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spongy brakes 98 Legacy Postal


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24 replies to this topic

#1 swi66

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 06:35 PM

I have a 98 Legacy Postal. NO ABS
Brake pedal is spongy as anything, goes almost to the floor.
Wheel cylinders are not a year old, front calipers 6 months old.
Bled completer system twice, pedal hard as a rock until I start the motor.
Then barely enough brakes to stop the car.

I pulled master cylinder away from the power booster enough to see is it was leaking. Could not see anything.

Any suggestions???????

swi66

#2 nipper

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 06:47 PM

I have a 98 Legacy Postal. NO ABS
Brake pedal is spongy as anything, goes almost to the floor.
Wheel cylinders are not a year old, front calipers 6 months old.
Bled completer system twice, pedal hard as a rock until I start the motor.
Then barely enough brakes to stop the car.

I pulled master cylinder away from the power booster enough to see is it was leaking. Could not see anything.

Any suggestions???????

swi66



Master cylinders leak internally too.
First test
with the car off pump the brake 10 times. put your foot on the brake pedal. If the pedal goes to the floor, the power booster is fine, and you need a master cylinder. If it doesnt go to the floor you need a booster (and maybe a master cylinder as they both act the same).
My gut tells me you need a master cylinder, and probably should have replaced all the brake lines too.

nipper

#3 tcspeer

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 07:17 PM

I agree with nipper I think you most likely have master cyclinder problems. Now can I ask you something? The 98 postal wagon does it have the 2.2 or the 2.5 engine? I have a 97 postal wagon and want to buy a 98 postal wagon for parts for 500.00 dollars but it is around 150 miles from where I live and I asked the one who has it which engine it has and he said he did not know. He told me the only thing wrong with it is the final drive was out. I have never heard of a final drive but Iam thinking he means the transaxle.

I have a 98 Legacy Postal. NO ABS
Brake pedal is spongy as anything, goes almost to the floor.
Wheel cylinders are not a year old, front calipers 6 months old.
Bled completer system twice, pedal hard as a rock until I start the motor.
Then barely enough brakes to stop the car.

I pulled master cylinder away from the power booster enough to see is it was leaking. Could not see anything.

Any suggestions???????

swi66



#4 nipper

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 07:23 PM

Final drive is an old expression. It can mean high gear (if the seller is over 70), transfer sace, or differnential. In any case it means it needs a tranny.

nipper

#5 grossgary

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 09:28 PM

gut tells me master cylinder as well. from what i've seen master cylinders can go out on rare occassions after alot of brake work...bleeding, pumping, leaking all put a little more strain on the system.

#6 swi66

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 07:05 AM

I agree with nipper I think you most likely have master cyclinder problems. Now can I ask you something? The 98 postal wagon does it have the 2.2 or the 2.5 engine? I have a 97 postal wagon and want to buy a 98 postal wagon for parts for 500.00 dollars but it is around 150 miles from where I live and I asked the one who has it which engine it has and he said he did not know. He told me the only thing wrong with it is the final drive was out. I have never heard of a final drive but Iam thinking he means the transaxle.


I have had a 91, 94, 98, and 99 POSTAL Legacies and all have had the 2.2
These were "fleet" type vehicles so I would imagine it would be odd to have a 2.5 in one. Very few options were available for these, most came loaded, your chopice of cassette or CD radio. Other options were pretty much dealer bolt ons..........

I will try the master cylinder. I will have to use a non Right hand drive master and re-route a couple lines as they come oout of the cylinder on the opposite side.
NAPA don't have a listing on a RHD Master.

swi66

#7 LosDiosDeVerde86

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 07:06 AM

I have a 98 Legacy Postal. NO ABS
Brake pedal is spongy as anything, goes almost to the floor.
Wheel cylinders are not a year old, front calipers 6 months old.
Bled completer system twice, pedal hard as a rock until I start the motor.
Then barely enough brakes to stop the car.

I pulled master cylinder away from the power booster enough to see is it was leaking. Could not see anything.

Any suggestions???????

swi66


if none of that works...

if the rotors are really rusty or low, they build up more heat without dissapating. this will cause the brake fluid to boil and cause air pockets which will make the pedal squishy.

make sure your rotors aren't rediculously rusty, and that they're within spec.

#8 swi66

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 07:07 AM

Oh, and $500 for a parts car isn't bad.............
just for axels, bearing assemblies, alternator, Power steering pump........
if you have a place to put it..........get it!

swi66

#9 grossgary

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 08:17 AM

some places sell rebuild kits of master cylinders. i'd imagine a rebuild kit may contain the same seals RHD LHD.
www.thepartsbin.com
www.rockauto.com
and possibly subaru OEM?
might be worth trying to find a rebuild kit than a RHD master cylinder. there isn't much to a master cylinder. i 've never had one fail so i haven't done it yet but i did rebuild a caliper for the first time and was amazed at how easy it is, ended up doing a couple of my vehicles as prevenative maintenance.

