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I have a 2001 Taurus SEL with an automatic transmission, ABS and approximately 75,000 miles. The master cylinder was replaced within the last 5,000 miles. Following replacement of the master cylinder, an unusual problem has occurred on an intermittent basis. After the car has been driven for a few miles, the brake pedal will become very stiff and firm (e.g. rather grabbing about a third of the way down, the brakes will grab with very light pressure on the pedal). In addition, if the car is being driven at highway speeds (60-65 mph), the steering wheel will vibrate. Lastly, the car will feel as if it is being driven in the wrong gear (loss of torque). This condition will last for several miles and then disappear for no apparent reason. Otherwise, the car runs fine. I know the symptoms sound unusual but this has been happening for several weeks with no apparent cure.
 

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when were the pads changed last?
 

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If you have rear drum brakes they might need to be adjusted tighter.

Following replacement of the master cylinder, an unusual problem has occurred on an intermittent basis
Did this start immediately after the master cylinder was replaced?
If so, it may be the "New" master cylinder is bad or it wasn't bench bled properly before installation or......

It could be a booster problem??
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the brake pedal will become very stiff and firm (e.g. rather grabbing about a third of the way down, the brakes will grab with very light pressure on the pedal).
This is confusing. Are you are experiencing a hard pedal that requires a lot of pressure to stop the car or is it a light pedal that is grabbing?
 

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If you have rear drum brakes they might need to be adjusted tighter.

Did this start immediately after the master cylinder was replaced?
If so, it may be the "New" master cylinder is bad or it wasn't bench bled properly before installation or......

It could be a booster problem??
v
v
This is confusing. Are you are experiencing a hard pedal that requires a lot of pressure to stop the car or is it a light pedal that is grabbing?
almost sounds like a sticking caliper, which is where i think ashley was gonna go with hers. drum adjusting is easy. make a bunch of stops in reverse. the master cylinder not being bled properly is another good suggestion, but i think we should inspect one at a time...
 

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Ditto on the sticking caliper piston. Check for uneven wear of the brake disk pads. Also check the pressure relief holes in the master cylinder. When the brake pedal is pressed and released the brake fluid should swirl up from the pressure relief holes in the master cylinder. If there was air in the system, that is the system had not been bled properly, you would have a soft spongy pedal not a hard pedal. Also note that the rear drum brake self adjusters are commonly frozen, especially in the "rust belt" states. Backing up and applying the brakes may or may not "self adjust" the rear brakes.
 

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Did the new master cylinder come with an actuating rod? If so, it may be slightly longer than the one on the original master cylinder and causing the front brakes to lightly apply. Although, I would think you would see some evidence of heat on the front pads.
 
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