years? Wow, that's some mechanic! Just because someone never learned proper repair procedures after 30 years of doing things wrong doesn't make them a master, just lucky as hell! I'd find a better teacher...
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Old 10-16-2007, 07:44 AM   #19
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

Quote:
Originally Posted by bilms01 View Post
While I agree with almost all of what ebmiller88 said. I do have to disagree about "A good way to do this is to get a fairly big C clamp or a pair of large Vice Grips and two small flat pieces of steel and pinch the hose between the jaws of the pliers/clamp" all this effectively does is break down the inner wall of the hose and invites to brake pull to returs as soon as the hose collapses internally.
I wrote this thread a while ago and have learned a lot since then, and I agree with this. Just replace the hoses. Thank you for your input!

Ed
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Old 10-25-2007, 06:36 PM   #20
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

Ok - Now with new hose and rebuilt calipers and master cylinder, and new pads and no tie rod problems, I still have the car pulling to the laft.

Could it be in the proportioning valve? I see there are two lines out for the front and two for the rear? I guess I should check to make sure the proportioning valve internals are not plugged. Or maybe just replace it?
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:46 PM   #21
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

how come nobody suggested shocks or struts ?
an a screwdriver???? , i think its more like a c-clamp
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Old 10-26-2007, 06:47 AM   #22
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

Quote:
Originally Posted by svroom View Post
Ok - Now with new hose and rebuilt calipers and master cylinder, and new pads and no tie rod problems, I still have the car pulling to the laft.

Could it be in the proportioning valve? I see there are two lines out for the front and two for the rear? I guess I should check to make sure the proportioning valve internals are not plugged. Or maybe just replace it?
Is that one new hose? If so, that could have been the wrong hose. Prop valve shouldn't cause this, it just acts as a splitter for the front brakes with no restriction at all and only exists to meter pressure to the rear brakes. Have you examined the hard lines? See if one got crushed, bent, or kinked. If you have replaced both calipers and hoses, have no kinks in the lines, have no contamination on the pads or rotors (grease, fingerprints, oils, brake fluid), the rotors are worn the same amount but within spec (.965"+) and have no unusual coloring or streaking, the brakes have been 100% bled properly, your alignment is square, your suspension is up to par (bushings, ball joints, tight cradle bolts, strut bushings and struts), unibody is straight, tire pressures are equal, and your car has been washed regularly..... If all these apply, then I'm stumped!!!
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Last edited by MurcoRS; 10-26-2007 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 10-28-2007, 03:20 AM   #23
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

Brand new right Flex line, brand new right caliper still pulls to the left when stopping. Stops a lot quicker now, though.
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Old 02-05-2008, 07:12 PM   #24
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

Control arm bushings can cause the car to pull on braking. When you hit the brakes, it applies a force on the control arms, and if the bushings are shot, the suspension will flex and cause the car to pull.
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Old 09-24-2008, 03:38 PM   #25
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

brakes...schmakes....i was always told "the person that brakes the least wins the race", so that's what i'll go by.
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:39 PM   #26
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

My car is weird, it was wrecked in the left therefore it pulls to the right. But even with my foot off the gas and just rolling it will go to the right. I have to hold my steering wheel slightely turned to the left to have it go straight.

Dangerous when I'm only 17.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:06 PM   #27
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

right on!
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:57 AM   #28
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

Thanks for this tip. My car recently started doing this and I took the opportunity to upgrade to Earls braided line. Works great! Ordered new calipers while I was at it and painted them red.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:15 AM   #29
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Re: "My car pulls to the side when I hit the brakes...Why??"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Z2EIGHT View Post
My car is weird, it was wrecked in the left therefore it pulls to the right. But even with my foot off the gas and just rolling it will go to the right. I have to hold my steering wheel slightely turned to the left to have it go straight.

Dangerous when I'm only 17.
Did you get an alignment done after the wreck? A misaligned front end will require you to keep the wheel at odd locations to go straight. I know, mine needs one too.
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