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Old 11-20-2007, 01:20 AM   #1
nmoyer23
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Default my brakes feel like butter...

i have a 99 sc1 with abs brakes and it takes about two to three inches of me pushing my foot on the brake for the brakes to actually give. is this normal? plus, they're not strong at all. the front pads and rotors are fine, but i need to tighten my rear drums. would having loose drums cause this problem?

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Old 11-20-2007, 01:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

Have you checked your brake fluid? It's probably low, and now you probably need to bleed your brakes.

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Old 11-20-2007, 01:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

actually i bought the car just recently with 120,000 miles on it and i put on about 4,000 miles and ever since i bought it the brakes have been like this... do you think by adding more brake fluid this would help and am i in serious trouble in terms of money

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Old 11-20-2007, 01:45 AM   #4
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Happy Re: my brakes feel like butter...

adding brake fluid is like 5 bux max.... like ^^^^^ said, you probability have air in the lines, what is causing you to have spongeIE brakes.

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Old 11-20-2007, 01:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

how do you remove air in the lines?

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Old 11-20-2007, 03:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

You have to bleed each brake. im sure there is a how-to with more detailed info, but in a nut shell, each caliper has a screw that when loosened will let air out of the line as the pedal is being pushed. then you tighten it up and there is no more air in the line. you would do this a few times to be sure as much of the air is out. think of it as getting all the air out of a plastic baggy

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Old 11-20-2007, 10:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nmoyer23 View Post
but i need to tighten my rear drums. would having loose drums cause this problem?

Adjust the drum brakes first.

If this does not improve things then start trying other things. The brake system will not start working until the rear shoes are out and cause a pressure build. Until the shoes push against something the pedal movement is being used to push the shoes out.

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Old 11-20-2007, 10:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by oseberg View Post
Have you checked your brake fluid? It's probably low, and now you probably need to bleed your brakes.
Please, if you don't know the answer, don't give one. The proper thing to do of course is to first clean and adjust the rear brakes. This is the number one problem of a low or spongy brake pedal on an S-Series car. The rear brakes (drum) should be adjusted every time the front pads are replaced. If you aren't doing it, you're neglecting a very simple, quick and easy bit of preventive maintenance. The only time it is necessary to bleed the brakes is if the system has been opened due to a component being replaced. If the fluid was low enough in the reservoir to warrant being bled, the red BRAKE light would be lit up like a Christmas tree. Needless brake bleeding more often than not is going to create problems, not solve them.

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Old 11-21-2007, 12:06 AM   #9
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

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Please, if you don't know the answer, don't give one.
Honestly i would take every suggestion regardless whether its right or wrong. The more information you have, the better analysis you can do on defining the problem

OP: after you check out ur rear breaks, might want to check out ur struts also. i just changed mine, and my breaks are alot tighter. just a thought

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Old 11-21-2007, 12:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

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Originally Posted by Squareback View Post
The rear brakes (drum) should be adjusted every time the front pads are replaced.
Really? I've never adjusted mine, and I've replaced my front pads. No sponginess at all in my brakes.

If your rear brakes don't self adjust when you use the parking brakes, then there's something wrong with how they've been put together or something is malfunctioning in your rear brakes and should be repaired.

The most common cause of sponginess on any car with hydraulic brakes is air in the lines. Usually caused by allowing the brake fluid to get too low. Which in turn is usually caused by a leaky slave cylinder in one of the tires.

Bleeding the brakes is a 5 minute job with the help of a buddy to press the brakes for you while you turn the nipple. The best way to do it is with a tube that fits the nipple, a box wrench, and a can to catch the fluid. You open the nipple a little, then tell your assistant to press the brakes, then you tighten the nipple then ask your assistant to stop pressing the brakes. You do this several times at each tire and the problem will be solved and your slave cylinders should be filled with fresh clean brake fluid.

If your rear brake pads are not adjusted properly you need to be a little smarter to figure out why they're not self adjusting properly.

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Old 11-21-2007, 03:35 AM   #11
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by oseberg View Post
If your rear brakes don't self adjust when you use the parking brakes, then there's something wrong with how they've been put together or something is malfunctioning in your rear brakes and should be repaired.
Rear brakes, on a good day, are adjusted when you apply the hydraulic brakes in reverse. The parking brake is cable operated and has NO impact on the hydraulics, or on the adjuster between the shoes. That said, the reverse self-adjusters can't be trusted, and haven't been in decades.

Quote:
The most common cause of sponginess on any car with hydraulic brakes is air in the lines. Usually caused by allowing the brake fluid to get too low. Which in turn is usually caused by a leaky slave cylinder in one of the tires.
Which is the REAL problem. Bleeding the brakes, and/or adding brake fluid, are palliatives that mask a problem. With normal operation of a hydraulic braking system, with physical wear of the pads and shoes and their subsequent replacement, and periodic adjustment of the rears, there should NEVER be air introduced into the hydraulics. Air in the hydraulics is a symptom of a more serious problem.

