Brakes seizing on front

Tiny
JACKLEG123
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 HYUNDAI ELANTRA
  • 142,000 MILES
Bought the car and after a week the brake pedal became more and more firm over about 5 miles. Finally the front brakes smoked and engine labored just to keep going. Pulled over and had the car towed to a shop close by. Mechanic replaced front pads, rotors, and calipers. He couldn't get the air from the system so he replaced the master cylinder, rear brakes and wheel cylinders. Got the car back and there was lots of travel in the brake pedal, lots of travel almost to the floor to stop the car. I adjusted the rod from the brake pedal to the maser cylinder to 2 inches of travel in the pedal. Felt fine until I test drove the car. Pedal became more firm until all travel was gone and front brakes seized again. Any help would be appreciated. Car does have ABS but there are no lights on to indicate a code needs to be pulled from the computer. Thanks again.
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Thursday, August 29th, 2013 AT 2:14 AM

27 Replies

Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Scan just to see if there is any codes for the ABS, best to make sure, and re check pedal free play, you only need a few mm just as long as you have something, and if the brakes start to lock up, first thing to check is to see if the pedal free play has gone.
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Thursday, August 29th, 2013 AT 2:43 AM
Tiny
JACKLEG123
  • MEMBER
Hello,
As I stated in my description of the problem the brake pedal looses all free play or travel as I call it when is seizes up. The front brakes apply themselves gradually as if there is back pressure in the fluid but it cannot get to the master cylinder reservoir so it pushes the brakes gradually. This heats up the front brakes as it applies increasing pressure to the rotors. If I park the car and let it sit for an hour or so I get the 2 inches back in free play on the pedal. Drive it a few miles and I gradually lose free play til the brakes seize and heat up. I have already spent $700.00 plus on this problem at a shop b/c I work out of town and have no time to do the work myself. So I guess you want me to get the ABS scanned although there are no lights on to indicate a problem with the ABS. I have read lots of forums and info from the Hyundai service site and went back to 2000 and no indication of this problem. This is a hard one. I will get it scanned at a shop but cant get it there b/c the brakes seize after a few miles. May have to have it towed. To be honest I have limited $$ to put into the car and am already into it more than it is worth. I will readjust the linkage from the brake pedal to the master cyl to allow more travel and perhaps it will compensate for the expansion in the brake system. I am a decent mechanic and have done engine rebuilds and complete restorations on cars so I am familiar with most any problem but this one has me stumped. Thanks and hope to hear from you.
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Friday, August 30th, 2013 AT 12:16 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
This is a different expert. I was asked to try to help you.

You never should have adjusted the push rod. That is the reason that the brakes are locking up. They are building up pressure because they are never relieving. You may have another issue causing your low pedal but adjusting that rod is not the way to resolve it. You need to back off that adjustment until there is about 1/4" of pedal travel before that rod touches anything. Ignore the pedal height for now. You need to get the rod correct before be look for other issues. That is a very sensitive adjustment.
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Friday, August 30th, 2013 AT 12:20 PM
Tiny
JACKLEG123
  • MEMBER
OK. I restored the linkage to approx.1/4" free play before the rod has any effect on the brakes. Have bought a manual and have the correct measurements on pedal from floor. Test drove it and so far no problems. Hope it stays that way. Still wondering why it seized in the first place. I will drive it 70 miles round trip to work tomorrow and will see what happens. Thanks for the advice. Will let you know how it goes.
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Monday, September 2nd, 2013 AT 7:49 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
It seized because the master cannot relieve pressure unless it returns all the way to it's stops. Only then does it release it's built up pressure. That's why you can never remove that free play.
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Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 AT 2:37 AM
Tiny
YOURMINKY
  • MEMBER
I'm having the same issue with my 2000 Hyundai Elantra with no ABS. But, my master cylinder is still the original one and no one adjusted the rod length on mine (which seems to be the problem for the OP). Please see below and let me know your diagnosis.
The brakes are locking up intermittently in stop and go traffic for the last few months.
I removed the front tires. The brake pads were locked solid and the rotor wont rotate at all. Front-driver side brake and wheel was blistering hot, front-passenger side was less hot. Back brakes were not hot. When the wheel/brake lock up, the brake pedal is stuck at the up position, brake becomes super sensitive, the car drags and just touching the brake stops the car. Pressing with a lot of force wont make the brake pedal go down, it stays stuck at up position for 10 minutes even with the engine off.
15 minutes after turning the engine off, the brake pedal would go down a little bit. After 30 minutes everything becomes normal, the brake pedal goes down and up normally, the car drives normally afterwards for the rest of the day.
The car also runs louder than before. Rotating the steering wheel to the right diminishes the road noise partially.
People gave me a big list of things that could be causing this. After this locking issue started happening, over the last few months I replaced the following parts:
1. New brake pads and shoes on all 4 with new hardware.
2. New rubber brake hoses in both front brakes.
3. New wheel cylinders in both back brakes.
4. New caliper with piston assembly in front driver side. Passenger side is fine.
5. New wheel bearing in front driver side (there was visible smoke from front driver wheel when it first happened). Other bearings are fine.
6. New cheap Chinese tires on all 4.
7. Bled a large bottle of new brake fluid through the system.
None of the above fixed the problem and I am running out of $$ and ideas. Any ideas what may me be causing this intermittent brake locking issue?
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Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 AT 12:55 AM
Tiny
JIMBOSCAR
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 HYUNDAI ELANTRA
Brakes problem 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 89000 miles

