Brakes not right - Team Camaro Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions, Steering & Handling

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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, please be gentle with me as this isn't the ideal situation for me and my car. My first and most pressing issue I'm having is with the brakes, along with a host of other issues but I'm starting with this one so I can move the damn thing back into storage for winter.

*Edit: It's a 69 RS 302 Camaro, drum brakes all around I believe. No, I don't know how long it's been since anything had been done with the brake system, atleast 5 years. But it's barely been driven in that time. My dad was never big on letting me help with anything cause well, dad's know what they're doing I guess.*

I guess alittle back story would help, or not. Not sure. Here's the short version. And they may not be related, but anyway.

Dad built car over the course of 10 years, finally got Mom to put it in my name about 5 years ago, right before my dad had a stroke (thank God, she probably would have sold it). After the stroke dad couldn't explain to me how to work on it, so I put it into storage.

Fast forward 5 years later, dad passed two years ago, my husband away in January leaving me a single mom with 3 kids under 8, and I go to get the car out of storage, to try to have something to find alttle happiness in all the crap I'm going through.
Find out the brake lights aren't working, then there's a battery problem. I'm assuming the brake lights were shorted causing the battery problem, as I had to replace the brake switch but that hasn't fixed the battery problem. I came to find out that my dad in all his wisdom, used putty to build up a bump on the brake pedal to compress the brake switch all the way in, that had worn away, presumably causing the switch short and battery problem. I can't move the switch out any further, so I've been creative trying to find a solution for the brake switch compression problem.

Now when I step on the brake though, the brake pedal goes all the way to the floor and the brake light comes on in the dash, and it's not fun to stop. I've checked the fluid and it isn't low, nor does there appear to be any leakage.
Obviously once I realized there was a problem I stopped driving it. However, I'm a novice when it comes to this stuff but paying someone is just not going to happen. Any suggestions on diagnosing the problem would be helpful, so I can figure out a solution from there to atleast get it back into storage for winter.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 10:05 AM
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Re: Brakes not right

Brake lights were on because brake pedal is not being pulled back by spring to turn off switch/lights.
The switch above pedal is adjustable, should have about an inch of travel. Plunger in - lights off.
The opposing flap on pedal may need some tweaking also.
First thing is externally charge battery using slow process, meaning use the 2-AMP setting and let sit until charging done.
If pedal goes to floor, and can be pumped up for a firm pedal, then master cylinder may need replacing. Get one and bench bleed. Only after loosening existing brake lines on present cylinder.
The preceding step is only good if no leaks at any of the four wheels and rubber lines are not leaking.
Good luck, Girl.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 10:44 AM
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Re: Brakes not right

If this is a power brake setup you won't have a pedal return spring. With the pedal going to
the floor you may have a wheel cylinder(s) leaking. Only way to verify is pull the wheels and
drums. If the cylinders are good then the master cylinder is most likely shot. There's an outside
chance the brake shoes are worn or need adjusting causing this but it's not real likely. Sitting
for 5 yrs is not good for hydraulics (brakes). It's not real difficult to change the master cylinder.
As Everett said bench bleed it prior to installing on the car. There are many youtube videos on it.
Sounds as though you have the brake switch issue under control but here's a link to the correct
part and setup. Good luck and keep asking questions as needed. Nice looking car btw.
https://www.camarocentral.com/1967_1..._p/ppd-822.htm

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 11:50 AM
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Re: Brakes not right

OP

Very good advice given. If one, or more, of your wheel cylinders is leaking you should see a "trail" of fluid either running down the brake backing plate and/or from the wheel cylinder itself if you remove wheel and drum. You "may" have to loosen brake shoes using a brake tool or screw driver on the self adjusting star through the slotted hole in brake drum to allow the drum to come off.

Wheel cylinders are typically available at most chain auto part store for about $10. If the rubber brake lines are old & cracking its a good time to replace those also. Then do a full brake bleed and adjustment once wheel cylinder(s) are replaced.

If it turns out to be your MC, likely, most auto part stores have them. Confirm the correct one for power or manual brakes. The MC will have instructions on install and bench bleeding. Absolutely bench bleed before install. As noted there should be several online videos to show how.

Brake fluid is very corrosive so cover under/around MC when removing/installing to prevent any brake fluid from getting on painted surfaces.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 12:03 PM
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Re: Brakes not right

Note. 302 engine only came in Z28s and all Z28s had front disc brakes.

If pumping the pedal pumps up the brakes it indicates air in the lines and the brakes need bleeding.

Aside from that I could be leaking, bad wheel or master cylinders.

