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Old 07-09-2015, 08:58 PM   #1
sterlingRPI
 
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Help! Brake Pedal Soft and Track Day is Saturday

I have a soft brake pedal in my 2010 Camaro SS. I took it to the dealer but they said they think it is fine. I flushed the whole system with DOT 4 using a power bleeder and there was no air. But it still feels soft to me. Am I crazy?

I can stop plenty hard. But if I push hard enough I can get the pedal to the floor. This started after I took it to Lime Rock. I am going to Thompson Speedway Saturday.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:03 PM   #2
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Sounds like air to me...pedal should be firm and be able to push to the floor
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:03 PM   #3
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Dealer say they think... wTF...
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ddunerider View Post
Sounds like air to me...pedal should be firm and be able to push to the floor
Could there be air that I missed when I flushed? I did all eight bleeders on the brembos and the clutch. I am going to do it again but use the pedal instead of the power bleeder. In case the air is in the master cylinder or something strange.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:08 PM   #5
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You have enough pad material?
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:11 PM   #6
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You have enough pad material?
Yes, pads look nice and thick.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:16 PM   #7
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When the car is off I can 'pump' the pedal up by pressing a few times. But it won't pump with the motor running. Is that like the pump leaking? Its a 2010 but only 14k miles. And only one track day.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:18 PM   #8
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Dealer say they think... wTF...
That's what I said. Its under warranty, and it was disappointing.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:03 PM   #9
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When the car is off I can 'pump' the pedal up by pressing a few times. But it won't pump with the motor running. Is that like the pump leaking? Its a 2010 but only 14k miles. And only one track day.
Yea pumping the pedal without the car on is a bad test. Should be done while it's running.

Stupid question, the reservoir is at max right?

I'd bleed it again, make sure you got all the air out. You do not want to be at a track with a pedal like that.

Do you use the stock rubber lines or stainless? Stock rubber lines expand that allow air to flow through while the stainless will remain constant, giving you a great feeling pedal and consistent.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:24 PM   #10
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I had a similar feeling in my brake pedal after installing my front ZL1 brakes. I also used a power bleeder after the install to quickly bleed out the lines. But the pedal travel felt longer after the install with the car running. When the engine is off and there was no power booster I could pump it up nice and hard. With the engine running and having the power booster active the pedal travel still felt longer and a little softer compared to before the install. I think what happens is somehow the ABS module still gets air bubbles in it and the only way to bleed it out is with a GM Diagnostic tool at the dealer.

OR you can go out and drive it and apply the brakes hard enough to activate the ABS. This might be easier on wet pavement so the tires will lock up easier and activate the ABS brakes. This will move fluid in and out of the abs module. You'll need to do this several times though to really get the ABS module to to activate and get fluid moving in and out of it. Then re-bleed the brakes. I did this a couple of times where I drove it, braked hard quite a few times to activate the ABS brakes, then brought it back home and bled it again. I did get a few more air bubbles out of the lines after doing this and now I feel like the pedal is much more like it was before I did the brake swap. When I did the second and third bleed procedures I did it the manual way with my wife pumping the brake pedal for me. I didn't use the power bleeder.

I think the power bleeder pressurizes the system to the point where it actually makes the air bubbles smaller because the ideal gas law dictates that the same amount of air under higher pressure will occupy a smaller volume (hence a smaller air bubble size). I feel that the smaller bubbles are then actually harder to flush out because they can hide/stick to the brake lines easier. So I went with manual pedal bleeding. Just don't put a lot of pressure on the brake pedal when bleeding. You just have your helper lightly pump the pedal up so it's solid, then you can crack the bleeder open, and have your helper apply just enough pedal pressure to move the fluid out. This will minimize the air bubble compression and allow the air bubble to remain larger and thus easier to flush it out.

Good luck and I think if you get the ABS to activate on a test drive and do a couple more bleeds you'll get the pedal feel back.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Nick S View Post

I think the power bleeder pressurizes the system to the point where it actually makes the air bubbles smaller because the ideal gas law dictates that the same amount of air under higher pressure will occupy a smaller volume (hence a smaller air bubble size). I feel that the smaller bubbles are then actually harder to flush out because they can hide/stick to the brake lines easier. So I went with manual pedal bleeding. Just don't put a lot of pressure on the brake pedal when bleeding. You just have your helper lightly pump the pedal up so it's solid, then you can crack the bleeder open, and have your helper apply just enough pedal pressure to move the fluid out. This will minimize the air bubble compression and allow the air bubble to remain larger and thus easier to flush it out.
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:54 AM   #12
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Yes. Fluid is at max.

Air in the ABS sounds like a possible culprit. Luckily it is raining here :-)

When I rebleed, is it ok to to put the fluid that comes out back into the reservoir? Since it is all new and clean now.
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:22 AM   #13
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I have a similar issue, I felt like my pedal was a little soft so I did a gravity bleed a few weeks back. really didn't get much air out at all and the pedal still seems softer than it should....
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:44 AM   #14
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Go to a parking lot that is wet or with some gravel and activate the abs a few times then go do a old fashioned 2 man bleed. Report back with results? Please don't go on a track til fixed.
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:12 AM   #15
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Did a 3-4 hard stops that got the ABS to come on. I have 275 tires on the front, and it stopped raining. So getting the ABS to come on means I have to start from at least 70mph. Which isn't the easiest thing to do safely.

Haven't had a chance to rebleed yet. Is it ok to reuse the fluid? I'd hate to waste it.

