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Ok, so I have searched high and low for something that is a fairly definitive in terms of being able to state whether the issue I am encountering is caused by a failed brake master or a failed brake booster.

I have gambled on what I have been able to find out and figured it to be a master cylinder issue - now you can tell me whether I have been a moron or not :|

So I started hearing a metallic creaking noise when still and pressing on the brake a bit harder - the noise sounded like it was coming from the front calipers. The pedal stayed hard and had the normal play in it. Nothing felt strange, just had the noise.

Then a week or so later (weekend use fun car) I was just pulling up outside home and the brake pedal 'went away' - a bit discerning at the time, thankful I wasn't pushing hard through the hills at the time it happened. The pedal went to the floor with only minor resistance - the car pulled up but that was the last I have driven it except into the garage at low speed. I have since found that the metallic creaking sound has gone and the pedal continues to go to the floor. I have put the car on stands and checked for leaks with none found. I bled the fronts - no air in the system but wasn't expecting any with no leaks and been a while since I last bled them.

So - is it definitively a master cylinder - or do I have a new master cylinder for sale...

If it is a master cylinder, what is involved in its replacement? Any tips or tricks I should be aware of?

Also, because regardless of whether it is the master or booster that is bad, the master has to come off - I intend to take off the LHS head with the engine in the car to address a couple of other minor issues (slight oil leak) - do I have to take the booster off too to get the head to clear? Any tips for booster removal (preferably without dis assembly)...

Cheers
Marty
 

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You have a mixed bag of shells there! I had several problems with my brakes when I got my GTV6. The back calipers were not working properly and the pedal was hard and the pedal would sink as I held the brake down.
On the Hard peddle I figured out the booster valve was the problem, which you can get new one still. The noise I can't imagine what that is without hearing it and finding the location, but I am sure some of the other members will jump in on this one.
 

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Hi all

From where I am on the other side of the world it sounds like the master cylinder. You said you "bled the brakes" that's the hardest part of replacing a cylinder
Undo the brake lines, cap them with bleed nipple caps then undo the two 13mm nuts that hold it to the booster pull it forward and its out
When you replace the cylinder, prime it to make sure it's full of fluid put it back in the car and tap it gently with a hammer to dislodge any air bubbles
Then have a second person push on the brake pedal as you undo the brake lines enough to allow any trapped air out, if your lucky you might not have to bleed the system at the wheels

cheers
 

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If the noise is from the calipers it could be worn retainer pins, often a groove is worn in them and then the pad gets sloppy and moves around in the caliper they make a noise when the pistons move and take up the clearance between the piston and brakepad
 
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