The brake light is a separate issue and you can simply unplug the wires to the switch until you get the other issues sorted out.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 07:10 PM
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Re: Brakes not right

The op has no location given but she may be close to another TC member willing to help. As far as the car having a 302 and drums my thoughts are does it have a 302 or just 302 emblems. My neighbor had a "Z/28", at least that's what the emblems said. Good luck getting it sorted out.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 08:10 PM
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Re: Brakes not right

Is the brakes something a novice should be working on. You want the brakes right the first time. If you are just looking to get your car in storage for the winter, spend your money for a tow truck and not a lot of parts that may not be needed or not work. In the spring you’ll have more time to work on it and enjoy it after it’s repaired.

PS: The car looks great, welcome to the site and you have my sympathy on the loss of your dad.

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Last edited by rogerh; Oct 8th, 19 at 08:25 PM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 08:28 PM
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Re: Brakes not right

Courtney, It is likely a bunch of non standard work was done on the brakes (given the blob story). 4 wheel drum brakes do not work properly unless everything is well sorted. After 5 years of no exercise will cause rubber parts to seize and leak. Bucks Co. is not too far from me and there are plenty of Camaro owners nearby.

You need to have the brake system fully inspected, Master cyl, brake hard and rubber lines, wheel cyls, e-brake, brake shoes and drums. So wheels have to come off and someone will have to inspect underneath. It will be you and your families safety, so brakes must be done correctly.

Do you deal with any mechanics for your daily drivers? The brake light on the dash will come on for two reasons, 1) E-brake is pressed, or 2) brake failure block under Master cyl has been tripped by a ruptured brake line. It could also be faulty wiring too.

I have 4 wheel drums on my Camaro, I replaced everything to get it up to snuff.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 19, 07:03 AM
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Re: Brakes not right

Kevin is giving some good advice. Take the offer of getting some help.

Is it possible the engine is a 307?

Something you may be able to do is to check the brake fluid to see if it's very low or possibly empty. Remove the master cylinder top cover by moving the U shaped spring latch or latches on the top with a flat screw driver. If empty you will need help. If low, get brake fluid and add some until it's almost full.

If the car is going to sit all winter, wait until spring to buy a new battery. You didn't say what kind of storage will be used.

Seriously think about asking here for help. I'd help but you are probably an hour and half away. Hopefully some one closer is able to.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 19, 08:29 AM
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Why is the engine size such a concern? Her problem is brakes. She has several threads here. All of the threads are relatively simple fixes. Doesn't matter if she has drums or disk. Brake light switch could just need adjusting, or maybe the bracket needs tweaking. Just use a good oil. I recommend 10-W40. If it's a older engine the 40 will help with warm oil pressure. Filter...wix, napa gold, or carquest heavy duty. The carquest filter is made by Baldwin another good filter. As mentioned all 4 wheels need to be Removed and the brakes checked and adjusted. My thoughts are it is the master cylinder. Some help would be recommended, but all are still relatively simple task .
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 19, 07:42 PM
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Re: Brakes not right

302 not a concern with brakes but may be useful info down the road.

If I am wanting to get it the garage for the winter I’d drive carefully and use the e-brake to stop.

Next when time and budget allow I’d go through the entire brake system.

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Last edited by Vega$69; Oct 9th, 19 at 07:57 PM.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 19, 08:13 PM
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Re: Brakes not right

Mythodica, If you will give us your location, at least northern, southern, central, etc in the state you live, I am sure someone would be willing to look the car over and help you out.

I am 70+ years old, retired, and live in central Illinois. If you are within 2 hours of us, I would be happy to bring my wife and see what we can do. I have driven and repaired Gen 1 Camaros since 1972. Just don't ask me to work on the computer controlled newer stuff.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 19, 08:19 PM
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Re: Brakes not right

Vegas here would also be willing to take a look
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 19, 08:54 PM
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Re: Brakes not right

Per her (Courtney) member introduction thread she's in Bucks County, pa.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 19, 05:20 PM
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Re: Brakes not right

I have had the light come on for brakes and it was the master cylinder went bad. The brake rod goes over center turning on the light. This was due to a leak on the wheel cylinder. I live in Windsor, PA and am about a 2 hour drive from Bucks County. I do get down that way for work every once in awhile. The master cylinder may also be leaking into the vacuum canister and not show a visible leak outside. I would not drive the car until the brakes are repaired. Have it towed into storage or repaired before driving unless you are a very experienced driver and could or have dealt with a car with no brakes. I would hate to see that camaro with big dents all over it. If you could send some pics I may be able to help and/or tell you what you have so you can get new parts for the car. Send me a message if you are interested and good luck with the car in the future.

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