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Stop here! Let's talk about brakes

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Comments

  • sukalsukal Posts: 30
    Last September I bought a used 1992 Honda Accord Ex with 96500 miles on it. Within a week I felt that the brake pedal kept going down and I took it to a mechanic. He diagnosed it as a leaking Brake Master cylinder and asked me to replace it. I told him to go ahead and replace it. Things worked fine for 4-5 months but then the brake pedal again started going down if you held on it for some time (like waiting at a stop light). I took it back and the same mechanic said that the Brake Master cylinder was again leaking and replaced it again. Now the brake would nearly hit the floor before it gets engaged. I pointed this out and he suggested that I get the brake pads replaced. I asked him to do so too, but still the problem is that the pedal has to go down quite some way before the brake engages; which makes it feel that the brakes are failing. I asked him to rectify this but he said there is nothing more that he can do. So I am driving it around like this only. Is there any way I can get my brakes to perform normally (so that the brakes engaged when you step on the brake pedal and not when you really push the pedal nearly to the floor).
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Pump the pedal,if the brake feel comes back you have air in the system.Most master cylinders need to be bench bled before installation
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    Good call. I'll bet you hit it on the nose...
  • sukalsukal Posts: 30
    Well the mechanic did say that he bled the brake system twice. And he said that there is definately no air in the system. The problem is not that the pedal hits the floor, nor is it the case that the barkes do not engage; its just that the brake are engaged when then pedal is pushed quite a way in, around 2 inches.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    there are also parts called wheel cylinders or caliper cylinders, depending on drum or disk, that take the fluid from the master cylinder and turn it into pressure. these have return springs, hoses, bleed valves, and lots of other interesting parts. your descriptions don't include any. if the mechanic didn't either, you could have cumulative issues.

    it is also possible that indeed, the master cylinders are failing early, because they were rebuilt to be bargains, not to be master cylinders.

    in either event, you need to see somebody else and have a thorough inspection and bid prepared. you are potentially in for a noticeable bill, and might want afterwards to take all your papers and head for small claims court. the first mechanic is missing something and is either being fooled... or is easily and frequently fooled.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    I assume then, that you are simply concerned that a problem MAY exist, but you are not sure. I would think that even though the new master cylinder seems to respond differently, you may have no problem at all. Is the pedal spongy in feel, or does it seem to hit a definite "wall" when you apply the brakes? If it feels very spongy but did not used to feel that way, you might want to get another opinion from a good mechanic who will have a chance to test the system for you.
    In fact, considering the importance of brakes, you are well advised to get that extra opinion and take action from there.
  • sukalsukal Posts: 30
    Well yes, I am concerned that the problem may still exist. The mechanic did assure me that the brakes are functioning normally, and so they are, I do hit a 'wall' and they do not feel spongy, the only problem as of now is that they engage after depressing the pedal around 2inches. I am worried whether this might be a symptom of something bigger
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I can think of several reasons why there would be excessive free play in your brake pedal. If the car has rear drum brakes excessive clearance between the shoes and drums (i. e. self adjusters frozen or otherwise not working, or worn out linings on the shoes), if equipped with an adjustable actuating rod from the pedal to the master cylinder which is out of adjustment, an actuating rod that is the wrong length (a real possibility on todays poor rebuilt parts), a remote possibility is a very weak hose that is ballooning under pressure (very remote, I've seen it once in 30 years), or a worn bearing in the pedal mechanism itself. Of course all these assume front disk brakes that are in good serviceable condition.
    My first place to look would be the rear drum brakes if so equipped, that's the most likely.
  • sukalsukal Posts: 30
    Since it is a 1992 Honda Accord EX, I believe that it has self adjusting rear disc brakes. Would that not take care of these issues ?
    I got the brake pads on the rear disc brake changed as well ask the mechanic to bleed the system twice but there is still 2 inches of free play.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    You got an answer from Auburn3.

    He is a Honda mechanic/technician. And gives excellent advice on this message board.

    I think he said to have a mechanic check the length/adjustment of the master cylinder link rod (or something like this).

    I definitely would have this done.

    Before thinking about any of the other advice you are getting on here.

