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Brake issues, might tie everything together  

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NottaMiata
(@nottamiata)
Honorable Member

@wilcomr-s

Thanks for weighing in on a thread that unfortunately will not die. I was running on an experimental extra check valve, in-lined with the still-intact OEM valve on the booster.  That didn't really make much difference. I think I just had a lucky rainy day where my crap brakes ended up working, and tricking me into thinking I had solved the problem, and is The Frog's wont.

The first brake flush I know about, the one I paid to have done about two months ago, the fluid looked a little darker than the DOT 4 that went into it, which looks about the same as the DOT3 Mr. T's Special Red that flushed THAT stuff out two days ago. The mechanic said there wasn't any crud or anything in the first flush and guessed it probably wasn't the original fluid, but who knows.

All this time I have been thinking the PO, and the PPO took good care of the car.  Now, I dunno... I thought for sure the PO did, though.  All the cosmetic abuse was from the PPO, but this is hearsay.  PO seemed to be a car nerd, and a stand-up guy - I put him thru hell buying the car, but maybe he was dumping it and had found a "live one", LOL.

Well, I did have a mishap a couple days ago when flushing the 2-month old low-viscosity DOT 4 that was in it.  Kept an eye on the reservoir religiously, but I still sucked in a bubble during the flush. Damn.  It.  Was shocked to see the fluid in the reservoir just under the seam at the halfway point.  Cursed, re-filled, and kept going with a few wide-open bleeder valves to really pump it thru there hard and fast... hopefully.  But, sucking air at halfway?  That's an awfully, deceptively high level to start to suck air.  Then again, what do I know.  I don't have a camera in the lines, but there was an audible slurp.  Unmistakable even to this newb.  Damn. It.

I think I successfully pulled it thru to the caliper.  Was still using up the old DOT4 just to flush and still had a few more ounces, and we did see the bubble come out the caliper end.  Happened on the first one, rear passenger side, and only once.  We went through about six ounces of the DOT four, then used 36 ounces of the T's DOT3; every brake got a good flush, including the first one.  However, this event haunts me even now.  I'll "never" be sure my MC is clear now... or worse, the ABS controller.

But, the brakes are much improved.  I think maybe they are a bit soft but that might be the haunting-self-psych, but I can reliably get the ABS going in ~0.2 seconds from 30 mph; they stop the car just fine in all modes except wet+cold.

Dev already knew he was right about the fluid.

Nevertheless, while the DOT4 ABS asshattery immediately disappeared, I had another chance to test it in rain the next day.  Damn. It. Once again, after 15 minutes of splashy-splashy down the highway I get weak brakes.  However, now that the hydraulics were working correctly I could tell the calipers were mashing JUST FINE, and the booster too.  I had already removed the experimental valve before the flush, I'm convinced the OEM check valve is fine, but I did wonder about the bung washer and how easy it would have been to get the old valve out.

So there ya have it. Not the booster, not the fluid anymore, and really no reason to suspect the master cylinder.

Not much left.  So now, I think the PO has shtt brake shoes on there.  They are an inch thick, and I don't think anybody has inspected them.  I strongly suspect they are glazed.  They are OK enough when dry to appear normal, but bad bad bad in wet and after they and the rotors have cooled off, and that incompatible fluid was the last nail.

Oh, yeah, and that other thing... the supposed bad parking brake cables.  Yeah, no, maybe not.  More like rusty, shtty semi-metallics are rusting to the caliper.  I should have taken a photo of the brake pad silhouettes on the rotors.  I still might be "pulling everything together" here, just not the way I thought at first. 

 

Looking for new brake shoes now, would be grateful for recommendations.

 

This post was modified 1 week ago 4 times by NottaMiata

🐸, 2003, Electric Green Mica, not enough mods

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Posted : February 11, 2020 6:48 pm
NottaMiata
(@nottamiata)
Honorable Member

Eh, went for the OEM.

Strange, but it seems like I _can_ learn. Maybe.

