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Old 07-20-2005, 09:56 PM   #1
xltmike
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2002 VUE 2.2L
2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Sudden Brake Failure

So... Has anyone else experienced sudden brake failure??
On three occasions now, I've applied pressure to the brake pedal to have it go right to the floor. Upon quick thinking, I pumped the pedal and achieved brakes. Since the dealer can't duplicate the problem, it's not a problem in their eyes. But, when asked if they would put their family in the car knowing that the brakes could fail at anytime, I think you know what the answer is..

Anyone else ever experience this???

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Old 07-21-2005, 07:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

Never with a saturn, but when I owned a blazer, it did that very frequently. They replaced the entire braking system multiple times (so they claimed at least) and nothing helped. it was not a pleasant feeling to be comming upon a major intersection with no breaks...so I understand where you are comming from. Pumping did nothing for those breaks...the emergency brake did not always work either.

Good luck with that problem...

...
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Old 07-21-2005, 08:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

I hate it when the BRAKE system BREAKS.

sounds like a power brake booster problem.

...
for the first time in 8 years, I don't own a saturn.

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Old 07-21-2005, 08:28 AM   #4
xltmike
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

They have tested each braking component. Each is up the spec. They told me that traveling down hill can cause heat in the brakes which could cause a problem. I responded by saying. "Really?? Let's go for a ride!!" Funny how they did not get in the car with me... As of right now, I have a formal complaint with Saturn and NHTSA. (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration). We'll see if the dealer does right by this and just pays off the car.

I want my SL2 back. damn those deer...............

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Old 07-21-2005, 08:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

If its not a problem with your rotors or pads

then check

Brakelines? Master Cylinder/Booster

make sure none of the seals are leaking

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Old 07-21-2005, 09:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

All have been checked, tested and verified. There is nothing "Mechanical" wrong. If it was mechanical, there should be evidence. No leaks. Fluid level is within 1mm of the full mark. My thought was the maybe ABS brakes. However, these also tested fine. I've worked on cars for 30 some years. Never, have I had a problem like this. And so random. It's happend 3 times. A year ago in July. In January and again just the other day. I live in Western NY. (Ok.. I know that's my problem... But, what about the cars???)
I just hope no one gets hurt or even worse because of this problem. It's scary since the computer shows no evidence of the failure. I wonder how many accidents have happened because of this??

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Old 07-21-2005, 09:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

If this was my car I would probably get the master cylinder changed out
especially if everything else seems fine even though it might not be the problem.

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Old 07-21-2005, 09:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

This car will never be driven by me again. I removed my plates and Reg. I'm now hoping the dealer does right by this. I know we all get stuck with a lemon once or twice in our lives. I'd like to live to fight over the next one.
Please don't buy an '02 Silver L200 5-speed with 48,500 miles on it in WNY or near by. It may be the last car you buy...

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Old 07-21-2005, 12:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

I have had this happen to me recently... But I brought it upon myself. I had a local shop with questionable talent install my rear rotors and pads (both of which are from questionable after markets store). The fit was so bad, the rear wheels woudn't move freely. Right after I drove out, thick smoke started coming out of rear wheels. I pulled into a gas station and the attendant had this "oh my god, this guy is going to blow up my station" look on his face. After I pulled out, thats when the failure occurred... the pedal went right thru to the floor but it was reset on its own after pumping it a few times... now the pedal is taut.. The tight fit has relaxed in couple days, and now its okay...

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Old 07-21-2005, 12:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by xltmike
This car will never be driven by me again. I removed my plates and Reg. I'm now hoping the dealer does right by this. I know we all get stuck with a lemon once or twice in our lives. I'd like to live to fight over the next one.
Please don't buy an '02 Silver L200 5-speed with 48,500 miles on it in WNY or near by. It may be the last car you buy...
Is there another place that you can have the brakes checked .. Get a second opinion.