#10 LosDiosDeVerde86

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 08:20 AM

Oh, and $500 for a parts car isn't bad.............
just for axels, bearing assemblies, alternator, Power steering pump........
if you have a place to put it..........get it!

swi66


speaking of which, i've got an alternator FS (or trade) if anyone wants it

#11 swi66

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 09:14 AM

Update............
Yesterday installed a left hand drive master on the right hand drive subaru.
Just had to re-route the 2 brake lines from one side to the other and they bent well enough to do so.
Bled brakes.......................same thing!!!!!!!
As soon as I start the motor, brakes went 3/4 to the floor, still spongy!
Then got back into car, grabbed the steering wheel to the bending point and with both feet pushed on the brake pedal for all I was worth...........
Blew a brake line!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe a line was seeping........and I couldn't find it!
Of course it was one of the rears that you cannot see.........
So I replaced both rears splicing into the front to rear lines under the back seat.........cut and re-flare.

Bled brakes again...........pedal goes 3/4 to the floor......still spongy!

Drums, Rotors, shoes, Calipers, Pads.........within a year old.

The only thing not replaced is the power booster.............but!
Why can I bleed the brakes to rock hard, then start the motor and then have them go spongy...........doesn't that indicate the booster is doing something???????

I'm really going crazy over this............

swi66

#12 nipper

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 02:40 PM

Update............
Yesterday installed a left hand drive master on the right hand drive subaru.
Just had to re-route the 2 brake lines from one side to the other and they bent well enough to do so.
Bled brakes.......................same thing!!!!!!!
As soon as I start the motor, brakes went 3/4 to the floor, still spongy!
Then got back into car, grabbed the steering wheel to the bending point and with both feet pushed on the brake pedal for all I was worth...........
Blew a brake line!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe a line was seeping........and I couldn't find it!
Of course it was one of the rears that you cannot see.........
So I replaced both rears splicing into the front to rear lines under the back seat.........cut and re-flare.

Bled brakes again...........pedal goes 3/4 to the floor......still spongy!

Drums, Rotors, shoes, Calipers, Pads.........within a year old.

The only thing not replaced is the power booster.............but!
Why can I bleed the brakes to rock hard, then start the motor and then have them go spongy...........doesn't that indicate the booster is doing something???????

I'm really going crazy over this............

swi66


Guess what... if one brake line blew, what makes you think the other brake lines are in any better condition. Brakelines can collapse internally and you would never know it.

Replace all the brake lines. inspect all the steel lines for rust. Bleed the enitre system and get back to us. What procedure are you using to bleed the brakes? Did you ever test the booster? Is this a new Master Cylinder ?

nipper

#13 tcspeer

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 05:29 PM

SWI66 if you dont mine spending a little money take it to the dealer, or even Midas and have them tell you what is wrong and then fix it yourself. I have a local mechanix here that I pay to dignose my cars when I cant figure out whats wrong and he only charges around 30.00 dollars. Also did you bleed the Master cyclinder? I went and looked at the 98 postal wagon today he told me I could have it for 100.00 dollars, so Iam going to take it. It will cost me around 400.00 to get it here, but right now I need the A.C. compressor and he says it is good. He also told me he put a new rear driveshaft in it last year and they are around 500.00 dollars. It started right up and sounds good but the transaxle is out in it.

Update............
Yesterday installed a left hand drive master on the right hand drive subaru.
Just had to re-route the 2 brake lines from one side to the other and they bent well enough to do so.
Bled brakes.......................same thing!!!!!!!
As soon as I start the motor, brakes went 3/4 to the floor, still spongy!
Then got back into car, grabbed the steering wheel to the bending point and with both feet pushed on the brake pedal for all I was worth...........
Blew a brake line!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe a line was seeping........and I couldn't find it!
Of course it was one of the rears that you cannot see.........
So I replaced both rears splicing into the front to rear lines under the back seat.........cut and re-flare.

Bled brakes again...........pedal goes 3/4 to the floor......still spongy!

Drums, Rotors, shoes, Calipers, Pads.........within a year old.

The only thing not replaced is the power booster.............but!
Why can I bleed the brakes to rock hard, then start the motor and then have them go spongy...........doesn't that indicate the booster is doing something???????

I'm really going crazy over this............

swi66



#14 cookie

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 05:34 PM

IMHO your booster is bad. This is one of the behaviors I have seen when I used to repair trucks.

#15 tcspeer

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 05:58 PM

Cookie, I have seen one booster bad and it made a hissing noise when you stepped on the brake. Is this common with what you have seen or can they go bad without the hissing sound?

IMHO your booster is bad. This is one of the behaviors I have seen when I used to repair trucks.



