How to Change the Master Cylinder on a 1988 Ford Ranger

The 1988 model Ford Ranger pick up truck has disc brakes on the front wheels and drum brakes on the rear wheels. The emergency brake pedal is connected to the rear brake system by a cable. The master cylinder uses brake fluid to create fluid pressure in the front and rear brakes; this component needs to be repaired when the brake pedal starts going to the floor or loss of fluid is found around the seal of the master cylinder.

Tools Used: Wheel chocks, Standard and metric wrench sets, Extra brake fluid, Shop rags, Safety glasses

Change Master Cylinder

Park the truck on a flat level surface and chock the front or rear wheels. Raise the hood. The master cylinder is located on the right corner of the firewall.

Remove the brake lines from the master cylinder. Remove the nuts from the master cylinder, and slide the master cylinder off the brake booster.

Place the new master cylinder on a table or work surface and remove the filler cap. Fill it with brake fluid and screw in the bleeder caps. To bleed the cylinder, press the piston in ¼ of the way, until you see fluid come out of the bleeder.

Install the master cylinder on the brake booster and secure it in place with the nuts from the old cylinder. Reinstall both brake lines, being careful not to cross-thread the lines.

Have the second person push the brake pedal to the floor and hold it. Place the wrench on the lines coming from the master cylinder and quickly crack the lines. Cracking a line means to close the line back as fast as you loosen it. Do this for both lines.

Have the helper turn the right front wheel all the way to the right. Place a 5/8-inch wrench onto the bleeder valve. The bleeder valve looks like a screw cap, mounted on top of the front caliper. Have your helper pump the brake pedal and hold it. Crack the bleeder and close it. Continue doing this until you have a steady stream of fluid coming out of the bleeder.

Repeat the above steps for all four wheels, checking the fluid level in the master cylinder after bleeding each wheel.

Tips & Warnings

Always wear safety glasses when you are working under the hood or the under carriage of a vehicle.

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