1996 Ford Taurus Brake Problems

scm97scm97 Member Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in Ford
I can't seem to get the brakes on this car to last more than 6-8 months without the disk warping and the pedal and steering wheel vibrating.
any ideas- one mach though that it was from over torqued lugs, but it came back.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Do they install really good quality replacement parts?

    Your enemy here, if not cheap parts, is heat build up, so you may have to search around for a better-engineered disk, maybe a drilled disk (they are noisy, though).

    If you install an OEM rotor and still have this problem, then you need to upgrade.

    The only other guesses I can make is that there's a caliper dragging somewhere, or you have bad driving habits and ride the brake with your left foot? Nothing personal, I assure you, I'm just trying to think of all the possibilities.
  • ezaircon4jcezaircon4jc Member Posts: 793
    I have had 4 Sables, and they all love to dine on the front rotors. This car, like most FWD platforms, love to eat front rotors. There is just too much weight up front. Add the weight transfer during hard braking and the front rotors get eaten. I found that with gentle braking (plan ahead) and quality replacement parts, the rotors will last as long as possible. I use NAPA brake parts. My last set of pads were the then new carbon-metallic. They have been on for a year and about 15k miles. No warping, yet :).
  • kpruzinskykpruzinsky Member Posts: 2
    I suggest considerind replacing the calipers. Ford uses phenolic pistons in their calipers. The normal travel of the piston is only the amount that the pads wear, so the pistons tend to sit in the same spot all the time. When the shiny surface of the phenolic piston gets scuffed, the calipers won't release the hydraulic pressure completely and you start warping rotors frequently. Check with your local part stores, I replaced my 92 Taurus and my 92 Grand Marquis calipers with rebuilts that had steel pistons. I haven't had any more problems since doing this.
  • kevinp2kevinp2 Member Posts: 1
    My wife recently had our '96 Taurus in for an oil change and asked about a noise problem that we have during damp conditions. She was told that the brakes were fine and that the noise was caused by the type of metal used in the brakes. The noise only occurs when you do not have a foot on the brakes. Once they are used and warm up, this goes away. This car only has 48,000 miles and is going in for some prev. maint. soon. Any ideas why this happens?
  • ajsoluryajsolury Member Posts: 3
    I have been having recurring problems with the rear brakes on my 90 Taurus with ABS and 3.8 liter engine. About 2 years ago the left rear brake began to bind up - it got so bad that the car would shake violently and the wheel would be smoking. I put on a new caliper and brake hose did not solve the problem - took it to a repair shop and they replaced a proportioning valve in the rear - that seemed to solve the problem for about a year. Then the left rear began to bind again; took it to the shop - they replaced the left rear caliper; the problem then moved to the right rear and they replaced that caliper; the problem than went back to the left rear - they replaced the hose on the RIGHT rear - that seemed to solve the problem for about a year. It is now happening on the left rear again; they replaced the left rear caliper & hose again - problem not solved - disconnected the parking brake cable - problem not solved. HELP!
  • brorjacebrorjace Member Posts: 588
    More and more cars these days (not just Ford) are using thinner, lighter rotors that are prone to warping. It's a great place to save weight ... and lower weight at the wheel improves handling with no repurcussions ... except component durability. It is advised that you use a torque wrench when re-installing your wheels.

    Rotor warping can be from lots of stop and go driving with an automatic transmission. Heat builds up and you are stopped at a light with your foot firmly pressed against the brake pedal. This can cause pressure on one spot of a hot rotor and ... voila ... a warped disc.

    And once a disc is warped, I strongly suggest you replace it rather than turn/cut it on a lathe. making the rotor thinner will only increase the likelyhood of it warping again in the future.

    I like what ezaircon4jc said, go lightly on the brakes and try some quality replacement parts if you aren't happy with the price and performance of OEM. The front brakes on my '95 Honda Civic lasted me 100,000 miles before needing replacement. Same thing with '90 Acura Integra. I like Raybestos and Spectra One Premium (made by Ferodo).

    kpruzinsky, brilliant deduction! My Dad's Mercury Grand Marquis would go through rear pads like crazy and this was helped by going with rebuilt NAPA calipers. Now I have an idea why!!

    kevinp2, you were given good advice. The longer a car with disc brakes sits, the more a light coating of rust builds up on them. This is especially true in high humidity/moisture conditions. It is not uncommon for the car to squeak a great deal for the first few miles until the pad wears off that fine layer of corrosion.

    ajsolury, perhaps the ABS's brain is malfunctioning and braking improperly? It sounds like that's the only thing you haven't yet replaced. Without sounding like a jerk, perhaps it's time for a new car? 10 year old ABS systems are gonna hard to be fixed economically.

    --- Bror Jace
  • ajsoluryajsolury Member Posts: 3
    Probably should have gotton rid of the Taurus the day after I bought it - but you always think that the next repair will be the last. It's now my daughter's car and she can't afford a new one right now. I put a new rotor on; will try that for a while - the left brake is still getting hotter than the right but ts hasn't been too bad yet - will know next week when I drive it 40+ miles in rush hour traffic.
  • ajsoluryajsolury Member Posts: 3
    The new rotor did not solve the problem. I called in to a local automotive radio show and was told that the dragging rear brake problem is caused by a malfunctioning power booster; neither my local repair shop not the NAPA dealer I mentioned this to, believe that that is the problem. They believe that more than one brake would be binding if that was it. They also don't feel it would be the master cylinder - if it was, 2 brakes would be binding since they said they are controlled in pairs. Any one think that is could be the booster or master cylinder?
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    I seriously doubt it would be the brake booster. When they go bad, your brakes become hard as a rock to push, as if you had manual brakes. They only supply power assist, not affect how the brakes are engaged. However, the master cylinder could be your problem although they usually bind up 2 brakes at a time, not just one. It's worth a shot as most master cylinders are not more than $150, with some being as little as $60. I had an 87 VW Fox whose brake pedal would progressively get firmer and firmer as they got hot until the front brakes locked up and smoked real bad. But once the brakes cooled down, they would work normally again. We were baffled as to why it was so off and on. A shop claimed it was the front brake hoses collapsing, so replaced them but the problem was still there. Then they said it was the calipers binding, so they replaced both calipers and rotors. Once they did that, they couldn't get the master cylinder to bleed the air out due to an internal leak. So, it was the master cylinder causing the problem all along. It was not releasing the pressure to the front brakes completely when you took your foot off the pedal. The front brakes are not on the same line however. One front brake is hooked to the opposite rear brake. The fact that only the front brakes were binding tells me it is possible that your master cylinder is only locking up your one rear brake because the rear proportioning valve is helping to compensate somewhat and allowing one side to work properly. So, I say replace the master cylinder and see what happens. My weird experience with my car tells me that could very well fix your weird problem. If it doesn't than something must be wrong with your anti-lock brake system. Hope this helps and good luck!
  • bavljcanbavljcan Member Posts: 1
    I have had continued problems with the rear disc brakes. I have replace the left caliper, rotor and pads once and have done the same twice on the left. Currently the left is locking up again periodically and I can't think of what to do next. The car has very high mileage (>150K) and I really do not want to spend more than the car is worth in brake parts. However, this is the only major problem I have had and I otherwise enjoy the vehicle.
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