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Old 06-03-2010, 05:34 PM   #1
gianspi
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Default Brakes feel horrible and do not slow the car enough.

Hello,

I hoping that you can help me diagnose my braking issue. My brakes are very inadequate and do not slow the car down fast enough. At full braking force, it will gently slow the car down. It won't brake hard enough to engage ABS even at 60-0 mph braking.

The car is a 1995 Legacy LS with ABS and disk brakes all around. I changed the brake pads to high quality ceramic pads and flushed the brake fluid completely. After this service, the brakes felt more linear, but still lack any real braking needed for emergency situations.

Thank you in advance for any help!

~Gian

Specs: 95 Legacy LS, power assisted 10.2" front disc, 10.5 rear disc,
ABS, 4 channel
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:18 PM   #2
grzydj
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You describe how my car braked, or didn't brake for that matter before I redid my brakes.

My rear calipers were totally seized up and I wasn't sure about the state of my fronts, so I put all new ones on and put new rotors and pads on while I was at it.

The rears were criminally bad:



I'd start by making sure your calipers are properly engaging and pressing against the rotor properly. You may want to bleed the brakes and make sure there is no air in the system as well.
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Old 06-04-2010, 01:11 AM   #3
Patrick Olsen
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High quality ceramic pads aren't exactly the bees knees when it comes to braking power. With that said, they should still easily be able to engage the ABS.

How does the pedal feel? Is it firm at the top, or is it spongy?

Grzydj raises a good point - when you swapped out the pads, did you do a thorough check of the calipers to ensure all the slide pins are properly lubed and that the calipers can slide freely?

A '95 is old enough that it's possible the master cylinder or booster are going bad. I'll be honest, I don't know how to diagnose either one, but maybe someone in the main Brakes & Suspension forum can help. (This thread would probably get much more productive exposure there than in the little Legacy forum.)

Pat Olsen
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:39 PM   #4
currystyle
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^THIS. Also what did the rotors look like when you did the pads, etc.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:07 PM   #5
gianspi
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Thanks for the responses. The rotors looked fine during my last tire rotation. There were no red flags when I did the pad change.

The pedal is soft during the first 50%, and later is hard to press (like any other pedal feels). It doesn't feel alarming or different--it just lacks actual braking.

I'll do some research into the master cylinder and booster. Thanks for the starting point in my investigation!
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Old 06-05-2010, 12:37 AM   #6
Jonathan
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I blame the ceramic brake pads.

I find they do little to stop the car when cold, and require a great deal of pedal effort... However after the brakes 'warm up', if you really hammer them the car slows rather quickly.

I am making these comments about a 1997 Outback Wagon that I *think* has dual Piston front Calipers. Your '95 LS probably has single piston front calipers.

At any rate replacing the ceramic pads with a high quality semi-metallic compound pads should greatly improve braking performance
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:39 AM   #7
Patrick Olsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gianspi View Post
The pedal is soft during the first 50%, and later is hard to press (like any other pedal feels).
That doesn't sound normal to me. How did you flush/bleed the brakes?
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:51 PM   #8
kirbykirb
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You need to rebleed the brakes, how loose/squisy is the pedal? Use a power bleeder... and don't drive until it's done!
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:05 PM   #9
gianspi
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The brake pedal feels normal for an old car. I may have explained it wrong. I flushed the brake fluid completely with a Motive Power Bleeder until fresh fluid came out with no bubbles, starting from the caliper furthest from the master brake cylinder.
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:48 PM   #10
rinna chan
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If you changed the fluid and the pads and the calipers aren't seized I'd say either a. you glazed the pads in the bedding process, or b. your rotors need to be turned/replaced to facilitate the bedding process with the new pads. You may not have bed the pads correctly either (especially on old rotors). The likelihood of your booster or master cylinder having gone bad is slim. Way to check the booster is if you press the brake at idle and the engine behaves like there is a vacuum leak. Also there should be enough vacuum held in the booster for several pumps of the brake pedal after the engine is shut off before the pedal gets hard. The quality of pads varies wildly also.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:06 AM   #11
jakedademon
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It sounds like the master cylinder has air in it. If the lines had air you would be a spongyness. The master cylinder can get air in it and feel normal, but its not moving but a portion of the fluid.
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:06 PM   #12
gianspi
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Thank you for all of the suggestions. The rear rotors were rotted and I have new rear rotors, pads, calipers, and brake lines installed. I have a reputable shop preform this plus a full fluid flush. Unfortunately, the brakes seem need a lot of travel for any real stopping power.

I ordered a new brake master cylinder from AutoZone ($60), and I'll report back after I install that and do yet another full fluid flush.

Are there any special instructions besides unscrew, reinstall new MC, and flush fluid completely?
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Old 07-24-2010, 04:25 PM   #13
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Outside thought: What kind of condition are your tires in?
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:52 PM   #14
Patrick Olsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gianspi View Post
Are there any special instructions besides unscrew, reinstall new MC, and flush fluid completely?
Yes, there are special instructions for installing a master cylinder. Look up "bench bleeding a master cylinder".
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:37 AM   #15
gianspi
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Tires are in very good condition and are properly inflated. Thanks for the tip about the MC bleeding.
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:13 PM   #16
LookAsubie
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My brakes suck as well.. i just replaced the front rotors and pads and they are still pretty crappy. My buddy just bought an 09 mazda 3 and we did a brake test and OMG. The brakes on that car are amazing.. unless mine are just really that bad..
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:34 PM   #17
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I JUST had this problem. Before you replace the master, check your brake caliper sliders to see if they are frozen. To do this, take your wheels off and take your caliper off (should be two bolts on the back, 14mm maybe). Look at the holes where those bolts came out of. Try to push it towards you (into the caliper bracket). If it doesn't move it's frozen and that's your problem. You can try to use heat and force to unfreeze it.
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:23 PM   #18
gianspi
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Thanks Pitwrkz. I will try that before I uninstall the MC. I appreciate it!
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gianspi View Post
Thanks Pitwrkz. I will try that before I uninstall the MC. I appreciate it!
No problem. Like I said I had the same problem after a track day. I started by replacing the master but they still felt like crap. Bled them 10-15 times and they still felt like crap. The sliders were the problem. You may have to bring the caliper brackets to a machine shop or mechanic to get them out if they are frozen.
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:28 PM   #20
Patrick Olsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gianspi View Post
Thanks Pitwrkz. I will try that before I uninstall the MC. I appreciate it!
I assumed that was already done, since it was discussed a month and a half ago. Really, pulling and lubing the caliper slide pins is part of the brake pad changing procedure, so you should do it every time you're in there.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:57 PM   #21
TjCombs89
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i had that same problem with an old car of mine and the master cyl ended up needing replaced
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:15 PM   #22
GuamSTI
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I just bought a 98' Legacy GT. The car was parked for at least 17 months. After getting it started I stepped on the brakes and it felt spongy and then there was a puddle of brake fluid on the ground near the rear suspension. Can someone tell me what this picture looks like and any idea how to fix this. Thanks



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Old 12-12-2010, 02:30 PM   #23
kirbykirb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuamSTI View Post
I just bought a 98' Legacy GT. The car was parked for at least 17 months. After getting it started I stepped on the brakes and it felt spongy and then there was a puddle of brake fluid on the ground near the rear suspension. Can someone tell me what this picture looks like and any idea how to fix this. Thanks



install new brakelines, stainless steel do it.
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:11 PM   #24
GuamSTI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirbykirb View Post
install new brakelines, stainless steel do it.
I will but I do not think the leak is from the brake lines
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