Spongy brakes after bleeding

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Spongy brakes after bleeding

Soft brakes, meaning a brake pedal that no longer offers the same reassuring pressure it normally does, can be an alarming thing to encounter while driving.

This is especially true if your brakes go soft all at once, without any advance warning. This can be due to a number of problems: a leak in a brake line, a loss of pressure within the master cylinder itself due to a failed seal, or air being introduced into the braking system.

Your first reaction to encountering spongy brakes should be to rapidly pump the brake pedal with your foot. Even if there is a defect in your braking system, this can usually generate enough pressure to stop safely on the side of the road. A sudden loss of braking pressure likely means that a leak or a seal failure occurred quite recently.

spongy brakes after bleeding

Brake fluid is usually clear or yellowish in color. If the fluid is low, try adding some and pumping the pedal to regain pressure in the system. It goes without saying that any leaking brake fluid represents a problem that should send you to your local NAPA AutoCare immediately for repair. If you happen to be in the driveway or close to home when you encounter soft brakes, you can try bleeding your brakes to remove excess air that might have entered into the system.

If you have overheated your brakes during spirited driving or towing, the fluid can boil and create gas that will make your pedal feel spongy. This is because gas, unlike fluid, can be compressed.

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Each of your brake calipers or brake drum wheel cylinders will have a bleeding screw that will allow you to force air out of the lines using the brake pedal or a brake bleeding kit and the proper bleeding procedure for your vehicle. Soft or spongy brakes can be frightening, but you can usually correct the problem without too much hassle. Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States.

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Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.

I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

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Check out these three tips for dealing with a soft brake pedal as safely as possible. Look for a Leak A sudden loss of braking pressure likely means that a leak or a seal failure occurred quite recently. Bleed Your Brakes If you happen to be in the driveway or close to home when you encounter soft brakes, you can try bleeding your brakes to remove excess air that might have entered into the system.

Related Articles. Keegan March 21, What Is a Brake Bleeder Screw? By Blair Lampe March 5, By Blair Lampe February 28, Spongy brakes are when the pedal has a mushy feel to it that seems to go away after pressing it multiple times at once but comes back after laying off the pedal. This is a big problem when getting the vehicle to stop. Spongy brakes are a result of air getting into the brake system, which can happen from leaks in the lines, too little fluid in the system or the replacement of a part like a caliper that opened up a brake line.

More than anything, you need to purge the air from the brake system with what is known as "bleeding the brakes. Raise at least one end of the vehicle on jack stands and remove the wheels so that you can access the brakes. Attach a clear rubber tube to the bleeder valve located on the brake caliper. Place the other end of the hose into a container partially filled with brake fluid. Turn the bleeder screw on the caliper to open the bleeder valve, and have another person press down on the brake pedal from inside the vehicle.

This is called "bleeding" the brakes, which purges air from the system. Continue applying the pedal repeatedly until only fluid cleanly comes out the tube. Repeat the process with the other brakes. Replace the wheels after the brakes on one end have been bled, then lower that end and switch to the other end of the vehicle. Top off the master cylinder with fresh brake fluid after all the brakes have been bled.

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Step 1 Raise at least one end of the vehicle on jack stands and remove the wheels so that you can access the brakes. Step 2 Attach a clear rubber tube to the bleeder valve located on the brake caliper. Step 3 Turn the bleeder screw on the caliper to open the bleeder valve, and have another person press down on the brake pedal from inside the vehicle.

Step 4 Repeat the process with the other brakes. Tip Check for leaks in the brake system, especially around the brake lines, hoses and fittings to the master cylinder or calipers. Replace dry, cracked hoses and worn seals or fittings, because they leak air into the system along with losing fluid.

It helps to start the bleeding process at the brake caliper farthest from the master cylinder and working your way to the closest. Warning There can be leaks in the brake system in areas other than the lines or the fittings.Your elderly car has required little in the way of episodic repair, for which you're glad.

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But at your last scheduled maintenance, the service manager advised you that you would need to replace the brake pads, front and rear, before too long. But deferring that expense for a while wouldn't be a problem, he said.

And all was fine for a couple of months, until you noticed the brake pedal dipping a little too close to the carpet while sitting at traffic lights. Not a big problem. Replacing the pads yourself on a Saturday morning should do the trick. Except that now, despite the new pads all around, the brake pedal still feels spongy and low. You need to bleed your brakes. Here's what happened. The pads wore so thin that the brake fluid level dropped too low in the master cylinder reservoir.