🐸, 2003, Electric Green Mica, not enough mods

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Posted : February 12, 2020 5:50 am
dev
 dev
(@dev)
Just a member. Moderator

It looks like you had the same behavior as I once I switched back to Toyota Dot 3. The pedal feels soft but thats because it travels unlike the Dot 4 that feels stiff with less travel.  

When the pedal travels thats when you get modulation in the brakes. It can feel soft only because it was worse before like wood. 

As to the brake pads nothing is better than the OEM for the street.  Actually back in the day hard core AutoX and track people used the stock pads and brake fluid without any issues regarding fade.  The brakes were always considered a major strength for the Spyder.

 Despite all this there are phony racers that are more concerned with big brake kits, all kinds of fluids, pads and what they all have in common is not winning. The guys that take home the trophies are those that use stock brakes and it was the Techno Spirits tuner of one of the fastest MR-S cars that switched out the big brake kit for the OEM because he though it was better.  

There are still those that give horrible racing advise for people that want to drive on the street and its the quickest way to lose interest in your car when you end up with issues and drawbacks that diminishes the wonderful engineering that went into the car.  

 I should sound like the biggest hypocrite because I have aftermarket front brakes but it lightens the unsprung weight of the car by 9LBS without disturbing the brake balance. This is where the gold is and now my car handles better and is more comfortable over bumps but it brakes the same. 

 

 

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Posted : February 12, 2020 8:54 am
dblotii
(@dblotii)
Eminent Member

Not sure if this is your problem, but i have found that if you get a bubble in the system, it is very likely to get trapped in the ABS module and is nearly impossible to purge without actuating the ABS while bleeding

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Posted : February 12, 2020 9:42 am
CSPIDY liked
NottaMiata
(@nottamiata)
Honorable Member

@dblotii

My hope was that any bubble that pulled in from the reservior went straight into the line and out the caliper.

This hope is predicated upon ignorance of the actual path of said bubble.

I would love to have some reassurance that my ignorant guess is correct. I would like to learn a bit more about ABS generally, and ours specifically.

Reassuring words along the lines of "if the car was not running, then your ABS was bypassed" would really help me feel better. Or, "turn the key on, recirc the fluid from an open bleeder, then close the circuit between A and B to activate the ABS during the flush" would also be awesome.

Otherwise, what would the symptoms be?

I can definitely feel the hydraulics working and working well. Just not the best bite on the rotors. Its pretty easy to feel and sometimes hear it. They squeeak sonetimes too, and there is at least a 5mm gap between rotor and the pad squealers.

Thanks for all the replies, I hope someone more knowledgeable can reassure me about the ABS concern, that I either dodged a bullet or it is not 7300 dollars to fix. I have read thats a "dealership-only" fix. I am not ready to accept that yet, LOL.

 

🐸, 2003, Electric Green Mica, not enough mods

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Posted : February 12, 2020 4:14 pm
NottaMiata
(@nottamiata)
Honorable Member

I re-read Dave's post more carefully. Not as optimistic now. Besides, ABS is software driven.

Ive triggered the ABS a couple of times after the flush, intentionally. Doesnt pull or behave badly, goes straight and true, handles very well throughout.

Still hanging on to some optimism. Anybody got any "happened to me and I had no issues" anecdotes?

Kicking myself. We WERE watching the level!

🐸, 2003, Electric Green Mica, not enough mods

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Posted : February 12, 2020 5:42 pm
dev
 dev
(@dev)
Just a member. Moderator

I have run my system dry many times especially when I used pressure bleeder devices and let the reservoir run dry. I have also done so helping owners bleed their brakes and had to start over which can be frustrating. 

 Never did any bubbles get trapped in the ABS module. You just add fluid, bleed out and it should be fine. The clutch on the other hand does trap air behind the slave and it has to be evacuated manually by pressing on the piston and opening the bleeder which is a real pain. 

 Here are some truths to the ABS and master units used in our cars. 

 1. They don't trap air unless  you are not bleeding correctly on the caliper side sucking air back in by not closing the valve at the right time. 

