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Brake troubles

brakes

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16 replies to this topic

#1 vladvv

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 09:36 PM

Trying to figure out my brake issue.. 

 

Anyways I got the car, and I noticed the brakes were super soft/spongy. First thing that came to my mind is air in the lines - so I bled the lines and tested the brakes. I still could not lock up the wheels even in the rain!

 

I checked the master cylinder nuts to make sure they were tight, and they were. I checked all the brakes - I can not see any of the brakes leaking upon checking all 4 calipers. I lifted the calipers and looked at the pads, and greased the slider pins while I was there. Could not find anything so I decided I have a bad master cylinder.

 

Today I got a replacement master cylinder, I installed it and bled everything again. My bleeding procedure is as follows: loosen fittings on MC while someone pushes pedal, close it and tell them to release. Repeat this couple times. Then do each wheel opening after they start pressing, and closing before they end pressing (Order: FR, BL, FL, BR) After this I drove the car and when I mash the pedal to the floor (in the rain again) the wheels do lock up but it still feels VERY spongy. When I sat down in my dad's forester ('09) hitting the brakes immediately locked up the wheels and confirmed that my Legacy still sucks. I'm not sure how to proceed.

 

 

The pads I have are of unknown brand, but they have plenty of meat left on them (1/2 thick each or so?) They do seem to have too much grease, but the grease is on the back side and has not gotten on the braking surface. I feel that even if they are the cheapest brakes ever, they should be able to lock up my wheels - right?

 

 

I am not driving the car at the moment because I do not feel it is safe to do so, I'm amazed it passed NYS inspection with how bad the brakes were to begin with.

 

Car is 95 legacy wagon, 4 wheel disk brakes and ABS

 

Oh yeah I also replaced all 4 brake hoses.

 

Am I missing something? Can I adjust the push rod? Is air trapped in the ABS system?


Edited by vladvv, 01 August 2013 - 09:45 PM.


#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:16 PM

You may still have air trapped in the system. Or you may just be expecting too much from an old car. The brakes on the early second gen legacy aren't great, especially with the small rotors and single piston calipers.

Also, when the ABS engages in these the pedal will fall to near the floor and you will lose a substantial amount of braking power. This can feel like spongy brakes, but its just because of the way the ABS hydraulic module works.

GOOD brake pads DO make a HUGE difference.
Even if those pads are new, they may just be the cheapest pads the previous owner could get their hands on. And you said they had a bunch of grease on the backing plates, perhaps they got grease all over the friction material as well. It's hard to tell sometimes, and any grease that gets on the friction material will heat up and soak deeper into the pad.

Try bleeding the brakes again, start by doing both rear wheels first, then move to the front wheels.

If that doesn't help, install some decent ceramic pads.

#3 vladvv

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:22 PM

You may still have air trapped in the system. Or you may just be expecting too much from an old car. The brakes on the early second gen legacy aren't great, especially with the small rotors and single piston calipers.

Also, when the ABS engages in these the pedal will fall to near the floor and you will lose a substantial amount of braking power. This can feel like spongy brakes, but its just because of the way the ABS hydraulic module works.

GOOD brake pads DO make a HUGE difference.
Even if those pads are new, they may just be the cheapest pads the previous owner could get their hands on. And you said they had a bunch of grease on the backing plates, perhaps they got grease all over the friction material as well. It's hard to tell sometimes, and any grease that gets on the friction material will heat up and soak deeper into the pad.

Try bleeding the brakes again, start by doing both rear wheels first, then move to the front wheels.

If that doesn't help, install some decent ceramic pads.

 

I know it's an old car but I really think it should be a lot better than having to slam the pedal to the floor... Is there any special bleeding procedure I'm missing? A power bleeder is not required for these cars, correct? And is there any special procedure for ABS bleeding? 

 

I tried bleeding for a long time, easily went through over a pint of fluid. I had a 98 legacy with autozone cheapass pads on it and it could stop a lot faster than this. Also I feel like if calipers were completely clamping down brake pedal would feel harder than it currently does...

 

How much would getting grease on pads affect them? 


Edited by vladvv, 01 August 2013 - 10:23 PM.