My front brakes have been running tight for the last few days (very little foot pressure needed to apply brakes - feels like stepping on a brick).

This morning they are actually applying slightly with no foot pressure. Wheels are very hot, brakes are smoking as I drove.

After turning off the car and waiting a little while the brakes seemed to return to normal.

Is this a sensor problem? Any advise welcome.

Jimboscar
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Thursday, December 7th, 2017 AT 7:05 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
What happens over time is the brake fluid is hydroscopic, meaning it will absorb moisture, it will do this even thru the piston seal! So eventually this produces a brown collection of crud, it builds up in the lowest part of the system, and that happens to be the calipers! Now when enough of this stuff builds up behind the piston, it causes a stuck or non retracting piston. This is where the uneven wear comes from. It is NOT unussal to replace calipers on a vehicle with 80,000 miles. Or sooner!
Check the flex hoses too, when the calipers are dragging, jack up the locked wheel, open the bleeder screw, if the wheel spins freely, replace the flex hose, if not, replace the caliper. Change em in pairs! Same age and condition will be found on BOTH side!
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Thursday, December 7th, 2017 AT 7:05 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JEANMARCJUNE
  • MEMBER
Wait a second, I had the same problem with my elantra 2000, the problem was the calipers where stiking, the remedy for my problem was: I haved a the garage sandblast the calipers to clean them
thoroughly, he applyied some heat resistant greasse on the sliders of the brake pads.
That solved my problem
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Thursday, December 7th, 2017 AT 7:05 PM (Merged)
Tiny
YOURMINKY
  • MEMBER
I am having the same issue with the same model car. No ABS. What fixed your problem? My issue is below:
The brakes are locking up intermittently in stop and go traffic for the last few months.
I removed the front tires. The brake pads were locked solid and the rotor wont rotate at all. Front-driver side brake and wheel was blistering hot, front-passenger side was less hot. Back brakes were not hot. When the wheel/brake lock up, the brake pedal is stuck at the up position, brake becomes super sensitive, the car drags and just touching the brake stops the car. Pressing with a lot of force wont make the brake pedal go down, it stays stuck at up position for 10 minutes even with the engine off.
15 minutes after turning the engine off, the brake pedal would go down a little bit. After 30 minutes everything becomes normal, the brake pedal goes down and up normally, the car drives normally afterwards for the rest of the day.
The car also runs louder than before. Rotating the steering wheel to the right diminishes the road noise partially.
People gave me a big list of things that could be causing this. After this locking issue started happening, over the last few months I replaced the following parts:
1. New brake pads and shoes on all 4 with new hardware.
2. New rubber brake hoses in both front brakes.
3. New wheel cylinders in both back brakes.
4. New caliper with piston assembly in front driver side. Passenger side is fine.
5. New wheel bearing in front driver side (there was visible smoke from front driver wheel when it first happened). Other bearings are fine.
6. New cheap Chinese tires on all 4.
7. Bled a large bottle of new brake fluid through the system.
None of the above fixed the problem and I am running out of $$ and ideas. Any ideas what may me be causing this intermittent brake locking issue?
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Thursday, December 7th, 2017 AT 7:05 PM (Merged)
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
It sounds like to me the brake booster internal valve gets stuck sometimes which holds the brakes on a bit. Also please check the clearance between the master cylinder and the brake booster rod you need to have about 1/8 freeplay.

Please let us know what you find. We are interested to see what it is.