    P.S. My advice - stop going to the mechanic that did this work. If you've returned several times and you still have a low brake pedal, it's time to give up on him......
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    rod check means its the wrong master cylinder,if thats the case.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    I saw that happen once on an IH Scout. Some master cylinders are VERY similar, and only differ slightly-- but it is a big difference on the application vehicle.
  • tony427tony427 Posts: 1
    does anyone know how to relieve pressure on the front disc brakes of a subaru with hand brake lever on the caliper. I don't know how to collapse the piston
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    There is a universal caliper brake piston tool that I assume must work on Subaru calipers, as it does most all others. Most any car parts place will have them. Are Subaru brakes quite different, and I just don't know it? (:oÞ
  • bonjoe1bonjoe1 Posts: 14
    Just got Front Bendix Brakes..Pads and Rotors for my 1998 Ford Taurus. I now hear that infamous squealing noise when applying the brakes. Is there a certain amount of time needed for the new brakes to "break in" and stop making that noise? Did I make a good decision choosing the Bendix Brakes? Someone on the Internet recommended them.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    It is vey reputable company. I heard only good things about their products. Are the shims installed along with anti squeal compound?
  • bonjoe1bonjoe1 Posts: 14
    Thanks for the reply. I have no idea how they were installed..I took the car to the car repair place, and the mechanic put on the front rotors and pads. I told him I only wanted bendix, and that's what he ordered for me. I would hope he installed them correctly.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I looked at an article in Bendix site that compares composite and full cast iron rotors. Article is in favor of cast iron rotors just because it has more tolarance to absorb high heat.
    Unlike this approach, Reybestos has some pictures in it's site, they classify original equipment and their rotors as composite and 3rd party manufacturers' as full cast rotors. It appears to be that they promote composite rotors. I am very puzzled. Any comment on this issue?
  • sjazsjaz Posts: 7
    I've been having a problem with the rear brakes of my 1998 S70 GLT. When I apply the brakes there is a really bad vibration from the rear of the car - it feels like the car is going to break apart. I had it to my dealer because the ABS light came on and this horrible vibration began. They replaced the computer that control the ABS (I can't remember exactly what it was) and they told me that vibration was because the rear shims were missing and that I needed new rear brakes (less than 30% pad remaining). I ended up changing the brakes myself (did not use Volvo brakes) and discovered that the shims were still there and that I had about 50% pad remaining. I've waited several months after installing the new brakes to see if the problem would
    go away - it hasn't. I have an appointment at the dealer to get this problem rechecked but I'm afraid they are going to give me their standard, "It's probably because you didn't use Volvo parts". Additionally, I have replaced the tires since this all began so I'm pretty sure it's not a tire issue. At first I thought it might be a warped rotor except the vibration doesn't occur every time I apply the brakes. Also, when the vibration does occur I can ease off the brakes and then reapply them without the vibration occuring. When I set the appointment I made them aware that this problem was occuring even when I had Volvo brakes. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might be the problem?

    Thanks.
  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    anti-sieze compound did you grease the mounting areas where the brake pads and also the calipers meet? Were you able to deglaze or rough up the rotors before replacing the pads with sandpaper or emery cloth? Did you remove any areas where had rust accumulated, with a wire brush ? Were you able to open the bleeder screw and attach a hose then screw the piston into the bore and close the bleeder then perhaps bleed the rear brakes ?

    Just a couple of things to look at
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    I suspect the Volvo mechanic will determine that you need to replace the calipers, and probably the disks at the same time.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    How many miles on the car? Are the rear rotors original? Have the rear pads been changed before? If so, were the rotors machined? It sounds like warped rotors to me by your description.
  • sjazsjaz Posts: 7
    The car has 71K miles. The pads have been changed within the last 6 months. The rotors weren't machined at that time. The fact that the problem is intermittent makes me believe that it isn't a rotor problem. When I'm braking and the vibration occurs I can let up on the brakes and then reapply them and the vibration goes away. If it were a warped rotor I would think that it would vibrate every time I applied the brakes, that isn't the case.

    Thanks.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    sounds like the pads are not applying evenly to me, but maybe putting the silicone grease on the caliper slides would fix it.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    When this vibration occurs, do you feel any pulsing in the brake pedal? Does the vibration occur in the steering wheel also, or is it isolated only in the rear of the car?
    Having intermittent vibration due to rotor warpage is not uncommon, and just the description you provided, "When I'm braking and the vibration occurs I can let up on the brakes and then reapply them and the vibration goes away" is not unheard of. It's to complicated to discuss warped rotors being in phase or out of phase here, but the phase relationship varies constantly since the rear wheels rotate independent of each other.
    Also, don't count out other factors such as a tire being out of round or worn rear suspension (shocks or struts). The dynamics at work change when braking and a smooth ride can get bumpy fast.
    A sticky caliper could possibly be the cause, but usually the only result of this is uneven pad wear, i. e. the inboard pad wearing out faster than the outboard pad. This will vary with brake design. When you changed the pads did you notice any abnormal wear between the pads from the same side? Some is normal, but here again brake design has an effect. I'm not sure if your Volvo has dual piston calipers. If the problem was there before changing the pads and no abnormal wear was noticed on the pads you removed, then the calipers become less of a culprit.
  • safari2safari2 Posts: 1
    My 2000 Safari only has 22,000 miles and needs front breaks. It seem like the manufacture could make them last a little longer. 75% of my driving is on rural streets. When I brought my vehicle to the dealers for regular service I was informed that the front breaks are warn almost to the sensors and need replacement, rotors turned and anti locks adjusted. Is this a common problem with Safari's and Astro's.