An air bubble or three got pumped into the lines. And because air is compressible, you now have the equivalent of a very soft spring in the solid column of brake fluid between your foot and the wheels. Bleeding the brakes will flush that air out. The job also involves replacing the old fluid with fresh, which is a good thing.

Why would the fluid need to be replaced?

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It becomes contaminated with atmospheric dirt and abrasive metal wear particles from moving parts in the master cylinder and calipers. It absorbs moisture from the air, which can lower the boiling point of the fluid enough to make it boil at the end of a long downhill grade.

And steam, like air, is compressible. High temperatures from those high-energy-dissipation stops can degrade the alcohol-based fluid itself. Eventually, your water-clear brake fluid starts to look more like squid ink.

Antilock braking systems are even less tolerant of contaminated fluid and air than non-ABS. The ABS hydraulic pump operates at several thousand psi, forcing brake fluid through very small valves. This can whip air and brake fluid into something like the foam on a latte, which makes bleeding difficult.

Those same valves and pump can easily be damaged by tiny abrasive particles. The good news: Air that has entered the ABS controller can be bled out. Bad news: Some vehicles require the use of a hideously expensive proprietary ABS scan tool to cycle the pump and valves to purge the last of the air.

How to Bleed Your Brakes the Right Way

But there's a simple solution to that: Never let any air enter the system. You can flush a system with fresh fluid by using nothing more than a wrench that fits the bleeder bolts -- and a helper with a normal attention span. To properly bleed the brakes, start with a couple of 8-ounce cans of fresh brake fluid.Please login or register. Join for the Bike, Stay for the People! Home Help Login Register.

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Spongy Front Brake Lever after bleeding. Author Topic: Help! Confession - first time bleeding my brakes. Started with the rear to ease my way into this, as it is less critical.

I misgauged how much fluid I needed or alternately what is more likely, I opened the bleeder valve too much and am off to get more DOT 4 momentarily. I trawled through some of the past threads on bleeding brakes, but I confess nothing jumped out as an authoritative solution.

Obviously, I am concerned without a solid front brake, I am not fit to ride. One thing I absorbed for the next round is to only open the bleeder valve enough to allow fluid to flow. Also, I should only see a solid column of clearish fluid with no air bubbles. Others recommended either compressing the lever and leaving overnight, or not as that might simply push air into solution and not solve the problem.

I also saw a suggestion that one can use a mallet to tap the caliper and joints back up to the master cylinder to release air bubbles.

One person recommended just loosening all the brake lever hardware and working backwards up the line, which at this moment I am reluctant to do at least today with my window for wrenching coming to a quick close today. Thanks for any suggestions folks! Harbor Freight may have an inexpensive version. I have a Mighty-Vac.

spongy brakes after bleeding

Once you get air in your going to have to bungee cord the brake lever over night. You wont get it all, that is why you have no choice but to bungee the lever tight over night. We saw. We Concours-ed. The bungee cord trick that Mike is referring to removes the tiny air bubbles that seem to get trapped in Connie's system when bleeding the brakes by pumping the lever.

The way it works is that after you've bled all you can get, you pump up the brake and tie the lever back by wrapping with a bungee cord or some other device that will hold the pressure overnight.

So when you hit the lever, each little bubble squeeze down a little, but collectively they feel like a big bubble still in there that refuses to bleed out. Tying the lever back under pressure allows those tiny bubbles to float upward and collect together at the inlet to the master cylinder. In the morning, when you release the lever, the first movement of fluid is to rush back to the master and release the brake.

However, since the first thing right there is the collected air, it shoots into the master cylinder and simply surfaces to be a harmless air pocket there. Allow a few seconds before pulling the lever to let the bubble get away from the fluid inlet so that only fluid is then pumped into the line. I would recommend popping the cover to replace any fluid, but in truth, the amount of air usually is very small and rarely is topping off required after this maneuver.

You should now have a good lever feel on the bike. WHen you tie the bungee overnight, make sure the bars are turned to allow the bubble as straight a shot as possible to the MC. Area Director. It sorta sounds like you did 1 of 2 things wrong.

Luckily, Neither is a major problem. But either will require that you do more than just leave the lever bungied overnight to get the air out. The brake system will probably require more bleeding, and then leave it bungied overnight. Ride safe, Ted. If your not already a COGger, "consider becoming one".

