Long pedal travel after brake line replacement?

Posted by: faramir9

Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/14/14 09:22 PM

So, the brake line (not the whole line, but a good portion of it) on my 14-year-old Saturn rusted to the point it needed to be replaced to pass inspection---not to mention safety.

Local shop installed new brake lines, transferred fluids, car passed inspection, etc. Good job---but now the brake pedal travels farther before stopping power engages. I noticed this straight away, and at first put it down to the usual adjustment period with new brakes. It has not gotten better after three days, though, so I start to worry.

I am pretty sure it is not simply air in the lines. I know what that feels like. This is just....farther pedal travel. The stopping power is perfectly fine, once it engages, but it takes longer to engage.

My plan is to take it back to the shop on Saturday to see what they think. First thing is to check for air and bleed the lines, if needed, I would think---but as noted I don't think that's the issue.

Is this something I should worry about, or am I crazy? (Or both?)

Thanks.
Posted by: expat

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/14/14 09:33 PM

I'm thinking the rear brakes need adjustment (if they have been disturbed)
Try pulling the hand brake on and off multiple times.
Posted by: 901Memphis

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/14/14 09:36 PM

Does it have ABS? Those ABS boxes can be tricky to bleed.
Posted by: faramir9

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/14/14 09:41 PM

Originally Posted By: 901Memphis
Does it have ABS? Those ABS boxes can be tricky to bleed.


No ABS. Rear drums. I read on SaturnFans that 3rd-gen S-series require a specific method to bleed the brakes, different from the earlier S-series cars. Not sure I understood that one---but I will mention it to the guys at the shop.
Posted by: faramir9

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/14/14 09:42 PM

Originally Posted By: expat
I'm thinking the rear brakes need adjustment (if they have been disturbed)
Try pulling the hand brake on and off multiple times.


Will try it. Thanks.
Posted by: Donald

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/14/14 10:05 PM

Backing up and applying the brakes should adjust it.

But the place that did your brakes should have adjusted the rear brakes.
Posted by: eljefino

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/14/14 10:11 PM

They messed it up. Make 'em get on it.

Have a backup plan to leave the car there. Lots of rusty bleeders and other issues. They could have seen a rusty bleeder and said, naaaah, not touching that. frown
Posted by: mene

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/14/14 10:21 PM

Originally Posted By: faramir9
So, the brake line (not the whole line, but a good portion of it) on my 14-year-old Saturn rusted to the point it needed to be replaced to pass inspection---not to mention safety.

Local shop installed new brake lines, transferred fluids, car passed inspection, etc. Good job---but now the brake pedal travels farther before stopping power engages. I noticed this straight away, and at first put it down to the usual adjustment period with new brakes. It has not gotten better after three days, though, so I start to worry.

I am pretty sure it is not simply air in the lines. I know what that feels like. This is just....farther pedal travel. The stopping power is perfectly fine, once it engages, but it takes longer to engage.

My plan is to take it back to the shop on Saturday to see what they think. First thing is to check for air and bleed the lines, if needed, I would think---but as noted I don't think that's the issue.

Is this something I should worry about, or am I crazy? (Or both?)

Thanks.


Rear brake drums need adjustment that's all, find the specific way for your car in a Saturn forum, many work with the handbrake like it was said, others backing up also recommended, others just adjust every time you apply the brakes, the adjustments are usually very little per stroke so you might have to pull that parking brake 20 times, "no joking" or reverse and brake "hard" 20 times, but to be honest the brake shop should have adjusted the brakes, my concern is that if they did that job that way Who will make sure they do it properly this time?
Posted by: JHZR2

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/14/14 10:38 PM

Air bubble left in there???
Posted by: Doog

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/14/14 11:36 PM

Your brake system may have an electric proportioning valve/pump in the system for the rear wheels. But first adjust the rear brakes. Then if you have the electric valve bleed the rear brakes with the ignition key in the on position and see if that does it.
Posted by: asand1

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/15/14 07:42 AM

Air in the lines still.
Posted by: 2009Edge

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/15/14 09:16 AM

Could it be a master cylinder problem?
Posted by: Mfrank84

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/15/14 11:01 AM

Originally Posted By: faramir9
So, the brake line (not the whole line, but a good portion of it) on my 14-year-old Saturn rusted to the point it needed to be replaced to pass inspection---not to mention safety.

