Brakes Wheels 1st Gen Tires R53 Random soft brake pedal

Discussion in '1st Generation: 2002–06 R50, R53 & 2004–08 R52' started by jeffster06, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. jeffster06

    jeffster06 Active Member

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    So I have noticed recently I have been having a random soft pedal with my R53. Some background info, car has 168k SS lines all around, Wilwood 4 pistons upfront, solid sliders in the rear. I usually flush the brake system once a year or every other, depends on how much/ how hard I have been using it. Haven't daily driven it for the past 8k so it sits a lot.

    My issue I am having is I randomly get a soft brake pedal, I haven't noticed it going to the floor but I hit the brake and expect to stop and pretty much I don't, once I release the pedal and hit it again its nice and firm like there was never anything wrong. This issue seems to happen at random and I have not been able to pin point any conditions that it occurs more in than not. Reservoir is nice and full and last I checked I had plenty of life on the pads.

    My first thought is there is air in the line but I would think the pedal would be soft all the time, the other was a leak but the reservoir wouldn't stay full if this was the case. The last though is maybe the master is on its way out.

    Has anyone had similar issues, trying to figure out which direction to head in first, should I try bleeding the system or just say screw it and replace the master anyways seeing it has a lot of miles.
     
  2. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    I would always try bleeding the system a few time before replacing the master.
     
  3. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    Bleed it again as Dave says. It sure could be the master with an internal leak. Not sure how to trouple shoot this, but be careful driving until you find the cause.
     
  4. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    I would pull the wheels off and check check each brake caliber to make sure that all are dry with no small slippage. You could have one that is seeping just enough to let air in. If you can't find any leaks my thought was the master also. Like Dave said I bleed the system first. But air does not magically get into a sealed system.
     
  5. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Crash your two finger typing is faster than my two finger typing!:D
     
  6. Firebro17

    Firebro17 Dazed, but not Confused
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    Don't forget to isolate the brake booster before you bleed. Until I did that with my old R53, I had the same experience you have discussed.
     
  7. jeffster06

    jeffster06 Active Member

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    What do you mean isolate the brake booster before I bleed? Can't say I have ever done that. I use a Motive power bleeder when I bleed/flush my brakes. I'm assuming isolating the booster is more for the pumping the pedal method?

    The issue is definitely an odd one, I drove it to work yesterday (27mi each way) on the way in I had a few occurrences with the random soft pedal. On the ride home I didn't have any issues.

    I was planning on skipping the flush this year as I have barely drove it the past year (like 3k miles maybe). I guess I will take the time to do an overall inspection/flush before MOTD and see what I find.
     
  8. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    If you plan on driving the dragon & the other fine roads in the area you most definitely want your brakes working 100%. Having a long brake peddle in just one corner could put you in real danger. Maybe a call to Chad at Detroit Tuned or Eric at Helix might be a good idea. I'm sure they've seen this before & can point you to the correct fix.
     
  9. jeffster06

    jeffster06 Active Member

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    #9 jeffster06, Mar 10, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
    exactly why I am trying to figure it out now. I plan on pulling the wheels off this weekend and seeing what I can find. I may flush the system as well. Maybe I will get lucky and something will jump out at me.

    If I don't notice anything and there isn't a bunch of air in the system ill start picking the brains of the experts. Figured why waste there time if I can check some simple things first.

    *Edit* I have a stupid question to add. But could this issue be caused by a lack of e-brake use? Typically when I leave the car in the garage I only leave it in gear. I have noticed sometimes when I am out and about the e-brake seems to have less tension than normal as well when being applied. If I lower it and try again it is harder the second time. Similar to what I encounter when I get the soft pedal: soft first push, release and its normal feeling.
     
  10. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    Pulling the e-brake is what adjusts the rear pads or more correctly keeps the piston up against the pad to compensate for brake wear. That is why the rear piston needs to be rotated inward for a rear pad change.
     
  11. jeffster06

    jeffster06 Active Member

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    I am starting to wonder if my lack of ebrake use has contributed to my issue. I am still going to give everything a look through and im also going to start using the the e brake more when I leave it sitting. I guess I was more scared of having issues from having the brakes constantly locked that I stopped using it in the garage.
     