Cheers, Ken
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Thursday, December 7th, 2017 AT 7:05 PM (Merged)
Tiny
YOURMINKY
  • MEMBER
Hi 2CARPROS KEN, Can you please explain how the stuck brake booster internal valve can cause the brake pedal to be so stiff and be stuck in UP position for 10 to 15 minutes and then gradually loosen up over 45 minutes? Is there an easy way to test this? Can you please point me to a good video that explains the valve/diaphragm inner workings?
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Saturday, December 9th, 2017 AT 12:40 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Have you checked the push rod clearance from the booster to the master cylinder is there free travel? 1/8 inch. This can hold pressure on the system causing the problem you are describing. I don't have a diagram of the booster. Please check the clearance and get back to us.
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Sunday, December 10th, 2017 AT 2:54 PM
Tiny
YOURMINKY
  • MEMBER
It is no longer an intermittent issue, the brakes lock every time I drive for a few miles. When it was about to lock, I touched the front driver side lug nuts and they were sizzling hot. Front passenger side was not as hot. Back nuts temp were normal. I also noticed the brake got so sensitive that the car stops before the pedal travels far enough to activate the brake light switch. Can the master cylinder pushrod and pedal automatically lose adjustment after 17 years of use? I still have the original MC and pedal and no one adjusted those ever.
How about a warped rotor on front driver side, can it cause such locking?
My vacuum booster also has a proportioning valve attached to it. Do I have to move the proportioning valve in order to remove the MC to check the pushrod clearance (photo)?
I tested the vacuum by pressing the brake pedal several times with the engine off and then holding the pedal down. Then I turned the engine on. The pedal goes down fine when the engine starts and creates the vacuum.
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Monday, December 11th, 2017 AT 8:15 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
It sounds more like the caliper needs to be replaced here is a guide to help you.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/brake-caliper-replacement
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Friday, December 15th, 2017 AT 4:55 PM
Tiny
YOURMINKY
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the suggestion but the front driver side caliper assembly (which is getting very hot) is new, replaced recently while trying to fix this issue. Can the new (rebuilt) caliper assembly be faulty?
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Friday, December 15th, 2017 AT 7:41 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Can you do me a favor and and jack the car up in the front and see if the wheel turns freely?
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Friday, December 15th, 2017 AT 8:15 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Also when hot and locking on, crack the bleeder to see if it frees up, if so it will be a pressure retention problem, if not a mechanical issue.
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Saturday, December 16th, 2017 AT 2:19 PM
Tiny
YOURMINKY
  • MEMBER
I took the car to a tire store and while they were rotating my tries I was able to rotate all 4 tires. Tires rotated with some friction, seemed normal. Bearings had no play. The car was in neutral.
Last time when the brakes locked, I lifted the front and the tires would not rotate at all. Everything becomes normal after 30 to 45 minutes of cooling.
Some people suggested that I unscrew the brake line when the brakes lock to see if that releases the lock. To test this, do I unscrew the brake line at the MC or at the proportioning valve? Will it have the same effect if I open the bleeding screw at one of the front wheels? You mentioned there shouldn't be any pressure. Does it mean no brake fluid should drip out when I start unscrewing the brake line?
I haven't driven the car lately but I was able to use PB-blaster and safely unscrew the MC mounting bolt from the booster. The proportioning valve was attached to the bracket, so it moved as well. Some of suggested it could be a pushrod or pedal issue. I'll drive the car today or tomorrow and if it locks, I'll unbolt the MC and give it about 1/4 (quarter) inch slack for a minute and then bolt it back and report back to you guys.
BTW, I flushed the brake fluid and bled all four brakes yesterday. Existing fluid color was fine, not dark or rusty.
I'll keep you posted.
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Sunday, December 17th, 2017 AT 12:34 PM
Tiny
YOURMINKY
  • MEMBER
I flushed the brake fluid in April of 2017, used Prestone synthetic DOT3 brake fluid $8.99 each bottle. This synthetic brake fluid won't mix well with existing DOT3 fluid, it would create a separate layer when poured and then slowly mix, shining bright light will show separate blobs of liquid. Maybe that caused the brake locking issue.
I re-flushed the whole brake system day before yesterday and also rotated all 4 tires, loosened and hand tightened the master cylinder mounting bolts. I used Super Tech (Walmart) DOT3 brake fluid $1.89 a bottle this time. I drove around all day today but the wheel/brake wont lock again, the car is running fine for now. I'll update when the brake locks up again.
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Monday, December 18th, 2017 AT 9:23 PM

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