#16 nipper

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 11:29 PM

Cookie, I have seen one booster bad and it made a hissing noise when you stepped on the brake. Is this common with what you have seen or can they go bad without the hissing sound?


The brake booster test that i posted is one way you test the booster, the second and not really definitive is using a hand held vacume pump to make sure the booster holds vaccum

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#17 swi66

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 05:49 AM

The reason the brake line went in the back was the salt and sand packed around it above the differential. Front lines and the ones running through the passenger compartment look new..........

I can't hear any hissing coming from the booster.
Thing is, when I start the motor, that's when the pedal goes 3/4 to the floor and becomes spongy. Doesn't that mean the booster is doing something????

AS for taking it to a dealer............Closest dealer is 1/2 hour away, and the first thing they want is for you to drop the car off. They will NOT give an appointment where you wait, or where you can be there when they test the car. No loaners, no way home..........also they have had a history of mis-diagnosing problems with me.......so I don't trust them.
Have not found a "local" mechanic that knows any more about these than I do..........that's why the car is so frustrating.

#18 cookie

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 09:53 AM

I've had boosters that were bad that I could not hear hiss and passed every test I could think of or find in the manuals. I think sometimes they can seal except under load, but I don't really know. The fact was when I chnged them the problem stopped.
It might have to do with a port or valving or even adjustment of the push rod and the problem got cleared up by the replacement. How many times have you disassembled someting, done nothing and put it back together to have it work?
The key to me would be that it has hard brakes when off and loses them when the engine is on. But heck, that's nearly the last thing to try anyway, and it always seems like the last thing I try fixes the problem!

#19 nipper

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 10:10 AM

The reason the brake line went in the back was the salt and sand packed around it above the differential. Front lines and the ones running through the passenger compartment look new..........

I can't hear any hissing coming from the booster.
Thing is, when I start the motor, that's when the pedal goes 3/4 to the floor and becomes spongy (sorry i missed that last time you said it that exactly). Doesn't that mean the booster is doing something????

AS for taking it to a dealer............Closest dealer is 1/2 hour away, and the first thing they want is for you to drop the car off. They will NOT give an appointment where you wait, or where you can be there when they test the car. No loaners, no way home..........also they have had a history of mis-diagnosing problems with me.......so I don't trust them.
Have not found a "local" mechanic that knows any more about these than I do..........that's why the car is so frustrating.


A subary brake system is just a plain ordinary brake system. You do not need a specialist to look at it. And i would still replace all the brake lines, but hey what do i know im only an automotive engineering technician.
The 3/4 to the floor and spongy- this would tell me the diphram is not holding a vacum and the booster is shot. Since this is the net and i cant see the car myself, i would rebuild the brake system. you pretty much have already. replace the hoses, replace the booster.
Replace the brake fluid. Again what method are you using to bleed the brakes. Dont reuse the brake fluid, always use fresh, as the fluid just bled out of the system would be airated.
One more question, is this an 88 (almost 20 year old car, brake system is due for a rebuild, or a 98).

nipper
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#20 cookie

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 10:23 AM

On brake hoses, one time I had a truck that seemed to be refusing to get air out of the lines. These things were a pain to bleed with hydraulic remote boosters low on the frame controlled by a hydraulic control line from the master cyl. We screwed with it for some time before I had my assistant hold the pedal down. One fairly new brake line looked like it had a four inch ballon in the middle.

#21 swi66

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 11:14 AM

It is my large fingers that typed 88 instead of 98 on the original post........
It is a 98 Legacy.

So how hard is it to change a booster?

And does anyone other than the dealer carry them.........

swi66

#22 cookie

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 11:17 AM

Over here any auto shop would have them, but I am not sure what it's like in your area. Give your local parts store a call.

#23 nipper

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 11:23 AM

It is my large fingers that typed 88 instead of 98 on the original post........
It is a 98 Legacy.

So how hard is it to change a booster?

And does anyone other than the dealer carry them.........

swi66


You can get them from any auto parts store, youi may have to order it. It is real easy, you dont have to open up the brake system. Disconnect the vac hose, unbolt the master cylinder. Under the dash remove the cotter pin and return spring, and remove the two bolts. measure the distance on the old booster from the body to the clevis hole, and make sure you set the new booster to that length.

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#24 cookie

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 11:35 AM

That's a really good point about remembering to set the push rod. Also this is the time to inspect the hose that goes from booster to intake if you have one, and connection to the manifold.

#25 swi66

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 05:49 AM

Well, tried bypassing the proportioning valve. No better.
Was going to try installing a used booster from a left hand drive legacy and found that the clevice was different so I would now have no option but to get a new or re-man right hand drive booster................
When disconnecting the vacuum hose from the booster, it hisses, doesn't that mean the booster should be good?
3 hours to R&R the booster, only to find I had to put the original back on............aaaaaarrrrgggghhhhh




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