What else is left to replace?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

Nothing personal, but you are my last resort. I have a 1965 Ford Falcon and when I hit the brakes, eight out of ten times, it pulls severely to the right. Often, it will pull to the right first, and then to the left. Once in a while, it will just go to the left. There is no indication of a problem until I apply the brakes. I have recently replaced the following items (not all because of this problem): the whole front end except the coil springs, steering gear box, complete front brake hardware kit, front drums and shoes, both front wheel cylinders and wheel bearings; and within the last year and a half, the rear wheel cylinders, rear drums and shoes, the master cylinder and a front end alignment. I've had the brakes adjusted several times, and they seem to be OK...for a few days, and then they would slowly start pulling again. Although it can be exciting not knowing which direction I'll be going once I hit the brakes, I would like to resolve this mystery. Any ideas?

RAY: Well, you didn't leave us a lot of wiggle room, Randall. You replaced everything except the rear tail light assembly and the fuzzy dice.

TOM: I think the problem is with the one brake component you didn't replace. I think you have a restricted flexible brake line. That's the rubber hose that connects the metal part of the brake line to each of the front wheel cylinders. Over time, these rubber hoses can collapse internally, and restrict the flow of brake fluid.

RAY: When you step on the pedal, braking pressure is supposed to be applied equally to both front wheels. If the hose on the left side were restricted, more braking pressure would go to the right wheel, and would cause the car to pull to the right. And that's what I think is happening in your case.

TOM: If that's not it, Randall, I'm not sure what else we can suggest. I suppose you could always resort to "dropping anchor." That's when you tie a cement block to a rope, toss it out the window, and let it drag you to a stop. But do be careful. Make sure you scan for pedestrians and nearby convertibles before you "let fly."

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One