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Master Cylinder?

I have a 1984 Ford F150, has about 110,000 miles on it, been a outstanding vehicle. Recently, after I drive if for about 15 minutes, the vehicle feels like it’s dragging something, like the brakes are slowing and steadily engaging without depressing them. And, along with this, a chemical odor is present. What does anyone think this is? And if it is the master cylinder, does it make sense to repair considering the age of the vehilce and worth?

Regardless of age and value, yes, you should always fix your brakes.

It might not even be the brakes, so I can’t say whether repairing the truck is worth the expense. We don’t even know what the expense would be.

Why are you guessing about this? Take the truck to a mechanic and have the brakes checked. This is not a cost issue, it’s a safety issue. Fix it.

There should never be any “should I fix it” when it comes to brakes. Improperly operating brakes can kill you, your loved ones, and other innocent victims. The brakes should either be fixed properly or the vehicle taken off the road.

Even though the truck only has 110,000 miles, it has elastomers that deteriorate due to time. Some of those are seals in the brake calipers and/or cylinders (drum brakes) and some are linings in the flex lines that connect the main hard lines to the wheels. What I think is happening is that you have one or more calipers/cylinders sticking. They’re dragging on the disc/drum, generating heat, and the heat is causing the brake fluid to expand (perhaps boil) and clamp the pads even tighter, exascerbating the problem.

I think one of those seals is seeping under pressure as well.

I included the terms for both disc brake and drum brakes because I think you have drumes in back. Even if I’m incorrect, the principle is the same and all four corners of the vehicle need to be looked at thoroughly. You’ll probably need a complete brake job, a new cylinder or two…or three…or four, perhaps a new flex line or two, and a system flush.

Right. The question was not should I fix the brakes, but if I should just get rid of it, like donate it or scrap it, due to the age of the vehicle. I’ve had it for 11 years, and bought it for 2K…I have no idea of what the cost would be for a complete brake job. The most I’ve ever had to do with it is replace the water pump and tailpipe assembly. Such a brake job sounds expensive and outside of my limitted ability.

There’s really only one way to find out if it’ll be worth fixing, that’s to have a mechanic look at it. Is the rest of the truck in good shape? rust? engine burning oil? transmission working fine?

I think too many people rely on the “blue book” to determine what a vehicle is worth. The question is, what is it worth to you? What kind of shape is the truck in, how reliable is it? How much longer do you think it will last? Do you need a truck this size?

If you bought a new truck, or a newer used truck, what would you be paying per month? Lets say you might pay $100/month for a good used truck. Lets say a brake overhaul with new calipers and wheel cylinders, rotors, drums, pads and shoes will run $800. Do you think the truck will last 8 more months without other major repairs? If so, that the break even point, anything after that is gravy.

Yep…been a great working truck. Bought it for a remodel house project and decided to keep it after I sold the house. My daughters love it, and the body is straight. Very light rust, etc. I hate to get rid of it, but don’t want to shell out a thousand bucks…

Good thing is that parts should be pretty cheap. If you have a cooperative mechanic, he could diagnose, you could find the parts cheap (rockauto, etc), he could fix at his convenience.

A brake job, if you need it, shouldn’t cost a thousand bucks. A full brake job on all four wheels should be between $200 and $400, but all we know is that it’s dragging. It could be something other than the brakes.

Even if it does end up costing $1000, where else are you going to find a good pickup with low mileage, liitle rust, a known history, and a straight body that your daughters love for $1000? It sounds worth fixing to me.

got it…thanks all.