Rear Brake Line Leak


RangerJoey

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Hi Guys,

I have a "not yet mine" 1999 Ford Ranger XLT 4.0 with 4WD. Right now, before we even settle on price, etc, the truck can't be driven. It actually had to be towed to my house. There's a terrible leak on the rear driver's side. I thought it was just a bust in the line, but after looking at it, the leak seems to be where the line enters the rear axle - if that makes any sense.

Does anyone know where to even begin on this or if there's a "common fault" area I should focus my attention on? I was really hoping to just flange the lines and call it a day, but the leak is right at that union.

This isn't the Ranger, but it's almost exactly like this:


Any help is very much appreciated!

TIA!
 
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adsm08

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This is not enough information, since the picture given is not the truck in question.

It could be a bad hose at the splitter block, it could be a busted hard line going to a wheel if someone tried flaring their own lines and made a bad flare it could be leaking from that.

Basically, fill the brake fluid and lay under there while someone else slowly pumps the pedal so you can see exactly where the leak is coming from. Then fix it accordingly.
 

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Ranger rear brake line leak is usually in the frame rail, and between frame rail and gas tank where you can't get at it :)

Had two fail like that.

You can get bendable metal brake lines in different lengths with fittings already installed.
They are not inexpensive but get the job done where the truck sits.

There is a Flexible(rubber) brake line, like on each front wheel, that allows the axle to go up and down without breaking metal lines, it can leak as well

There are no brake lines "IN" the axle so no that does not make sense
The splitter can be bolted to the differential, but not part of it
 
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RangerJoey

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Thanks guys - pulling the truck into my garage today and off the street so I can get a better view and some photos. At first glance, it definitely looks like it's at that "T" union but I've read about some failings above the gas tank. I'm praying those lines are dry and the saturated spot isn't just a collection point for a higher/more inaccessible leak :sad:

Will definitely post back - and thanks!
 

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The leak behind the tank isn't bad to fix, I've have to do it a bunch of times. The next fitting is easy to access, and you can just fish the line up past the tank.
 

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Thanks adsm! And I think you may have called it correctly. I don't have a helper to pump and the lighting isn't great, but I just snapped a few photos. The first is that T area on the axle, (reference is just behind the rear tire:



As I'm looking - and this is where the camera doesn't do justice, there seem to be wet spots going further up. Not sure what that piece of metal is that runs parallel to the axle, but there's fresh fluid:



Then following it up further, the top of the frame seems a little wet. Shadows make this hard to see, but there's some sort of leakage up there:



The top half of the photo is what I'm focusing on. Does this sound like the leak you're referring to?
 

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That line at the top going into the rubber flex line in the final pic looks new and also hand bent so good chance someone flared it themselves... I'd start there. probably just a bad previous repair attempt. Most people who try to flare their own lines have no idea how to do it properly.
 
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adsm08

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That line at the top going into the rubber flex line in the final pic looks new and also hand bent so good chance someone flared it themselves... I'd start there. probably just a bad previous repair attempt. Most people who try to flare their own lines have no idea how to do it properly.
I agree with this.

Also, I do know how to flare my own lines, and depending on which tool I am using I sometimes have to do it more than once before I get it right.
 

Denisefwd93

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For the learning to DIY person. consider getting flare nut wrenches they will save you a lot of rounded off fittings.

There are already made up brake line sections pieces of brake at the auto stores, they go from very very short to very long, I think five feet they can handle pretty much anything on our trucks I believe.

Taking pictures and being cautious is a good thing, but when you finally get into it, you want to be ready with the right tools,
I don't like working on brakes as much as I don't like working on automotive air. So I always have a garage check my work lol, my old friend Hank was a Ford dealer mechanic which may or may not be a plus to me lol, my next door neighbor also was a dealership mechanic, as the years go by I've learned to do more and more as I have less and less money.

Mityvac is a very affordable, very handy and very versatile handheld vacuum pump that can help you bleed brake lines by yourself.
 

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Looks like the lines were replaced recently. I’ve had bad flares before and I’ve had where it just plain wasn’t tightened enough at the fitting (definitely get some line wrenches). And I’ve also found where people straight up used the wrong line or fitting. There’s standard and metric in both inverted double flare and bubble flare. Our trucks are 3/16” line and typically exclusively double flare with standard (SAE) fittings.


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Denisefwd93

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It's funny you mention this type of scenario! on my truck the steel lines were replaced to the wheel cylinders the rubber hose was not replaced one was completely clogged the other was restricted. on the rear, someone actually ran a new line from the bad rabs valve to the T on the rear axle lol
Looks like the lines were replaced recently. I’ve had bad flares before and I’ve had where it just plain wasn’t tightened enough at the fitting (definitely get some line wrenches). And I’ve also found where people straight up used the wrong line or fitting. There’s standard and metric in both inverted double flare and bubble flare. Our trucks are 3/16” line and typically exclusively double flare with standard (SAE) fittings.


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I agree with adsm08 that you really should have someone help with pumping the brakes to check for the leak. It can be anyone, your kid, parent, neighbor, friend or someone walking down the street, if you live in a town but this is the best way to find the exact spot for the leak. Once found then you look for issues like a bad flare or the wrong fitting ect..

Depending on how the truck was sitting, on a hill or not, the fluid will travel on its own due to gravity and if driven I have seen it cover about half the under carriage. My point is don't skip the step of pressure testing hte lines to find the leak.

On a side note that piece of metal that runs parallel to the axle, that you said has fresh fluid on it, is part of the bump stop for the rear axle. Directly above it you will see the rubber part of the bump stop.
 

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Thanks so much guys! All this info is super helpful! I've never done any flaring before and watched a few videos that make it seem simple, but my experience with my 06 Explorer suggests things are never that easy, (I have a super love/hate relationship with that truck :annoyed:).

I'm definitely all about the line wrenches. And I'll be getting a helper to pump the pedal tonight. Going to try and record as much as I can to view it on the PC.

Quick question though: This is a '99. And for almost 2 years, it's basically sat on the street. I have another thread sort of outlining my intentions with this baby. Obviously money is a concern, but labor doesn't bother me. That said, I was leaning towards addressing some of the rust on the frame. And sure enough, now seeing how bad it really is, I'm very motivated to do that. Which might lead me to take off the bed. Would flaring this line actually be easier if I could take the bed off this weekend?

Thanks again guys! :icon_thumby:
 

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Like mentioned before, if you've never flared lines before don't even bother. Take the line off and go to a local parts store and buy a piece of pre-flared line of the same length and same size fittings. Then all you have to do is bend it to match the old one which is very easy. A length of pre made brake line is gonna cost you 10 bucks or less. Cheaper than buying a good flaring tool.

As for your question about the bed, definitely will make things easier with it off and you'll be able to spot any other problems as well.
 

Denisefwd93

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You probably have just a loose fitting,
line wrenches and open-end wrenches to backup the opposite side very good thing to have also I think the sizes for the flare fittings are 3/8" and the couplers I think are 7/16"

The fittings on the master cylinder are metric
 


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