  12. Firebro17

    Firebro17 Dazed, but not Confused
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    If I hadn't already sold my Bentley Manual I could probably tell you specifically. Google it... Sorry, but that's all I have.
     
  13. jeffster06

    jeffster06 Active Member

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    I have a bentley manual sitting on the shelf. not sure what to look at for my specific issue.
     
  14. Tummi_Gummi

    Tummi_Gummi New Member

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    I highly doubt a randomly soft pedal is going to be air in the system. The air would be there or it wouldn't. It would always be soft or it wouldn't. Honestly I would look under the dash first and make sure your brake pedal is okay. I haven't really paid much attention to how it looks under there but maybe your pushing the pedal and it's coming off at the top idk? Just check it out. It's free.

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  15. jeffster06

    jeffster06 Active Member

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    Kinda how I feel about it. Only way I'm gonna find out is to start looking. Luckily its not my daily driver so its parked for now. looking like I won't have time to crawl under it until next week though.
     
  16. Tummi_Gummi

    Tummi_Gummi New Member

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    If you pull down on the plastic right below the steering column its hinged. It will pop out and swing down. Then you can pull it off. And get a better look without having to break your back and lay upside on your floorboard.

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  17. jeffster06

    jeffster06 Active Member

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    I haven't had a chance to take a look at the brakes but I have been driving the car a little more to see if I can determine a pattern to the issue (carefully of course). Forward braking at best the issue is random, it seems once I notice the problem the brake pedal hardens up and I'm good for a while. Braking while in higher revs seems like it causes the issue more frequently but that still seems inconclusive. I have noticed one consistency though, backing up the pedal is almost always soft feeling when braking. Another thing I have noticed is occasionally the e-brake has almost zero resistance, after a few pulls it gets hard almost like I'm pumping it.

    Now that I finally have a weekend coming up with not much to do I will be taking the wheels off and look for leaks or anything else I may find. I talked to a mechanic friend and they suggested one of the rears might be seizing. I guess that is a start.
     
  18. jeffster06

    jeffster06 Active Member

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    Finally took a look at the brakes. I couldn't find any leaks but I did find something I didn't expect. The front passenger wheel bearing was completely shot, was checking the play while I had the car up and this thing was wobbling really bad. While I had the car up I decided to rotate the rear pistons back in to see how they felt. Passenger side went in easily but felt a little crunchy the first few turns. Driver side went in smooth the whole way. I also lubed the sliders on the rear as they were looking a little dry (Tyrol sliders).

    I ran out of time so I figured I will drive it to see if what I did has any affect on the pedal.
     
  19. Tummi_Gummi

    Tummi_Gummi New Member

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    Man you must have an issue with your abs/dsc. In all honesty I wouldn't drive that car because your life depends on it. Just take it to BMW or an Audi dealership. Tell them to figure out what's wrong but to contact you before any repairs so you get a price. I think a diagnosis is about 100$ on something like that. I did that when I bought my wife's A4. Then bought the parts when they told me what it needed and installed myself. I had just bought the A4 so I really didn't know anything about it and we needed to correct it's misfiring. The brake system is so huge on the car. It could even be your master cylinder has gone bad. It may be your pistons are leaking somewhere and that you have air in it so you don't see fluid come out since it's mostly air when you press it. It's all very serious. And more than likely expensive 600-1000$ to repair. I just spent 450$ on a new rotors pads and front calipers. You can't put a price on your life or even some one else's. Please take it in.

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  20. jeffster06

    jeffster06 Active Member

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    I don't think the dsc could be an issue as I never drive with it on since my mods always trip it. Even when the pedal goes soft its not a compete loss of braking just feels like I need to push it more. I really don't think it's a leak as there is no fluid loss. With the issue being as random as it is I feel like it would be wasted money at the dealer only to hear "we couldn't reproduce it" and then blame my aftermarket parts for the cause (our dealers are kinda shitty).

    If it continues to occur I'll probably bring it over to Way Motor works as he's local to me.

    When I took it for a quick test drive after the pedal felt good though, although as I said before I never occurs all the time. I feel like I might have exaggerated the dead pedal in my initial post, basically it goes from firm to somethings not quite right.
     

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