There are two types of brake systems on a 1995 Ford Escort: manual and power. The manual master cylinder rod hooks up directly to the brake pedal; the power brake system has a power brake booster that is run from the vacuum line to the intake manifold. The principle of how both systems work is the same. The brake master cylinder is the heart of the braking system. When you push your brake pedal down, the piston pushes brake fluid through the lines to operate your calipers and wheel cylinders. This pushes your brake pads and brake shoes into the rotors and drums to cause the braking action.
Removing the Master Cylinder
Disconnect the negative battery cable using a wrench. If your 1995 Escort has manual brakes, remove the master cylinder rod from the brake pedal using a socket and ratchet and a wrench. On the fire wall driver's side disconnect all brake lines from the master cylinder using a line wrench.2
Remove the manual brake master cylinder mounting nuts from the studs mounted in the fire wall using a socket and ratchet with an extension. This will let you take the master cylinder off.3
Pull the manual brake master cylinder away from the studs in the firewall. Guide the push rod through the hole in the firewall.4
Take off the brake lines from the power brake master cylinder, if your Escort is so equipped,, and remove the two mounting nuts from the studs on the booster. Remove the master cylinder from the power brake booster. This will let you take the master cylinder off the brake booster. The master cylinder is attached to the power brake booster under the hood on the driver's side.
Bleeding the New Master Cylinder
Secure the new master cylinder in a vise. All new master cylinders come with a bleeder kit. Take the plugs out of the line holes, replace them with the bleeder kit, and fill the master cylinder.6
Fill a jar half-full of brake fluid. Put the clear plastic hose down into the brake fluid in the glass and pump with a screw driver, placing it into the piston in the back of the master cylinder. Pump the master cylinder until all the air is out of it. Both manual or power brake master cylinders bleed the same way when they're off the car.7
Replace the bleeder kit with the plastic plugs that came in the holes to keep air out.
Manual Brake System Reassembly
Place the master cylinder in the hole on the fire wall, making sure to guide the push rod through the hole in the fire wall. Replace the lock washers and nuts onto the studs that hold the master cylinder to the fire wall. Tighten both nuts snug and turn 1/2 turn more.9
Replace the bolt in the brake pedal and the master cylinder push rod. Screw on the spacer and the nut, snug and turn another 1/2 turn.10
Screw the brake hydraulic line fittings into the master cylinder, using a line wrench to tighten.11
Clean the battery cable end and post, reconnect the battery cable to the negative post and tighten the nut with a wrench.
Power Brake System Reassembly
Place the master cylinder on the studs on the front on the power brake booster. Replace the lock washers and nuts, then tighten with a socket and ratchet.13
Replace the hydraulic line fitting into the master cylinder, then tighten with a line wrench.14
Clean the battery cable end and battery post. Connect the cable to the negative battery post and tighten with a wrench.
Bleeding the Brake Systems
Jack up the front and rear of the Escort with an auto jack and place the car on jack stands because both front and rear axles need be off the ground.16
Take off all four wheels and tires with a lug wrench and set aside.17
Fill the master cylinder full of brake fluid, making sure the master cylinder reservoir does not run dry at any time during this process.18
Start bleeding at the wheel farthest from the master cylinder, the left rear, next the right rear, next the left front, and finally the right front. Place a clear plastic hose on the bleeder valve. Fill a glass half full of brake fluid and place the plastic hose down in the brake fluid.19
Get a friend or assistant to pump the pedal three or four times and then hold to floor. Open the bleeder screw with a wrench. You will notice that a little brake fluid and air bubbles will seep out. Close the bleeder valve and release the pedal. Repeat this process until no more air comes out.20
Repeat this process three or four times on each of the four wheels. Then put all the wheels and the tires back on the car using a lug wrench.21
Jack up the vehicle and remove the jack stands. Let down the vehicle and re-tighten the lug nuts.