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Old 04-25-2017, 01:18 PM   #21
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2001 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

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THANK YOU for the clear photos and instructions! Very much appreciated!

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Old 04-25-2017, 10:27 PM   #22
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
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Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

I replaced the booster on my 02 Lw300 because it failed slowly over time. The assist gradually decreased, you won't hear a hiss in the drivers compartment the way this car is setup. I also changed the check valve and checked vacuum at the intake before condemning the booster. After replacement my brakes returned to working properly on my car.

...
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2002 L200 grandson's car now
2002 LW300 sold.

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Old 04-25-2017, 11:51 PM   #23
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

02 LW300, I'm not sure if my power assist unit is failing because brakes are fine ever since I bought mine used in '05 (its an '03). My brakes require some moderate pedal effort to stop and doesn't matter whether using ceramic or semi metallic brake pads. Other cars I've driven seem to grab brakes at light to moderate pedal effort. I've never had abs activate in heavy braking on smooth surfaces no matter how hard I try but abs will activate on almost any uneven surface at any speed when braking (higher than recommended speeds). Does my description seem to point to a worn out power brake unit?

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Old 04-26-2017, 09:06 AM   #24
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Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

My lw300 is the car that I changed the booster on. My booster failed over a six month period. It went from ok brakes to almost no power assist. This car had about 170k miles on it.
My l200 brakes work fine. I have put about 9000 miles on this car since I repaired the engine. I bought this car with a broken chain at 130k miles. I have driven many cars with more aggressive brakes, but these are fine.

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Old 04-26-2017, 10:57 AM   #25
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Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

Braking ability is unique to each make/model of car, so you cannot really compare apples to oranges.

If you drive one car, then step into another car of another make, you may well either be very happy with the braking ability or not. BUT that is not to say that either car has bad or failing brakes, just different brakes.

I'm not sure that the OP got into the dilemma he now finds himself in because he was comparing apples to oranges to begin with.

As for a failing brake booster, there are specific testing procedures for checking it is functioning correctly. The Haynes Manual details the steps for the L Series.

Back in the UK I had several Citroens which used a totally different system of braking than any other car. The system gives no 'feel', so Citroen had to build in artificial feel when they moved from a brake button on the floor to the traditional pedal. But boy were those brakes the best. By contrast my Suburban, which is known for a 'mushy feel' to the brakes, can give cause for concern if you let it. It is after all a big barge. But wth braking goes anticipation, and there lies the difference in how many folks drive.

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Old 04-28-2017, 08:02 PM   #26
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Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

Greetings everyone,

This is where I'm at: The mechanic is 99% sure that I received a defective booster (A1 Cardone). I have ordered tons of parts from RockAuto.com and this is the first time that I possibly received a defective item. My mechanic's warehouse doesn't stock boosters for my car and he said it would take him at least a week to get one. WE could check junkyards (unknown operating condition) or a Chevy dealer (expensive if available). The mechanic also mentioned that boosters and several other parts are unique to Saturn, and may be difficult to locate now and in the future.

So I brought the car home and ordered a booster from PepBoys. Other auto parts places either didn't stock it, or it would be at least 2 weeks to get. PepBoys could get it by Monday 5/1. So I'm returning this booster to RockAuto.

In the meantime, I put the old original booster in and bled the brakes. I verified that the original booster is not working by depleting the boost when off, then starting the car. The pedal "feels sloppy" and goes down half way. When I start the car holding the pedal down half way, the pedal doesn't go down at all. There's a good 2 inches of pedal travel before the brakes start engaging, although they do stop the car. I also drove the car several miles, and the brakes DID NOT lock up. The car free wheels nicely with no grab.

So, I'm waiting to get the PepBoys booster on Monday. Odds are low at getting a defective booster, and they are even lower getting 2 defective boosters from different suppliers/rebuilders. By now, I've also completely flushed and bled the brake fluid. It comes out nice and clean and pretty clear now.

I will let everyone know what happens with the next booster by Tuesday.

