I experienced some bake issues with a 1996 Ram 3500 5.9l cummins that I recently acquired so I wanted to get some feedback before I start replacing parts. Here is the story behind the truck:
and some pictures:
Briefly, the truck has only 27,000 miles on it, was kept under cover, and cared for very well with very easy use. It had been serviced last in April (oil change) but not really used since the summer of 2012. I took it out for a drive this week for the first time (about 40 miles total) and ended up doing a little easy off-roading to look at some property. The ground was quite muddy and the terrain a bit steep. As I was easing down hill at one section, the truck began to slide a bit. When this happened, the brake pedal depressed all the way to the floor and I went into a free slide. When I finally got control and got stopped I noticed both the brake light and ABS light were now illuminated. It almost seems like the issue was initiated because the ABS system tried to kick in when I started to slide but I can't be sure that this was the cause or just a coincidence. At any rate, the lights never went off and the brake pedal continued to depress all the way to the floor only activating any stopping power at the very bottom of the pedal travel. I was able to drive it back home this way but it never improved. I inspected the system visually the best I could and did not notice any leaks and the brake fluid level did not drop.
Symptoms: brake light on, ABS light on, brake pedal goes all the way to the floor, brakes only activated at bottom of travel, and the pedal makes a faint but noticeable "air blowing/rubbing" noise when depressed through the no resistance travel region.
Before this, the brakes were very sensitive/responsive (to the point where my driving was jerky at first because I wasn't used to the brakes and it took very little depression to stop the truck).My only plan of action right now is to replace the master cylinder and see if that fixes the problem. Perhaps the master cylinder got a bit of corrosion from not being used for a while leading to the destruction of a seal? Another odd point, when this happened, I went to check the ABS fuses but there wasn't any installed where they were supposed to be. Let me know if you have any ideas about what is going on. Thanks.