98 Grand V-ger with intermittant soft brake pedal

lpaulcarterlpaulcarter Member Posts: 2
edited May 2014 in Chrysler
From receipts that came with the vehicle: the previous owner complained of a soft brake pedal in October '07, so the brakes were checked and bled. In November '07 there's a receipt for a new master cylinder.

I bought the van in August '08 and the brakes have been fine until recently. Now, every once in a while, in no apparent pattern and for no reason I can discern, the pedal goes almost to the floor before I get any action. Pumping once brings the pedal back to normal.

I've had it checked at a brake shop and there are no leaks anywhere or any problems they can identify - in fact, they were unable to duplicate the problem after two days of testing.

Before I commit to further work (read: parts replacement) at a shop, I though I'd see if there's anyone out there who's had similar problems and found the answer. Master brake cylinders should last for for years (the van only has 110,000 km on it) so I think there might be something else going on...



  • rfederkeilrfederkeil Member Posts: 2
    paul have you tryed the booster, that may be your problem

  • tel4tel4 Member Posts: 2
    Hi This message comes from a "brother across the pond" I have a 2000 GV 3.3ltr petrol Auto with A/C. & I have just started with the braking problem like Paul. Likewise I was wondering if it was the booster ( is that what we would call the servo assisted brake ?). It is very frightening when it happens, more so because I have just paid £300 out on body repairs (wifes fault of course) Will let u know if we find out the cause. Could I ask, I need to replace the radiator & wondered if it was a difficult job because of the air conditiong. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
    Tel :confuse:
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    Yes, the booster would be called the servo assist across the pond. But please have all the vacuum lines checked first as they are more likely to fail rather than the booster itself, although that can happen too.

    Of course the master cylinder itself and not the booster may be at fault especially in a high humidity environment like Ol' Blighty that may cause internal corrosion and premature seal failure. Have you had the brake fluid changed at all uptill now?

    The radiator is straightforward even with air-con, but please be careful with the transmission oil cooler within the left hand tank of the radiator. Make sure you get a quality replacement and that the plumbing is done right, otherwise you will need a new transmission soon after the radiator.

    Good Luck mate. :)
  • joepeterson56joepeterson56 Member Posts: 95
    Hi, I am having the same problem. I currently am running a 97 Voyager, a 2000 Town&Country LXi, a 97 Honda Accord and a 99 Daewoo Leganza. All vehicles have ABS brakes on them, and I changed brakes and rotors on all four of them prior to the problems showing up. ALL mecanical problems have been ruled out by me and confirmed by a mechanic friend who has his own auto repair shop. What he told me that the problem is, and it actually backed up something I have seen on the web in assorted locations and forums, is that the cars with the ABS Brake ystems must be hooked up to a "break-out box, or other proprietary electronic equipment, usually only owned by the car dealers, to activate the ABS system, and bleed them through activating the pump that way. At first, I found this extremely hard to believe or comprehend, and have done brake jobs in the past on ABS equiped cars and never had this problem. But now after it happening to 4 out of my 5 vehicles that all have ABS systems, I am becoming a believer. It Sux tho, because in this economy, who the heck can afford to be running to the dealers to pay their rates to have the brakes bled, or to a well equiped Brake shop that may have invested in this very expensive equipment? Also my understanding is that these "break-out boxes" are way too expensive to justify the home mechanics purchasing one. I guess they all get us by the short hairs one way or another :cry:
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    Good points, but that situation usually arises only if air is let into the system while bleeding the brakes.