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Old 11-21-2007, 08:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

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Originally Posted by rc1488 View Post
OP: after you check out ur rear breaks, might want to check out ur struts also. i just changed mine, and my breaks are alot tighter. just a thought
B-R-A-K-E-S

Struts have absolutely zero affect on the tightness of your brakes.

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Old 11-21-2007, 08:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by oseberg View Post
If your rear brakes don't self adjust when you use the parking brakes, then there's something wrong with how they've been put together or something is malfunctioning in your rear brakes and should be repaired.
If your rear brake pads are not adjusted properly you need to be a little smarter to figure out why they're not self adjusting properly.
You've already had two different factory Certified Saturn Techs tell you the rear brakes need periodic adjusting. Why do you keep fighting about this? Just because you neglet your vehicle doesn't mean you should start spreading the word to others to neglect theirs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oseberg View Post
The most common cause of sponginess on any car with hydraulic brakes is air in the lines. Usually caused by allowing the brake fluid to get too low. Which in turn is usually caused by a leaky slave cylinder in one of the tires.

This statement about the most common cause being air in the lines is without a doubt FALSE. There should never be air in hydraulic braking systems, ever. A blown out wheel cylinder is going to cause there to be no brakes whatsoever, and obviously require repair. This as I have said is the only time bleeding should be necessary. Again, if you don't know the answer, please don't give one, you're only confusing people who are actually here to learn something about their cars. You on the other hand want to argue about systems you clearly know nothing about and your "my way is the only way" attitude gets a little boring.

Rear drum braks need to be periodically cleaned and adjusted. The self adjusting system doesn't do a good enough job to rely on it working without any maintenance at all. It's a simple 20 minute operation.

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Old 11-21-2007, 08:22 AM   #14
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

After driving my other car with "instant brakes" I don't like my SC1's brakes at all. Takes too much travel for the brakes to engage, but from what I've read thats what the engineers wanted.

How do you have tight break's? Long or short maybe...but tight? Unless....nope not going there.

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Old 11-21-2007, 09:58 AM   #15
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Squareback View Post
Please, if you don't know the answer, don't give one. The proper thing to do of course is to first clean and adjust the rear brakes. This is the number one problem of a low or spongy brake pedal on an S-Series car. The rear brakes (drum) should be adjusted every time the front pads are replaced. If you aren't doing it, you're neglecting a very simple, quick and easy bit of preventive maintenance. The only time it is necessary to bleed the brakes is if the system has been opened due to a component being replaced. If the fluid was low enough in the reservoir to warrant being bled, the red BRAKE light would be lit up like a Christmas tree. Needless brake bleeding more often than not is going to create problems, not solve them.
My car sat for close to a year in the driveway, and I've just got it back on the road last week. I find the brakes very "mushy" also. There's lot's of pad on both front brakes, and I cleaned the rotors of any residual rust. How do I service the rear brakes? Can you give an abbreviated how to? Thanks.

J.

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Old 11-21-2007, 10:37 AM   #16
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

I had this problem recently on my 95 SL2. I found that the pads on the front had plenty of wear left but the caliper guide pins were sticking not allowing the caliper to freely slide. I went ahead and bought new pads, had the rotors turned and cleaned and greased the guide pins. Problem solved.

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Old 11-21-2007, 11:52 AM   #17
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

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Originally Posted by blackeagle1 View Post
I had this problem recently on my 95 SL2. I found that the pads on the front had plenty of wear left but the caliper guide pins were sticking not allowing the caliper to freely slide. I went ahead and bought new pads, had the rotors turned and cleaned and greased the guide pins. Problem solved.
Hmm. So, I need to service the sliders? I always appreciated Wolfmans pictures and how to's. He was the main reason I managed to actually change the engine cradle by myself. I'm no mechanic, and would never have tackled something like that without seeing it done first. I'd just like a brief explanation how to service the back brakes. My Chiltons is turning out to be the suck when I need more info on things like changing brakes.

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Old 11-21-2007, 12:48 PM   #18
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

BTW, the brakes in Fabio's SC2 feel like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

(sorry....)

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Old 11-21-2007, 01:00 PM   #19
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Default Re: my brakes feel like butter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tercero View Post
Hmm. So, I need to service the sliders? I always appreciated Wolfmans pictures and how to's. He was the main reason I managed to actually change the engine cradle by myself. I'm no mechanic, and would never have tackled something like that without seeing it done first. I'd just like a brief explanation how to service the back brakes. My Chiltons is turning out to be the suck when I need more info on things like changing brakes.
Sorry, I don't have pictures. The are 2 13mm bolts that attach the brake caliper to a bracket that is mounted to the knuckle. They are about 4 inches long and are cylindrical on the end. Be careful as they might be rusted in place. Once you get them out, clean them up with brakeclean or some other type of solvent. If they are really rusted and pitted, I would replace them. Apply a liberal coat of grease along the cylindrical part of the bolt and reinstall.

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