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Old 07-21-2005, 01:13 PM   #11
xltmike
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

Yes. I went to another certified Saturn dealer and an independent shop. Both could not find a thing wrong. Without being able to repeat the problem on a regular basis, people look at me like I'm crazy. Trust me.... Maybe a little bit, but not in this case....

It appears that the dealer is going to work a deal with me.

Thanks to everyone who tried to help. If this should happen to anyone, please report it to www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

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Old 07-21-2005, 01:27 PM   #12
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

I've heard of ABS failures in some cars doing this.

Might post to Tech Talk.

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Old 07-21-2005, 03:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

Since he mentioned his car had a manual tranny had me thinking.

Is it true the clutch uses the same reservoir (brake fluid)for the clutch?
I remember hearing about this in people who had problems with their slave cylinders. They noticed a loss of brake fluid prior to losing the clutch.

Not sure if this leads anywhere, but it's just a hunch.

...
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Old 07-21-2005, 03:39 PM   #14
xltmike
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

Ah... Very nice thought. I had the slave cylinder replaced in the spring of this year. But...... Let me add this to the mix... I've driven standard for a good number of years. I have a tendancy to push in the clutch and coast. I drive 30 miles one way to work. 1/2 up hill 1/2 down hill. There's spots on back country roads I'll coast for 2 1/2 or 3 miles. (i'm getting approx 38 MPG). Could there be something with a fluid sensor, or a signal being sent to or from the computer that might cause this??

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Old 07-21-2005, 05:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by unkle bik
Since he mentioned his car had a manual tranny had me thinking.

Is it true the clutch uses the same reservoir (brake fluid)for the clutch?
I remember hearing about this in people who had problems with their slave cylinders. They noticed a loss of brake fluid prior to losing the clutch.

Not sure if this leads anywhere, but it's just a hunch.
That's what happened when my clutch slave cylinder leaked. I never lost brakes though.

...
"Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos"

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Old 07-21-2005, 08:17 PM   #16
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by xltmike
So... Has anyone else experienced sudden brake failure??
On three occasions now, I've applied pressure to the brake pedal to have it go right to the floor. Upon quick thinking, I pumped the pedal and achieved brakes. Since the dealer can't duplicate the problem, it's not a problem in their eyes. But, when asked if they would put their family in the car knowing that the brakes could fail at anytime, I think you know what the answer is..

Anyone else ever experience this???

Sounds like the fluid is reaching boiling point. This can be caused by the parking brake not being fully released. The rear rotors heat up from the dragging brake, when they get hot enough the fluid in the rear brake cylinders boils and you loose brakes. A faulty brake booster can case the same problem by causing the brakes to be lightly applied at all times. Since your car has seen 3 winters of road salt, I would bet the parking brake cables are binding on occasion.

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Old 07-22-2005, 08:28 AM   #17
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

Good thought. The Service manager said they "heated" up the fluid as part of the testing. I asked him how they did that. He wasn't sure b/c the "top tech" who worked on the car had gone home. I have had trouble with the front left caliper and right rear hanging up at times. This makes the most sense. But, why not happen on the thruway when I've drive for 50 - 100 + miles without touching the brakes? I might be willing to try things if someone else had the same problem solved.

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Old 07-22-2005, 10:24 AM   #18
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

Have the 3 failures occurred at similar points in your trip or were they completely random?

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Old 07-22-2005, 10:59 AM   #19
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

If failure occures after car had been driven a while I would suspect the fluid may be overheating and boiling (it wont behave properly until it cools).

If master cylinder is bad it often will behave by the 2nd or 3rd pump and tend to act up more when its cold ....... not that it would ever get cold in tropical Wales NY located just north of the equator.

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Old 07-22-2005, 11:46 AM   #20
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Default Re: Sudden Brake Failure

I would put money on it being a failing master cylinder. When they start to go out, it is intermittant, and the pedal will go to the floor. Change it out anyway. It's not an expensive part.

There are few things that could cause the pedal to hit the floor. Master cylinderis the most common. Power brake booster could also do it, but it's not as common and sometimes you will hear a vacuum leak in it while you push the pedal.

...
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