#4 bendecker

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:27 PM

I just went through this with our '96 legacy. It felt pretty mushy for a very long time. The root of the problem finally presented itself in the form of a leaking seal in the front left caliper (I made the mistake of buying a "rebuild" a couple of years ago instead of simply rebuilding it myself with good parts -- look for "Eric The Car Guy's" video on YouTube if you need info) . After I resealed it with an OEM set of seals from the dealer, the brakes are feeling amazingly rock solid again.

 

Can't say if that is your issue, but be sure to check very, very carefully for leaks throughout the whole system.



#5 vladvv

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:28 PM

I just went through this with our '96 legacy. It felt pretty mushy for a very long time. The root of the problem finally presented itself in the form of a leaking seal in the front left caliper (I made the mistake of buying a "rebuild" a couple of years ago instead of simply rebuilding it myself with good parts -- look for "Eric The Car Guy's" video on YouTube if you need info) . After I resealed it with an OEM set of seals from the dealer, the brakes are feeling amazingly rock solid again.

 

Can't say if that is your issue, but be sure to check very, very carefully for leaks throughout the whole system.

 

Were you noticing any fluid drop in the reservoir over time? Also how obvious was the leak? I inspected the seal of every caliper and did not notice any wetness



#6 bendecker

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:39 PM

I put in a small amount of fluid a couple of times over a matter of several months. I also took it to a pro mechanic that I've had very good luck with to have the system checked when it felt spongy. They put in new brake fluid (it was due and I didn't have time to deal with it) and fully bled the system, but they missed the issue with the caliper too. In your case it may not be 100% of the problem, but it should be ruled out as a contributing factor. Check all the metal lines too. A very small leak in a caliper (or anywhere else) can just look like slightly oily road grime.


Edited by bendecker, 01 August 2013 - 10:41 PM.


#7 vladvv

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 11:30 PM

I feel that if there is any sort of leak I should be able too press pedal down and hold it, and then feel it lose pressure and sink to the floor over some period of time, mine goes to the floor to begin with pretty much which points to air in the lines but I've already bled them so much!

#8 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 11:32 PM

are the pads worn evenly or is there ANY indication they are tapered at all? Some folks have mentioned bad wheel bearings creating a spongy brake feel. When you've re-bled them, can you see bubbles come out? Is the car loaded or towing something? Some folks have added a master cylinder brace and noticed an improvement.
 
Just because you bought what you thought were inexpensive pads, doesn't mean the guy before you wasn't able to find REALLY crappy pads. i bought some Wagners on clearance once that were positively frightening on our OBW. I took them ff before they were half worn just to get something on there that wasn't terrifying! (went with Centric PosiQuiet Ceramic which are giving great service)
 
brakes stop the wheels, tires stop the car. If you have decent tires and decent pads(make sure they and the rotor are the right size/part numbers for the car), have bled the fluid, then ; type of pad/rotor (and maybe bedding-in procedure) or worn hoses that 'balloon'(18 year old rubber that lives near brake system heat and road debris might need replacing), or rusty/flexing firewall around the MC or perhaps an issue with wheel bearings or perhaps the ABS lines need bleeding(anyone have ideas about this ???), are about all that's left.

EDIT; just re-read that you replaced the hoses. make sure they aren't twisted/kinked.

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 02 August 2013 - 07:49 AM.


#9 Fairtax4me

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 12:18 AM

No real trick to bleeding the lines with ABS on these. No special tools required.
I have done them by myself several times and have had no trouble getting all of the air out, though I have, occasionally, had to bleed the system twice. My method has always been to start with the wheel thats furthest away from the MC and progressively move closer.

If the lines were open and the system went completely empty it will take longer to bleed the lines. Air bubbles will get trapped in the high parts of the system, such as where the lines loop out of the ABS hydraulic module. These can take a bit more effort to get flushed out to the calipers, but it is doable without any special tools. I always buy the quart sized brake fluid bottles, because that's how much I expect to use to bleed a whole system if something major (such as the MC) has been replaced.
If you haven't been through almost a quart of fluid yet, you probably still have some air in the lines.