 2. They are extremely reliable so much so that out of 20 years and many miles the Spyder has been around there is no documented failure and replacement. Im sure there is a failure out of so many but it's not known.  Its certainly a part that is worthless on a part out car as I know this from experience having to throw out a perfectly good one because it was taking up space. 

3. The tech stream way of bleeding engages the ABS to bleed the system quickly, effectively and to help with getting the air out of the ABS module with problematic cars but ours isn't. You will be wasting your money paying the dealership for this service when you can save money doing it at home the regular way like everyone else. 

4. The ABS module either works or doesn't work. There is no in-between and most likely if there is a problem you will have an idiot light lit that spells out ABS on the dash. The rare exception is if you don't follow the directions on the cap and use unspecified brake fluid. 

5. ABS systems or the entire braking  system are nearly fool proof for commuter safety above other systems. The manufacture doesn't take chances and even in the event of some forms of failure the braking system still works by using redundancy. Its not like a fictional murder mystery movie of foul play. 

 If you feel you didn't get all of the air out it wouldn't be a bad idea to bleed the air that migrates to the caliper once more but this time just do a gravity bleed as that will make sure you do not introduce air back into the system.  

 

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Posted : February 12, 2020 5:42 pm
dblotii
(@dblotii)
Eminent Member

@dev  I have never gotten air in my Spyder's brake system during bleeding, but I know for a fact that some cars will tend to trap air bubbles in the ABS if you let the reservoir go dry during bleeding.  This happened to me on a Hyundai.  The symptom was spongy brake pedal even with repeated bleeding.  The solution is forcing the ABS to actuate while bleeding.  The Dealer can do this through the OBD2 tool, and some aftermarket OBD2 devices can do this on some cars.

 

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Posted : February 13, 2020 10:27 am
dev
 dev
(@dev)
Just a member. Moderator
Posted by: @dblotii

@dev  I have never gotten air in my Spyder's brake system during bleeding, but I know for a fact that some cars will tend to trap air bubbles in the ABS if you let the reservoir go dry during bleeding.  This happened to me on a Hyundai.  The symptom was spongy brake pedal even with repeated bleeding.  The solution is forcing the ABS to actuate while bleeding.  The Dealer can do this through the OBD2 tool, and some aftermarket OBD2 devices can do this on some cars.

 

Absolutely Im not denying that at all, in fact my Lexus  has a major problem with bleeding the brakes where air will get trapped in the ABS module and can throw a fault code that only the dealer can reset and fix the issue with activating the ABS during the bleed.  The solution for this is to disconnect the battery and let the brakes gravity bleed.  Newer braking systems that use actuator control are a lot more tricky that its best to have it done by the dealer. 

 I once bleed a infinity which developed spongy brakes afterwards and somewhat the same issue where it had to be bleed at the dealer. I come to find out it is typical for this model to have trapped air in the ABS. 

 The Spyder on the other hand doesn't suffer from this kind of issue at all. Many older cars like my Honda doesn't either so it depends on the car.  

 What I do know about the Spyder is that when its first bleed sometimes the brakes may feel a little soft but a day later they can feel just right. Maybe an escaped bubble finds its way out I don't know. Sometimes if the car is a little soft it could be that it just needs to be bleed after a few days. Usually you will find that last bubble soon as you open the bleeder as it migrates and collects at the caliper ready to be evacuated.  

 

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Posted : February 13, 2020 11:37 am
NottaMiata
(@nottamiata)
Honorable Member

Gentlemen, thank you both for the information and reassurance. Right now I am unable to tell if my brakes are soft because I have no reliable point of reference.

That is because if my theory is correct, I have been on glazed pads, probably for months. I dont treat my brakes badly or harshly. I also dont think they have worn down at all since I bought The Frog fifteen months ago. They are diamond-hard, glazed or not. I can feel the lack of bite. They are even slightly grindy this week, probably because the hydraulics are now un-F'ed. Rotors look good, no grooves, slag or super-glazing, but I will try to remember to put a straightedge on them when pads are off.