    The 2nd problem is with the electric door locks. this vehicle is less than 2 years old and I had both the drivers and passanger door locks replaced TWICE. Both times the dealer said the actuators went bad. Again is this normal or does the manufacture have a problem.

    Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated
  • sjazsjaz Posts: 7
    Is there anything special I should know about disconnecting the ABS cable from where it plugs into the back of the caliper assembly? The repair manual simply states to remove it but I want to make sure there isn't some sort of trick to it.

    Thanks.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    generic advice, which of course means it ALMOST fits...

    if there wasn't a trick, the cable would never stay connected. the clever part is determining the trick they are using. could be a clip, a z-bend that fits through a hole in an actuator, a bulb on the end of the cable that you slip up from the narrow end of a long hole to the wide end and pull out, screw and nuts on the end, magic airhooks, little scandihoovian elves holding the cable, or any combination of the above. there could also be cable dressing clips that hold down with screws, foldover onto a rail, or other guide gizmos involved ahead of the system.

    the book leaves the informed sleuthing up to you, oh Sherlock. bloody rotten of them, right? that's part of the experience that the pros charge for. you have to make up for it by looking closely, tweaking slightly and seeing what happens to the part and surrounding parts, and figure it out.

    not a bad idea to take a good close-up picture (polaroid or digital preferred for immediate access) and/or draw the linkage and disassembly steps in the margins of the manual which fuzzed the details on you.
  • frulefrule Posts: 82
    On a 1993 Quest Van,I'm getting a noise that sounds like scraping as the front driver's side wheel rotates(i.e. it's cyclical).Slightly touching the brake pedal stops it.The brake pads have 5-6 mm remaining,so it should not be the wear indicator.It sounds as if something is not fully releasing after braking,leaving a slight contact as the wheel turns.
    I removed the wheel and found no leaks or other apparent problems.Any ideas?
  • I took my car to Firestone to get my brakes checked on my 1990 Lincoln towncar with about 126K. The last brake job I had was about 1 yr ago. Well to make a story short, Firestone stated I needed front brakes to include 1 right rotor and resurface the other and replace pads and calipers on both side. The price was unreal $675.00. I went ahead and purchase the parts of pads, bearings, seals and calipers with hoses and resurfaced both rotors and installed it myself. My problem is that I bleed the brake system on the master cylinder and the brake pedal goes down with little braking. Can anyone help...
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    If you replaced calibers then you need to bleed the brakes at each wheel not at the master cylinder.

    The replacement calibers are dry. So when you hooked up the brake lines to them you have air pockets at each replaced caliber. So you have to open the little valve at the new caliber, pump the brake pedal and get the air out. Since you loose brake fluid when you do this, you have to add brake fluid to the reservoir in the master cylinder (in the engine compartment).
  • frulefrule Posts: 82
    Can anyone help me with post #230? Thanks,Fred
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    If your rotor is slightly warped (shows some extra runout as it turns) it could be bumping into the friction pads and pushing the caliper back and forth. If the caliper is not well lubed on the locating bar, it may be scraping as it moves. Any of these mechanical bumps and shifts can create noises.
  • frulefrule Posts: 82
    Thanks!I have the stereo up!My wife just hears better than I do.So,can I lube the calipers?

    I know the rotors/runout problem will require a new rotor(turned once before-20K ago).