#10 vladvv

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 01:49 AM

Actually I do notice my MC moving forward a little when brake is pressed - I assumed that was normal, you're saying that could be an issue?

 

I tried just now to put my foot on the brake with car on and leave it there... I was almost at the bottom and could press it to the bottom easily, but pedal pushed back a little above that so I held it there. About a minute later it had not dropped at all - I'm assuming this means there is no leak? Points me back to air in the lines so maybe I just did not push through all the bubbles.

 

I bled until I saw the bubbles stop coming out, and then bled some more seeing only clear fluid coming through.

 

I guess I will try to bleed some more, I'm thinking of throwing on some different pads but honestly the pedal does not feel right and I don't see pedal feel changing much just because of pads (or am I wrong?) 



#11 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:44 AM

do you know if any work was done to the car or a wreck occur before you got the car or before you noticed this problem? Any evidence of a repair anywhere? near the ABS system?

you might investigate vacuum bleeding the system, might pull air from the high points better. (dunno if there's a system better than the hand pumps - anyone?)

to me, this seems like air in the system "somewhere". If I was convinced no air was in the system, I might put the car up on 4 jacks and CAREFULLY have someone watch each corner's wheel for movement/check wheel bearings.

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 02 August 2013 - 07:47 AM.


#12 heartless

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 09:02 AM

sounds to me like you really need this: 1995 Legacy/Outback FSM - at least bookmark it for future reference, or download/save it to your computer....

 

There is a lot of info for the brakes in the "mechanical components" section...including how much pedal travel there should be, and how to trouble shoot MC, booster, etc...

 

and yes, there IS a specific sequence to bleeding air from the brake system - see page 2 for the correct sequence diagram

 

should be: front right, rear left, front left, rear right


Edited by heartless, 02 August 2013 - 09:05 AM.


#13 MilesFox

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:39 AM

Do the bleeding from the wheel farthest from the MC. RR, LF, LR, RF. Check that the abs module is leaking. This happened to me after replacing the MC, then the abs module sprung a leak. 1995 legacy


Edited by MilesFox, 02 August 2013 - 11:39 AM.


#14 vladvv

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 01:21 PM

Do the bleeding from the wheel farthest from the MC. RR, LF, LR, RF. Check that the abs module is leaking. This happened to me after replacing the MC, then the abs module sprung a leak. 1995 legacy

 

I've been doing by the manual, I'll try to bleed and push a bunch more fluid through. I'm also looking at building a DIY pressure bleeder maybe that will help...

 

My ABS module looks dry where the brake lines connect, is that where it leaked? Also what was the solution? replacing the module?



#15 MilesFox

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 01:24 PM

Mine leaked on the underside where the circular plugs are pressed into the module housing.



#16 vladvv

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 04:38 PM

do you know if any work was done to the car or a wreck occur before you got the car or before you noticed this problem? Any evidence of a repair anywhere? near the ABS system?

you might investigate vacuum bleeding the system, might pull air from the high points better. (dunno if there's a system better than the hand pumps - anyone?)

to me, this seems like air in the system "somewhere". If I was convinced no air was in the system, I might put the car up on 4 jacks and CAREFULLY have someone watch each corner's wheel for movement/check wheel bearings.

I'm not aware of accident damage, and I do not see any signs of bodywork/repair, ABS unit looks original.

 

The wheel bearing issue if I understand correctly would mean your pedal can build up good pressure when car is not moving, but would get sloppier from driving - my pedal does not have good pressure even when at a standstill. Vacuum bleeding I have not tried, so maybe that's worth a shot. 



#17 vladvv

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 11:52 PM

So today I put on some Beck/Arney brakes, and I bled through another pint and a half of DOT3, and after bedding the brakes it's a ton better - I can still press the pedal to the floor, but I was able to lock up brakes in the dry triggering ABS. It does not feel as good as other cars but since wheels lock up I guess problem solved! I might try bleeding another bottle through after driving around a bit but now I feel the car is safe to drive.

 

One thing to note is even thought I did not get a single bubble bleeding, I was still getting pockets of dirty fluid here and there.


Edited by vladvv, 03 August 2013 - 11:54 PM.






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