    Two alternatives to taking the vehicle in, and I do not recommend either of them if one has not seen them done beforehand, is to use a pressure bleeder or cycle the ABS pump directly by hooking up wires depending on the type of vehicle.
  • joepeterson56joepeterson56 Member Posts: 95
    As far as a transmission cooler goes, I would follow the advice I got from a Chrysler dealer, and used. He reccomended that I purchase and install(which I did) an add-on auxiliary cooler that goes in front of the radiator, and run it inline with the one built into the radiator tank. That provides you with fresh air cooling as it is in front of the radiator where it gets fresh cool air before the radiator does, as well as the
    anti-freeze and fan cooling. This dealer told me that the extra coolers were usually only installed on the vans manufactured and sold with towing packages, unless the buyer specified that he wanted one and had it put in at time of purchase. He also told me that the ones with the extra cooler had much lees problems and failures than the ones without them. Having done this on my 97 when I personally replaced the tranny, I am a believer. Happy motoring!
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    I agree with this, an additional cooler is a good idea on these vehicles.
  • joepeterson56joepeterson56 Member Posts: 95
    Funny you mention this, and I should have as well my 2 Chrysler vehicles did get air into the systems. The way that happened, was that these vehicles are NOTORIOUS for the steel brake lines rusting through, and suddenly blowing out under pressure and you pedal goes straight to the floor! Wonder what kind of GARBAGE steel they use for these OEM lines. On both of mine, it happened right at the ABS valve body under the van under the drivers seat, right where the oultet lines tie in. On the 97, the lines were regular solid, bent tube design, and on the 00, it was the same 2 lines that rusted out, but on this model year, they substitued "Stainless Steel Flexible Braided lines" ha hah ! The flex lines rotted and blew out right where they were welded to the steel, and in fact, most parts stores, at least here in the CT/NY area do not carry them and have never seen them! On the Honda and Daewoo, no air got into the lines at all. I also completely changed/flushed the brake fluid.

    I did bleed them all(cars) 4 times, and have also Vacumn Bled them, but none of that has fixed the problem. As far as your reccomendation, I would prefer option # 2 of jumping out the ABS system with jumper wires to engage the system, but cannot seem to find a wiring diagram for any of these systems that will tell me where and which wires to jump out. My mechanic buddy says he does not like or approve of the pressure bleeders. Why I don't know.
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    Well, I could tell a few more stories about crappy engineering and the desire to save a few cents per part, but I do not think you nor I have enough time to do that here.:)

    If you are that much into servicing your own vehicles, and I hope so, then an investment in factory service manuals will pay you several times over.
  • joepeterson56joepeterson56 Member Posts: 95
    I somewhat agree with your first sentence, but when running 5 cars and living on a fixed tight income, it runs into way more than a "few pennies"per part.

    As far as the second one goes, I actually purchased a "factory" manual for the Daewoo, and it is useless!! Any chiltons I ever owned for any vehicle I ever owned,for every , which I stopped buying years ago, in favor of Haynes were better than that thing is ! I will say, the Honda Factory service book for a different year honda then the one I own, that I got my hands on was fantasic!
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    Please let me make my meaning more clear: The desire to save a few pennies per part referred to penny-pinching by the manufacturer, thereby shifting the burden of fixing crappy engineering onto the poor customer.

    You are right that the quality of service information varies greatly. Daewoo is in the pits, but several other marques are very good. The Germans are very stingy too I think. I for one do try to take this into account when choosing my vehicles.

    What you do is what I admire. :)
  • joepeterson56joepeterson56 Member Posts: 95
    :) I too am sorry I didn't make myself more clear to you too. I took no exception to "saving a few pennies". I was referring to the price of repair parts in general in this area of the US. While I agree that perhaps the german engineering is rather exceptional, that fact sure didn't influence or help Chrysler while they were under control of Daimler - Benz. I actually have found, and mentioned in another post some place in this forum, that for my money and experience from having owned about 7 USED C/P/D mini vans, that my 1994 Plymouth Voyager Sport 3.3 FWD was the best one I ever owned as far as them having "worked out" most of the engineering and design flaws, and then for 1995, they began to change everything it took them all that time to almost get perfect. What a shame. I do believe it is all part of a bigger conspiracy to get us all one way or the other and drive the big profit machine that is in a complete failure now around the world. When something works and "ain't broke" definitely, do not fix it! There does not seem to be a pride in craftsmanship or customer service anymore. Just look at how many cars are still around from ages ago. I sincerely doubt that we will see even a fraction of that many of this generation of autos around and fully functional in 30 to 50 years from now.
    Now I must appologize to everyone here and the moderators for going slightly off topic here, about another make, but as long as it was mentioned here, I will answer that or comment about it here as well.
    The only other thing I will say, is about the Daewoo Leganza. While it certainly does have it's fair share of quirks and problems from all I have read about, I bought a 2001 brand new and withing 6 months, GM had shut down all the US dealers. Two things made me buy that car. The Dealer was 5 blocks from my home, and it seemed like a pretty good value for the money at the time and living on a fixed income, it was a no brainer decision. My 01 got hit and was deemed a total if all the body parts were available, so I found a 99 with a blown engine, and did an engine swap from my 01 into the 99. Also swapped the struts, and saved every moving, and high wear or breakage type part off the 01 as spares for the 99. It does appear to me, that the 99 was in fact of higher quality and came loaded with a lot of frills as standard over the 01, even though most items basically looked alike and were inter-changeable. BUT you sure could see the quality of the parts had gone down over the years even tho they looked almost identical.
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    Great post!