Rainy this morning. Predictably sloggish bite, but can "fix" it by warming up the brakes with slight pressure/drag for a few seconds, but still feels like the pads are made of greased glass even when heated and mostly-working. Taking it slow until my Norwalk goodies show up. Finally remembered to add a PCV valve to my order this time. 🙂  Also got a cube-style caliper wind-back tool at the local autoparts. Have seen mixed opinions on those, but I figure I am not completely moronic and most of the haters seem to be.  I'm also not doing brake jobs on a regular basis.  Isn't that right, The Frog?  RIGHT?

This post was modified 1 week ago 3 times by NottaMiata

🐸, 2003, Electric Green Mica, not enough mods

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Posted : February 13, 2020 2:23 pm
NottaMiata
(@nottamiata)
Honorable Member

I watched a video of some dude who claimed he was successfully flushing his MC by routing the front left caliper (shortest path) through a hose and back into the reservoir to save fluid. He twist-tied a coffee filter over the exit-end of the hose that would be inserted into the reservoir to catch any debris from leaving the caliper and going right back to the reservoir.  Also said he had already done a regular flush the day before and just wanted to evacuate any air.  Was able to flush indefinitely.

This looks like something I would be interested in doing after the new pads are on, and probably with one more top-up of Tasty Red.  I'm a believer now, looking forward to new pads. Something tells me I may have done these two jobs in the wrong order, but I dunno, I suck at this.

Anyway, this method seems like an effective but inexpensive and low-tech way to flush as much liquid through the system as you have time for without recirculating crap. But "seems like" has gotten me in trouble a few times recently and that's getting old.

Anyone see an issue with this recirc/flush/filter methodology on a Spyder?  I would think the coffee filter would prevent any tiny air bubbles from constant recirculation, but I would go much slower until the hose was completely airless - this guy was not as cautious about air as I would be, but that's an implementation detail.  As far as risks go, there's the brief exposure of fluid to air while the cap is off, a bit higher risk of contamination from the open top, and a concerning risk that the paper coffee filter would rupture (maybe use a couple or three?).  Accordingly, he suggested a fuel filter might be a better option, but he didn't have one and was just gonna git 'er dun because his fluid was already clean. He did go on to show that he got a bit of crud in the filter anyway.  I wouldn't skip that part.

Then there is always the risk of <gasp> Brake Fluid vs Paint mishaps, but it seems like a sound process in theory.  If so, there's no reason not to do all four lines if you're going to be doing the job anyway and the whole point is "I want to be sure".

I did in fact attempt to do this before I flushed with the Tasty Red last weekend, starting with the right rear wheel.  However, I stopped pretty much right away when I found that a 10' hose was not long enough, so that's a pro-hack for everyone - get a 20' hose if you are going to do this.  I think a secure clamp is also well-advised, on both ends of the hose.  Time-consuming, but not as much as pumping fluid out all over The Precious.

What's your opinion about this practice?  I suspect this may already be a common practice in one form or another, if so, are there any other pro-hacks I should know?

This post was modified 1 week ago by NottaMiata

🐸, 2003, Electric Green Mica, not enough mods

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Posted : February 14, 2020 6:41 am
dev
 dev
(@dev)
Just a member. Moderator

Why do I feel like im being punked.  If not this its right up there with washing an engine from the inside while the car is running, having a sock stuck between the cams and pressure washing an engine block at a car wash after it was machined.  These things actually happened.  There are a lot of hair brained ideas on the internet that are just stupid and this is one of them.  

 The reason why you don't recycle brake fluid is primarily because its hygroscopic which means it will absorb moisture in the air the longer it is exposed.  The second reason why you don't is primarily as it passes though it will be saturated with contaminants. It doesn't matter if its filtered as no filter can purify the brake fluid, this is not a dialysis machine.  

Always use fresh brake fluid period and in addition to this always keep air exposure to a minimum. this means a few things. 