Thanks again for everyone's input!

Gabe

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Old 04-28-2017, 10:46 PM   #27
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Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

I bought my booster at Napa, my company gets a good discount and returning the core was easy. Glad you are getting this resolved.

...
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2002 L200 grandson's car now
2002 LW300 sold.

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Old 04-29-2017, 08:27 AM   #28
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Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

If you bought from RA why didn't you just return the faulty one and get a replacement one?

I have only once had to return a defective part to RA (a brake caliper where the bleed valve broke in two before installation). RA pick up the freight, they send you your replacement as soon as they have the tracking number for the item you are sending back. So both items pass by one another. It's very quick.

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Old 05-01-2017, 10:17 PM   #29
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Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

Greetings,

I ordered from a different source because I didn't want to risk getting another bad booster, AND Pepboys got theirs faster.

Question: Can a bad master cylinder make the pedal feel mushy? There are no leaks or any sign of wear. But if the pedal travels like 2 inches before the brakes grab, could that be the master cylinder?

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Old 05-01-2017, 10:56 PM   #30
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Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

Mushy low pedal sounds like air on a four wheel disc brake car. Low pedal on a car with rear drums may just be out of adjustment.

...
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2002 L200 grandson's car now
2002 LW300 sold.

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Old 05-01-2017, 11:45 PM   #31
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Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by deanmerc View Post
Greetings,

I ordered from a different source because I didn't want to risk getting another bad booster, AND Pepboys got theirs faster.

Question: Can a bad master cylinder make the pedal feel mushy? There are no leaks or any sign of wear. But if the pedal travels like 2 inches before the brakes grab, could that be the master cylinder?
Based on the quote above am I to understand that the second booster has been installed?

In answer to your question, yes, a bad master cylinder will cause the excessive and mushy pedal travel you have described. However, the brakes may not even "grab" adequately to stop, or perhaps not stop at all, as they would under normal conditions. Was this part of your experience prior to the replacement of the original power brake booster?

You'd mentioned in the original post that all four sets of pads had been replaced. Before condemning the master cylinder, please re-bleed the brakes at all four wheels. I'm very much in agreement with LW300 in his assessment. In case you're not familiar, the order of bleeding goes 1)R/R, 2) L/F, 3) L/R, 4) R/F. Additionally, check the flexible brake lines for sponginess. If found in that condition, replace them.

...
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Last edited by pierrot; 05-01-2017 at 11:56 PM..

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Old 05-01-2017, 11:50 PM   #32
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Default Re: 2001 L300 power brake booster and locked brakes

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.... Question: Can a bad master cylinder make the pedal feel mushy? There are no leaks or any sign of wear. But if the pedal travels like 2 inches before the brakes grab, could that be the master cylinder?
The correct tried and true method of testing/checking brakes before driving, as performed by every brake repair shop and every diyer; a full system repair to all brakes including parts along with brake fluid replacement as necessary followed by bleeding all four wheels in correct sequence. When done correctly and without the engine running, brake pedal application will always have pedal travel between two to six inches as hydraulic pressure is created with the pedal stopping. A firm pedal without mushiness or spongy feeling without bottoming indicates correct brake and fluid replacement and bleeding procedures. Brake pedal should never fall to the floor when pressed as if your life depended on it. If a brake pedal does fall to the floor, a leak occurred/incorrect bleeding procedures weren't followed/brakes weren't serviced correctly to minimize brake material to rotor or drum clearance. This is before the engine is started. Once the engine is running, the vacuum supplied to the vacuum brake boost unit provides power assisted braking when brakes are applied. It's never advised to test brake pedal travel with the engine running as the power assist unit masks how well or not the master cylinder is operating. Without the engine running, the brake master cylinder is the brake system and always tested this way. Power assist multiplies leg power so a car can lock up brakes. 80,000 lb trucks can't stop unless power assisted braking is available. The same for commercial airlines. They have a dozen or so disc brakes along with mechanical hydraulic pumps to assist in stopping big airplanes.

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