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Old 01-18-2005, 02:16 PM   #1
slvrwgn
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Default Bled then flushed my brakes... no improvement. What did I do wrong? (long)

After about 15K miles on my stock WRX I started noticing a very mushy/spongy brake pedal. I checked the pads and have plenty left.

After reading the instructions on scoobymods, I felt very comfortable bleeding my own brakes. I used standard DOT3 fluid (completely stock brakes) and followed the Subaru bleed pattern: passenger front, driver rear, driver front, passenger rear.

This didn't help with the mushy/spongy pedal. A couple folks suggested that possibly the canyon driving that I do might have boiled the fluid, and that I should flush it as opposed to just bleeding.

So, I do the whole process over again, this time basically just bleeding more from each corner until I was sure I had completely removed all the old fluid and replaced it with new fluid. Note that during the bleed and flush process I did keep the master cyclinder 3/4 to completely full, never letting it go empty.

Well, after the flush I still had the same problems. At this point I figure I'll just bring it to the dealer since I'm still under warranty and my car is stock. After the dealer looked at it they concluded that I have air in my lines and that the brakes need bleeding. Oh yeah, and they'd charge me $75 if I wanted them to bleed it for me.

So, obviously I've done something wrong, but I can't figure out where I messed up. It's such a simple task that I'm sitting here scratching my head.

Are there any tricks to getting out ALL the air in the lines? Please help, this is driving me nuts. Also, does that seem right for the dealer to charge for bleeding a brake system on a car that's still under warranty?

TIA,
Matt-
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Old 01-18-2005, 02:40 PM   #2
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There's no trick that I know of. Since I don't usually have a helper around, I use Speedbleeders and have bled my brakes once when installing SS lines and again when I installed my BBK. Both times went fine with no issues. Are you sure you bled them correctly?

Calvin
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Old 01-18-2005, 02:45 PM   #3
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There are lots of different ways to bleed the brakes including power bleeders and vacuum bleeders. Which process did you use?
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Old 01-18-2005, 02:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Well, after the flush I still had the same problems. At this point I figure I'll just bring it to the dealer since I'm still under warranty and my car is stock. After the dealer looked at it they concluded that I have air in my lines and that the brakes need bleeding. Oh yeah, and they'd charge me $75 if I wanted them to bleed it for me.
The dealer may be guessing and/or just doing that as the first thing they try. Essentially, you will be paying $75 to find out if you did it right or not.
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Old 01-18-2005, 02:59 PM   #5
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you could've done it perfectly and have a bad m/c or booster correct me if I'm wrong gurus.
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Old 01-18-2005, 03:52 PM   #6
slvrwgn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneOBS
There are lots of different ways to bleed the brakes including power bleeders and vacuum bleeders. Which process did you use?
I used the standard bleeding process with 2 people... one guy pumps and holds the brake pedal, then the other guy opens the bleeder valve. Once the pedal hits the floor, the bleeder valve is closed and the process is repeated until no further air can be seen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leecea
The dealer may be guessing and/or just doing that as the first thing they try. Essentially, you will be paying $75 to find out if you did it right or not.
That's very possible, my odometer had the same reading when I picked up my car as it did when I dropped it off (they might have driven the car, but if they did it wasn't for a full mile), although I find it strange that they'd charge $75 to diagnose a car that's still under the bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leadfoot77
you could've done it perfectly and have a bad m/c or booster correct me if I'm wrong gurus.
I asked about that possibility but was told that isn't possible unless the m/c was removed or replaced recently...