 1. Never leave the bottle open. 

 2. Never leave the reservoir cap open unless you are filling with fresh fluid. Before you bleed close the cap. 

 3. Once you open a bottle of fluid and it has been sitting for more than a month, throw it out or just use it for displacement fluid which I will explain below. 

 

  Here is the easy way to flush and bleed the system. 

  1. Take a turkey baster or a clean austomotive syringe that has a tube attached and suck out as much brake fluid as you can. 

  2. If you have old clean fluid sitting around in a bottle that was capped add that bottle to displace any residual contaminants and suck that out completely. 

  3. Add fresh fluid past the max and close the cap.  

  4. Use a clear flexible hose that will fit onto the brake bleeder and have a cup to capture the fluid.  

  5. Open the brake bleeder furthest from the master and let the fluid come out on its own. do not touch the brake pedal. This is called a gravity bleed and its the best method of bleeding. It just takes a little longer but in really not that long but very effective and most of all fool proof.  Keep an eye on the clear plastic tube and you will see air that has evacuated if there is any.  most of the air finds its way to the caliper so if there is any air it will be apparent early on. 

6. After you are done with one caliper go back and make sure you have enough fluid in the reservoir so you dont run dry and if its low add more.  

 

 Its not that hard and it doesn't need a lot of fluid. I can bleed the system with two bottles or less.  

If you over complicated yourself you are just going to make a big mess. Trust me I have made a big mess using pressure bleeders, vacuum bleeders and speed bleeders. Gravity bleeding is simple and fool proof. Its all I do now and it works every time even if the system runs dry.  

 

 

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Posted : February 14, 2020 9:00 am
WilcoMR-S liked
WilcoMR-S
(@wilcomr-s)
Estimable Member

Dev is spot on with all of that.

Just because there is a video of somebody doing it, doesn't mean they should have done it.

The only time you just route the fluid back in is if you are bench bleeding a master cylinder but I don't think I've seen it done for damn near two decades.

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Posted : February 14, 2020 10:03 am
dev liked
dev
 dev
(@dev)
Just a member. Moderator

 One additional thing. If you have already bleed the system you do not need to do it again if you want to change pads. Just push the pistons in for clearance.

 If you are just adding pads because you suspect glazing that is not enough as you should also resurface the rotors or get new ones so they bed in properly. Sometimes you can get away with it and other times you end up with new pads exhibiting the same behavior.  

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Posted : February 14, 2020 10:40 am
NottaMiata
(@nottamiata)
Honorable Member

@dev,

Hahaha, I don't have enough knowledge to pull off a decent troll, and I wouldn't just punk you.

I didnt realize brake fluid was THAT hygroscopic. Didnt think a few minutes of air contact really made much impact.

I figured there might be a flaw in that dude's plan, that's why I asked. Seems OK on paper, but as I stated before, there's plenty of that kind of thing that ends up being BS.

Wilco: oh no, i dont believe much of anything I see on the net, but that 0.2% that isn't crap can be valuable. Not always obvious which is which, though. 

I am just wanting to resolve the nerve-wracking wet braking issues. My itch to bleed again is just a desire to be certain, but I am resisting it. If the free recirc were a good idea, I would have done it. Why not?

After I remove them, I will hang on to the old pads for a while, and of course the shims if they are still on the car (ah, oops, shoulda checked that before I ordered the pads, dangit). Dunno what info I might glean from them. Maybe they will be obviously glazed, maybe not. I suspect they are semi-metallic, and I don't want that anyway. Whatever they are, they rust onto the rotors overnight. No like.

I know the surface rust itself is fine, but the break-loose thud -- or worse, the no-break-loose-at-all -- is not fine.

I feel pretty good. I only made a small mess (with the fluid, that is). Only spilled about a teaspoon when the hose tried to pop off the bleeder once when I was closing it. No paint contact, no spilled fresh fluid.

 

This post was modified 1 week ago 3 times by NottaMiata

🐸, 2003, Electric Green Mica, not enough mods

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Posted : February 14, 2020 9:38 pm
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