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Old 07-28-2005, 07:54 PM   #1
acr2001
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Default very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

Hey guys my non abs brakes are TERRIBLE... the pedal is low, mushy, and hits the floor. i can make a fairly hard stop, but cant skid as i think i should be able to when slamming the pedal. My brake fluid is very black... could it be bad fluid, and is there an easy way i can check? If it is bad then ill have them bled, but i dont want to have a mechanic do that for nothing. My fluid level is and has been perfect for years, so theres no way its a leak.

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- 1993 SL1 Auto 100,000+ miles

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Old 07-28-2005, 08:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

have you ever had the brake fluid bleed or flushed and refilled in those 100,000 miles? brake fluid should be a honey golden color (or blue if it's ate super blue) not black. get two or three 12 oz bottles of fresh brake fluid and pump out all the black stuff.

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Old 07-28-2005, 08:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

id do it myself, but i havent heard good things about bleeding brakes on these forums! Is there any wolfman proceedure for that? or could you outline one for me? do i have to take the wheels off to get to the bleeders? thanks!

- and no they have NEVER been bled as far as i know

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- 1993 SL1 Auto 100,000+ miles

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Old 07-28-2005, 08:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

by the way my front pads and rotors are new, and the brakes were mushy before and after

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Old 07-28-2005, 08:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

here's an article on bleeding the brakes from SPS and teamscR
http://www.teamscr.com/brakes.html

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Old 07-28-2005, 08:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eRic 02sc2
here's an article on bleeding the brakes from SPS and teamscR
http://www.teamscr.com/brakes.html
Good article. Follow those instructions and you should not have a problem. A spongy or soft pedal are symptoms of air in the system. If with steady pressure on the pedal, it slowly sinks to the floor, that may indicate a bad master cyl.

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Old 07-28-2005, 11:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

It doesent slowly sink to the floor. However, sometimes, it helps to pump the brakes, but not really. theyre usually very regular.

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Old 07-28-2005, 11:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

I know this is a real long shot, but is there any possibility of bleeding the brakes on an sl1 without removing the wheels / jacking up the vehicle? Otherwise i think im going to take it to a mechanic to have it done. thanks.

- just a better discription:
my pedal is low to begin with, and once you begin to brake you have to keep going lower and lower, because the brakes engage slowwly as you go down, not sharply. (what i call mushy!) theyll go far enough down that they hit the floor. at that point you're braking pretty hard, but still hitting the floor!

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Old 07-29-2005, 02:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by acr2001
I know this is a real long shot, but is there any possibility of bleeding the brakes on an sl1 without removing the wheels / jacking up the vehicle? Otherwise i think im going to take it to a mechanic to have it done. thanks.

!
I won't say it can't be done but it sure will be a lot more hassle. If you don't take the wheels off I don't see any way to do it with out getting the car up so you can get under it. I think it would be a real pain in the

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Old 07-29-2005, 09:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

Quote:
I know this is a real long shot, but is there any possibility of bleeding the brakes on an sl1 without removing the wheels / jacking up the vehicle? Otherwise i think im going to take it to a mechanic to have it done. thanks.
not likely. depending on your wheels you might be able to reach the bleed screws inside the wheel openings. my sc2 has 5-spoke 16-inch wheels and I can reach in between the spokes and touch the bleed screws with the wheels on the car.
can you "see" the bleed screws on yours? if not, the wheels must be removed.

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Old 07-29-2005, 10:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

Sounds like you have a bad master cylinder. Or a leak in the line. But if there is still fluid and it's black, then I would suspect a bad master cylinder.

--Tom

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Old 07-29-2005, 10:10 AM   #12
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

nah i cant see anything through my wheels. to the mechanic she goes! ill let you guys know how it turns out. thanks!

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Old 07-29-2005, 10:11 AM   #13
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom92SCm
Sounds like you have a bad master cylinder. Or a leak in the line. But if there is still fluid and it's black, then I would suspect a bad master cylinder.

--Tom
I thought a bad master cylinder meant fluid leaking past whatever plunger type device is in there... and causing the pedal to sink over time...i can sit at a light for plenty of time with my foot on the pedal, and it doesent drop at all.

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Old 07-29-2005, 10:41 AM   #14
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

I would start with the bleeding, since to me that is what it sounds like. Also though couldn't a weak flex hose cause the same problem?

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Old 07-29-2005, 01:05 PM   #15
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky King
Good article. Follow those instructions and you should not have a problem. A spongy or soft pedal are symptoms of air in the system. If with steady pressure on the pedal, it slowly sinks to the floor, that may indicate a bad master cyl.

i recently found out that i had a bad master cylinder, but the symptoms weren't what i would call 'normal' for that type of problem. the pedal just had a REALLY long throw to it, no sinking, no fading. once you were into the brakes, it braked normally. this went on for about 2 years (i don't drive the car all the time). finally, after an autox on a road-course (waterford hills), i had them checked by a professional. $204.00 fixed my problem (i don't do master cylinders).

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Old 07-29-2005, 07:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

I guess this means the issue could be my master cylinder, could be my fluid... how to find out? I guess i should change the fluid anyway, itll probably help. Does anyone else have any insight into this? How to check fluid or master cylinder to determine exactly what is wrong?

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Old 07-29-2005, 08:47 PM   #17
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Post Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

My 2 cent. Have the rear brakes manually adjusted up tight. Then bleed the brakes until you get clean fluid at all 4 wheels.

Brake fluid absorbs water (dot 3). Moisture from the air and condensation. Under hard use brake temps can get high enough to boil the water out of the fluid. Now there is air in the system even tho there are no leaks. On old style mastercylinders with the large metal covers you could pump up the brakes. hold pressure on the pedal, remove the cover, slide your foot off the pedal and let it fly up. If there is air in the system you would actually see a stream of brake fluid shoot up from the mastercylinder. Careful of the paint! I imagine you could use this same check on the satty.

Good luck and let us know.

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Old 07-29-2005, 09:27 PM   #18
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

...remove large metal cover? huh? it sounds like a good idea, if i new what you were talking about (yea im a noob) please elaborate for me! Thanks!

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Old 07-29-2005, 09:29 PM   #19
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

peppermj brings up yet another point, my mechanic has some kind of issue with the saturn rear drums. he says he cant get to the adjuster because its in a hard to reach area and the hole doesent line up well. what should i tell him? (i know, get a new mechanic. hes been doing work for us for a long time and we trust him so i dont think im going to do that)

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Old 07-30-2005, 07:50 AM   #20
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Default Re: very mushy brakes, pedal hits the floor - bad fluid?

The adjuster doesn't line up with the hole and is adjusted by using the emergency brake I was told. I know when we took the drums off the boys 97 SC1 the adjusters weren't even close to the access hole.

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