Mechanics

BRAKES - SOFT PEDAL

Dodge Shadow

My '92 Shadow with the 2.5L engine has about 122K miles. It's been sitting in the driveway for over a year, and I've decided to resurrect it for a cheap get-to-work vehicle. Unfortunately, my efforts are being thwarted by the braking system. This vehicle has front disc, rear drum. It does not have ABS.

When I first started working on the car, the brake pedal was very soft. With the car running, the pedal could be pressed easily to the floor. The front master cylinder reservoir was very low, but not empty. The rear was full (I think the rear reservoir is used only as a backup to replenish the front if it gets too low). I started by topping off the fluid, replacing the front pads and bleeding the brakes. None of this helped.

I then noticed that the brake pedal was very firm with the engine off. Also, whenever the car was running, pressing the brake pedal caused a momentary hissing sound from the booster. Unsure whether the problem was the booster or the master cylinder, I replaced both. The booster is a rebuild; the master cylinder is a new, US-made Bendix. Following replacement, I bled the master cylinder (on the vehicle) and all four wheels. I also checked to be sure the rear shoes were correctly adjusted.

The pedal is firmer now, and the brakes stop the vehicle. However, extended (moderate) pedal pressure will still push it to the floor. In addition, the pedal feels spongy at the point where the brakes engage. I bled the wheels a second time, but it didn't help.

Is there something I'm missing? Does this particular model require power bleeding of the master cylinder (or something similar)? I'll just add that the new booster doesn't seem to allow quite as much rearward travel of the linkage rod as the original. As a result, the brake pedal won't travel quite as far back, and I can't get it to actuate (turn off) the brake switch, even with the switch pushed fully forward. I don't think this is related to the " on the floor" pedal problem; I'm mentioning it only in hopes someone might have seen it and will have a suggestion. I don't want to return the booster unless it's absolutely necessary. I'm not a small person, and the hours I spent under the dash getting the parts in and out were no fun.

Any help with these problems will certainly be appreciated!
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Mydogsmells
October 22, 2007.




Just to follow up, I measured the distance from the end of the booster actuating rod to the firewall and compared it to the original booster. There doesn't seem to be much difference. It might be that I bent/damaged the switch or bracket during removal. In any event, I don't think this is at all related to the issue of the soft pedal. I'll investigate further this weekend (tomorrow).

OK, being as no one has a suggestion yet on the pedal problem, maybe I should phrase the question a little differently. If you were in my place, what would you do? Would you try to bleed the master and the wheels one more time? Or would you just take it to a shop at this point and let them diagnose it? I need to do something reasonably soon, just in case one of the new parts is defective.
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Tiny
Mydogsmells
Oct 26, 2007.
How did you make out with your soft pedal? I have the same problem with a 94 shadow. I have replace all brake components and still have the same issue. I am thinking that there is some kind of bleeding proceedure for this model that is less than ordinary.

Tiny
Rouellet
Jul 22, 2008.

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