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Brakes barely work...Im stumped

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Old 09 Jan 2011, 11:29 am
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Default Brakes barely work...Im stumped

Im a pretty good mechanic having changed countless brakes, transmissions and just about everything else but recently my wifes 04 HO turbo PT has stumped me. The brakes work but barely. Heres the story:

Its been snowy/ice so we chalked up bad brakes to sliding on ice. Recently the snow is gone and the brakes are noticeably not working as they used to. The top 50% of the pedal feels like it does nothing and the pedal goes all the way to the floor with little effort. Pumping the pedal while the motor is running does not firm them. However, with the engine off the pedal is rock solid in 2 pumps. This would lead me to believe the master cylinder is not leaking but Ive never messed with this section of brakes before so I could be wrong. Holding the pedal down with the motor off and starting the motor, the pedal sucks down as the brake booster vacuum is applied but again I can push the pedal to the floor with little effort. Ive been unable to lock the wheels up at any speed below 40 while standing on it.

I vacuum bled the brakes and made no difference. Vacuum hoses look fine and I read manifold vacuum at 10.5 mm/hg at idle (whats it supposed to be btw) Any help appreciated....this is strange. THANKS
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Old 11 Jan 2011, 07:45 am
quicksilverdon's Avatar
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Location: Felton, Delaware
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Default Re: Brakes barely work...Im stumped

How many miles?
Original pads?
Since you bled the brakes, I take it you were at every wheel - no leaky wheel cylinders?
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Old 11 Jan 2011, 02:07 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 131
Default Re: Brakes barely work...Im stumped

How's the fluid level in the master cylinder?
I'd think either there is a leak in one of the lines, caliper, maybe even the nipple. If you have fresh snow in your area this is what I would do. Make sure the MC is full. Find a nice patch of untouched snow. Pump the mother out of the breaks for a few. Check snow for signs of fluid. If you find fluid you can determine better where/what is leaking.

Barring that re-bleed the lines, all 4.
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