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Brake Master Cylinder Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Brake Master Cylinder Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$230

Talent:

****

Tools:

13mm flare nut wrench, 13mm deep socket with extension

Applicable Models:

Volvo C30 T5 (2008-13)
Volvo C30 T5 R-Design (2008-13)

Parts Required:

Master cylinder, brake fluid

Hot Tip:

Make sure the braking system is fully bled of air

Performance Gain:

Better braking

Complementary Modification:

Flush entire system of brake fluid

Without a doubt, your brakes are one of the most important systems on the car. The heart of the brake system is the master cylinder, which controls the hydraulic pressure of the entire system. Unfortunately, over many years, the master cylinder has a tendency to wear out and leak. The leakage can occur internally or externally, resulting in a weakened braking system. If you have any problems with your brakes, and you think that it's related to the master cylinder, you should probably replace it.

Replacing the master cylinder on the C30 is not very difficult and should take no more than three hours. The first step is to remove the battery and battery box for access. See our articles on Battery Replacement and Battery Box Removal for more information.

You'll also want to try to get as much brake fluid as you can out of the fluid reservoir on top of the master cylinder. Open the cap on the reservoir and remove the strainer. Using a fluid pump or turkey baster, get as much of the old fluid out as you can. This helps prevent excessive spilling of brake fluid inside the engine compartment. It's also helpful to stuff a bunch of old rags or paper towels under the master cylinder to absorb any spills.

Once the new master cylinder is installed, fill the master cylinder with new brake fluid and pump the pedal a few times to build up pressure. Do not pump the pedal without fluid in it. You could score and damage the inside of the cylinder bore, rendering it inoperable. The last step is to bleed the braking system of air. You'll have to bleed all of the brake lines at each wheel to get all of the air out of the system. See our article on Bleeding Brakes for more information.

Shown here is the brake master cylinder on the Volvo C30.
Figure 1

Shown here is the brake master cylinder on the Volvo C30. Replacement is relatively easy once the battery box is removed. See our article on Battery Box Removal for more information. Note that the access panel (green arrow) must be removed to gain access to the hydraulic connections. You'll also need to use a small pump or a turkey baster to suck the brake fluid out of the reservoir.

Loosen and remove the plastic nut (green arrow) holding the access panel (yellow arrow) to the firewall.
Figure 2

Loosen and remove the plastic nut (green arrow) holding the access panel (yellow arrow) to the firewall. Carefully maneuver the access panel out of the way.

Shown here are the hydraulic connections.
Figure 3

Shown here are the hydraulic connections. The brake lines for the front and rear circuits are held to the master cylinder by two 13mm fittings (green arrows). You'll want to use a flare nut wrench to avoid twisting the brake lines. If your car has a manual transmission, press the tab on the connector (yellow connector) and pull it off. Be prepared for brake fluid to spill out.

You'll also need to disconnect the brake fluid level sensor on the upper rear of the reservoir.
Figure 4

You'll also need to disconnect the brake fluid level sensor on the upper rear of the reservoir. Press the tab (green arrow) and pull it off.

Now loosen and remove the two 13mm nuts (green arrows) holding the master cylinder to the brake booster.
Figure 5

Now loosen and remove the two 13mm nuts (green arrows) holding the master cylinder to the brake booster. You should now be able to carefully remove the master cylinder. Take care not to bend or damage the brake lines.

Shown here is the brake booster with the master cylinder removed.
Figure 6

Shown here is the brake booster with the master cylinder removed. Take note of the pushrod at the center (green arrow). You'll want to make sure that this is centered in the new master cylinder when installing it.

Now loosen and remove the T25 Torx bolt (green arrow) holding the fluid reservoir to the master cylinder.
Figure 7

Now loosen and remove the T25 Torx bolt (green arrow) holding the fluid reservoir to the master cylinder. Pull the reservoir up and off and transfer it to the new master cylinder. Installing the new master cylinder is the reverse order of removal, although take care when fitting the brake lines. It can be a little tricky to get them started. If you feel any resistance when threading the brake line fittings into the master cylinder openings, STOP and re-check that the fitting is straight. It is very easy to strip out the threads in the master cylinder.

You'll need to bleed the braking system of air once the master cylinder is replaced.
Figure 8

You'll need to bleed the braking system of air once the master cylinder is replaced. A pressure bleeder as shown here makes easy work of the procedure. See our article on Bleeding Brakes for more information.

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