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It only takes a minute to sign up. I installed new rear calipers on both sides, new pads on all four wheels, and bled brakes with engine off, then with engine on, two times each. The pedal is hard when the engine is off and extremely soft when running.

Why does my brake lever feel spongy after bleeding?

It can be pushed to the floor with little effort. I'm aware that there is probably air in the system somewhere, but I've bled through a significant amount of fluid with no bubbles coming out.

Would air trapped in the ABS affect the pedal feel? Are there other possibilities that I should check, or is the best course just to keep bleeding? It possible that could be air still in the system. In general if it's air you should be able to pump the pedal and have it come up and be firm and hold that level.

Air compresses while the brake fluid does not. If you allowed the fluid level in the master cylinder to drop to the point it could draw air in you may have air trapped in the ABS unit. Bleeding through the ABS can be a time consuming and tedious process without a scan tool that will cycle the ABS unit.

If you pump the pedal and it goes firm but slowly drops while you hold it you may have an additional leak somewhere or you could have a bad master cylinder. During normal use brake fluid can become contaminated and the master cylinder wears internally but only for the length of your brake pedal travel.

If you used the pump the brakes method to bleed them your pedal travel is greater than normal perhaps ever in the history of the car. This will push the internal seals over new territory which may have some internal rust, a wear ridge, etc Once this happens the break pedal will never hold firm again.

Pumping the pedal may help but under pressure it will have a slow drop. Got it resolved at least mostly. There was air in the system, and roughly 1. Thanks for the answers! I'd look for leaking as the bleed off valve s might not have been tightened fully, or air remaining in the system. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top.Sounds like you may need to bleed them again. Sometimes it can take two or three bleeds to get all the air out of the system.

If that doesn't firm up the brake pedal, I would suspect that you have a problem with either a leaky diaphragm in your brake master cylinder or your brake booster diaphragm.

See links below for information on how to test your brake master cylinder and your brake booster. I read that after bleeding the brakes with the car off, run the car for a few minutes and do the process several times again with the car off once more. You either have air still in the system or you have a bad master cylinder. When the brake pedal drops all the way to the floor, it is usually the master, but if it is spongy, then this indicates air is still in the system.

WHAT kind of car and how did you bleed out the system?? Many times the Master Cylinder requires full bleeding first, since air can get trapped inside. CHeck your booster for leaks. Cannot comment more since you have not includes year, make, or model of car.

This is one that has always confounded me as a mechanic, why do people think they need to bleed the brake system? Answer Save. Pete M Lv 7. This Site Might Help You. RE: Just bled by brakes and still spongy? How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer. Robert M Lv 7. Nasty Troll of Infinite Wisdom Lv 7.

Are you bleeding them in the right order? Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.Remember Me? BMW Models. Soft brake pedal after full brake job, mechanic stumped.

Results 1 to 23 of Thread: Soft brake pedal after full brake job, mechanic stumped. Thread Tools Show Printable Version. Soft brake pedal after full brake job, mechanic stumped I'm not sure if anyone has run across this, but my mechanic has had 2 cars that do this.

Last time they replaced almost the entire brake system before finally just getting it "better. Zimmerman cross-drilled and akebono pads.

How To Test and Fix A Sinking Brake Pedal

Also had stainless lines installed and a full flush done. One caliper had a rebuild, but the rest were fine. Now, the car stops fine, but the pedal does not have the same feel. You can't tell if the car has stopped via pedal feedback and if you press down somewhat hard, you can press the pedal almost to the floor past the car being stopped.

Anyone run across this symptom before? I just remember that i being worked on for weeks before they got it "better! Might be a stupid question but did he bleed the system properly? Ride it like you stole it. He didnt bleed the system properly. If he just dropped all the fluid, the chances of getting all the air out of the system with a couple pedal pumps is slim.

Sound like he is taking you for a ride for some more work. If it drives I would get someone that knows what they are doing to try. Generally you need to start at the wheel the furthest from the master cylinder. I would agree on the bleeding suggestion - I don't think he has all the air out of the system. You might even change the fluid color to ensure you have got all new fluid with no air remaining.

At the end if still soft - you have a bad master. Well, I actually have a relationship with the shop, so I trust them and they charge me minimal for labor if we aren't trading services for services.

spongy brakes after bleeding

I was there assisting in the replacement and the system was bled, twice actually: once after fluid replacement and once after a bed-in drive.


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