Brakes all of a sudden spongy

Tiny
BEEFCAKE666
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 CHEVROLET CAVALIER
  • 110,000 MILES
I have a 1996 Chev Cavalier with 110,000 miles on it. The brakes up to this point have been very sharp and responsive. The front pads and rotors are only a few months old. When I left to go work this morning, brakes seemed fine and normal. Traveled on the freeway in stop and go traffic for about 50 miles, still fine and normal. As soon as I went to exit the freeway, brakes were not as responsive. I had to push the pedal much further down then normal order to get some braking power. The pedal didn't drop to the floor, I just had to push it much further then normal. Once I got to work, I looked at for leaks, didn't seem so see any. Master cylinder fluid was also at the full mark. Do I need to replace the master cylinder, maybe just a bleed? Is it safe to drive home tonight?

Thank you for any help.

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Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 AT 6:28 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Please understand that it is hard for me to say if it is safe to drive. However, if the pedal is going down far, or close to the floor, I would start by removing the wheels to check if there are any leaks at the wheel cylinders and calipers. Next, I would make sure the rear brakes are properly adjusted. If they are out of adjustment, that can cause the pedal to drop low. AS far as the master cylinder, check it also for leaks both at the firewall under the hood and under the dash where it connects to the brake pedal. As far as bleeding the brakes, if the system hasn't been opened, air can not enter, so that isn't something that should be needed.

Let me know what you find.
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Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 AT 6:43 AM
Tiny
BEEFCAKE666
  • MEMBER
Thank you for the fast reply.

Most recent development:

So yesterday at the end of the day, I checked the car for leaks at the master cylinder (both at firewall and brake pedal). Nice and dry. I couldn't take the rims off as I was at work. I fluid in the master cylinder reservoir was also at the full line.

I started the car and the brakes seemed absolutely fine. Nice and crisp and strong like before. So I drove (very cautiously) home avoiding the freeway. Everything went fine most of the way home, but the at the last two miles or so the brakes started to be not as responsive again. Same as before, the brakes worked but I had to press the pedal much further down in order to stop.

Once I got home I pulled the rims. The front brakes looked fine. Nice and dry.

I pulled the rear rims and the drums off and the same, nice and dry. Brake cylinders don't seem to be leaking. However the rim in the rear was hot, very hot. And the drum was also hot.

This morning, drove all the way to work and not a single problem. Both front and rear rims were cool to the touch after driving on the freeway for 50 miles.

Any ideas?

Thanks
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Thursday, September 12th, 2013 AT 5:34 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
The rear brakes are drum type, correct? If so, check to see if there are any springs that are broken or disconnected. It sounds like the brake was sticking on. If the brake shoes are sticking open (because they are not returning to the closed position) that would make the brake feel odd.

Let me know.
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Thursday, September 12th, 2013 AT 7:07 PM

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