  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    I have a 2002 Buick Century with 22,000 miles on it and i'm noticing brake squeal in the rear drum brakes after driving the car for a long period of time, is this normal? i've taken it to the dealer and they've adjusted the rear brakes and they can't duplicate the problem because once the car sits for a few mins, then when you drive it, it doesn't make the noise. has anyone ran across this before?
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    Yep! You can go to NAPA (or elsewhere) and get their special brake assembly lube that is silicon based. Be very careful where you "lube" so that none can get on the pads or disks. I have been advised that using the special lube is quite important. It works better, it stays put, it lasts longer, etc. Put it where it will lube the movement of the caliper as the caliper moves from side to side, following the disk runout and pad wear.
  • tbear503tbear503 Posts: 70
    I have being seeing ads for Raybestos ceramic brakes. Am interested because they say it reduces brake dust. I have a 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis with the lacey spoke wheels that are hard to keep clean. Wondering if anyone has any experience on the performance of ceramic brake pads....Thanks
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    They work as advertized, if you're prepared to pay for them. They're a bit of a heavy hit compared to conventional pads.
  • tbear503tbear503 Posts: 70
  • bonjoe1bonjoe1 Posts: 14
    I have a 1998 Ford Taurus. Installed Bendix pads and rotors on front. In the morning, when car is cold, there is a noise coming from front driver's side when brakes are applied. As the car warms up, the noise is reduced. Took car back to mechanic. He replaced pads, and resurfaced rotors..but it didn't help. He says the brakes are fine and can't understand what is causing the noise. Has this happened to anyone else? Do Bendix brakes make more noise than other brakes? Any ideas.......
    Thanks
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    I have the morning brake noise as well, however mine seems to linger and its mostly from the rear of the car, i've had mine adjusted and still have noise, is this common? or normal for rear drum brakes to squeal when the brakes are used lightly?
    any suggestions?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Pads with a high metallic content can leave a trace layer of corrosion on rotor surfaces, especially in damp/humid weather. The first few brake applications of the day clean the rotors off.
  • bonjoe1bonjoe1 Posts: 14
    In March of this year I had brakes put on another car I owned. I had gone to the Ford Dealership to have them installed. A couple of days later while driving home from work, I completely lost control of my brakes in the car. There were no brakes at all..I was almost in an accident, had a panic attack, and was visibly shaken. After having the car towed to the dealer, the manager said it was the cylinders and replaced them. I since learned that the mechanic who worked on my car was immediately fired. We have since traded in that car. The Bendix brakes that I had installed on my 1998 Taurus were installed by an auto repair shop and not the Ford dealer.(I didn't want to go back there for brakes after the experience I had with them) I had requested Bendix Brakes because I read on the Internet that they were very good brakes. Perhaps I should have asked for brakes that didn't make so much noise.
    I just need to be reassured that the brakes are reliable. I guess I have become a little paranoid and scared that the same thing could happen again...and that thought gives me nightmares!
    Thank you for your replies.....
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    ...that aftermarket pads and shoes are somewhat likely to be "noisy." I guess that it is the price we pay to have longer lasting, excellent brakes. Turned rotors and drums can lend noise tendencies as well.
  • bonjoe1bonjoe1 Posts: 14
    Could you please tell me what exactly are "aftermarket brakes." I keep reading about them, but I'm not sure what it means. Thanks for the reply...so even though the brakes are noisy, they are still excellent brakes and I shouldn't worry about the noise...is that correct? Thanks again.....
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Aftermarket is anything other than the OEM part # from the dealer, supplied as original equipment on the vehicle.
  • bbpalumbobbpalumbo Posts: 9
    I've got an appointment to replace front brakes tomorrow. Just so I don't get "taken advantage of", approximately how much can I expect to pay for parts and labor? I've got a 99 Civic LX sedan. Anything I should watch out for on the estimate, i.e., things that they'll try to convince me I need but really don't?

    Thanks.
  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    On another board, I was cautioned against using synthetic brake fluids in my Toyota. The fluid in question is Valvoline Synpower, meeting DOT 3 & 4, and claiming compatibility with conventional fluid.

    Does anyone have any input?
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    I have 15K miles on a Maxima that is not used on a regular basis. We use the car for long trips only. So most of the miles are highway miles with very minimal braking. The car is almost two years old.

    Sometimes, but not always, the steering wheel vibrates when braking. It normally happens at high speeds, e.g. 60+ miles per hour. The brake pedal does not vibrate, however.

    I was wondering if this might be due to the rotors being warped. I kind of understand what burdawg was saying earlier about rotors being in phase or out of phase, and I guess this may explain why the problem is intermittent.

    My question is how likely is it that the rotors are warped? Also, is there a downside to driving like this - e.g. is the shaking going to get worse over time, and is the braking compromised?

    Also, I've heard some Maxima owners complain that the lug nuts were too tight from the factory. This might be the cause or at least a contributing cause, if indeed the rotors are to blame. Are the brakes strictly a wear item even in this case? How easy is it to determine if the brakes are warped?

    I am quite puzzled by this, as I've never had this problem. Not even on cars driven daily in heavy traffic.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    bear in mind that there are no auto police with big bandoliers of ammunition across their chests for their crew-served automatic weapons to enforce "convention."

    always, always, check your manuals first to see what your recommended octane/fluid/maintenance is before picking any old chemical off the shelf to do it yourself. these outfits change from year to year, model to model, as to what is necessary in a particular vehicle based on the equipment in THAT car.

    then when buying, insure that "Misfire Motors standard 666" or whatever is clearly listed on the label of the product. otherwise, you're playing bottle roulette with your warranty and your ride.
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