Local shop installed new brake lines, transferred fluids, car passed inspection, etc. Good job---but now the brake pedal travels farther before stopping power engages. I noticed this straight away, and at first put it down to the usual adjustment period with new brakes. It has not gotten better after three days, though, so I start to worry.

I am pretty sure it is not simply air in the lines. I know what that feels like. This is just....farther pedal travel. The stopping power is perfectly fine, once it engages, but it takes longer to engage.

My plan is to take it back to the shop on Saturday to see what they think. First thing is to check for air and bleed the lines, if needed, I would think---but as noted I don't think that's the issue.

Is this something I should worry about, or am I crazy? (Or both?)

Thanks.


I did a complete brake job on my old 2002 Toyota Tundra with front disc and rear drums. I had the same problem. I had already done a brake fluid flush and there was no air in the lines. I thought I had done a thorough job of re-installing the new rear brake shoes so I was really confused. For me, as it turns out, it was a simple matter of readjusting the rear brakes since I didn't adjust them as good as I thought I had. Everything was fine after readjustment.
Posted by: eljefino

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/15/14 11:28 AM

The rear drums on these turn into a rusty mess and there's no good rim flange to hammer them off. Your mechanic was lazy. Someone needs to pull the drums and look around inside.

These cars don't have electric prop valves or anything fancy. The adjusters freeze all the time. Not sure if the hand brake or backing up clicks them.

But where things felt good going in and worse coming out, it seems like a hydraulic issue. They could have gorked the master cylinder by pumping all the way down to the floor bleeding your lines and having the piston seal go into "uncharted territory." They could still have air in the lines. Whatever, if you have faith in this shop have them fix it. If you don't, get your money back.
Posted by: faramir9

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/15/14 04:44 PM

Thanks for all the advice. Today I planned to take the car back to the shop to have them check it, but got tired of sitting in stopped traffic and turned around instead. (Woulda been 15-20 minutes for a less-than-2-mile trip.)

On the way home I made a few hard stops, though not from high speed. When I got home and parked, I applied and released the parking brake more than a dozen times, then stomped on the brake pedal a few more times.

That helped some. It's better now than it was before, anyway. The pedal feels firmer, if you know what I mean. I plan a repeat treatment on Sunday; if that does not improve things still more, I will take it to the shop on Monday....but it looks like the rear brakes just needed to be 'pumped' and adjusted.

Been there, done that with many new brake jobs, (pads, rotors, shoes) over the years---but upon reflection this is the first time I had brake lines replaced outright in heap long time. Live and learn.
Posted by: Silverado12

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/16/14 04:17 PM

When the rear brakes need adjusting, sometimes the pedal will be higher up on the second pump of the brakes when stopping.
Posted by: Merkava_4

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/17/14 01:02 AM

Did they replace the brake hoses to the front discs?

If so, and if they forget to install new banjo washers, that's your problem.
Posted by: faramir9

Re: Long pedal travel after brake line replacement? - 03/17/14 04:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Did they replace the brake hoses to the front discs?

If so, and if they forget to install new banjo washers, that's your problem.


Not that far front. It looked like a hair past the mid-point of the wheelbase where they flared it.

Took it back to the shop today. The tech said the brakes did not feel soft to him---and to be fair it was better since I did the "yank the parking brake a zillion times" thing. They cleaned, lubed and allegedly adjusted the rear drums. That improved things a bit more---but the pedal is still not _quite_ as firm as it was before the brake line replacement.

Will keep an eye and foot on it, but good enough for now.