The pedal felt great under those hard stops! It was firm and grabbed right at the top. It only goes to the floor when I'm at a stop, which is strange.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:13 PM   #16
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Did a 3-4 hard stops that got the ABS to come on. I have 275 tires on the front, and it stopped raining. So getting the ABS to come on means I have to start from at least 70mph. Which isn't the easiest thing to do safely.

Haven't had a chance to rebleed yet. Is it ok to reuse the fluid? I'd hate to waste it.

The pedal felt great under those hard stops! It was firm and grabbed right at the top. It only goes to the floor when I'm at a stop, which is strange.
If the ABS has air in it, it will be isolated until ABS is activated. So the air is in the lines or caliper right now. Yes, you can reuse the fluid as long as it's kept clean. Do a manual bleed and make sure you cycle enough fluid through each caliper (Like half a liter each) to absolutely know all the air is out. Once the pedal is hard then go cycle the ABS with a few hard stops. If there's air in the ABS you'll have a soft pedal again. Repeat the bleed.

You'll be cycling a lot of fluid during the bleed so make sure you don't run the resivoir low and reintroduce air. Also sometimes the fluid likes to hold on to tiny air bubbles, make sure there isn't air bubbles in the fluid when you pour it into the resivoir.
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:19 PM   #17
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thanks to everyone who replied to help me out.

Unfortunately, I bled and bled and bled some more, but absolutely no air came out. I braked hard and got the abs to activate many times, and then I pedal bled and and power bled, but no air, just clean dot 4.

And with the engine off the pedal feels like it just took a viagra (excuse my analogue). And as soon as I turn the engine on it goes soft. Maybe its a power brake pump? Again, the camaro only has 14k mi.

During my hard braking to activate the abs, the camaro did brake really hard. It was like throwing a anchor out the window. So, as long as the fluid doesn't boil, I should be ok tomorrow?
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:27 PM   #18
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The car being off is something different I believe, I don't think you can use that as any sort of help in diagnosing the problem. I messed up bleeding my brakes and got air in the lines, the brake pedal was solid with the car off (press it a couple times and is real solid) so I thought I did it ok but after I started it, my brakes were real bad. There actually was air in my lines though for sure. But solid pedal with the car off. Just FYI
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:37 PM   #19
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I only bleed 250ml at a time, and then top off the reservoir. So the reservoir never gets low, and won't let air in. I kept bleeding, but I didn't see any bubbles come out of the hose attached to the bleeder barb. I don't understand how there could be any air.

Unless its in the clutch? That's the one barb I couldn't get the hose onto, because its too tight a fit.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:01 PM   #20
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Air in the clutch line shouldn't affect your break, it's a separate line but a shared reservoir.

Are you sure that the pedal feel you have isn't just normal for the car? Are you comparing it to other cars you've owned? Also has it been this way since new or after you changed something?
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:59 PM   #21
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What type of fluid are you using? I'm curious if it has more compressibility than your previous fluid and it's giving you the sense that it's a soft pedal.
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Old 07-11-2015, 12:02 AM   #22
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Ok...I have had this many times, so lets get to the next area...the master cylinder. So do a test for me, while the car is off, go push in the clutch 25 times in a row, then suck out ALL of the fluid from the master cylinder with a mityvac or similar...is it contaminated with particulate matter? Next, what fluid are you using? was it opened before? what order did you bleed the brakes in? how did you bleed it? what was the previous fluid?....Did you try a new cap on the master?hope you are seeing that there are tons of variables here...
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Old 07-11-2015, 04:48 AM   #23
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I am starting to wonder if it is just normal. I didn't really start to pay attention to it until I boiled the stock fluid at lime rock. Now I have Castrol dot 4.

I will try this master cylinder test. I bled the right rear outer first. Then the inner bleeder. Then moved to the left rear side, and did the outer first then the inner. Then did the front calipers, and last the clutch. But never saw any air come out. The old fluid from lime rock that boiled was really dirty. I did not try a new cap. The fluid was sealed new when I put it in Wednesday night.

Maybe I am just being obsessive because I'm nervous after my fluid boiled and I overshot a turn? idk, the pedal still doesn't feel right to me.
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Old 07-11-2015, 12:25 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by sterlingRPI View Post
I am starting to wonder if it is just normal. I didn't really start to pay attention to it until I boiled the stock fluid at lime rock. Now I have Castrol dot 4.

I will try this master cylinder test. I bled the right rear outer first. Then the inner bleeder. Then moved to the left rear side, and did the outer first then the inner. Then did the front calipers, and last the clutch. But never saw any air come out. The old fluid from lime rock that boiled was really dirty. I did not try a new cap. The fluid was sealed new when I put it in Wednesday night.

Maybe I am just being obsessive because I'm nervous after my fluid boiled and I overshot a turn? idk, the pedal still doesn't feel right to me.
Is that Castrol of the SRF type? Anyway, the psychological aspect my have something to do with it after boiling fluid. There will also be some level of pedal squish due to compressability of seals, pads, rubber lines and to a lesser extent the fluid. If you can easily get into ABS or momentary wheel lock I'm sure your good. Have someone else drive and see what they think.
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Old 07-11-2015, 04:04 PM   #25
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So, Im back from track day. And the brakes were great! I guess it was a phsycological issue after having a bad experience with boiling brake fluid. It can be pretty scary.

I used the regular castrol dot 4. Didn't want to pay for srf. But the dot 4 really did the trick. Pedal felt great and hard coming into the fast corners, and it never faded.

With engine in gear coming into the corner the pedal felt much more hard than it does when the car is at idle. Is it that the higher engine RPMs help pump it up?
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