Q: Brakes go to floor, I hear gurgling, and white smoke comes out of tail pipe

asked by on

After I replaced the front brakes on my F-150, and lowered the truck on the jack to drive away, I saw a LOT of white smoke blowing out of my tail pipe. Nothing smells burnt when this happens - no burnt oil smell or anything else, and water drips out the tail pipe. Another problem I noticed at the same time is that the brake pedal goes all the way to the floor when I'm braking, and when it gets to the floor, I can hear gurgling or bubbling. This is coming from behind the firewall approximately where the master cylinder is located. Also, once the brake pedal reaches the floor, more white smoke is coming out the tailpipe.

I think I know exactly what is happening. Right behind your brake master cylinder is where the power brake booster is located. This booster is acted upon by engine vacuum in order to make the pedal easier to press down.

Since the booster is acted upon by engine vacuum, this means that it is connected to the intake manifold of the engine. If the rear seal in the brake master cylinder has failed, this will allow brake fluid to enter the power brake booster and would be the reason the pedal travels all the way to the floor; the rear seal is preventing any hydraulic pressure from building up in the master cylinder.

With brake fluid inside the power brake booster, the intake manifold is able to inhale the brake fluid into the engine whenever the brake pedal is depressed. This would be the cause of the white smoke. I would recommend having the brake master cylinder replaced, and having the power brake booster replaced by a certified mechanic. YourMechanic offers mobile technicians to come perform services just like this at your home or office.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1,000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Brakes go to floor, I hear gurgling, and white smoke comes out of tail pipe

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: The Check Engine Light came on after washing my Durango

It sound like you got water into some of the electrical connections from the water that is sprayed sideways and from the bottom of some of these car washes. Also, your car was running, which could cause the water to...

Q: I have a 1995 Lincoln Towncar which won't turn all the way off.

The ignition switch is a darned good place to start. A 1995 car should be pretty straightforward electrically. There may be one or two power relays that could be suspect. The only way to tell for sure is a point...

Q: My car's back brake lights won't turn off. Even when i have turned the car off. Would you know what could be the cause(s)? 1997 Hyundai

Hi there - your "constant brake lights" situation is most likely due to a mis-adjusted or malfunctioning brake light switch. I would recommend a brake light switch replacement by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.