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01 Celica GT
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67 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My brake light came on just a bit ago on my lunch break (94 LE, 5SFE). The fluid is now really low (the distance between Min and Max- about that far below Min)

I changed my oil on Saturday (for the first time on my own, finally :p) and the brake fluid level looked fine. That afternoon, I drove to a farm on Maryland's Eastern shore to watch a rocket launch and got stuck in what was practically a creek when leaving, and had to be pushed out. There was all kinds of mud up in the front wheel wells, and on the bottom of the lowest bits of the car, but no apparent damage anywhere.

I had no trouble on the way home (~80 miles one way), and didn't notice a low fluid level on Sunday morning when I hit the greasy bits in the engine bay with Engine Brite (using the DIY as a guide of what to hit and what to cover and keep dry). The brakes were fine last night and this morning, and they were okay the mile or so from when the light came on to the parking lot.

1) Is there someplace I could've sprayed with engine cleaner that may have damaged a brake hose of something?
2) Where would I start looking under the car for road debris caused failures?
3) I noticed some left/right wiggle/play in the e-brake handle after the light came on (with the e-brake released)- is that caused by low fluid, or a separate issue that I may not have noticed till now, when I'm hyper aware of everything the car does?
 

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Ninja wrench anywhere
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1,523 Posts
Brake lines are pretty tough (they gotta be, to be able to handle brake fluid) -- I doubt engine brite is going to damage them.

The parking / emergency brake isn't hydraulic -- it's a cable direct to the rear brakes, so the looseness you feel in the handle is extremely unlikely to be related to the low brake fluid issue.

I'd start with looking at the flexible parts of the brake lines (right near the brake mechs on the front and rear wheels). Also look around the brake fluid reservoir for leakage...perhaps you bumped it hard while playing with the engine cleaner. Otherwise, jack the car up a little and follow the lines from the engine compartment under the car -- those lines are pretty well protected, but you never know.
 
G

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Turn the wheels to either side and check the rubber flex lines that go to each of the front calipers. They can dry rot over time and getting all that mud and stuff up there may have been enough to split one. If the car bottomed out when you got stuck, check the hard lines that run to the rear wheels. You can also pump the brakes a few times and then look under the car for leaks. Be sure to top off the reservoir until you find and fix the problem.;)
 

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1991 celica gt
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419 Posts
get some brake fluid fill up it up and creep around while a buddy pumps the brakes
its a 94 brake lines rust/rot if you do find the leak in a hard line you can use a compression fitting to fix it
 

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could just be that your pads are low, causing the fluid to go low. if its leaking that slow, i doubt its a rotted line. i would suspect a leaking master cylinder or a leaking wheel cylinder/caliper as the culprit.
 

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イリジウム
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13,843 Posts
When you got stuck in the creek there probably was some damage to the hydraulic system. So you need to wash off the mud and trace all brake lines to see where the leak is.

I doubt the parking brake has anything to do with this. The pivot point is completely inside the car.

got stuck in what was practically a creek when leaving, and had to be pushed out. There was all kinds of mud up in the front wheel wells, and on the bottom of the lowest bits of the car, but no apparent damage anywhere.

1) Is there someplace I could've sprayed with engine cleaner that may have damaged a brake hose of something?
2) Where would I start looking under the car for road debris caused failures?
3) I noticed some left/right wiggle/play in the e-brake handle after the light came on (with the e-brake released)- is that caused by low fluid, or a separate issue that I may not have noticed till now, when I'm hyper aware of everything the car does?
 

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01 Celica GT
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67 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Awesome- lots to work with :)

I topped it off last night before heading home and the fluid level has stayed up. The light is still on even though the fluid is good, so perhaps it is just the parking brake sensor and I did a bad job reading my fluid level on the weekend.

ADD: Yeah- looking at the pics I just posted in the intake thread, my fluid had been low since at least the previous weekend. Duh. :headbang:
 
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