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I was scheduled to take my car in for a suspension upgrade and minor service yesterday at a shop about 6 miles away from my house. I was going through a *busy* intersection 5 miles into the journey when the car suddenly snap spun to the left at about 25mph. By the time I collected the car and got pointed in the right direction again, I had travelled all the way through the intersection and come around about 540 degrees. Fortunately (miraculously?) I didn't hit anything or anybody. In a hurry to get out of the intersection, I tried moving out of the way only to find that the car wouldn't move. It was as if the handbrake was on except the brake pedal was depressed all the way. I put my foot under the pedal and lifted, which immediately freed the car up and enabled me to drive off.

While puttering away, I tested the brakes only to find that the pedal went to the floor with absolutely no brake being applied. I could eventually pump the pedal up and get the passenger front brake to work, but it was either on of off and only worked once before having to pump the pedal again. Anyway, I managed to limp the car the remainder of the way to the shop using the transmission and handbrake. They are going to get it on the lift today to look at it.

Has anybody expericened anything like this before? Any clues as to what it is?

Absolutely shat myself. Not the kind of way I want the car to excite me :)

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I had a similar thing with my 88 Turbo My rear caliper was binding and thus boiling the brake fluid after a while so no brakes, scarred me silly. I'd check the calipers are all ok.

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"I tested the brakes only to find that the pedal went to the floor with absolutely no brake being applied. I could eventually pump the pedal up and get the passenger front brake to work"

When you apply the brake, the plunger should go back because of the pressure on the brake system (Master cylinder-Slave cylinder). You could have a bad master cylinder or air in the system.

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Holy sh1t Russ, that can't have been much fun. Glad nothing more serious happened and fingers crossed for an easy repair :X

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I've heard of another 2001 doing the same thing here in SoCal

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That was my first thought, but why would that cause them to suddenly seize? I hope to hear back from the shop today, so we'll put the question to bed then.

Edited by talon
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That was my first thought, but why would that cause them to suddenly seize? I hope to hear back from the shop today, so we'll put the question to bed then.

You will be surprised the Lotus tech will find nothing. But later, it will happen again. Its master cylinder!

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My guess is that one of the solenoids within the Kelsey Hayes system has either stuck or shorted closed...maintaining brake pressure within the system.

When was the last time the brake fluid was flushed completely?

Likely a hook up to a diagnostic reader will likely show some type of code related to the solenoids.

Either that or the vacuum pump for the system is dead (why the car needed to be pumped in order to get braking action)...but that wouldn't explain why the car suddenly had the brake pressure constant on the wheels.

Edited by Paul93Lotus
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  • 2 months later...

We never truly found out for sure, but suspect that the drivers front caliber stuck, boiling the brake fluid and causing the rest of the system to malfunction. The only thing we can't explain is why all 4 brakes locked. By the time the mechanic looked at the car in detail, the brakes were operating, although not as well as before. All four rotors showed signs of extreme overheat, so I had them skimmed, new pads put in and the fluid changed. Since then I've done more than 1500 miles with no issues at all.

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