    However, you do realise that YOU are a bad customer as fas the car companies are concerned. I mean this in a good sense, just like the person who pays his/her credit cards in full each month is anathema to the credit card company.

    What the car companies need is somebody who not only buys the car, but also pays for an extended maintenance contract for meaningless "inspections", pays a monthly subscription for CrapStar safety surveillance, and then trades in the vehicle for them to resell after two or three years.

    What the hell is WRONG with you? :)

    I wish you every success with your maintenance travails! :)

    Back to the topic, I once had a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan and oh the stories I could tell about its engineering and maintenance.
  • joepeterson56joepeterson56 Member Posts: 95
    :) YES I AM< AND PROUD OF IT !!!!!! :)

    I have very much enjoyed our exchanges, thank you very much. :shades:

    If you just think about things for a bit, we all have worked for a salary, which actually supports our employers as well as our families. Makes sense, when it works as it should. But, enter the GREED factor. It becomes more about big business and the "fat cats" who run it, wanting more and more and more, at the worker's and consumer's expense. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and those cosumers less in return as the qulity and life span of the products go down hill, and employees do not even get wage increases that keep in line with inflation or the raise in their employer's profits. One one winner in that situation!
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    Just to get back on topic, one more cause of a soft brake pedal in these vans that I was surpised slightly to find was the darn piston in the front calipers.

    The darn thing is made of polyphenolic resin and has a tendency to crack with the inevitable heat recycling from the too-small brakes to begin with. I am sure it saved the bean counters few cents per peice over a proper metal piston.
  • joepeterson56joepeterson56 Member Posts: 95
    Tell me about it! I was the proud owner of a brand new 1984 Plymouth reliant staion wagon, started stalling out 2 blocks from the dealer the day I drove it off the lot. But that is another horror story of it's own! . It was the first of the only 3 brand new cars I ever bought in my life! It ate brakes and rotors constantly. Kept taking it bake to the dealer. Last time it happened, it made the most horriffic noise you could imagine. In fact it had the noise from the second time I took it in for the problems. They kept telling me all the parts were fine and wearing normal, so they just "blew everything out" with the compressor. That didn't satisfy me, so I pulled the front wheels to take every thing apart and see for myself what the problem was. Long story short, had to drive a socket onto the caliper mounting bolts on the drivers front with a 5 lbs hammer, and use a 3 ft pipe over the handle to crack the bolts loose. They were practically welded in place from all the heat. No signs that they were ever removed by the dealer. Pulled the caliper and pads,. Pads were metal on metal, and when I pulled the caliper off a piece of the plastic piston fell out onto the ground. Looked at the end of the piston, and it had been cracked for a very long time apparently, and the piece that fell out had somehow gotten wedged between the piston face and brake pad, eating up any play at all and keeping the brakes dragging until the day I pulled them. They never had that one apart, and I doubt the others either. That was when I decided to never set foot in a dealr or garage ever again and have done all my own repairs both major and minor ever since. :mad:
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    But of course! :)

    The 1996 vans kept the old style under-specified calipers, plastic pistons and all, and I think that those calipers are still in service on the newer designs from ChryCo.

    There is no substitute for doing whatever work one can do on one's vehicles ever. It may not be possible to do all the work, but even then understanding what is going on can be quite valuable.
  • tel4tel4 Member Posts: 2
    I agree entirely with your comments - its just the same over here We have just bought a new motor home (RV) well Nov 08 & the only mileage that its done is backwards & forwards trying to get repairs done. Wednesday we are taking it back to the manufacturers to have 13 faults rectified. The agents have had attempts at repairs & but by the time you get home your back to square 1. Nobody seems to care any more, once they,ve got your cash thats it. Its the people at the top - polititians, bankers, public servants they just give you " 2 fingers" because they know it will just be a slap on the wrist. Over here its like living in 1 big nut house some of the rules & regulations they cunjure up. Have tried giving the old brake pedal a good stomping which seems to have done something ( to the Voyager)
  • shabdshabd Member Posts: 1
    Hi I have a 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager 3.3 liters and for some reason the headlights don't turn of automatically i have to take out the battery. What should I do?
This discussion has been closed.