I'm stumped.
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:46 PM   #7
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Bleeding is not covered under the warranty unless a warrantied repair requires it. For example, when they replaced my clutch slave under warranty, bleeding the clutch was covered,too.
One of the periodic maintenance items is replacing brake fluid. That's not covered under warranty, so just plain bleeding isn't either.
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:48 PM   #8
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True, but you can probably get it done quite cheaply at Midas or somewhere. Give them a call.
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:58 PM   #9
slvrwgn
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I can understand periodic maintenance not being covered. I'm not trying to get periodic maintenance covered. Really, I just want to my brakes to feel like they should. But it begs the question: Why was there air in my lines in the first place? Doesn't the introduction of air into an completely stock brake system seem like a problem? If not, why doesn't the maintenance schedule mention anything about bleeding brakes? It only mentions replacing brake fluid at 30K miles, but nothing about bleeding.
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Old 01-19-2005, 10:32 AM   #10
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IMHO, I think there are two things here. The normal maintenance bleeding is to replace old fluid that will have absorbed water over the years and will have somewhat decreased performance. The frequent bleeding done by racers or other high-performance drivers is because high brake temps can cause boiling and hence gas bubbles in the fluid. Normal use will not do that, and you are correct that air will not get into a properly functioning brake system.

After having my Scooby for a while I was concerned that it had a soft pedal feel on first depression, then a harder feel if I let off and depressed the pedal again. When I asked about this online, I was told it is pretty normal for our cars, so I stopped worrying. I'm not sure if it was something that actually changed since new or something that I didn't notice at first.

I recently bled the fluid on another vehicle at 40K and the old fluid looked nasty but I could not detect any change in brake feel with the new fluid. This is to be expected, because all that changed was the old fluid's boiling point decreased.

I hope this helps...
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Old 01-19-2005, 03:48 PM   #11
armand1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvrwgn
...But it begs the question: Why was there air in my lines in the first place? Doesn't the introduction of air into an completely stock brake system seem like a problem? ...
I agree that air in the lines in the first place (if that's what it really is) would be a problem that should be covered by warranty.
In this specific case, though, you decided to try and fix it yourself instead of taking it in to the dealer to be fixed under warranty. Now they can blame this problem on your repair attempt (unless/until you can show that something is broken in the system). Since the dealer's service dept doesn't seem too friendly, I'd find an independent Subaru-specialist mechanic and pay him the $50-75 to diagnose it properly; if it turns out to be your bleeding, he'll fix the problem, and if it turns out to be something else, you've got evidence to take to the dealer to have them fix it (and perhaps a decent case to have them reimburse the cost of the independent mechanic).
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Old 01-19-2005, 04:00 PM   #12
slvrwgn
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armand1 - I can buy that. The fact that I decided to bleed my brakes myself , I suppose, would give them enough reason to assume I screwed it up. I guess I'll try it again and if it doesn't work I'll take it to an independant shop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leecea
After having my Scooby for a while I was concerned that it had a soft pedal feel on first depression, then a harder feel if I let off and depressed the pedal again. When I asked about this online, I was told it is pretty normal for our cars, so I stopped worrying.
This is not normal. This is a symptom of air in the lines. It's exactly how my car feels. I've driven a lot of other WRXs and none of them have the same soft pedal feel as mine does.
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Old 01-20-2005, 09:33 AM   #13
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just curios, what kinda fluid (brand) did you use during your first bleed, and your second time flush? was the fluid brand new or something that's been sitting on the shelf?
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Old 01-20-2005, 11:09 AM   #14
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Here is my original thread in case it helps...

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=543962
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Old 01-20-2005, 11:53 AM   #15
slvrwgn
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vile - I used standard STP DOT3 brake fluid for both the bleed and flush, and both were purchased within a couple weeks of doing the work. If it was old fluid, it was because it sat on the shelf at the store, not in my garage.

leecea - thanks for the link. at least I don't feel like I'm the only one anymore, but I still feel my brakes should feel better than they do. Everyone that owns a WRX that drives mine says my brakes suck, and even folks that drive it that own different vehicles say the same thing.

Now I really don't know what to think
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Old 01-20-2005, 01:17 PM   #16
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On my last change I used some Russel speed bleeders. It's a one way valve, so no air can go back into the system. You unscrew the valve, and pump away to bleed. They were only around $10 a pair. I also used 5.1 Motul fluid, changed the lines to SS and used some KVR pads, big improvement in performance. And very little dust.
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Old 02-14-2006, 08:48 PM   #17
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Yes! My brakes stink in comparison to others with WRXs... and I've done multiple bleedings, pad changes, etc. etc. etc. I finally broke down and bought new master cylinder & vacuum booster assemblies. Hope this works, cause it cost enough!

