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Old 07-30-2012, 05:48 PM   #1
4petesake
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2001 SC1
Default brakes and pedal feel

hi all, i am getting ready to do my brakes front and rear. 1st off ive never driven a saturn with good brakes, i test drove 8 scs before i purchased my sc1 and all had a low weak pedal feel to me and they all had 100+ thousand mi on them so i am curious if thats the norm for my car or not. as far as parts i am planning on ordering raybestos advanced tech rotors with premium pads front and premium drums and shoes rear plus hardware f & r. i will be ordering parts @ end of week so i would like some feedback there so i can alter my parts plan if needed.thanks all!

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Old 07-30-2012, 08:33 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: brakes and pedal feel

You need to ask yourself one simple question. Are you willing to risk your life on a car that doesn't stop when you want it to? Do not accept any car that doesn't stop, period. ABS or not. If a car can't lock up its brakes (pre-ABS) then something's wrong.

One simple exam. Does the brake fluid look dark brown or black? Fresh DOT-3 brake fluid is clear to light honey colored. If yours is dark then the brake fluid most likely was never replaced and may be the main reason for lack of braking capability if brakes are adjusted properly. The master brake cylinder may be worn out and allowing the pedal to sink to the floor from lack of periodic brake fluid replacement. If fluid replacement doesn't allow a firm pedal to lock up brakes then the master cylinder needs to be replaced and system fully flushed/bled with all brakes adjusted correctly. You may be looking at an entire brake overhaul to restore full braking as it came from the factory. Its not just replacing rotors, drums, pads, shoes, and miscellaneous items.

Brake fluid will absorb moisture from the air and contrary to opinion, the reservoir cap does not seal brake fluid from air and moisture. All Saturns have vented brake caps to allow fluid to freely flow into the front (and rear if equipped) disc brake calipers. As disc pads wear down the caliper piston moves away from the caliper housing and fluid fills the empty space. Once pads are replaced, almost everyone pushes the caliper piston back, returning old fluid back into the lines and master cylinder. Never replacing brake fluid periodically will simply allow moisture to be absorbed and allow the master cylinder to wear out.

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Old 07-31-2012, 03:27 PM   #3
4petesake
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Default Re: brakes and pedal feel

ty for your response fdryer, my car now has 93,000 mi and fluid is turning dark so i will replace it also, although messing with those bleeders scares me a little. as far as pedal feel, its the same as the other saturns i was able to drive but they were high mileage cars wich is why i posed the question about pedal feel. any tips on handling those bleeders?

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Old 07-31-2012, 06:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: brakes and pedal feel

There are tutorials like How Stuff Works, youtube videos and many companies online explaining brake systems and how to flush a brake system. While not a normal DIY routine because of errors that can lead to loss of brakes if done incorrectly, reading all information necessary to perform brake maintenance is in your best interest for safety otherwise leave this to a brake shop to perform. There are posts here from members explaining the procedure too.

Bleed screws are either seized in place from never being used or opened with either flare or open end wrenches. Since hydraulic pressure is generated, loosening and tightening requires some knowledge to prevent leaks as bleed screws are easily overtightened, rounding off shoulders.

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Old 07-31-2012, 08:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: brakes and pedal feel

yes, i have reviewed the procedure,cracking a bleeder is my biggest fear, is it safe to hit them with some penetrating oil a couple days in advance?

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Old 07-31-2012, 09:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: brakes and pedal feel

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4petesake View Post
yes, i have reviewed the procedure,cracking a bleeder is my biggest fear, is it safe to hit them with some penetrating oil a couple days in advance?
It's not only safe, but a very good idea. I would give them a shot every day or so, for at least a few days. Often they'll come right out. Other times they will break. Be sure you have a way to get to the parts store if they were to break such that you cannot repair it.

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Old 08-01-2012, 12:40 AM   #7
regenoldiii
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1995 SC1
Default Re: brakes and pedal feel

I wanted to chime in about brakes on the SC. I have a 95 and can tell you that for a long time they would not lock up and in general, the brakes are not very strong. I was at a Saturn Junkyard about an hour outside of Pittsburgh and this was pre-brake job and the guy at the yard (who had a NOS powered SW2) and asking about a master cylinder and complaining that my brakes didn't lock up and he basically said that was typical.

The above said, I did a complete bleed with all new fluid (using a Mityvac to pressure bleed). I also noticed some of the slider pins on front breaks were "gunked up" and had some corrosion... so replaced them as well. Finally, I added two new wheel cylinders to the rear drums. After everything was done, my car breaks would actually lock up again.

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