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Master Cylinder?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Sewoolf@ptdprolog.net

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 07:33 PM

I bought a used 99 Outback yesterday and I'm already having problems. The car is in excellent shape cosmetically and drives great. The brakes don't work though. The brakes had problems when I test drove but the seller agreed to bleed and replace pads. This seemed to help up until we transferred the title. After that the brakes became progressively softer until I had to press to the floor in order to stop. The brake pedal holds tight once it is pumped up but but goes to the floor next time I try to brake. There is no evidence of a fluid leak either.

I had the brakes bled again today by a mechanic. The problem is even worse now - it seems like there is even more air in the system.

It definitely has all the symptoms of air in the system. I suspect the master cylinder but the pedal holds tight after pumped up, and there is no evidence of a leak. It also sounds like the calipers aren't retracting all the way after I do brake.

I guess it could also be a caliper or a faulty brake line, but I'm leaning towards the master cylinder. Any thoughts?

I'm also pretty pissed at the guy I bought the car from since he knew damn well he didn't correct the problem and he put a new inspection sticker on it with bad brakes. I'm not the litigious type but I was wondering if I have any legal rights since I bought the car as is. I want to keep the car - it is really sweet - Limited Edition with leather interior and nice paint, wheels, etc.

Please help. I want to avoid repeat visits to the mechanic. I normally do most maintenance myself but I burned myself out on repairs to my 91 turbo this summer. I should have the 91 back on the road soon as a second car after i fix the cooling system but its days are numbered. I was hoping this 99 Outback would be repair free for at least a year.:mad: :mad: :mad:

#2 grossgary

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 07:47 PM

master cylinder or brake booster. i'd search here or on the internet for ways to test, i forget the details of each. the symptom you describe, pedal pumping up, should tell you what's wrong i just don't remember which is which. that it got worse after replacing the pads sounds like master cylinder to me. i've never had to replace either one on a subaru.

master cylinders are easy to replace at least, the bleeding is the most annoying part actually.

#3 Sewoolf@ptdprolog.net

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 08:00 PM

I checked a lot of threads before making this post. I'm fairly certain the booster is Ok but not positive.

#4 nipper

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 08:56 PM

Booster test:

Pump brakes 10 times with car off.
Press brake pedal with foot
Start car
Pedal should move to the floor. If it doesnt its the booster.

Its unusual for a master cylinder to go bad, especially that early.
Inspect all the calipers (or wheel cylinders) for leaks.
Inspect the rubber brake lines (again a bit too new).
Re blead the brakes. If ther eis air in them, air is getting into the system someplace. If there is no air and no leaks, then its most likely the master cylinder.

nipper

#5 OB99W

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 09:22 PM

[...]I guess it could also be a caliper or a faulty brake line, but I'm leaning towards the master cylinder. Any thoughts?[...]

There was a recall on the '99 Legacy for the master cylinder secondary circuit failing in extreme cold weather, with the result being the pedal travel is increased and braking decreased. While that probably isn't directly related to the current problem, you might want to determine if the work was ever done on your car. See:
http://endwrench.com...condaryInfo.pdf
http://www.automallu...cy/recalls.html

#6 hankosolder2

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 11:05 PM

I bought a used 99 Outback yesterday and I'm already having problems. The car is in excellent shape cosmetically and drives great. The brakes don't work though. The brakes had problems when I test drove but the seller agreed to bleed and replace pads. This seemed to help up until we transferred the title. After that the brakes became progressively softer until I had to press to the floor in order to stop. The brake pedal holds tight once it is pumped up but but goes to the floor next time I try to brake. There is no evidence of a fluid leak either.

I had the brakes bled again today by a mechanic. The problem is even worse now - it seems like there is even more air in the system.

It definitely has all the symptoms of air in the system. I suspect the master cylinder but the pedal holds tight after pumped up, and there is no evidence of a leak. It also sounds like the calipers aren't retracting all the way after I do brake.

I guess it could also be a caliper or a faulty brake line, but I'm leaning towards the master cylinder. Any thoughts?

I:mad: :mad: :mad:



So, it really holds firm after you pump it up and does not slowly sink to the floor? I say it's either air, pad kickback or a faulty master cylinder. It's definitely not the brake booster; it can't cause that symptom. If you pump up the brakes while stationary and then let the car sit for a while (running, in Park/Neutral with your foot off the brake pedal) will the brake pedal be normal the next time you press it? Or does this only happen when you move the car, in which case it could be pad kickback?
I'm surprised that the second mechanic who bled the brakes for you did not offer a diagnosis and was willing to release the car with a brake problem!

Nathan

#7 Sewoolf@ptdprolog.net

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 08:28 PM

I doubt it is pad kickback. The pressure drops too quickly and resolves briefly. There could be a leak somewhere but I can't find it - the master cylinder is the best bet imo. I will try to bleed again before replacing the master but i never had problems like this with air in the system without a reasonable explanation..

#8 Sewoolf@ptdprolog.net

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 08:30 PM

I'm surprised the first mechanic inspected it like this. He should be fined but I'm not a confrontational fellow. I really got along well with the guy i bought the car from.

#9 Steves72

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 09:03 PM

Have someone pump the brake pedal and inspect the flexable brake lines. These lines can look fine but may bulge when pressure is applied giving you the symptom of a soft brake pedal.

Steve

#10 OB99W

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 06:36 AM

[...]There could be a leak somewhere but I can't find it - the master cylinder is the best bet imo. I will try to bleed again before replacing the master but i never had problems like this with air in the system without a reasonable explanation..

Did you check with a dealer or SoA to determine whether your car had the master cylinder replaced under the recall? If your VIN qualifies, and it hasn't been done already, you should be able to get it replaced at no charge, no matter if the current problem is related or not.




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