Off to read the other thread... good luck with your brakes.
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:30 PM   #18
Hayes
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Since your brakes were covered for 3Y/36,000 miles you didn't do yourself any favors trying to do the dealers work. Hopefully they will overlook your vain attempt to fix something you could not, They might be kind if your polite and humble and not charge you to correct or replace what every might be needed.
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:29 AM   #19
HndaTch627
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvrwgn
I used the standard bleeding process with 2 people... one guy pumps and holds the brake pedal, then the other guy opens the bleeder valve. Once the pedal hits the floor, the bleeder valve is closed and the process is repeated until no further air can be seen. .
okay NEVER do that, when you bleed the brakes you do NOT want the pedal to go to the floor. If it does you are forcing all the dirt gathered at the end of the master into the master seals. I believe you have air in the lines, you really should have someone bleed it or test drive it to compare to another subaru. I use a Vacula Vacuum Bleeder when i bleed brakes, i bleed them for about 3-4 minutes a corner with the Vacula then gravity bleed them for another 30 seconds to make sure there's no air that got in around the bleeder screw base.

One more thing to try, go beat the absolute crap out of your brakes and get your ABS to activate, I have had a couple cars in the past with a ABS solenoid stuck give the feel of a poor/lower/spongy pedal.
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:30 AM   #20
HndaTch627
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRX450
Yes! My brakes stink in comparison to others with WRXs... and I've done multiple bleedings, pad changes, etc. etc. etc. I finally broke down and bought new master cylinder & vacuum booster assemblies. Hope this works, cause it cost enough!

Off to read the other thread... good luck with your brakes.
before you install that stuff i suggest you try what i posted....it's much more likely to have a bad modulator then a bad master at such low mileage.


btw: i hope none of you are running ATE super blue and if you are, i hope you are completely flushing your brakes every 6 months.
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Old 02-15-2006, 11:25 PM   #21
armand1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HndaTch627
...
btw: i hope none of you are running ATE super blue and if you are, i hope you are completely flushing your brakes every 6 months.
I was thinking about switching to super blue at my next flush -- what's the problem w/Subies & super blue? Is Valvoline Synpower DOT3/4 OK?
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Old 02-16-2006, 01:59 AM   #22
HndaTch627
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armand1
I was thinking about switching to super blue at my next flush -- what's the problem w/Subies & super blue? Is Valvoline Synpower DOT3/4 OK?
it's more like what's the problem with ATE Super Blue....the fluid is 100% silicone, silicone is not hygroscopic(doesn't absorb water) what ends up happening is you get water in the system(this occurs naturally), the calipers rust and sieze internally as well as the ABS modulator. If you want good brake fluid i rec Valvoline Synthetic which is DOT4 or Motul RBF600 which is dot 5.1(dot 5.1 is not a silicone based where as DOT5 is silicone based).

ATE super blue is fine, IF you flush it regularlly otherwise don't use it.
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Old 02-16-2006, 02:23 AM   #23
armand1
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I agree that DOT 5 (silicone type) is bad for most applications, but fortunately ATE Super Blue is NOT silicone, it's just the blue colored version of ATE Typ 200. It's fully miscible (wow - a $64 word!) with DOT 3, 4, and 5.1 fluids and is specifically recommended for longer flush intervals because it absorbs water less easily than standard DOT 3 or 4 fluids and retains a high boiling temp even when contaminated with water.
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Old 02-16-2006, 02:36 AM   #24
HndaTch627
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i apologize i was under the impression that it was silicone based but here's a link with some good info about it

http://www.apexperformance.net/cartg...t.asp?scat=289


edit: i should add that we have had 2 cars towed in recently that the brakes would lock up as the car warmed up preventing it from moving, both cars were less that 2 years old and had ATE Super Blue in the lines, also i spoke to a Subaru Rep that has had similar problems with cars with super blue in them.
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Old 02-16-2006, 06:08 PM   #25
armand1
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OK, I'll stick to the Valvoline Synpower for the Subaru, then. Real world experience beats theory.
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